Quote of the Day

“There’s no doubt that the investment case for carbon capture and storage is worse if the carbon price is lower, and we may see fewer projects go forward in the future because of it.”

Graeme Sweeney, Shell’s executive vice-president in charge of carbon, in the FT’s “Emissions trading: Cheap and dirty”

Lead Stories

Emissions trading: Cheap and dirty
Financial Times
When the European Union decided last month to press ahead with a plan to force foreign airlines to pay for the carbon pollution generated by each flight landing at its airports, Brussels policymakers justified their action as the only way to forge a global solution to one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon market: there’s still time

Financial Times
A few little things separate a gold medal sprinter from an also-ran. The same applies to the European Union’s carbon emissions trading scheme. When it pioneered the idea of a fully fledged carbon trading market in 2005, the EU envisaged that a price of about 40 euro per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted would encourage big polluters, such as power generators, to invest in clean energy. With the current price at under 8 euro, that looks like seriously wishful thinking. Yet the market is not irretrievably broken. With another phase of the trading scheme due to begin next year, there are a few things regulators could usefully do to turn carbon trading into a proper market.

Twenty UK-based financial firms to bid at CO2 auctions: govt

Point Carbon
The UK expects around 20 financial firms to apply to bid at auctions for EU carbon permits in the third phase of the bloc’s cap-and-trade scheme, according to a government consultation document published Tuesday.

Energy groups pressure White House on derivatives rules

The Hill’s E2 Wire
Natural gas and electricity trade groups are pressing the White House to ensure that regulations tightening controls on sprawling derivatives markets don’t create major new costs for energy companies that use them for protection against price volatility.

EU vote on tar sands law expected on Feb. 23
European Union officials are expected to vote on Feb. 23 on a draft law that would label fuel produced from tar sands as more polluting than that from other forms of oil, according to a draft agenda seen by Reuters.

EU Says Aviation-Emissions Levies to Help Efforts Toward Global Agreement
The European Union said its introduction of emissions levies on aviation will help spur efforts toward a global agreement.

Airbus Chief Sees Trade-War Risk in EU Carbon Tax, Figaro Says
Airbus SAS Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said the European Union’s plans to require international airlines to pay for their carbon emissions threatens to create a trade war, Le Figaro reported.

EU green energy sector powers through one million jobs mark
Employment in the EU’s renewable energy sector has broken through the one million mark for the first time, after the number of people working in the industry increased 25 per cent in 2010.

The Carbon Bubble: Assessing the risk of a collapse of carbon markets using Credit Rating Statuses
European Climate Policy Blog
In this article I want to explore the risk of a collapse of carbon markets in the next years. There are signs indicating that the Kyoto carbon markets (e.g. CDM and AAU trading) might be on the verge of imploding.
**JK – Credit ratings are not on the most favored lists these days, but this approach is interesting.

China Shale Delay to Boost LNG Imports in Boon for Exxon: Energy
China’s ambitions to unlock the natural gas trapped in shale rocks are likely to take longer than planned, boosting the nation’s reliance on overseas suppliers from Exxon Mobil Corp. to Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Obama’s Wish List for Energy

The New York Times
The Energy Department’s budget request for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1 sounds a familiar theme. “The United States is competing in a global race for the clean energy jobs of the future,’’ a cover letter from the federal energy secretary, Steven Chu, says.


U.S. Solar Projects Rose 67 Percent in Fourth Quarter, SEIA Says
Installation of solar panels in the U.S. surged as much as 67 percent in the fourth quarter as developers raced to qualify for an expiring federal incentive program and panel prices fell 16 percent, a trade group said.

Energy Conversion Files for Bankruptcy, Seeks Sale of Business

Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ENER), a U.S. solar manufacturer that suspended production last year, filed for bankruptcy with plans to sell its solar panel unit.

Gas Well Inspections to Be Required After Fracking, Salazar Says
Natural-gas drillers will be required by U.S. rules to inspect their wells after hydraulic fracturing on public land to ensure the safety of drinking-water supplies, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

Answering for Taking a Driller’s Cash

The New York Times
The recent disclosure of the Sierra Club’s secret acceptance of $26 million in donations from people associated with a natural gas company has revived an uncomfortable debate among environmental groups about corporate donations and transparency.

White House won’t take tapping strategic oil reserve off the table
The Hill’s E2 Wire
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that officials won’t rule out tapping the country’s strategic petroleum stockpile if oil prices spike.

House Dems seek delay in transportation/energy bill after process change

The Hill’s E2 Wire
Democrats on the House Rules Committee called on Republicans to delay consideration of a major transportation authorization and energy bill on Tuesday, because the GOP decided earlier today to split the bill up into three separate measures.


TransCanada Posts Higher Profit, Boosts Dividend
Wall Street Journal
TransCanada Corp. posted higher fourth-quarter earnings and raised its quarterly dividend 5%, crediting its capital program for generating strong returns for shareholders. It also delayed the start-up target for its proposed Keystone XL pipeline to early 2015 from late 2014.

Sunshine Oilsands Seeks $606 Million in IPO
Wall Street Journal
Sunshine Oilsands Ltd., a Calgary-based energy company backed by Chinese investors, plans to raise up to US$606 million via an initial public offering ahead of a March 1 listing in Hong Kong, according to a term sheet.

Canadian Prime Minister Shills Alberta Oil Sands in China

Canadian Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in the midst of an official visit to China. His mission? To convince Beijing’s mandarins to buy Canada’s Alberta oil sands hydrocarbon production, now that Republican Congressional overreach has effectively sidelined the Keystone XL pipeline, designed to transit the oil to U.S. Gulf of Mexico refineries, for the foreseeable future.


Aquamarine to make waves with first array

Business Green
Aquamarine Power is set to install two next-generation wave energy converters off the coats of Orkney this year, after securing consent from the Scottish Government to build the UK’s first nearshore wave power array.

Austria’s CO2 emitting power output slumps 5.5 pct

Point Carbon
Electricity generated by Austrian thermal power plants fell 5.5 percent in 2011 compared with the previous year, preliminary government data showed, likely swelling the sector’s 2010 surplus of 1 million permits.


Xstrata May Sell Stake in $6.4 Billion Coal Project

Wall Street Journal
Xstrata PLC, the world’s largest thermal-coal exporter by volume, may sell part of its proposed six billion Australian dollar (US$6.44 billion) Wandoan project in Australia, which aims to be a key supplier to Asian power generators.

Australian offset scheme to be under-supplied

Point Carbon
Demand for carbon credits from Australia’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) will vastly exceed supply in this decade, analysts say, forcing emitters to look abroad for millions of lower-cost emission reductions.

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