Quote of the Day

“We remain strongly opposed to Canadian oil sands crude being unfairly discriminated against without scientific justification. If the EU moves ahead in implementing these or any other unjustified, discriminatory measures, Canada won’t hesitate to defend its interests.”

Canada Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver in The Wall Street Journal’s “EU Experts Deadlock on Canadian Oil Sands”
Lead Stories

Canada pleased with EU vote, will defend oil sands
Canada hailed the European Union’s failure on Thursday to classify tar sands crude as particularly dirty, but Ottawa made it clear it would take trade action if the EU did end up singling out Canadian oil.

EU Experts Deadlock on Canadian Oil Sands

Wall Street Journal
A panel of European Union technical experts deadlocked over whether to penalize Canadian oil sands, the latest move in a simmering trade squabble between Brussels and Ottawa.

Trade Battles Buffet Europe’s Green Efforts

The New York Times
During the past decade, the European Union blazed a green trail with a series of laws mandating a low-carbon economy and promises to set an example for other parts of the world.

Rethinking Carbon Dioxide: From a Pollutant to an Asset

Marc Gunther: Yale Environment 360
Three startup companies led by prominent scientists are working on new technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The scientific community is skeptical, but these entrepreneurs believe the process of CO2 removal can eventually be profitable and help cool an overheating planet.

China’s airline CO2 costs greatly overstated: analysts
Point Carbon
Europe’s carbon market will cost China’s top airlines a total 1.9 million euros ($2.6 million, 16 million yuan) this year, a fraction of the 800 million yuan that Chinese airlines say they will have to fork out to comply with caps, Thomson Reuters Point Carbon analysts said.

Natural Gas Boom Won’t Stall U.S. Renewables
The Energy Collective
Yet, while fracking to unlock America’s shale gas reserves poses a near-term threat to the rate of utility-scale renewable energy development, it offers significantly lower risk to growth of domestic renewable energy just a few years out.

House Republicans, and some Dems, press White House to kill climate rules
The Hill’s E2 Wire
More than 200 House Republicans and about a dozen conservative Democrats called on the White House Thursday to kill pending climate regulations, arguing they will impose huge costs on consumers.

As Gas Prices Surge, Obama Defends His Energy Policy

The New York Times
President Obama, confronted by the political perils of surging gas prices in an election year, defended his efforts to wean the United States off imported oil on Thursday, even as he conceded there was little he could do to immediately ease the pain at the pump.

Marshaling the Winds of Mongolia
The New York Times
Construction is to begin in March on Mongolia’s first wind farm, and its backers hope it will be the beginning of a renewable energy boom. Mongolia’s first wind installation is a $120 million project that will provide 5 percent of the country’s electricity demand. Transmission lines were installed last year, while turbine construction waited out the fierce Mongolian winter. It is scheduled to begin in March.

Germany Plans Record Cuts in Solar Subsidies to Limit Boom
Germany, the world’s biggest market for solar power, plans record reductions in subsidies for the industry as part of a program to rein in a boom in installations.
Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said he plans to cut premium rates for solar power by between 20.2 percent and 29 percent from March 9 and decrease them further each month beginning in May. Plants larger than 10 megawatts won’t get support after July 1.

Germany to cut subsidies for solar power

Germany plans to reduce government subsidies supporting solar power by up to 30 percent within a year because higher-than-expected demand has made the scheme far more costly than authorities initially expected.

Iberdrola Gives Growth Warning

Wall Street Journal
Spain’s largest power utility Iberdrola SA and flagship wind-turbine maker Corporacion Tecnologica Gamesa SA cut some financial targets for 2012, citing weak economic conditions in developed markets.

Bill Gates Calls for More Accountability on Food Programs

The New York Times
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has brought a distinctive approach to problems of global development: a sense of urgency, a willingness to make big investments in pursuit of ambitious targets, and — above all — a hard-nosed insistence on results that can be counted and documented. The Gateses, who are heavily involved in managing the foundation that bears their name, take the view that setting explicit numerical targets and holding people to them is one key to progress.

A Chat With RealClimate Blogger Gavin Schmidt

The New York Times Dot Earth blog
I’m in the second year of co-teaching a Pace University course helping environmental science graduate students develop the ability to communicate their work and avoid the pitfalls that come in a field that is often at the center of policy disputes. (You might have seen scientists at the center of a few such disputes of late.)


Bipartisan Senate group presses Reid, McConnell on wind tax credit

The Hill’s E2 Wire
A left-to-right coalition of senators is pressing GOP and Democratic leaders to quickly extend tax credits for wind power projects that are slated to lapse at year’s end.

Duke, Progress push new power market plan
Duke Energy Corp and Progress Energy Inc said on Wednesday they will build new electricity lines and sell power to competitors under a new proposal to reduce their market power in a bid to win regulatory approval for their planned merger.

Dryden Becomes New York’s Test Town on Fracking

The New York Times
The town of Dryden in upstate New York doesn’t have foundries or auto manufacturing plants. Its residents say they cherish their trees, meadows and farms and local officials said they wanted to preserve what one called “our country way of life” when they passed zoning laws to keep heavy industry away.

EnerVault Raises $15.5 Million for Grid-Size Energy Storage Systems
EnerVault Corporation today announced the completion of a $15.5 million Series B financing, bringing total funding to date to $24.5 million. The company’s investors include Mitsui Global Investment (MGI), Total Energy Ventures (affiliate of French oil & gas major Total), 3M Company, TEL Venture Capital (the U.S. investment arm of Tokyo Electron), Commercial Energy of California, Oceanshore Ventures and US Invest, LLC. The investor funds complement the company’s grant awards totaling $5.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), California Energy Commission (CEC) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). EnerVault is developing energy storage systems based on a novel redox flow battery technology.

Construction of wind energy system in Crisfield could be delayed due to needed $35,000 study
The Republic
The construction of a wind energy system to power Crisfield’s sewage treatment plant will likely be delayed after city officials learned this week they must first pay for a study on how it will affect the power grid.


EU blocks passage of Canada’s ‘tar sands’ ranking
The Globe and Mail
Amid heavy lobbying from Canada, a committee of the European Union Parliament blocked passage of a proposed fuel quality directive that would label Alberta oil sands as a more carbon-intensive source of oil than conventional crude.

‘World-leading’ B.C. carbon tax to be reviewed because others not keeping up
British Columbia’s “world-leading” carbon tax is being reviewed because the rest of North America hasn’t followed through on pledges to keep up, the province’s finance minister says.

Ontario won’t alter local content in green-energy
The Canadian province of Ontario’s review of its pioneering green energy program will not alter controversial rules that require local content for all projects, the province’s energy minister said on Wednesday.

CO2 focus should be fossil fuels, not just tar sands
Gerard Wynn -Reuters
Discriminating against tar sands in the name of curbing carbon emissions makes sense, but is also a distraction from a bigger question about how much fossil fuel humankind can safely burn.


Ukrainian exchange postpones huge ERU auction

Point Carbon
Ukraine’s First Independent Exchange has postponed the sale of 9.8 million Kyoto carbon credits because of “technical reasons”, the bourse said on Thursday.

British Gas profits keep energy market reform on the agenda
The Guardian
Centrica faced renewed criticism over household energy prices as the group reported annual pre-tax profits of £2.4bn, with growth in its gas exploration and power business offsetting a slump in earnings at its British Gas arm.

Stern warns climate change critics

Shropshire Star
Flawed economic arguments against tackling climate change are being used to slow the move to low-carbon growth, a leading economist has warned. Lord Stern, whose key 2006 report set out the economic case for cutting greenhouse gases, said science suggested the world was heading for temperature rises of 3C or 4C on the basis of current efforts to stop global warming.

Ukrainian exchange postpones huge ERU auction

Point Carbon
Ukraine’s First Independent Exchange has postponed the sale of 9.8 million Kyoto carbon credits because of “technical reasons”, the bourse said on Thursday.

Dutch EUA auction clears at 8.81 euros
Point Carbon
The Netherlands sold 1 million spot EU Allowances for 8.81 euros each on German energy exchange EEX on Thursday in the first tranche of 4 million Dutch permits to be sold this year.

Centrica’s CO2 spend plunges 74 pct in 2011

Point Carbon
UK utility Centrica spent £44 million (52 million euros) on carbon permits last year, almost a quarter of its 2010 spend of £166 million, as gas-fired power output plummeted, the company said in annual results Thursday.


Adani Plans Australian Expansion
Wall Street Journal
India’s Adani Group plans to spend as much as $6 billion in Australia over the next three years to develop coal mines and related infrastructure and is interested in buying a majority stake in a gas company at home as the conglomerate gears up to expand operations.

China misses 2011 energy intensity target
Point Carbon
China slashed the energy intensity of its economy by 2 percent in 2011, falling short of its 3.5 percent goal, leaving the world’s biggest energy consumer facing an uphill battle to meet energy efficiency targets set out in its five-year plan.

Australia allows controlled fires to earn carbon credits
Point Carbon
Australia will allow projects that control savanna fires to earn CO2 credits under its Carbon Farming Initiative, a move that will let big emitters use the credits to offset emissions instead of paying a A$23 per tonne carbon tax.

Africa/Middle East

Carbon taxes to reduce emissions
Cape Town – The government is looking to introduce a carbon tax next year to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, although nearly two-thirds of emissions will be tax-exempt until 2020 to lessen the impact on industry, the Treasury said on Wednesday.

ACSP seminar on carbon market encourages Bank staff to access CDM

African Development Bank Group
The African Carbon Support Program (ACSP) held a seminar on 12 January 2012 for staff of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on the outcomes of COP17 and how they relate to the Bank’s current and planned climate change initiatives, particularly those involving carbon finance.

Latin America

Ecuador Sees $694M Of Private Investment For Oil Sector In 2012

Wall Street Journal
Ecuador expects private investments in the oil sector to total about $694 million this year, an increase of 58% compared with last year.

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