This edition of EMN has the EU’s Oettinger targeting a carbon price in the 12-18 euro range. The Atlantic looks at the hard topic of sweeping a carbon tax into the austerity tussle. The Environmental Leader dives into the climate economics of the oft-ignored oceans. The EU plays down talk of Kyoto rift at Bonn talks, so says Business Green. Merkel cuts her energy chief.

Quote of the Day:

“A (carbon) price of 6 to 8 euros is not a price signal for anything, not for investors and not for consumers. At the moment, looking at the investment crisis, 20 (euros) and more is not really a cost level for our industry to be more competitive.”

-EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told Reuters’ Global Energy and Environment Summit on a conference call from Brussels covered in the Reuters’ piece “EU energy chief favors carbon at 12-18 eur/t”

Lead Stories

Could a Carbon Tax Save Europe?
The Atlantic
Turmoil over budget cuts roils Greek streets. France elects an anti-austerity president. Even Germany’s Austerity Queen Angela Merkel faces electoral backlash. It appears Europeans are getting sick of tightening their belts. But when you can’t cut any more, there’s little else to do but hustle up more cash. For governments allergic to raising income taxes, a European Climate Foundation analysis released yesterday shows there’s a less painful way to slash deficits — one that could save the planet as it saves the economy. A carbon tax.
**JK – A quick to way to waste the goodwill feeling about helping the environment.

China injects vigour into carbon debate
Financial Times
This year is not turning out well for the climate change business. The pace of global climate talks is sluggish. Prices have collapsed in the world’s biggest carbon market. Eurozone woes have shoved environmental concerns well down the list of priorities for leaders worldwide.

EU energy chief favors carbon at 12-18 eur/t
European carbon prices should be at least twice their current value of just over 6 euros ($7.66) a metric ton (1.1023 tons) in order spur investment in cleaner technology, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Wednesday.

EU-ETS: Does this Mean War?
AIN Online
While business aircraft operators tear their hair out trying to comply with the European Union’s controversial emissions trading scheme (ETS), the issue is threatening to escalate into a full-blown trade war. But an ETS panel held at EBACE 2012 in Geneva today heard that the EU appears to have no intention of backing down, with the discussion underscoring the vast gulf between the aims of the carbon cap-and-trade policy and the realities of compliance.

Santander, Brazilian exchange partner on CO2 trade
Point Carbon
BM&F Bovespa, Latin America’s largest exchange, and Spanish bank Santander have partnered to develop new carbon contracts to stimulate carbon trading in Brazil, the firms announced on Thursday.

Merkel ditches environment minister after poll rout
Chancellor Angela Merkel fired her environment minister on Wednesday after he led her party to a regional election defeat, replacing him with a loyal conservative ally to push through her plans to take German energy into the post-nuclear era.

Carbon trading links between S. Korea, EU possible in decade: British minister
Yonhap News Agency
A deputy minister in Britain’s Foreign Office said Wednesday he expects carbon trading markets between South Korea and the European Union to be linked within the next decade, hailing Seoul’s recent approval of an emissions trading scheme.

Putting a Price on the Ocean
Environmental Leader
For most businesses, the environmental impact of climate change on the oceans is not a top priority. Unless your business is directly reliant on a clean and sustainable ocean, for example fisheries or cruise lines, there is little to no consideration of the havoc climate change is wreaking. Most people are at least peripherally aware of the terrestrial issues involved in climate change, du to the intensive analysis of how weather patterns will shift, the trending implications for food production, and of course documented temperature changes. As far as evaluating the effects on oceanic habitats, the discussion is mostly limited to sea level increase. However, lack of awareness doesn’t mean oceanic impacts are not immense, and far-reaching. 

American rivers under threat – interactive
The America’s Most Endangered Rivers report highlights 10 rivers whose fate will be decided in the coming year, and encourages decision-makers to protect them and the communities they support.

EU plays down talk of Kyoto rift at Bonn talks
Business Green
Divisions have again emerged on the first few days of the latest round of international climate change talks in Bonn, with the EU and groups of developing countries clashing over the future of the controversial Kyoto Protocol.

S&P says uncertain funding puts renewable-energy ind. at risk
Countries worldwide have been adopting policies to aid investment in renewable-energy technologies despite strong opposition in many to the high cost of such programs. European policies have been supportive for years, but the U.S. has only recently added stimulus spending to support it, according to a report just published on RatingsDirect.

Renewables funding not keeping up with energy demand-S&P
With energy consumption worldwide projected to roughly double in the next 35 years, conventional wisdom says renewable sources of power will play a big role in meeting demand. But the conventional wisdom may be wrong. In a report just published on RatingsDirect, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services says cost, feasibility, and political wrangling are standing in the way of near-term renewable-energy expansion, globally and in the U.S.


Loan-Guarantee Winners Back Loans as Republicans Complain
Executives from four renewable-energy companies defended a U.S. Energy Department loan-guarantee program that House Republicans said showed failures in President Barack Obama’s job-creating efforts.

Shell warns on US natural gas bounce
Financial Times
Royal Dutch Shell expects US natural gas prices to double by 2015, rebounding strongly from the 10-year lows they have hit as a result of the shale gas boom as US domestic demand for the fuel grows. In an interview, Shell chief executive Peter Voser said prices would remain under pressure in the short-term “but we would see a recovery in the second half of the decade.”

GOP hints it’ll part with Keystone XL pipeline to finish highway bill
The Hill’s E2 Wire
Republicans are pressing for approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline in a final House-Senate transportation bill but appear unlikely to draw a line in the sand that jeopardizes the infrastructure legislation.
**repeats in Canada

A tale of two chambers
The Hill’s E2 Wire
A pair of events Thursday — one in the House, the other in the Senate — will nicely encapsulate the partisan energy divides on Capitol Hill. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on a proposal that’s doomed for now: Chairman Jeff Bingaman’s (D-N.M.) bill that would require utilities to supply escalating amounts of power from carbon-free — or at least lower carbon — sources like wind, solar, natural gas and nuclear.


GOP hints it’ll part with Keystone XL pipeline to finish highway bill
The Hill’s E2 Wire
Republicans are pressing for approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline in a final House-Senate transportation bill but appear unlikely to draw a line in the sand that jeopardizes the infrastructure legislation.
**repeats in Canada

Enbridge plans massive $3-billion pipeline expansion in Canada and U.S.
Financial Post
Enbridge Inc kicked off one of the most sweeping expansions in its history on Wednesday, a $3-billion series of projects across its pipeline system aimed at moving western Canadian crude to Eastern refineries and preventing bottlenecks in the U.S. Midwest.

Canadian Natural complains regulatory reviews too ‘onerous’
Globe and Mail
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., (CNQ-T29.33-0.11-0.37%) with operations spanning from Alberta’s oil sands to offshore South Africa, thinks Canada should ditch its polite reputation when reviewing natural resources projects. In short: Stop compromising and start developing.


Finnish Mining Boom Prompts Regulation Backlash on Polluters
Finland’s mining companies stand to face tougher rules as environmental damage prompts regulators to check the Nordic nation’s mining boom.

UK attracts CCS funding interest from 16 bidders
At least 16 companies are interested in participating in Britain’s one-billion pound competition to fund one or more carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, the government said on Wednesday, hoping to encourage competitors to link projects together.


Malaysian Palm-Oil Refiners Urge Tax Overhaul as Indonesia Gains
Malaysia, the world’s second-largest palm-oil producer, needs to reform the industry’s tax structure to counter new rates in Indonesia that improved the competitiveness of refiners there, according to a trade group.

The price is right?
The Age
Is Australia’s carbon price too high compared with other major countries, or will it be all right in the end? IT STARTED as just one assertion among many in the most rancorous political debate of recent times. Then at some point it became an assumed wisdom. Stated as fact by host Tony Jones on the ABC’s Q&A last week, it went something like this: Australia will soon have a “very high” carbon price that is “way out of kilter with the rest of the world.”

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