In today’s edition, the latest on the Keystone pipeline: an EPA review indicates that the project (based on extracting oil from oil sands in Canada) would lead to about 1.3 billion more tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the pipeline’s 50-year lifespan than if the pipeline were carrying conventional crude. Also, a breakthrough in biofuel production, thanks to a new bacterium, and another in finance, with wetland mitigation banking.

Quote of the day 

“Setting a net-zero GHG emissions target by 2050 will drive innovation, grow jobs, build prosperity and secure a better world for what will soon be 9 billion people. Why would we wait any longer to do that?”

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and advocate of action on climate change, in the Guardian’s story Richard Branson leads call to free global economy from carbon emissions

Lead stories 

EPA Keystone Review Links Oil Sands to Carbon Emission Jump
By Jim Snyder and Mark Drajem – Bloomberg  
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said developing Canadian oil sands would significantly increase greenhouse gases, a conclusion environmental groups said gives President Barack Obama reason to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. 
***LB: Also in this story ““Until ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of oil sands are more successful and widespread,” developing the crude “represents a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions,” the EPA said Tuesday in a letter to the State Department, which is reviewing the project.”

EPA: Keystone XL to Emit 1 Billion Extra Tons of GHGs 
By Bobby Magill – Climate Central
The energy it will take to process Canadian tar sands oil and pipe it through the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline is so great that it will lead to about 1.3 billion more tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the pipeline’s 50-year lifespan than if the pipeline were carrying conventional crude.

Nitrogen-Fixing Bacterium Could Cut Biofuel Costs 
By Jenny Rood – The Scientist  
A bacterium that turns inedible plant parts into ethanol three- to five-times faster than baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) can fix—or convert—atmospheric nitrogen gas into ammonium, according to a study published today (February 2) in PNAS. 
***LB: Also in this story “The results suggest that elemental nitrogen could one day replace the traditional industrially produced, expensive, and environmentally damaging ammonium added to biofuel reactors as the source of a nutrient that is necessary for the growth of microorganisms that break down plant cellulose into ethanol.” 

Wetland Mitigation Banking Arrives In The Big Apple
By Kelli Barrett – Ecosystem Marketplace  
Hurricane Sandy, the historic super storm that swept over the US’ East Coast, wreaked havoc on New York City’s infrastructure and natural areas causing particular damage to a portion of Staten Island.

Richard Branson leads call to free global economy from carbon emissions
By Fiona Harvey – The Guardian
Governments should set a clear target of making the world’s economy free from carbon emissions by mid-century, Sir Richard Branson and a group of other prominent businesspeople have urged.

Norway reveals 40% carbon cut goal for 2030, matching EU target 
By Ed King – RTCC (Responding to Climate change)
Norway’s government has said it will target 40% greenhouse gas emission cuts on 1990 levels by 2030, matching the EU’s goal.


2015 Climate Leadership Conference
ACCO, EPA, The Climate Registry, C2ES
February 23-25, 2015
Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City (Arlington, VA)

Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) 2015
North America’s premier conference on climate policy and carbon markets
Presented by the Climate Action Reserve
April 28-30, 2015
Los Angeles, California


Car makers face ‘real world’ emissions tests in EU pollution clampdown
By Arthur Neslen – The Guardian
Europe is to become the first place in the world to force ‘real world’ emissions tests on car makers, opening up a new front in the fight to tackle air pollution. 
***LB: Also in this story “New regulations will introduce the tests to reveal what cars’ emissions are like when driving on roads and in traffic rather than in ideal laboratory-like conditions as is currently the case.”

Lawmakers push bill to reform renewable fuel mandate
By Laura Barron-Lopez – The Hill
A bipartisan group of lawmakers pushed legislation to scale back parts of the renewable fuel mandate on Wednesday.

EPA pollution rules target wood heaters
By Tim Devaney – The Hill
The Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with a new rule that will limit the amount of pollution from household wood heaters. 
***LB: Also in this story “The pollution rules target particle emissions from wood heaters, known as soot. Manufacturers will be required to reduce emissions by two-thirds of the current level.” 

Natural gas/coal 

Obama ditches FutureGen 2.0 ‘clean coal’ project
By Will Nichols – BusinessGreen
The White House has shut down a $1.7bn project aimed at demonstrating the potential of “clean coal” technology. 
***LB: Also in this story “The FutureGen 2.0 project would have retrofitted a coal-fired generating unit at Ameren’s Meredosia power plant in Illinois with technology to capture up to 90 per cent of emissions – around one million tonnes of CO2 – and inject them underground.”


Canadian Solar announces $265m deal to acquire Recurrent Energy from Sharp
By James Murray – BusinessGreen
Canadian Solar has this week moved to bolster its position as one of the world’s leading solar developers, announcing it is to shell out $265m in cash to acquire Recurrent Energy from electronics giant Sharp.

Solar industry acts to encourage community investment 
Solar farm developers should offer more communities hosting solar farms the opportunity to invest directly in the new projects, according to revised industry best practice guidelines. 
***LB: Also in this story “The Solar Trade Association (STA) has updated its ’10 Commitments’ for developers, which was first launched in 2013, to promote greater levels of community ownership.”

Vestas announces offshore wind hiring push
By James Murray – BusinessGreen
The revival of Vestas’ wind turbine manufacturing plant on the Isle of Wight took another leap forward today, as the company announced it is looking to appoint over 200 people at its new blade production facility.

Clean tech

Renault-Nissan electric vehicles sales rose 24 per cent in 2014
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen
The Nissan Leaf remained the world’s most popular electric vehicle in 2014, propelling zero emissions sales for the Renault-Nissan Alliance to grow by nearly a quarter over the course of the year.


Lawmakers debate ‘mythical’ water rule
By Laura Barron-Lopez and Timothy Cama – The Hill
Agree to Disagree?: Democrats accused Republicans Wednesday of telling so many falsehoods about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) water jurisdiction rule that it was becoming a “mythical” rule.”


US clean energy investment neared $52bn in 2014
By Will Nichols – BusinessGreen
US clean energy investments hit $51.8bn last year, a seven per cent rise on 2013 levels that leaves the country second only to China in terms of dollars invested.

Marks & Spencer announces latest eco-store
Marks & Spencer has this week announced the latest move to burnish its green credentials, unveiling plans to a major green upgrade to its city centre store in Newcastle. 

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This Story