In today’s edition, a few more stories about the broad impact of the gas deal between Russia and China, a new delay in the GE-Alstom’s courtship, as well as questions on Australia’s commitment to fight climate change.


Quote of the day

“Our customers asked whether we would explore with them potentially building rail-car loading facilities at a place called Hardesty, which is the initiation point of the current Keystone XL project, and we’ve said we will do that, and we’ll do it expeditiously”

Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada, in the The Hill’s story TransCanada eyes ‘bridge’ to Keystone XL pipeline approval 


Lead stories 

Italy’s Eni wins price cut for Russian gas
Russia’s Gazprom reached an agreement with Eni on Friday giving the Italian oil major a cut in the price it pays for Russian gas, days after Moscow clinched a groundbreaking gas deal with China.

Russia, China agree on $25 billion prepayment under supply deal: Gazprom Reuters
Russia and China have agreed on a $25 billion prepayment under a supply deal signed earlier this week, Alexander Medvedev, chief executive of Gazprom Export, said on Friday.

GE agrees to extend deadline on Alstom bid to June 23
General Electric Co has agreed to extend its $16.9 billion bid for the power arm of France’s Alstom until June 23 from June 2 at the request of the French government, the U.S. company said on Thursday.

Gazprom CEO: The China Gas Megadeal Will Affect The European Market
Russia’s landmark deal to supply natural gas to China will affect prices in Europe and have an impact on international liquefied natural gas projects, the chief executive of state-run Gazprom said on Friday.

LNG Sellers to Chase Japan, South Korea on China-Russia Gas Deal
Chou Hui Hong, Bloomberg Businessweek 
Liquefied natural gas sellers may face more competitive markets in Japan and South Korea, which together bought more than half of the world’s supply in 2013, after China signed a mega gas deal with Russia.

Britain seeks to change land access rules to speed up shale drive 
Britain is seeking to change the rules regarding land access to make it easier and quicker for shale oil and gas companies to drill underground deposits, as the government steps up efforts to exploit the country’s shale resources.  
***LB: Also in this story “The government on Friday also published a report which suggested as much as 4.4 billion barrels of shale oil could lie beneath the Southern England countryside, adding to last year’s estimates that there were enormous shale gas deposits in northern England.”

Encana Raises $1.34 Billion in Largest Canadian IPO Since 2000
Rebecca Penty and Doug Alexander, Bloomberg Businessweek 
Encana Corp. (ECA), Canada’s largest natural gas producer, is behind the nation’s biggest initial public offering in 14 years.

TransCanada eyes ‘bridge’ to Keystone XL pipeline approval 
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
Oil producers and Keystone XL developer TransCanada Corp. are exploring the option of transporting Canadian crude oil by railcar as a temporary solution until the pipeline is approved.  
***LB: Also in this story “Producers like ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips want a temporary way to transport the oil while waiting for the U.S. to act on Keystone XL.”

Should Australia Worry Over Sealed China-Russia Gas Deal?
Esther Tanquintic-Misa, International Business Times  
China and Russia had just sealed a $400 billion gas deal which experts said could put Australian exports of LNG (liquefied natural gas) in peril.

Australia Set to Fund Second Clean-Energy Project at Remote Mine
James Paton, Bloomberg
An Australian government agency expects to announce a second agreement within three months to fund a renewable energy project at a remote mining operation before the government moves to wind it up.

Siemens Says Australian Cuts May Hurt Wind-Power Plans at Mines
James Paton, Bloomberg
Siemens AG, Europe’s largest engineering company, said it’s concerned that Australia’s plans to scrap its renewable energy agency may hurt efforts to bring wind turbines to remote mines.

Australia’s Pollution U-Turn Threatening UN Climate Talks
Mike Anderson, Bloomberg Businessweek
Australia’s program to rein in pollution is losing momentum, the latest in a series of setbacks for the international effort to tackle global warming.

Climate deal ‘won’t be perfect’: US negotiator 
With 19 months to go until the deadline for a new, global pact on climate change, the United States’ top negotiator cautioned Thursday against unrealistic expectations, saying the deal “won’t be perfect”.

Warm Pacific may paradoxically cause U.S. winter freeze: study 
Alister Doyle, Planet Ark
Unusually warm western Pacific waters linked to global warming may be the paradoxical cause of a bone-chilling winter in parts of the United States this year, a scientific study said on Thursday.

How green spaces could stop cities from overheating 
Caitlin Robinson,
Most city-dwellers are big fans of green spaces, with the benefits to health and community well-being evident in the data. There’s more to it though – adding more commons, parks and greens could also shelter British cities from the full effect of global warming.


EMA’s 18th Annual Meeting 
Join the Environmental Markets Association and environmental industry professional for two days of dynamic sessions, two nights of networking receptions, and countless opportunities to increase your business contacts. 
October 22 – 24, 2014
Santa Monica, CA


Carbon market continues faltering march into the mainstream
Will Nichols, BusinessGreen
Confidence in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) appears to be gradually returning, with investors heartened by the recent steps taken by Brussels to bolster the market’s previously rock bottom carbon price, a new survey has found.

Shell rejects ‘alarmist’ carbon bubble risks
Will Nichols,
Shell has become the latest oil giant to dismiss the risk of a “carbon bubble,” following similar moves from BP and ExxonMobil to downplay predictions that a growing body of environmental legislation and emerging clean technologies will result in stranded fossil fuel assets and constrained production.  
***LB: Also in this story “The carbon bubble theory, popularized by the Carbon Tracker NGO in recent years, argues that burning all known fossil fuel reserves would result in the world tearing past the internationally agreed target of limiting average global temperature increased to 2 degrees Celsius, the point at which scientists have warned runaway climate change could be sparked.”

Kingfisher boss slams government ‘indecisiveness’ over fourth carbon budget
James Murray, BusinessGreen
Sir Ian Cheshire, chief executive of retail giant Kingfisher plc, has today warned that the investment climate is being harmed by the government’s failure to confirm binding carbon targets for the mid-2020s, arguing that uncertainty over the fourth carbon budget was proving “extremely concerning”.

Dem bill would allow state carbon taxes
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) is circulating a “discussion draft” of a bill that would allow states to tax carbon dioxide emissions.

California Carbon Allowances Sell Out at Auction for $11.50 Each
Lynn Doan, Bloomberg  
California, the second-most polluting state in the U.S., sold all 16.95 million carbon allowances at auction for $11.50 each, in line with analysts’ expectations.  
***LB: Also in this story “Units of Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc were among the companies that qualified to purchase the permits put up for sale May 16, a report posted today on the state Air Resources Board’s website shows.”

China policymakers test radical cuts in carbon emissions
Gerard Wynn, RTCC (Responding to Climate change)
China’s policymakers are testing the potential for radical cuts in carbon emissions from the energy and industrial sectors, using an energy analysis tool developed in collaboration with Britain.

EU aims to put brake on truck emissions with new regulations
Will Nichols, BusinessGreen
The EU has made early moves to limit emissions from lorries and other heavy duty vehicles, but the proposals were criticised by green groups for falling short of the mandated targets imposed on car manufacturers.

How to Turn Cheap Natural Gas into Low-Carbon Gasoline
Todd Woody, The Atlantic
Open a garage door in Silicon Valley and you’re likely to find some kind of technology under development by an enterprising entrepreneur. But a gasoline refinery?

Rain in outback helped extend world’s carbon sink, finds paper
Peter Hannam, The Sydney Morning Herald
A burst of growth in the wake of drought-breaking rains across inland Australia in 2011 helped to turn the country into one of the world’s biggest carbon sinks, new research has found. 
***LB: Also in this story “Australia contributed about 60 per cent of the additional worldwide carbon sink, revealing a larger role for semi-arid regions than previously known, the lead author of a paper published on Thursday in Nature journal, Benjamin Poulter, said.”

Watchdog wants probe into relaxed fuel regs
Benjamin Goad, The Hill 
A watchdog group suggested Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) move to lower the renewable fuel standard came at the behest of big business.

Carbon Trust cuts ribbon on Mexico office
The Carbon Trust has today officially launched its latest overseas office in Mexico, after inking contracts designed to help up to 150,000 businesses and public-sector offices cut their emissions and reduce energy costs.

Does working from home grow your carbon footprint?
Jessica Shankleman,
Over recent years, a growing number of businesses have embraced flexible working strategies, using the online services and mobile devices to allow employees to hotdesk, work from home, or scrutinize their spreadsheets while on the go.  
***LB: Also in this story “A major new analysis from the Carbon Trust has this week set out to try and answer these crucial questions, and in doing so it has revealed some fascinating results that suggest firms seeking to cut emissions through working from home policies need to take a decidedly nuanced approach to flexible working models.”

Natural gas / Coal 

India’s NTPC May Build Plant to Run on Imported Coal
Rajesh Kumar Singh, Bloomberg
NTPC Ltd., India’s biggest electricity producer, is considering building its first power plant to run completely on imported coal to prepare for local shortages and to take advantage of a fall in global prices.

Asia Naphtha-India ONGC strikes rare deal with Oman Trading 
India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp has sold 35,000 tonnes of naphtha to Oman Trading, traders said on Friday, making this the first deal between the two parties this year, Reuters data showed.

Pittsburgh Controller Says Shale Jobs Overestimated
Romy Varghese, Bloomberg
Pittsburgh controller Michael Lamb sees no windfall for Pennsylvania’s second-most populous city from Marcellus Shale drilling.

‘Natural Gas Is a Bridge to Nowhere’: Cornell Methane Expert
Andrew Nikiforuk,
A new study by a Cornell University ecologist and expert on methane argues that “natural gas is a bridge to nowhere” in terms of arresting climate destabilization.

Fracking report expected to say billions of barrels of oil could be extracted 
Matthew Weaver,
The (UK) government has been accused of cynically releasing a report that is expected to say several billion barrels of oil reserves could be extracted by fracking in large swaths of southern England a day after the European and local elections in order to bury controversial news.

(UK) Fracking compensation to be increased
Nicholas Watt and Kevin Rawlinson, The Guardian
The amount of compensation made available to communities affected by fracking is to be increased in an attempt to counter opposition, the government is to say.  
***LB: Also in this story “Ministers will say an average of £800,000 in additional payments will be provided to communities affected by fracking”

Germany’s biggest bank pulls funding for Abbot Point coal terminal 
Australian Associated Press
Germany’s biggest bank has pulled out of a controversial Queensland coal port expansion because it says there is no consensus over how it will impact the Great Barrier Reef. 

Over 600 local elected officials back Obama’s coal rules
Laura Barron-Lopez, the Hill
More than 600 locally elected officials across the U.S. encouraged President Obama to continue pushing his climate agenda and pledged their support in implementing it.

Biden: Cyprus poised to be key energy player
Justin Sink, The Hill
Vice President Biden told Cyprus during a visit to the island nation on Thursday that it could become a “global hub” for the production of natural gas.  
***LB: Also in this story “The discovery of hydrocarbons in the Cyprus exclusive economic zone have the potential to transform the regional political landscape.”


Why Central Texas is becoming a regional clean energy leader
Marita Mirzatuny,
With the recent release of the National Climate Assessment, the threat of climate change never has been clearer.

A bogus claim that electricity prices will ‘nearly double’ because of clean coal technology
Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post (Blog) 
“Hear that? That’s the sound of people opening their electric bills to discover they’ve nearly doubled.

North Carolina: Deal Reached on Cleanup of Utility’s Toxic Spill
The Associated Press
The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that it had reached an enforceable deal with Duke Energy to clean up its mess from a huge coal ash spill into the Dan River.

Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena lights up at prospect of LED energy savings
It may already be renowned for having one of the most space-age stadiums in the world, but FC Bayern Munich is about to further strengthen the high-tech credentials of the Allianz Arena with the installation of 380,000 ultra-efficient LED lights.

Clean Tech

Renault Delays Electric Twingo Version on Lack of Demand
Mathieu Rosemain, Bloomberg Businessweek
Renault SA (RNO), Europe’s third-largest automaker, will slow down electric-vehicle introductions in another sign that consumer demand for zero-emission cars is falling short of automakers’ plans.

Tesla Motors accused of bullying to grab key car charging sites in the UK
Adam Vaughan, the Guardian 
Tesla Motors, the luxury electric car maker, has been accused of bullying a UK green energy company and attempting to take over several of its charging stations at crucial sites on the UK motorway network.


In California, Groundwater Softens Drought’s Punch – That’s Both Good News and Bad 
Brett Walton, Circle of Blue
Amid a record-smashing drought in which every acre of California is parched and toasted comes a report with an intriguing though not entirely astonishing conclusion.

Sao Paulo Faces Severe Water Shortage 
Codi Kozacek, Circle of Blue
Failed rains and the water demands of 20 million people have collided to create the worst water crisis on record in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.

Senate sends $12.3B water projects bill to Obama’s desk 
Ramsey Cox and Keith Laing, The Hill
The Senate on Thursday voted 91-7 to pass a $12.3 billion bill that approves infrastructure projects and aims to boost U.S. ports and waterways.

Dozens of English beaches could fail new stricter sewage standards 
Damian Carrington, The Guardian
Dozens of beaches around England could fail new stricter sewage standards for water quality, including Blackpool, Clacton, Morecambe and Margate.


Gavin Schmidt on Why Climate Models are Wrong, and Valuable
Andrew C. Revkin, The New York Times
I’m overdue to draw your attention to two fresh, and very different, discussions of climate science by Gavin Schmidt, the longtime climate modeler at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Near-Average Hurricane Season Is Predicted for U.S. as El Niño Develops in the Pacific
Michael Wines, The New York Times
The Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are highly likely to experience an average or below-average number of hurricanes and tropical storms this year, including fewer of the most dangerous hurricanes with winds above 110 miles per hour, government forecasters said Thursday.

Audio: Scientists Discover Carbon Cycle Is Out Of Whack
Christopher Joyce, NPR  
Scientists who track carbon say the way it cycles from the atmosphere back to earth and into plants and animals has apparently changed. It could be the whole planetary carbon treadmill is speeding up.

Green group raises $3 million for campaign contributions
Timothy Cama, The Hill
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund said it has raised more than $3 million to donate to candidates in this election cycle as parts of its GiveGreen program.

‘Bright spots’ can help islands navigate towards sustainable future, says UN biodiversity chief  
UN News Center
Tiny though some may be, islands play a huge role in sustaining life on the planet – making up less than 5 per cent of Earth’s landmass, they are home to 20 per cent of all bird, reptile and plant species – and protecting their fragile ecosystems from ill-considered development, polluted waters and invasive species is the main focus of this year’s International Day for Biodiversity.

April 2014 Ties for Globe’s Warmest on Record
Megan Gannon, Yahoo News
Last month ranked as the world’s hottest April on record, tying with April 2010, U.S. weather officials announced Tuesday (May 20).

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