After an outcry from some quarters on the EPA new rules, today’s edition features analyses on their (positive) economic impact. More guarded optimism on China and its will to curb emissions, however, as well as on the promises of gas exports – high cost taking its toll on projects. And finally, renewed suspense: the US House will vote this month on cross-border pipelines like Keystone XL.
Quote of the day
“Costs in the oil and gas sector are still on the rise and outpacing inflation, and gas projects are extremely price-sensitive because the margins are so thin.”
Matthias Bichsel, Royal Dutch Shell’s director of projects and technology and member of Shell’s Executive Committee, in the Reuters’ story Only a fraction of big gas export projects will be built – Shell
House to vote on natural gas export, pipeline bills
Timothy Cama, The Hill
The House will vote this month on bills aimed at speeding up the Obama administration’s processes for applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) and build cross-border pipelines like Keystone XL.
Only a fraction of big gas export projects will be built – Shell
Henning Gloystein, Reuters
Only a fraction of the natural gas export projects being developed around the globe will become reality as high costs and weakening gas prices torpedo those that until recently promised huge returns on investment.
Huge Russia-China gas deal still leaves door open to Japan
Osamu Tsukimori and James Topham, Reuters
For once, China looks to have done Japan a favour. In clinching a $400 billion deal last month to buy Russian gas, China may end up helping out its old political and economic rival in a way that matters hugely for Japan – energy security.
Chinese official plays down emission cut expectations
David Stanway, Reuters
Any near-term regulation of China’s greenhouse gas emissions would likely allow for future emissions growth, a senior government official said on Monday, discounting any suggestion of imminent carbon cuts by the biggest-emitting nation.
EPA proposal could spark growth, too
Rachel Abbey McCafferty, Crains’ Cleveland Business
Much like the federal mandates to increase fuel efficiency, the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions at power plants could cause headaches for some, but could lead to opportunities for companies working in the latest technology.
New carbon targets generate more work for U.S. power companies
U.S. power companies that thought they had already done enough to reduce carbon emissions to meet proposed rules for existing plants likely have more work to do, Bill Johnson, chief executive of the Tennessee Valley Authority, said on Friday.
Best of Both Worlds? Northeast Cut Emissions and Enjoyed Growth
Hannah Fairfield, The New York Times (The Upshot)
Some critics of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new requirements for power plants argue that forcing emissions reduction will curtail economic growth.
***LB: Also in this story “Since 2009, the nine states have cut their emissions by 18 percent, while their economies grew by 9.2 percent. By comparison, emissions in the other 41 states fell by 4 percent, while their economies grew by 8.8 percent.”
Weakest link in climate rule?
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
A key concession touted by vulnerable Democrats in the administration’s new carbon pollution standards may provide the greatest legal threat to the controversial new rules, the cornerstone of President Obama’s climate change agenda.
In Some States, Emissions Cuts Defy Skeptics
Justin Gillis and Michael Wines, The New York Times
The cries of protest have been fierce, warning that President Obama’s plan to cut greenhouse gases from power plants will bring soaring electricity bills and even plunge the nation into blackouts.
GOP leaders in Fla. dismiss risks to state of rising sea levels
Michael J. Mishak, AP
On a recent afternoon, Scott McKenzie watched torrential rains and a murky tide swallow the street outside his dog-grooming salon.
***LB: Also in this story “Miami Beach is expected to spend $400 million on an elaborate pumping system to cope with routine flooding.”
Finland reveals new climate change laws
Ed King, RTCC (Responding to Climate Change)
Finland has become the latest country to announce a new climate change act, which will put into law a long-term mitigation target of 80% emissions reduction by 2050.
World War II Skeletons Washed From Graves by Rising Seas
Alex Morales, Bloomberg Businessweek
Skeletons of World War II soldiers are being washed from their graves by the rising Pacific Ocean as global warming leads to inundation of islands that saw some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict.
Though Not Quietly, Kentucky Moves to Cut Reliance on Coal
Trip Gabriel, The New York Times
The E. W. Brown power plant rides like an ocean liner on a rolling ridge in Kentucky, its smokestacks and plumes visible across fields of corn and cattle for miles around.
GOP Senate candidates grope for safe position on climate change
Greg Sargent, The Washington Post
Here’s another sign climate change may become an issue that could matter — a bit, at least — in the 2014 campaigns.
New study finds environmental damage globally may cost more than U.S. GDP
Morgan Erickson-Davis, mongabay.com
A new study published in Global Environmental Change added up all the world’s ecosystem services – from carbon storage and crop pollination, to recreation and flood mitigation – and found, every year, nature provides $145 trillion in benefits.
***LB: Also in this story “It also indicates that land use changes, most of which has been caused by humans, may be reducing these benefits by trillions of dollars every year.”
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
Environmental Bonds 2014
Now in its 4th year, Environmental Finance’s Environmental Bonds conference will examine the challenges facing the environmental bond market as it matures and the opportunities available for investors, issuers, bankers, corporates and others.
23 June 2014
Carbon Credit Donations for World Cup Offset 30% of Event’s Emissions So Far
Michael Kepp, Bloomberg
Private-sector carbon credit reduction donations have already offset 30 percent of the estimated carbon emissions to be generated by the upcoming 2014 World Cup soccer tournament, an Environment Ministry official told Bloomberg BNA.
***LB: Also in this story “Eleven private-sector companies with certified emissions reduction credits (CERs) issued by Brazilian projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) have donated 420,500 credits to the Environment Ministry’s Low Carbon Sustainability Program to offset 420,500 metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent.”
GreenTrees: Going The Extra Mile
Gloria Gonzalez, Ecosystem Marketplace
Project developer GreenTrees has been riding the rails: partnering with Norfolk Southern – through its Trees and Trains reforestation and carbon sequestration project – to plant six million trees in the Mississippi Delta over five years, generating more than one million tonnes of carbon offsets to help offset the railroad’s emissions and restore habitat along its lines.
Results of Cameroon land-fee study hold lessons for REDD+
Mark Foss, Forest News
An assessment of large-scale agriculture in Cameroon has shown that land benefit-sharing reforms could help develop a REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) revenue-payment mechanism, clarify the legal basis of land management in the country and help combat rural poverty.
Climate change: Scotland fails for third time in a row to meet carbon targets
The Herald Scotland
An unprecedented alliance of all the opposition parties in Holyrood is privately urging SNP ministers to agree moves that would cut carbon pollution from vehicles, farms, houses and government.
Natural Gas / Coal
Shale boom brings its own set of challenges
Ed Crooks, Financial Times
In one of his characteristically compelling turns of phrase, Bill Clinton said: “So far, every single person that’s bet against America has lost money.
***LB: Also in this story “The announcement in the first week of June from TransCanada, the pipeline company, that it intended to invest C$1.9bn ($1.73bn) in a project to help supply gas to the proposed Kitimat LNG plant planned by Chevron and Apache for the west coast of Canada, was a reminder of the great opportunities that exist in building the infrastructure that will be needed.”
(Commentary) Why the shale revolution is more boon than bane
Jason Bordoff, Financial Times
It is easy to forget how rapidly the shale revolution has transformed the US. Less than a decade ago, all projections were for rising oil and gas imports. Today, it is the world’s largest oil and gas producer, oil import dependence has been almost halved, and soon it will be a net natural gas exporter.
Coal: Environmentalists predict ‘last gasp’ for a traditional industry
Gregory Meyer, Financial Times
Coal exports, a lifeline for the besieged US mining sector, are faltering.
Coal industry faces another hit under EPA rules. But it will survive.
Jacob Barker, St Louis Post-Dispatch
Unlike the measured response of the utility industry, coal producers have loudly opposed the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon dioxide emission limits.
Coal spies: The secret world of black ops
Tom Allard, The Sydney Morning Herald
Burly and bearded, Tony Groves arrived at the camp at Maules Creek in northern NSW, declaring a passion for the environment and an exotic, hidden past.
***LB: Also in this story “A Fairfax Media investigation this week uncovered the fact Groves was part of an extraordinary undercover operation against the activists who are known as the Leard Forest Alliance or Front Line Action Against Coal.”
Solar power sector hopes emission bid will light way
Neil Munshi, Financial Times
This month, the US Environmental Protection Agency proposed new rules designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.
***LB: Also in this story “Any impact is probably years away, but “you may see some utilities start to develop a solar or clean energy business model in that timeframe”, says Rhone Resch, head of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a trade group.”
Spain’s Iberdrola to invest $5 bln in Mexico over six years
Spanish utility Iberdrola plans to invest at least $5 billion (3.7 billion euros) in Mexico over the six years through 2018, Chairman Ignacio Sanchez Galan said on Monday, as the country opens its traditionally sealed energy market to private investment.
More Columbia city utility customers turning to solar panels
Andrew Denney, Columbia (Missouri) Tribune
While local utilities prepare for restrictions on carbon, a growing number of Columbia residents and businesses have sought to replace their own demand for fossil fuels with solar panels, which have steadily become more cost-effective as the market for solar grows.
Chile Inaugurates 100 MW Amanecer Solar CAP PV Plant
The 100 MW Amanecer Solar CAP plant in Copiapo, Chile, has been inaugurated in a ceremony attended by President Michelle Bachelet. The project was developed, built and interconnected by SunEdison Inc.
Tesla Model-S launch: an electric car to answer even Clarkson’s objections
Samuel Gibbs, theguardian.com
My first encounter with the electric car that may even answer (UK journalist) Jeremy Clarkson’s objections to such vehicles, was an intriguing one.
Tycoons go to war over superhighway for electric cars
Ben Webster, The Times
A legal battle between two wealthy entrepreneurs is delaying plans for a “superhighway” that would allow owners of electric cars to drive most of the length of the country with just one short break to re-charge.
Bill would ban EPA’s preemptive water permit vetoes
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Reps. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) said they’ll introduce legislation next week to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from preemptively vetoing applications to dump dredge or fill in waterways.
‘Monsoons could last 10 days longer’
One of the many consequences of global warming could be dramatic changes in the annual southwest monsoon, Govindswamy Bala, associate professor at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), has said.
Chilean Government Sets Date for Controversial Dam Decision
Circle of Blue
The Chilean government will decide June 10 whether to proceed with HidroAysen, a group of five dams on two rivers in Patagonia.
Canada’s changing landscape keeps oil sands industry on its toes
Ed Crooks, Financial Times
The oil sands industry of western Canada was hit by some bad news at the end of May: Total of France said it was suspending engineering work and postponing a final investment decision on its proposed Joslyn project.
Making Summer Travel Plans With Climate Change in Mind
Would Glacier National Park be the same without the glaciers? Would visiting Boston’s Faneuil Hall be the same if there was water lapping at its doors?
***LB: Also in this story “A recent report from the Union of Concerned Scientists lists many landmark sites around the U.S. that could be at risk in a changing climate with warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, and increased fire threats”
Study: Alaska’s future looks more rainy, less snowy
Yereth Rosen, Alaska Dispatch
Alaskans of the future might have to stock up on ice cleats and endure disappointing snow seasons. A newly published study calculates the degrees to which precipitation falling from the sky will be rain instead of snow, a transformation expected over the rest of the 21st century as the far-north climate warms.
Call for ‘environmental bank holiday’ to focus on local problems
Environmental campaigners spend too much time targeting global conferences on the issue of “melting ice caps” and not enough on encouraging people to become activists in their own neighbourhood, a report will claim tomorrow.