In this edition, three articles on increased capital spending for renewables kick off the Leads section. Plus, some climate coverage looks ahead to Tuesday’s U.S. State of the Union Address. Most analysts expect some mention of the environment as President Obama speaks from Capitol Hill, but the Keystone Pipeline will remain too hot to touch right now. Still, it’s creeping into analysis. For Obama, a decision in favor of the pipeline could undermine his environmental cred just as his administration is writing new rules to reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, says a Reuters piece. But a decision against the pipeline could undercut Obama’s pledge to boost employment and U.S. energy security while alienating an important international ally and oil supplier. Obama, who no doubt will want some amount of environmental progress as part of his legacy, has said the pipeline decision should only be approved if it doesn’t produce a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions. A final decision is expected later this year.
Quote of the Day:
“We’re going to see a multiplier effect as we scale up use of these mechanisms. This is the beginning of a transition from bank loans and equity financings to refinancings in the capital markets for this industry. We talked about it three years ago. Now we’re doing the deals.”
–Michael Eckhart, Citigroup head of environmental finance, in Bloomberg’s “Citigroup Sees Capital Markets Reviving Renewables”
Citigroup Sees Capital Markets Reviving Renewables
Renewable-energy companies will derive more of their funding from bond markets as banks curb lending to the industry, Citigroup Inc. (C)’s head of environmental finance said.
Renewable Spending to Turn Corner as Bonds Hit Record, BNEF Says
Renewable energy investment is set for a turnaround this year with sales of green bonds rising to a record, according to the head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Green bond issuance to more than double this year: HSBC
Global “green bond” issuance should more than double this year to a record $25 billion as increased information on how the money will be used attracts more investors to the fledgling market, investment bank HSBC said.
EU Industry Panel to Decide on Carbon Fix Adoption Track
The European Parliament’s industry committee is yet to decide whether to block a faster start of a carbon-market fix should its objection to the measure be denied by the environment panel, according to a Parliament official.
Opinion: Global Warming Battle Is Over Market Share, Not Science
Last week, the New York Times reported that venerable Dow Jones Industrial Average component Coca-Cola Co. was awakening to the impact of climate change on its business.
Obama’s Decision On The Keystone XL Pipeline Will Shape His Legacy
President Barack Obama will lay out an agenda on jobs, the economy and the environment during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday.
China’s Guangdong to cut oil, coal use, slow carbon emissions growth
China’s southern Guangdong province plans large investments in natural gas and clean energy to cut coal and oil use in a bid to slow rampant growth in greenhouse gas emissions, according to a provincial climate change plan released Monday.
RPT-Fitch: EU emission cost focus positive; won’t lift utility risks
The European Commission’s focus on minimising the cost of reform in its latest climate and energy goals is positive for utilities, as rising consumer bills are creating significant political risk for the sector, Fitch Ratings says. But this cost focus, indicated by a report on costs alongside new 2030 emission targets, does not alter our negative outlook for the sector, especially as the new targets will continue to drive down traditional electricity generation.
Renewable Energy, Caterpillar to Build Cooking Oil Power Plant
Renewable Energy Generation Ltd., a developer of low-carbon assets backed by BlackRock Inc., plans to build a facility with Finning U.K. Ltd. and the finance arm of Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) to provide power from waste cooking oil.
Journalists on the Environment Beat Look Ahead
The New York Times Dot Earth blog
I was invited by the Wilson Center to participate on Friday in a discussion with other journalists of environmental issues that will be in the headlines this year and going forward. (The session was co-sponsored by the Society of Environmental Journalists.)
**RKB — The event’s site.
Webinar: Prospects for a New Carbon Market: Cap-and-Trade Under Clean Air Act Section 111(d)
January 29, 2014
Click here for more information and to register.
Climate Leadership Conference
Association of Climate Change Officers
February 24-26, 2014
San Diego, CA
The Microgrid, Distributed Energy, and Renewables: How They Work Together
February 25, 2014
Round Table: California Clean Energy Markets and Policy Strategies
February 28, 2014
Click here for more information and to register.
Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) 2014
March 26-28, 2014
San Francisco, California
13th Biennial Conference and Trade Fair on Business and Sustainability
March 26-28, 2014
Vancouver, British Columbia
Beijing’s mayor urges “all-out effort” to curb air pollution
Beijing’s mayor pledged on Thursday to cut coal use by 2.6 million tonnes and set aside 15 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) to improve air quality this year as part of the city’s “all-out effort” to tackle air pollution, state news agency Xinhua said.
ESAA fears carbon penalties
The Energy Supply Association of Australia has said the coalition’s Direct Action policy needs to include credits for businesses should it impose penalties for not meeting carbon emissions targets, according to The Australian.
Natural Gas/Coal/Alternative Fuels
RPT-Move to ban coal shares in Norway’s $815 bln fund gains support
An opposition proposal to prohibit Norway’s $815 billion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, from investing in coal companies has won the support of two minority parties whose backing the government needs.
Ag Sec. Northey: Cut to ethanol mandate would hurt Iowa economy
Des Moines Register
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey told the White House reducing the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the gasoline supply in 2014 would “significantly damage” the state’s economy and put consumers at risk of higher prices at the pump.
Cash offers skyrocket as much as 700 per cent for landowners resisting Keystone
The Canadian Press
Cash offers have been skyrocketing, as much as seven-fold, for holdout Nebraska landowners who are willing to sign quickly to allow the Keystone XL pipeline onto their property.
Australia Divided on Fracking
The New York Times
Debate over hydraulic fracturing is growing in Australia, where environmentalists are concerned about new efforts to tap the country’s substantial reserves of oil and natural gas.
Canadian Solar Sells Ontario Project to BlackRock-Managed Fund
Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ), the best-performing solar manufacturer last year, agreed to sell a 10-megawatt solar farm to a fund managed by BlackRock Inc. (BLK).
U.K.’s Biggest Solar Farm Exceeds Expectation: Foresight
The U.K.’s largest solar farm generated 15 percent more power than expected from November through Jan. 22, said Foresight Solar Fund Ltd. (FSFL), which bought the facility three months ago.
EON Seeks Scottish Planning Permit for 57-MW Wind Farm
EON SE submitted a planning application for a proposed 57-megawatt wind farm in southwest Scotland.
RPT-Macquarie looks for more power assets in Europe
Australian bank Macquarie is looking to expand its portfolio of power assets, one of its executives said, and may even invest in continental Europe, where utilities are closing thousands of megawatts worth of gas and coal plants.
Past power failures ‘dress rehearsals’ for frequent future blackouts
Soaring electricity demand for air-conditioning, iPads and increasingly cars, combined with a growing population and inadequate investment in creaking power networks, is pushing the world towards frequent blackouts, academics warn.
California Carbon Market Watch: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Golden State’s Cap-and-Trade Program,Year One (January 8, 2014)
Assessing Corporate Emissions Performance Through the Lens of Climate Science (December 2013)
Climate Counts and Center for Sustainable Organizations
Use of internal carbon price by companies as incentive and strategic planning tool (Posted December 11, 2013)
OECD: Effective carbon prices (November 4, 2013)
Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013 (Posted September 12, 2013)
The Future of China’s Power Sector (posted August 27, 2013)
Bloomberg New Energy Finance
U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather (Posted July 14, 2013)
U.S. Dept. of Energy
Turn down the heat: climate extremes, regional impacts, and the case for resilience (Posted June 19, 2013)