Lead Stories

Germany Eyes Carbon-Market Reserve Start Five Years Early
Brian Parkin and Mathew Carr – Bloomberg
Germany said an overhaul of the European Union’s carbon market to automatically tighten supply should begin at the latest in 2016, five years earlier than proposed by the bloc’s regulatory arm.
**JK – Raise your hand for a carbon fed!

To blunt Russia, time for American natural gas diplomacy
Paul Bledsoe and Lee Feinstein – Reuters
The American natural gas revolution has boosted economic competitiveness, and helped reduce U.S. carbon emissions to their lowest levels in 20 years. The question is now whether the United States will leverage this energy bounty to advance its foreign policy goals during the most serious East-West crisis in a generation.

Chief execs call on Cameron to end carbon budget uncertainty
Business Green
Chief executives at some of the UK’s largest companies have today written to Prime Minister David Cameron, urging him to confirm the government will not water down the fourth carbon budget ahead of an official review of the target.
The government will undertake a review of the fourth carbon budget, which will run from 2023 to 2027 and will require a halving of annual emissions against 1990 levels by the end of the period, in the coming weeks.
**JK –  One shouldn’t water down anything of significance.

‘Carbon bubble’ poses serious threat to UK economy, MPs warn
Fiona Harvey – The Guardian
Stock markets are inflating a “carbon bubble” by overvaluing companies that produce fossil fuels and greenhouse gases, and this poses a serious threat to the economy, an influential committee of UK MPs has warned.
**JK – Interesting concept, but markets are far more dollars and cents.

China Calls on Rich Nations to Give $490 Billion for Climate
Mathew Carr – Bloomberg
China, the biggest country by population and greenhouse gases, called on developed nations to provide $490 billion of climate funding to poorer countries through 2020 to help them adapt to droughts and floods.
**JK – What’s the cost per linear foot for sea walls?

China Sets Targets to Curb Pollution
Wayne Ma – The Wall Street Journal
China on Wednesday provided more details on how it plans to reform some of its tightly regulated resource prices this year and gave hard targets for reducing pollution in 2014.

China Bear Stearns Moment Seen by BofA in Solar Default
Justina Lee – Bloomberg
The growing risk of default by Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co. may become China’s “Bear Stearns moment,” prompting investors to reassess credit risks as they did after the U.S. securities firm was rescued in 2008, according to Bank of America Corp.
**JK – Arrow down.

U.S. Solar Jumps 41% in 2013 Driven by Residential Demand
Ehren Goossens – Bloomberg
Demand for U.S. solar power increased 41 percent last year driven by record growth in residential projects, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
**JK – Arrow up.

Power Giants Press EPA for Gentle Carbon-Emissions Rules
Ben Geman – NationalJournal
CEOs of two of the nation’s largest power companies publicly appealed to the Environmental Protection Agency Thursday to avoid what the executives fear could be onerous climate-change regulations.
The heads of utility giants American Electric Power and Duke Energy,  which both have a substantial number of coal-fired power plants, acknowledged Thursday that legislation to stymie or alter EPA’s plans is unlikely to reach the finish line.
**JK – Duke and AEP used to be leaders among utilities in the climate space.

Triodos asset base grows by more than a fifth, as green banks’ profits rise again
Business Green
Ethical bank Triodos saw profits rise 14 per cent in 2013, after attracting 80,000 new customers and boosting lending to sustainable projects.
The company’s results, announced this week, saw it post net profits of EUR25.7m last year, up from EUR22.6m in 2012, which in turn marked a 31 per cent rise on 2011.

UK’s Woodland Carbon Code Hangs “For Sale” Sign For Future Offsets
Gloria Gonzalez – Ecosystem Marketplace
For the first time, potential buyers of carbon offsets generated by forestry projects under the UK’s Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) program can see future offsets available for sale, allowing them to make long-term offsetting plans.
**JK – Make like a tree and offset.


“Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Regulations: Lessons Learned”
Richard D. Morgenstern, Ph.D. Resources for the Future (RFF)
March 14, 2014
12:00 Noon, PDT (WEBCAST) Byron Sher Auditorium, 2nd Floor, Cal/EPA Building 1001 I Street, Sacramento, California

Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) 2014
March 26-28, 2014
San Francisco, California

GLOBE 2014
13th Biennial Conference and Trade Fair on Business and Sustainability
March 26-28, 2014
Vancouver, British Columbia


House Defies Veto Vow, Passes Bill to Block Climate Rules
Mark Drajem – Bloomberg
The Republican-led U.S. House defied a presidential veto threat and passed legislation that would head off regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency to limit greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants.

UK needs 100 bln pounds more to meet 2020 carbon targets-report
Nina Chestney – Reuters
Britain’s low-carbon energy investment is currently running at less than half of the 200 billion pounds needed over the next decade to meet national and international emissions reduction targets, British lawmakers said in a report on Thursday.

Qantas carbon tax bill has been covered by ticket surcharge
Lenore Taylor – The Guardian
Political debate has focused on whether Qantas has changed its tune about the impact of an “unrecovered” $106m carbon tax bill on its current financial difficulties – a tax bill the government insists is a direct “hit” on Qantas and its workers.

Statkraft Awarded Tender to Sell UN Carbon Credits to Flanders
Alessandro Vitelli – Bloomberg
Statkraft AS won a tender to sell United Nations carbon credits to Belgium’s region of Flanders, according to a spokeswoman for Norway’s biggest utility.

German government seeks CO2 cutting projects for 10 million euro fund
Business Recorder
Germany has launched a second call for projects that cut carbon emissions in poor countries to get finance from its 10 million euro ($13.77 million) fund to help them start generating carbon credits. The German environment ministry’s Foundation Future of the Carbon Market scheme will buy and cancel credits under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) from the world’s poorest nations in a bid to support emission reduction projects struggling to gain investment from the private sector.

Natural Gas/Coal

U.S. Hopes Boom in Natural Gas Can Curb Putin
Coral Davenport and Steven Erlanger – The New York Times
The crisis in Crimea is heralding the rise of a new era of American energy diplomacy, as the Obama administration tries to deploy the vast new supply of natural gas in the United States as a weapon to undercut the influence of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, over Ukraine and Europe.

Coal Firm to Pay Record Penalty and Spend Millions on Water Cleanup in 5 States
John Schwartz – The New York Times
One of the nation’s biggest coal companies will pay a record civil penalty and will spend tens of millions of dollars to clean up water flowing from mines in five states, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.

Judge rules Duke must stop groundwater pollution at NC coal ash sites
Anne Blythe and Craig Jarvis – NewObserver.com
A Wake County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that Duke Energy must immediately stop the source of groundwater pollution at its 14 coal-fired power plants in North Carolina.
Judge Paul Ridgeway reversed a decision by the state’s Environmental Management Commission, saying it failed to properly apply state law when it didn’t force the utility to clean up its coal ash ponds.

Natural Gas Supply Dwindles, Prices Do Not
Paul Ausick – 24/7 Wall St.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks decreased by 152 billion cubic feet for the week ending February 28. That compared to an expected drop of 140 billion to 174 billion cubic feet anticipated by analysts. Natural gas futures prices were trading about 0.8% higher in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $4.56 per million BTUs and slipped to around $4.66 immediately following the EIA report.


RES shelves £300m biomass scheme
Jessica Shankleman – Business Green
Renewable energy developer RES has scrapped plans for a £300m biomass plant in Northumberland, blaming “inconsistent” government support.
The proposed 100MW project in the Port of Blyth would have created 300 jobs during the construction of the plant and 50 full-time positions once built.

AES Seeks to Replace Gas Power Plants With Big Batteries
Jim Polson – Bloomberg
AES Corp. (AES), the biggest operator of electricity-storage systems, is now seeking to sell batteries big enough to substitute for power plants.
The Advancion systems will cost from $10 million to $500 million, depending on size, and will be offered to utilities and renewable-energy developers in arrays as large as 500 megawatts, said Chris Shelton, president of Arlington, Virginia-based AES’s energy storage unit.

Trailblazing power plant is first to bury its carbon
RISING above the endless plains of Saskatchewan, Canada’s Boundary Dam power plant looks like any other: giant boxes, tall red-and-white striped chimneys, and a mess of pipes and power lines.
But appearances can be deceptive. In the coming months, it will become the first power plant to suck the carbon dioxide out of its flue before the gas reaches the air. It is blazing the trail for carbon capture and storage (CCS) around the world. Not bad for Canada’s largest coal power plant.


L.A. County reservoirs get 6-billion-gallon infusion from storms
Ralph Vartabedian – The Los Angeles Times
The storms that doused Los Angeles County over the weekend filled reservoirs in the San Gabriel Mountains with some 6 billion gallons of water, enough to supply more than 150,000 people for a year.
The twin storms left more than 11 inches of rain in some higher elevations.

California Looks to the Desert as Cadiz Proposes Tapping Aquifer
Peter Waldman – Bloomberg
California is parched. The state’s worst drought in decades has left its reservoirs half-naked, if not skeletal. Officials say 17 communities could run out of drinking water this summer; some are considering mandatory rationing; and 500,000 acres in the state may be left fallow.

State failed to analyze effects of water bank, judge rules
Bettina Boxall – Los Angeles Times
A court ruling issued Wednesday could throw up obstacles to operation of a Kern County groundwater bank that has helped billionaire Stewart Resnick build a nut empire in the southern San Joaquin Valley.


Two more energy bills advance in the House
Pete Kasperowicz – The Hill
Members of the House have voted to advance two energy bills, including one that puts timelines on environmental reviews on energy projects.

Divisions apparent as EU ministers debate 2030 climate, energy goals
Over a dozen EU ministers have joined together to call for a rapid agreement on the trading bloc’s 2030 climate and energy goals, either at a leaders’ summit later this month or in June. This week’s meetings marked the first occasion of the new framework being formally discussed at the ministerial level by the 28 member states.

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