In this edition, a feature in The Economist argues that policy has yet to catch up with the economic benefits of shale. Defenders of the ban (including, naturally, some refiners) claim that if America exported more oil, Saudi Arabia would reduce its own output. Prices to American consumers would not fall, they say, and might even rise. Historical evidence says otherwise, however, the article argues, pointing out that when Congress allowed Alaska to export crude oil in 1995, its west-coast customers did not pay any more for petrol, diesel or jet fuel. And, from The Wall Street Journal, China and Russia at the Altar of Gas. Plus, China spent more on energy efficiency than the U.S. for the first time, accounting for almost a third of the world’s total with $4.3 billion invested, reports Bloomberg.

Quote of the Day:

“Is it going to take $100 million? I have no idea. I think that would be a really cheap price to answer the generational challenge of the world.”

–Hedge fund manager and climate activist Tom Steyer, in The New York Times’ “Financier Plans Big Ad Campaign on Climate Change”

Lead Stories

Qingdao city next in line to set up emissions market in China
Qingdao has become the latest Chinese city to plan a market to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as a group of advisers backed by its mayor is hammering out rules for an emissions trading scheme that could start next year.

China’s carbon offsets market makes cautious progress
Commodities Now
China’s Certified Emission Reduction (CCER) programme will generate credits that can be used to offset carbon emissions in the domestic pilot compliance markets. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) will guide the development of this market by controlling approval of certain projects, leading to a much lower offsets supply than potentially available, according to Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, the leading provider of market intelligence, news, analysis and forecasting for the energy and environmental markets.

Australia climate plan needs strong rules to boost bite-report
Australia’s new climate plan would cut less than 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions needed to meet its 2020 target, while the omission of more stringent rules would reduce this to below 30 percent, a new report said on Tuesday.

The economics of shale oil: Saudi America
The Economist
DENNIS LITHGOW is an oil man, but sees himself as a manufacturer. His factory is a vast expanse of brushland in west Texas. His assembly line is hundreds of brightly painted oil pumps spaced out like a city grid, interspersed with identical clusters of tanks for storage and separation. Through the windscreen of his truck he points out two massive drilling rigs on the horizon and a third about to be erected. Less than 90 days after they punch through the earth, oil will start to flow.

Harper will press Obama on Keystone
The Hill’s E2 Wire
When President Obama heads down to sunny Toluca, Mexico next week, he might feel an unusual chill in the air.
The president is slated to hold economic and trade discussions with Mexican President Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper — the latter of whom is expected to give President Obama an earful over approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

China and Russia at the Altar of Gas
The Wall Street Journal
The saga over whether Russia will supply natural gas to China has always resembled rival families negotiating a marriage dowry. For a decade, the two sides have wanted different things.

China Exceeds U.S. on Energy-Efficiency Spending for First Time
China spent more on energy efficiency than the U.S. for the first time, accounting for almost a third of the world’s total with $4.3 billion invested.

Obama Orders New Standards For Truck Fuel
The New York Times
President Obama on Tuesday ordered the development of tough new fuel standards for the nation’s fleet of heavy-duty trucks as part of what aides say will be an increasingly muscular and unilateral campaign to tackle climate change through the use of the president’s executive power.

Financier Plans Big Ad Campaign on Climate Change
The New York Times
A billionaire retired investor is forging plans to spend as much as $100 million during the 2014 election, seeking to pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers.

Stephens: Climate Prophets and Profiteers
Wall Street Journal — Opinion Page
The weirdest thing about John Kerry’s weekend speech on climate-change—other than the fact that this is the same guy who in 1997 voted to forbid the U.S. from signing the Kyoto Protocol—is that it begins by quoting something Maurice Strong said at the U.N.’s 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro: “Every bit of evidence I’ve seen persuades me that we are on a course leading to tragedy.”

India announces national agro forestry policy
Business Ghana
India announced a US$30-40 million investment in its first-ever national agro forestry policy designed to put more trees back on farms to benefit the people and the environment.

Environmental profit and loss: The new corporate balancing act
Does your CFO know that corporate accounting may be on the cusp of a seismic shift? As concerns grow about climate change and water, among other environmental issues, internalizing externalities is the name of the game today — with the ultimate goal of creating incentives to avoid risks and create net positive corporate impacts.


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
New York

Round Table: California Clean Energy Markets and Policy Strategies
February 28, 2014
San Francisco,CA
Click here for more information and to register.

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


Carbon price ‘made Alcoa money’
The Age/Climate Spectator
Alcoa has denied the carbon price was a factor in the closure of its Point Henry aluminium smelter in Victoria amid Coalition claims to the contrary, The Age reports. And analysis from The Australian Financial Review suggest the carbon tax may have actually made money for the smelter. According to The Age, an Alcoa spokeswoman said “the carbon tax was not factor in the decision”, with Alcoa exempt from 94.5 per cent of the tax under the Carbon Pricing Scheme due to its status as an emissions-intensive trade-exposed industry.

Counting carbon: why emissions targets must be based on science
The Guardian
Every company that aspires to be responsible sets targets for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. General Motors says its manufacturing plants will reduce their carbon intensity by 20%. Wells Fargo says it will achieve a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from its buildings. UPS aims to reduce airline emissions by 20%.

Natural Gas/Coal/Alternative Fuels

Brazil Providing $618 Million for Sugar-Based Ethanol Innovation
BNDES, Brazil’s national development bank, and the state research-financing agency Finep are providing 1.48 billion reais ($618 million) to encourage agricultural innovation in its sugar-based ethanol industry.

Drax Profit Slumps 23% on Costs for Carbon, Biomass Plan
Drax Group Plc (DRX), operator of the U.K.’s biggest coal-fired power station, reported a 23 percent slump in full-year profit as carbon prices rose and it prepared to convert two more units to burn cleaner fuel.

British Columbia unveils LNG tax, projects budget surpluses
British Columbia on Tuesday provided long-awaited details on a new income tax for its nascent liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, as Canada’s westernmost province released its second consecutive balanced budget.


Land of sinking sun power?
Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Some so-far unrealised solar projects looked as if they may face cancellation in one of the world’s biggest photovoltaic markets last week, as a major developer on another continent looked to bring in institutional money to help fund projects for new sunshine power capacity.

Shaw Joins KKR Buying Cleaner Energy Rivals Won’t Touch: Energy
Hedge funds and private equity firms from D.E. Shaw & Co. to KKR & Co. (KKR) are ramping up their investments in renewable energy projects.

Vestas’s Biggest Turbine Picked for U.K. Offshore Farm
Dong Energy A/S will install Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS)’s biggest wind turbines at an offshore power generation plant in U.K. waters in what would be the first order for the 8-megawatt machine.


Veolia Wins Oil Sands Water-Treatment Contract From Shell
Veolia Environnement SA (VIE), the largest European water company, will build a water-treatment plant for Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s steam-assisted oil sands operations in Canada.

How business can take action on the California water crisis
The recent discussion of the drought in California reminds me of the quote attributed to Warren Buffett: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”


Fisker Wins Court Approval to Sell Assets to Wanxiang
Fisker Automotive Holdings Inc. won court approval to sell its assets to China’s Wanxiang Group Corp. for an offer valued at $149.2 million, almost six times what the hybrid-car maker sought when it filed for bankruptcy.


State of Green Business 2014

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)
World Bank

View all reports >

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