In this edition, Politico weighs in with “Clean coal tech is ready, but there’s a catch,” with Bloomberg reporting, “Shell Gets Conditional Alberta Approval for Carbon-Capture Plan.” Environmental Finance, meanwhile, offers “Water trading helped Australian economic recovery.”

Quote of the Day:

“In the economic sense, the big advantage of renewables with respect to other investments in the power sector is that you know exactly what your economics are for the next 20 years because you don’t have the fuel price in the equation.”

–Professor Arthouros Zervos, President of the European Renewable Energy Council, in Renewable Energy World’s “Renewables Still Need Support: An Interview with Arthourus Zervos”   

Lead Stories

Clean coal tech is ready, but there’s a catch
Climate-friendly coal faces a conundrum.
The federal government has funneled billions of dollars over the past two administrations into cutting carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, but so far the “clean coal” dream is far from reality.
**RKB — CBO’s disappointing calculations issued last month are dusted off for this piece: CBO said the $6.9 billion provided by Congress to the Energy Department to demonstrate and reduce the cost of CCS has so far had little practical effect. Remedies advanced? Carbon tax, among other politically poisonous measures. And yet, business goes on. Read below.

Shell Gets Conditional Alberta Approval for Carbon-Capture Plan
Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Europe’s biggest oil company, received conditional approval from Alberta’s energy regulator for a carbon capture and storage project planned north of Edmonton.

The Case for (and Against) a Carbon Tax
National Review Online
Yoram Bauman and Shi-Ling Hsu are convinced that a “carbon tax swap,” in which revenue from a carbon tax is used to reduce taxes on individuals and firms, is an excellent idea.
Over a Barrel
Time Magazine
The 2012 election was supposed to be decided by sky-high gas prices. A gallon of regular gas cost more on average during 2011 than it ever had before, and in the first few months of the year, amid growing tensions in the Middle East, there seemed to be no limit to how expensive oil could get.
**RKB — Article draws some reaction. See below.

Memo To Time Mag: Oil Will Not Get Cheap, World Will Not End
There’s a wrong-headed article in the current issue of Time Magazine. In “Over A Barrel” senior writer Bryan Walsh asserts that “ low” oil prices triggered by a boom in supply from places like North Dakota’s Bakken formation and Canada’s oil sands are set to destroy the world.

Could China’s ‘Gutter Oil’ Be Used To Save The Environment?
International Business Times
Used cooking oil in China — when collected from waste and refuse, it is known as “digou you”, or literally “gutter oil” — has created controversies in the past when sold illegally back to restaurants and companies to be used for human consumption.

Water trading helped Australian economic recovery
Environmental Finance
Water trading has yielded significant economic benefits in Australia and helped speed the recovery of the agricultural sector after the ‘Millennium Drought’ of 1997 – 2009, according to the head of the country’s water authority.

The Senate Passed A Pretty Good Farm Bill. Will the House Gut It?
Ecosystem Marketplace
“This is not your father’s Farm Bill,” US Senator Debbie Stabenow (D, MI), Chairwoman of the Senate’s Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, kept repeating last month while shepherding the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240) through the US Senate.
**RKB — This rather favorable review says: Unlike 2008, the phrase “ecosystem services” appears nowhere in this new bill. But a closer look reveals a Senate bill that, despite some painful cuts to conservation programs, is both bipartisan and surprisingly forward-looking.


Carbon Forum North America
October 1-2, 2012
Washington, DC

Sustainability Summit – Innovation Challenge
October 9, 2012
New York


UN reports high demand for carbon-cutting loan scheme
Business Green
Over 40 developers across 23 developing countries have applied for UN-backed interest free loans to kick-start their carbon-cutting projects.

EU confirms 2020 vehicle emissions targets
Business Green
The European Commission has today confirmed new emissions standards for cars and vans from 2020 in what it described as a “win-win situation” for manufacturers and the environment.

Natural Gas/Coal

Duke Energy CEO Gets Cool Response
Wall Street Journal
Former employees of Progress Energy Inc. gave their new boss, Duke Energy Corp. DUK +0.51% Chief Executive Jim Rogers, a cool reception on Wednesday during Mr. Rogers’s first meeting with them since the two utilities merged last week and the CEO at Progress was ousted.

What the U.S. Can Learn From Australia’s Coal Mines
America became great because it transformed its vast natural resources — Iowa farmland, Mesabi iron, Texas crude — into human capital, equipped with skills to succeed in the Information Age.


Davey Signals U.K. to Maintain Support for Clean-Energy Subsidy
U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said arguments against pushing renewable energy policies are “dangerous” for the economy, signaling he’s resisting pressure from within the government to cut subsidies for the industry.

Clean Energy Investment Rises 24%, Spurred by China Surge
Investment in clean energy rose 24 percent to $56.9 billion in the second quarter compared with the first, led by a surge in expenditure in China, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Measure for measure: oil vs electricity as a proxy for Chinese economic growth
Financial Times
The debate about the reliability of China’s electricity statistics as an indicator of overall economic activity has sparked back into life with three high-voltage contributions – from China bear Andy Xie, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank.

Living In The Dark: Why The U.S. Needs To Upgrade The Grid
In July 1977, I was a 16-year-old high school student visiting New York City, excited to see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and other iconic sights. While I was there, lightning triggered a 24-hour blackout that cut power to nine million residents. During the darkness, I witnessed both the chaos and kindness that result from severe power outages. Looters smashed their way into electronic stores, there were about 3,800 arrests, fires burned across the city and normal life came to a halt.
**RKB — Forbes contributor is Massoud Amin, director of the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota, and an IEEE senior member.

Renewables Still Need Support: An Interview with Arthourus Zervos        
Renewable Energy Council
Professor Arthouros Zervos – a leading figure in the renewables sector whose advice is regularly sought by national governments and regional bodies – is confident that renewables are now within the ‘mainstream’, yet sees continued support through subsidies as well as technological developments and enhanced grid integration as essential for the sector’s further growth.                    


Apple Quitting Green Registry Leads to Purchasing Fallout
San Francisco plans to suspend purchases of Apple Inc. (AAPL) computers after the company stopped participating in an environmental certification program used by governments and universities to make purchasing decisions.


The Interim Regulation of Voluntary Greenhouse Gases Emission Trading in China (Posted July 10, 2012)
The Climate Group

Measure for Management: C40 Cities (July 9, 2012)
Carbon Disclosure Project

Characterizing Pivotal Sources of Methane Emissions from Unconventional Natural Gas Production (Posted June 4, 2012)

Vulnerability of US and European electricity supply to climate change (Posted June 4, 2012)
Nature Climate Change

Developing Dimension: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2012 (Posted May 31, 2012)
Ecosystem Marketplace

Tackling exposure: placing disaster risk management at the heart of national economic and fiscal policy (Posted May 22, 2012)

Fossil fuel price shocks and a low carbon economy (Posted May 21, 2012)

Using the Allowance Value from California’s Carbon Trading System: Legal Risk Factors, Impacts to Ratepayers and the Economy (Posted May 17, 2012)

Inclusive Green Growth: The Pathways to Sustainable Development (Posted May 9, 2012)
World Bank

Meeting Canada’s 2020 Climate Change Commitments (Posted May 8, 2012)
Office of Auditor General

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