In this edition, a link to the U.S. Energy Department report U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather and news coverage of its findings, from The New York Times and USA Today. And from Australia, Rudd Seeks to Ditch Carbon Tax With Eye on Election Campaign.

Quote of the Day:

“We don’t have a robust energy system, and the costs are significant. The cost today is measured in the billions. Over the coming decades, it will be in the trillions. You can’t just put your head in the sand anymore.”

–Jonathan Pershing, the deputy assistant secretary of energy for climate change policy and technology, who oversaw production of the Energy Department report U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather.

Lead Stories

Climate Change Will Cause More Energy Breakdowns, U.S. Warns
The New York Times
The nation’s entire energy system is vulnerable to increasingly severe and costly weather events driven by climate change, according to a report from the Department of Energy to be published on Thursday.
**RKB — The full report and additional news coverage, below.

U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather
U.S. Dept. of Energy

Climate change will disrupt energy supplies, DOE warns
USA Today
U.S. energy supplies will likely face more severe disruptions because of climate change and extreme weather, which have already caused blackouts and lowered production at power plants, a government report warned Thursday.

Ideas to Bolster Power Grid Run Up Against the System’s Many Owners
The New York Times
Bill Richardson often denigrated America’s power transmission network as a “third-world grid” when he was President Bill Clinton’s energy secretary, but the more current description of it is “balkanized,” with 500 separate owners. Marc L. Spitzer, a former member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said even that analogy was not harsh enough.

How climate change makes it harder to keep the lights on
The Washington Post
Coal plants are shutting down because of a lack of cooling water. Hydropower dams are struggling to generate electricity because reservoir levels are dropping. Western wildfires are damaging power lines, causing blackouts in cities like San Diego.

U.S. court says biofuel producers must face carbon emissions rules
Biofuel producers will be subject to rules regulating carbon emissions, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday, in a decision hailed by environmental groups.

Rudd Seeks to Ditch Carbon Tax With Eye on Election Campaign
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd plans to accelerate Australia’s move to emissions trading as a clean-energy policy, scrapping predecessor Julia Gillard’s tax on fossil fuels that’s left the nation with the world’s highest carbon price.

Reduced water use drains Toronto’s funds for infrastructure upgrades
The Globe and Mail
An environmentally friendly effort by many Torontonians has come with a hidden cost – a shrinking pool of money to guard against extreme weather.

Africa Looms Large On CDM Map
Ecosystem Marketplace
Africa has traditionally been overshadowed as a potential host of carbon offset projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) program. Instead, project activity and investment have been focused on least-cost emission reductions in Asia and Latin America.

Commentary: Why Disney, BP and Rio Tinto are exploring ecosystem services
Disney, BP, Rio Tinto and Weyerhaueser represent vastly different sectors. Yet these companies see an increasingly persuasive business case for tracking the impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES).
**RKB — Blogger Sissel Waage is the director of biodiversity and ecosystem services at BSR. She has almost 20 years of experience working on environmental and sustainability issues in North America, Europe and Africa.


Water and Society 2013
September 4-6
New Forest, U.K.

EMA’s 17th Annual Meeting
September 25-27
Las Vegas, NV

Verge: Where Tech Meets Sustainability
October 14-17
San Francisco, Calif.

Solar Power International
October 21-24
Chicago, Illinois


Pacific Carbon Trust’s growing surplus approaches $30 million, fuelling calls for its elimination
Vancouver Sun
The Pacific Carbon Trust’s growing surplus is expected to climb to more than $30 million, further fuelling calls from critics to shut down the controversial Crown corporation.

Short-Term Solution for troubled Emissions Trading Scheme
Turning around a vote from April, the European Parliament has voted to boost the price of carbon by taking 900 million permits off the table in an attempt to rescue the EU’s flailing emissions trading system (ETS).

Facebook posts unfriendly rise in carbon emissions
Facebook‘s greenhouse gas emissions were up a whopping 35 percent in 2012, as the social media giant further extended its global reach.

Natural Gas/Coal/Alternative Fuels

Bioenergy Efforts Empower German Villages
The Wall Street Journal
Nine years ago, the residents of this small German village got together to build a bioenergy plant fueled with plants and manure. Today, the plant supplies all of Jühnde’s heat and allows the village to sell surplus electricity to Germany’s national grid.

India Plans to Allow Coal India to Produce Natural Gas
The Wall Street Journal
India plans to allow Coal India Ltd. to produce natural gas from the state-run company’s coal blocks, as the South Asian nation aims to trim imports, federal Oil Secretary Vivek Rae said Thursday.

Qatar Discusses Deal for RWE’s Dea Unit
The Wall Street Journal
A Qatari state-owned entity has held initial talks to buy German utility RWE AG’s Dea oil-and-gas business, in a move that could lead to an expansion of the emirate’s holdings in Europe, said two people familiar with the matter.

France’s Hollande rules out shale gas exploration
The Globe and Mail
French President François Hollande ruled out exploration for shale gas during his presidency on Sunday, dousing hopes that a ban on hydraulic fracturing could be reviewed following a legal challenge by a U.S. firm.

EPA Delay on Greenhouse Gas Biofuel Rules Tossed by Court
A decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to delay for three years making rules to curb carbon dioxide emissions from biofuels was thrown out by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington.

Brazil Ethanol Producers Get $167 Million Aid to Combat Drought
Brazil is preparing to disburse 380 million reais ($167 million) of subsidies to ethanol mills in the northeast by 2014 to renew sugar-cane crops and help growers recover from the worst drought in five decades.

State regulator says oil industry’s use of acids to unlock shale reserves is safe
Ventura County Star
The state’s top oil regulator told lawmakers Tuesday that Californians have nothing to fear about an oil production stimulation practice known as acidization that is expected to become much more broadly used as producers seek to extract billions of barrels of previously unrecoverable shale oil reserves.


Spain Power Reforms to Cost Companies 2.7 Billion Euros
Spain slashed profit for renewable energy companies and the electric grid operator, part of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s effort to eliminate a 4.5 billion euro ($3.9 billion) deficit forecast this year for the industry.

EU Offshore Wind Installation Rate Doubles as Siemens Leads Way
The installation rate of offshore wind turbines in Europe doubled in the first half of the year, with Siemens AG (SIE) machines taking the bulk of the market.

EU plans probe on German renewable energy law: Spiegel
Der Spiegel/Reuters
The European Union plans an investigation into Germany’s renewable energy law due to concerns that exemptions for some firms from charges levied on power users breaches competition rules, a German magazine reported on Sunday.

Offshore wind sector at the mercy of subsidy whims
Bremerhaven, the bleak, windswept home to high unemployment and the remnants of a once-mighty shipping industry, is striving to reinvent itself as an offshore wind hub.

Grid needs to fix U.S. Midwest power capacity market -report
The Midwest electric grid needs to fix its power market to encourage generating companies to invest in new plants to help keep the system reliable, the grid’s market monitor said in a report.

Croatia’s HEP seeks partners for wind power projects
Croatian power board HEP invited existing wind power developers to indicate their interest in jointly taking on new projects as the new European Union member seeks to improve its energy mix and reduce reliance on imports.

COLUMN-Spurred by power crisis, Britain’s smart grid takes shape: Kemp
Britain’s National Grid has outlined plans to keep the lights on during the dark winter evenings of 2014/15 and 2015/16 – when the margin of spare generating capacity could fall as low as 4 percent and the risk of some disconnections could be as high as 50 percent.


AquaSure Said to Seek to Refinance Australia Desalination Plant
AquaSure Pty Ltd., the builder of Australia’s largest desalination plant, is seeking to refinance about A$3.6 billion ($3.26 billion) of loan facilities backing the project, according to three people familiar with the matter.


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

Four energy policies can keep the 2 Degree C climate goal alive (Posted June 10, 2013)

Maneuvering the Mosaic: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013 (Posted June 10, 2013)
Ecosystem Marketplace

Mapping carbon pricing initiatives: developments and prospects (Posted May 30, 2013)
World Bank

Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind April 2013 (Posted May 1, 2013)
Yale Project on Climate Change

View all reports >

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