Today’s top stories include Australia’s official entry into pricing carbon with Reuters piece Australia kicks off carbon tax, PM future in doubt and many others, another bankruptcy for a solar manufacturer featured in Abound Solar Says It Will File for Bankruptcy from Bloomberg and U.S. Sees Greatest Reduction in CO2 Emissions and IPS.

Quote of the Day:

Cats will still purr, dogs will still bark. The leader of the opposition’s fear campaign will collide with the truth.

– Australia PM Julia Gillard after Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s visit to an animal shelter to warn of higher electricity prices on charities in Australia kicks off carbon tax, PM future in doubt.

Lead Stories

Australia kicks off carbon tax, PM future in doubt
Australia on Sunday joins a growing number of nations to impose a price on carbon emissions across its $1.4 trillion economy in a bitterly contested reform that offers trading opportunities for banks and polluters but may cost the prime minister her job.
**JK – Political will has always been the backbone for this market. Let’s see who has it and answer the question, can an effective and efficient carbon market work?

Prepping price tag on pollution
Brisbane Times
IN 1967, a pair of brilliant young American researchers, Ellison Burton and William Sanjour, were given the task of finding an answer to the most terrifying environmental threat of the day: acid rain. The causes of acid rain were well understood – sulphur dioxide emissions from power stations reacted with water molecules in the atmosphere and fell back to earth, killing plants, stripping paint, corroding metal and stone.
**JK – Nice historical context for Australia’s move to tax and then trade carbon.

Gazprom targets Asian liquefied gas market
Russian energy giant Gazprom plans to become a dominant presence on the liquefied natural gas market by targeting booming demand in Asia, chief executive Alexei Miller told an annual meeting on Friday.
“In the near future, Gazprom will become a major player on the LNG market,” the head of the world’s largest natural gas company told company shareholders.

BP Balks on Russian Pipeline Project
Tensions between BP PLC and its Russian oil partners spread to the chilly seas of northern Europe this week as the British energy giant said it will suspend preliminary consultations with OAO Gazprom over a possible pipeline to supply Russian gas to the U.K. after the partners refused to allow the talks.

Abound Solar Says It Will File for Bankruptcy
Abound Solar, a solar panel maker that received a $400 million loan guarantee from the federal government, announced on Thursday that it would file for bankruptcy amid plummeting prices and intense competition from Chinese manufacturers in the solar equipment market.
**JK – Political possibilities abound with this news.

Biggest Solar Farm Switching to Panels Only Before Purchase
Solar Trust of America LLC asked regulators for permission to follow through on previously announced plans to use photovoltaic panels at its 1,000-megawatt Blythe solar farm, not the originally planned solar-thermal system, before the California project is sold to NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE).

EU Carbon Permits Are Fastest-Rising Commodity in June
Allowances for December jumped as much as 29 cents to 8.28 euros ($10.40) a metric ton and were at 8.08 euros as of 10:10 a.m. on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. They’ve gained 27 percent this month. United Nations emission credits are ranked second-fastest for the month, rising 20 percent.

U.S. Sees Greatest Reduction in CO2 Emissions
Inter Press Service
According to a recent report by the International Energy Agency, the U.S. has seen the greatest reduction in carbon dioxide pollution within the past six years in comparison to any other country, even as global carbon dioxide pollution has reached record highs.
**JK – Some gratuitous chest pounding here.

Watchdog concerned over carbon targets
A sharp fall in greenhouse gas emissions last year had more to do with the weather and the weak economy than wind farms or electric cars, said the government’s climate watchdog, which warned that more needs to be done to meet the UK’s carbon targets.
**JK – A more accurate representation of the reasons for a drop in emissions.

Watershed Payment Programs:Scaling Up By Staying Simple
Ecosystem MarketPlace
Streams and rivers that originate high in the mountains irrigate cities and towns across the world, but encroaching population and increasing pollution jeopardize many mountain watersheds, raising the question -– what will happen to these communities if their upland water suppliers aren’t fit to supply them.

Research and Markets: Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation
Press release
Through the eyes of an inventor of new markets, Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation tells the story of how financial innovation – a concept that is misunderstood and under attack – has been a positive force in the last four decades.
**JK – Richard Sandor’s book hits the shelves.


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

Sustainability Summit – Innovation Challenge
October 9, 2012
New York


Carbon Polluters, Coal Miners Pay in Australian Tax Overhaul
Australia is charging its largest polluters for carbon emissions and taxing profits of iron ore and coal producers starting today in the biggest change since 2000 in how the government collects and spends money.

Carbon price to further obscure true tax burden
The Australian
From next week, the government will burden the economy with a $23/tonne tax on carbon emissions that will extract about $9.2 billion a year from businesses by 2014, equivalent to an extra 1.5 percentage points on GST.

Businesses raise prices to pass on new costs
FOUR in 10 businesses in manufacturing, services and construction plan to raise their prices immediately in response to the carbon tax, a survey has found.

$3.5bn budget hole warning on carbon
Writing in The Australian Financial Review’s opinion pages, ACIL Tasman economist Stephen Bartos says the Treasury forecast of a $29 a tonne carbon price in 2015-16 looks “shaky” given carbon permits have been trading at less than $12 a tonne on the European market.

Natural Gas/Coal

A Further Cut in Natural Gas Surplus
The U.S. Energy Department’s weekly inventory release showed a larger-than-expected increase in natural gas supplies, reflecting the commodity’s tepid demand. However, the build came in well short of the five-year average addition for the week.

Coal clash: The risky business of global energy markets haunts Northwest
The Orgoneon
Five years ago, the rage was importing natural gas into Oregon. Now it’s exporting it.


Southern, Ted Turner Buy Second Southwest U.S. Solar-Power Plant
Southern Co., the largest U.S. power company by market value, bought its second solar energy project in partnership with Turner Renewable Energy.
The companies, which have been collaborating on renewable energy investments since January 2010, purchased the 20-megawatt Apex project in North Las Vegas, Nevada, from SunEdison LLC, Southern said today in a statement. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

Texas Raises Electricity Cap
Texas regulators voted Thursday to allow electricity generators to charge up to 50% more for wholesale power in the state, an action that critics worried would lead to sharply higher costs for residents and businesses in a hot summer that already is seeing usage records.”

Renewables Make German Power Market Design Defunct, Utility Says
Renewable generation, such as wind and solar, receives support from the German government in the form of a feed-in- tariff, or FIT. Because there are no costs associated with the wind and sunshine, renewables have a generating margin of zero, as well as legally mandated priority access to the grid. As a result, fossil fuel-fired plants are generating for fewer hours and selling their power at cheaper prices, making them less profitable.”

Softbank to build largest solar plant in Japan
The Japanese government is giving out incentives for new renewable energy projects in the country. And Japan’s third largest mobile service provider has used it to its advantage by announcing its plan to build the nation’s largest solar plant


Competing groups debate constitutional amendment to raise standard for renewable energy
Detroit Free Press
Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs is behind a ballot proposal to amend the state Constitution to require utilities to produce 25% from renewables by 2025”


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

View all reports >

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