In this edition, a focus on China, including: Chinese Utilities Face $20 Billion Costs Due to Water, BNEF Says and China Is Urged to Use Carbon Tax to Tackle Pollution, plus A Silver Lining in China’s Smog. And, developments in Washington that may impact Keystone and more, covered in Senate narrowly passes first budget in four years.


Quote of the Day:

“It’s absolutely not true that we need natural gas, coal or oil — we think it’s a myth. You could power America with renewables from a technical and economic standpoint. The biggest obstacles are social and political — what you need is the will to do it.”

–Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and the main author of a Stanford engineers study published in the journal Energy Policy, covered in a New York Times Op-Ed.

Lead Stories

Senate narrowly passes first budget in four years
The Senate on Saturday narrowly passed its first federal budget in four years, a move that will usher in a relative lull in Washington’s fiscal wars until an anticipated summer showdown over raising the debt ceiling.
**RKB – Among notable climate-focused amendments, the Senate signaled strong support for approval of the controversial Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline and came out against imposing taxes on industrial carbon emissions.

Analysis: Obama’s climate agenda may face setbacks in federal court
President Barack Obama’s plan to use federal agencies, and the Environmental Protection Agency in particular, to drive his second-term climate change agenda might be in peril if he cannot fill vacant seats on the federal court that has jurisdiction over major national regulations, legal experts say.

Russia and China in Major Natural-Gas Supply Pact
The Wall Street Journal
After more than a decade of talks, Russia has agreed to supply China with natural gas, a deal that could see China surpass Germany as the largest importer of Russian gas.

Key U.S. Senator Starts Work On Natural Gas Bill, Mulls Export Restrictions
The Wall Street Journal
Sen. Ron Wyden (D. Ore.), one of the leading voices on energy policy in the U.S. Senate, is laying the groundwork for a broad-based energy bill that could impose new restrictions on natural gas exports and create additional oversight for hydraulic fracturing.

Opinion: Life After Oil and Gas
The New York Times
WE will need fossil fuels like oil and gas for the foreseeable future. So there’s really little choice (sigh). We have to press ahead with fracking for natural gas. We must approve the Keystone XL pipeline to get Canadian oil. This mantra, repeated on TV ads and in political debates, is punctuated with a tinge of inevitability and regret. But, increasingly, scientific research and the experience of other countries should prompt us to ask: To what extent will we really “need” fossil fuel in the years to come? To what extent is it a choice?

World Water Day: Will The Private Sector Step Up?
Ecosystem Marketplace
“Government can only do two things,” said Anthony Turton, a trustee with the Water Stewardship Council of Southern Africa. “It can regulate, and it can incentivize. It has a stick and a carrot.”

Chinese Utilities Face $20 Billion Costs Due to Water, BNEF Says
China’s five largest power utilities are heavily exposed to water supply disruptions and face costs of as much as $20 billion to curb the risk, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
**RKB — The companies are set to exceed China’s 2030 water usage limits by 25%, according to BNEF. Significantly reducing this risk will require a major policy effort and involve the replacement of gigawatts of capacity, the report said.

China Is Urged to Use Carbon Tax to Tackle Pollution
The Wall Street Journal
China should enact a carbon tax and raise fuel and electricity prices if it hopes to tackle the pervasive pollution that is a byproduct of breakneck growth, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Friday.

A Silver Lining in China’s Smog
The Wall Street Journal
Beijing’s relentless smog and Shanghai’s recent trouble with dead pigs offer a couple of clues about promising new industries in China.

Debate rages as Brussels fires starting gun on 2030 energy strategy
The European Commission has drawn up battle lines for the debate on 2030 climate and energy targets with a Green Paper that sidelines energy efficiency and signposts possible shifts to sectoral goals, regulatory measures and increased use of carbon market funds.


Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) 2013
San Francisco April 16-18


Car CO2 goals needed in EU to keep driving affordable
High oil prices will make driving a car less and less affordable unless the European Union vehicle industry has more stringent emissions limits than those the European Commission is battling to enforce, the body representing European consumers said.

Voluntary carbon markets offer hope for climate challenge
Responding to Climate Change blog
The world’s voluntary carbon markets are in good shape despite continued fears over the future of European and United Nations emission trading regimes.

Low-fare airlines to sue EU for ‘stopping the clock’ on ETS
The European Low Fares Airline Association says it will file a lawsuit against the European Commission’s proposed one-year suspension of the Emissions Trading System’s (ETS) application to airlines if the measure is approved.

Natural Gas/Coal/Alternative Fuels

Ministers block EU proposal to limit some biofuels
Several European ministers are blocking the EU’s proposal to curb the use of conventional biofuels, while disputing claims the demand for crop-based oils drives deforestation and food insecurity in other parts of the world.

Brazil Ethanol Tax Cut Won’t Be Enough to End Sugar Surplus
An ethanol tax cut in Brazil, the world’s largest sugar producer, won’t be enough to avoid a fourth annual surplus for the sweetener.

Enel Looking to Buy Extra Coal from Colombia, North America
The Wall Street Journal
Italy’s largest utility by capacity, Enel SpA, is looking to buy several million metric tons of coal from North America and Colombia, a senior executive said Friday.


ERG Gets ING Bank, Credit Agricole Loan for Italian Wind Farm
ERG SpA (ERG), the Italian oil refiner and electricity company, got a 35 million-euro ($45 million) loan from ING Bank NV and the corporate and investment banking arm of Credit Agricole SA (ACA) to finance a wind farm in Italy.

Romanian green energy U-turn threatens recovery
Plans by Romania’s government to cut support for renewable energy producers have surprised investors and could undermine one of the few economic growth areas in the European Union’s second poorest state.

Bosch abandons solar energy
Bosch said it will sell or shut down its heavily loss-making solar energy operations, the latest blow to the industry as Germany curbs green energy subsidies and cheap Chinese imports flood the market.

Renewed Tax Credit Buoys Wind-Power Projects
The New York Times
After a deep slump at the end of last year, the wind industry is picking up.


Apple makes renewable energy push with solar, fuel cells
Apple Inc now runs its largest U.S. data center entirely on renewable energy, with a majority of the power generated on-site from solar panels and fuel cells, the company’s chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer, said on Thursday.


Australian Water Trade Rises to A$1.6 Billion on Higher Rainfall
The value of water trading in Australia rose 6.7 percent in the year ended June amid above- average rainfall in the eastern part of the country, according to the National Water Commission.

Trident Finds Angels to Back Marine-Power Generation Technology
Trident Energy Ltd., a U.K. marine energy developer, raised about 440,000 pounds ($668,000) from so-called angel investors to develop its generation system.

World With More Phones Than Toilets Shows Water Challenge
There are more mobile phones on Earth than clean toilets, one of the most vexing challenges facing governments on the 20th anniversary of the United Nations’ World Water Day.


The State of Green Business 2013 (Posted February 12, 2013)

Can the US Get There from Here? (Posted February 6, 2013)

The Billion Euro Aviation Bonanza – Aviation’s Participation in the EU ETS (Posted January 22, 2013)

Power Forward: Why the World’s Largest Companies are Investing in Renewable Energy (Posted Dec. 11, 2012)

Stock Exchange Benchmark On Non-Financial Reporting Rules (Posted Dec. 6, 2012)

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