In today’s edition, it’s all about the Obama administration’s proposal for carbon limits on existing power plants, to be unveiled on Monday. And also, what should be the price for carbon – in order to create an incentive to reduce emissions? Shell assumes it will pay $40 a metric ton for carbon emissions in the future – almost six times the current price for pollution rights in the European Union’s carbon market. 

Quote of the day

“There are opportunities that we have not progressed (on) because of the $40 a ton levy. I can’t say what they are, obviously, but I can assure you there have been a few.”

Angus Gillespie, Shell’s Vice-President for CO2 strategy, at a carbon conference in Cologne, Germany, in the Bloomberg’s story Shell May Boost Internal Carbon Price as Emission Rules Tighten


Lead Stories 

Green group: Obama climate rule will save consumers $37 billion
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
A national environmental group on Thursday touted the Obama administration’s coming proposal for carbon limits on existing power plants, saying it would save consumers $37.4 billion once they fully take effect.
***LB: Also in this story “The rule, which the administration is expected to unveil Monday, would save consumers billions on their electric bills in 2020, according to the analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).”

White House boasts on energy agenda
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
A dramatic expansion in U.S. domestic gas production and a drop in oil consumption puts the nation in a strong position to tackle climate change, argues a White House report released Thursday.

Obama confident on EPA 
Timothy Cama and Benjamin Goad, The Hill
The Obama administration is confident that sweeping new rules it is set to announce on coal-fired power plants will survive court challenges from opponents.

Carbon pollution Q&A: why Obama’s proposal could make climate history 
Suzanne Goldenberg, the
Why is Obama doing this instead of Congress? The House voted for cap and trade in 2009, but the bill died in the Senate.

Keystone Gets Celebrities as Power-Plant Rule Cuts Carbon
Jim Efstathiou, Bloomberg
Actress Daryl Hannah hasn’t chained herself to the White House fence in support of tougher power plant emissions. Maybe she should. 
***LB: Also in this story “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates Keystone could add 18.7 million metric tons annually of heat-trapping carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The power-plant rules President Barack Obama will announce June 2 could slash emissions by 169 million metric tons a year, according to a forecast by Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners LLC, a financial research group in Washington.”

China expects to launch national carbon market in 2018 
Gerard Wynn, RTCC (Responding to Climate Change)
China expects to launch a national carbon market in 2018, based on regional schemes it is presently piloting, a senior official at the country’s planning ministry told a World Bank conference.

A Price Tag on Carbon as a Climate Rescue Plan
Justin Gillis, The New York Times
Bryan T. Pagel, a dairy farmer, watched as a glistening slurry of cow manure disappeared down a culvert. If recycling the waste on his family’s farm would help to save the world, he was happy to go along. 

Shell May Boost Internal Carbon Price as Emission Rules Tighten
Mathew Carr, Bloomberg
Royal Dutch Shell Plc may boost the internal carbon emissions price it uses for planning new projects if governments tighten climate rules, according to an executive in its emissions unit.  
***LB: Also in this story “Europe’s biggest oil company budgets for future capital investment on the assumption it will pay $40 a metric ton for carbon emissions, according to Angus Gillespie, vice president of CO2. That’s almost six times the current price for pollution rights in the European Union’s carbon market, the world’s biggest.”

Prompt global action can cut the cost of going carbon neutral
Gerard Wynn, RTCC (Responding to climate change)
Ambitious action under a new global climate deal will cut the cost of reaching zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this century, said the UN official responsible for driving the negotiations.

US Feds See Althelia Risk Guarantee As Template For Similar Endeavors
Gloria Gonzalez, Ecosystem Marketplace
US Secretary of State John Kerry has long been an advocate of addressing climate change. He pleasantly surprised many attendees at the Carbon Expo 2014 conference in Cologne, Germany this week by announcing a new effort by the US federal government to support projects that prevent deforestation.

Exxon CEO: Russia not hurt by US energy sanctions
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
U.S. sanctions on Russian energy executives appear to be having no effect, according to the CEO of ExxonMobil.


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October 22 – 24, 2014
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Poll: Majority support carbon limits on coal plants 
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
A majority of people in the United States support limiting carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants, according to a new poll by Yale University.  
***LB: Also in this story “The new rule will likely be the most controversial of those proposed by President Obama under his climate change agenda, and the administration is expecting heavy opposition from  industry groups and Republicans.”

GAO shuts down McConnell’s push to block EPA carbon reg
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Thursday that if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants to block the Obama administration’s carbon limits for new power plants, it can’t be through the Congressional Review Act.

Biodiesel producers push for higher mandate
Timothy Cama, The Hill
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and 117 companies wrote a letter to President Obama Thursday asking him to increase the biodiesel blending mandate for this year from what the Environmental Protection Agency proposed.

Majority of House wants renewable fuel changes
Timothy Cama, The Hill
A majority of House members have endorsed some kind of change to the federal corn-based ethanol mandate, a group of congressmen leading an anti-ethanol fight said Thursday.

Eight States Take a Big Step to Advance Zero-Emission Vehicles 
Nick Nigro, C2ES (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions)
States representing more than a quarter of U.S. car sales made a strong statement today that they’ll be engaged in advancing the deployment of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). 
***LB: Also in this story “In their “Multi-State ZEV Action Plan,” eight states — California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont — lay out an ambitious agenda to support vehicle sales and fueling infrastructure over the next decade with the goal of putting 3.3 million ZEVs on the roads by 2025.”

GDF Suez unit buys U.S energy efficiency firm Ecova 
French power group GDF Suez said on Friday its energy services unit Cofely bought U.S. firm Ecova for $335 million in a bid to expand its energy efficiency business.

Danone toughens stance on unsustainable palm oil
Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen 
The food giant behind major brands such as Cow & Gate, Actimel and Volvic has stepped up its commitment to eliminating deforestation, vowing to map out its entire palm oil supply chain by the end of next year.

China To Extend Resource Taxes, Carbon Trading
Mary Swire, (Hong Kong)
A ‘Low Carbon Development 2014-2015 Action Plan’ for 2014-15 has been introduced by China’s State Council to strengthen energy conservation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country, partly through modifications to the taxation of its natural resources and the development of a national carbon trading market. 
***LB: Also in this story “China has previously looked at a carbon tax, either separately or as an adjunct to the emissions trading scheme, but, following opposition from businesses in a period of slower economic growth, it appears to have been shelved in favor of the emissions trading market alone.”

FAO and Chinese partners working to unlock carbon finance for herders and grazers
UN Food and Agriculture Organisation 
Hundreds of millions of people around the world rely on grasslands to feed the livestock which are the foundation of their livelihoods.

Natural Gas / Coal

Feds take key step toward faster natural gas exports
Laura Barron-Lopez and Timothy Cama, The Hill
Federal officials Thursday proposed reforming the way they consider applications to export liquefied natural gas, a move they said would streamline the process while giving a boost to more commercially viable projects.

California Senate rejects bill to halt fracking
Rory Carroll, Reuters
The California state Senate on Thursday rejected for the second year in a row a bill that would have put a temporary stop to the controversial oil-producing practice of fracking in the state.

Cuadrilla applies for fracking permission in Lancashire
Fiona Harvey, The Guardian
Cuadrilla, the UK’s fracking pioneer, has submitted its planning application for a new site in Lancashire, where the company wants to drill four new exploratory wells.

Mining Tycoon Palmer Says PNG Gas Project Looking at LNG Sales
James Paton, Bloomberg
Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer is considering exporting liquefied natural gas from his potential $8 billion gas project in Papua New Guinea.

Li Ka-Shing Group to Purchase Envestra in A$2.4 Billion Deal 
James Paton, Bloomberg
Billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong Group agreed to acquire Envestra Ltd. (ENV) in a cash deal that values the Australian natural gas distributor at A$2.4 billion ($2.2 billion), edging out a rival share offer from APA Group.

Turkmenistan gets $2.5 bln in Japan, Korea loans for gas complex
Turkmenistan, holder of the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves, said on Friday it had secured a total of $2.5 billion in loans from Japan’s and South Korea’s export credit banks for construction of a gas chemical complex.


Spain close to approving new renewable energy rules: minister 
The Spanish cabinet could approve on Friday a law that will cut renewable energy subsidies as part of a drive to reduce a 30 billion euro ($41 billion) power tariff deficit, built up during years of keeping prices below regulated costs.

Ohio to freeze renewable energy rules
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has agreed to sign into law a two-year freeze of the increases in mandates that electric utilities use renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures.

Barclays downgrades US power sector over solar threat
Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen 
The disruptive impact solar power is having on traditional utilities was highlighted last week, after Barclays downgraded the US power sector over fears it will struggle to compete with increasingly low cost renewable energy.  
***LB: Also in this story “The credit strategy team said its analysis had shown that solar power, coupled with new storage technologies, is already competitive with grid-sourced electricity in Hawaii and could reach grid parity in California in 2017, New York and Arizona in 2018, and “many other states soon after”.”

US set to fit 6.6GW of solar over 2014 as residential market booms
The US installed 1.34GW of solar in the first quarter of 2014 as residential systems exceeded the commercial sector for the first time, industry data reports.

Tata Power posts quarterly loss on higher costs
Indian utility Tata Power Co Ltd reported a net loss of 1.45 billion rupees ($24.6 million) in the quarter ended March, after a rise in operating costs at its mega Mundra power plant.

Radar fix could open up 1GW of onshore wind potential, study finds
The wind energy industry has welcomed a new study claiming that more than 1GW of onshore wind capacity could be installed close to a Ministry of Defence radar station.

Wind and hydro power surges 55 per cent in 2014 first quarter
Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen
Wind and hydro power from the UK’s major suppliers rose by more than half in the first three months of the year, as output from more conventional sources fell by 10.7 per cent, new figures have revealed.

Hydropower is all set to continue its resurgence given the trends in investment.
David Appleyard, Hydropower Outlook
For decades, large scale hydropower developments have been viewed as something of a pariah within the renewable energy sector.

Clean Tech

California Lab Sees Solar Fuel Progress as Rust Hurdle Tamed
Alan Ohnsman, Bloomberg
California scientists seeking to make vehicle fuel from little more than sunshine and water are getting closer to their goal after finding a way to avoid rust in the semiconductor materials they use.


Texas oil and gas regulator says it can’t link water contamination to gas drilling
Ramit Plushnick-Masti and Emily Schmall, Associated Press
The amount of explosive gas tainting a North Texas neighborhood’s water supply has increased in recent years, but the state’s oil and gas regulator says it can’t link the methane to drilling activity nearby, according to a report it released Wednesday.


Parsley CEO Emerges as One of Youngest U.S. Billionaires 
Brendan Coffey, Bloomberg Businessweek
Bryan Sheffield grew up the son and grandson of oilmen in Midland, Texas, and moved north after college to seek riches in the Chicago options pits.

The Navajo Nation’s Shifting Sands of Climate Change 
Bobby Magill, Climate Central
Cindy Dixon was unloading bales of hay into a metal shed on a blustery afternoon in mid-March, when the landscape around her Navajo Reservation homestead was as brown and bleak as the open-pit coal mine a few miles to the west and well within earshot.

How the U.S. energy mix made a U-turn from Calif. to Texas
Nathanial Gronewold, E&E
Windmill blades could be seen on a loading dock at one of the nation’s busiest ports during a recent visit to the offices of the Port of Houston Authority to discuss major petrochemical investments coming their way.

Kiribati: life on a tiny island threatened by the rising sea – in pictures
The Guardian
Photographer Mike Bowers spent several weeks on Kiribati documenting life in the central Pacific island nation.

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