A ray of hope in today’s edition, with Shanghai firms meeting – by the skin of their teeth – their carbon targets, but a lot of finger-pointing, too, at Australia, with stories and analyses on the country’s unfriendly new stand on climate change. Finally, world city dwellers will have to choose where to live: only 12% of them enjoy airborne particle pollution that meets World Health Organization guidelines today. And they might choose Los Angeles, as the city may join other U.S. cities in reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent.
Quote of the day
“All of the companies have complied with their targets, with two of the seven laggard companies buying the permits they needed from the auction and the other five surrendering on time”
Tong Yan, founder of ideacarbon, a Chinese consultancy based in Shanghai, in the Reuters’ story Shanghai firms meet carbon targets after last-day permit auction
Shanghai firms meet carbon targets after last-day permit auction
A total of 7,220 tonnes of CO2 permits were auctioned by the Shanghai carbon exchange on Monday, the bourse said, enabling local firms to meet a deadline to comply with their carbon targets.
***LB: Also in this story “The permits, sold to companies at a minimum price of 48 yuan ($7.73) per tonne, were only a small fraction of the 580,000 tonnes of permits put on offer by the Shanghai government, but were enough to allow seven laggard firms to meet their targets, the exchange confirmed.”
Australia risks isolation among G20 by scrapping carbon tax
Jamie Smyth, Financial Times
Tony Abbott has had little to celebrate since becoming Australia’s prime minister because of his plummeting approval ratings and a hostile senate.
(Australia’s) Liberal push to strip environmental groups of charitable tax status
Oliver Milman, theguardian.com
The government is being pressed to alter the charitable status of environmental groups after a Liberal MP successfully argued to his party that the groups are not “real charities” like the Red Cross or the Salvation Army.
Extreme weather (Australia’s) official advice rewritten to remove climate change link
Oliver Milman, theguardian.com
The government has been accused of significantly watering down its official advice on extreme weather after removing mention of links between climate change and events such as bushfires and heatwaves.
***LB: Also in this story “A previous version of the document opened with the statement: “There is a growing and robust body of evidence that climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.”
Climate change: Australia and US are moving in opposite directions
Greg Jerico, theguardian.com
The difference between the position of the Australian and the United States governments on climate change looks stark.
Wall Street: Your Climate War Has Arrived
Ben Geman, National Journal
Neither Robert Rubin nor Henry Paulson has the look or resume of a climate-change activist. But the bipartisan duo of former Treasury secretaries, who share a Goldman Sachs pedigree, are part of an increasingly prominent effort to fight global warming with financial weapons and arguments.
How high would a carbon tax really have to be to rein in climate change?
Adam Wernick, PRI
Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson published an opinion piece in the New York Times a week ago calling for a tax on carbon — and the idea of putting a price on carbon emissions is suddenly back in the news.
Pollutionwatch: The world’s dirtiest cities
Gary Fuller, The Guardian
For the first time in history, over half the world’s population now live in cities. But only 12% of urban dwellers enjoy airborne particle pollution that meets World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
***LB: Also in this story “Globally, lowest city air pollution is in Canada and Iceland and the highest in India (Delhi and Patna) and Pakistan (Karachi and Peshwar).”
Los Angeles may join other U.S. cities in reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent
Steve Scauzillo, Contra Costa Times
City Councilman Paul Koretz introduced a motion Friday that aims to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 80 percent come 2050 by speeding up the city’s transition from coal to renewable energy sources and by adding more solar rooftops, park trees and clean-burning garbage trucks.
Watch Air Quality Above U.S. Cities Clear Up in Seconds
Eric Roston, Bloomberg
U.S. city-dwellers can breathe easier than they have in years. Satellite maps released this week by NASA show a pervasive drop in nitrogen dioxide, which is emitted by cars, trucks, power plants and other combustion-fired machinery.
Keystone wrapped in ‘red tape’ by Obama
Tim Devaney, The Hill
Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) on Saturday said President Obama is more interested in “rolling out the red tape than the red carpet” when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline.
Trudeau Tries to Bury Father’s Legacy on Alberta Energy
Andrew Mayeda, Bloomberg
The last time a politician named Trudeau tried to regulate Canada’s energy industry, it sparked outrage in Alberta. Justin Trudeau is betting his plan to manage growth in the oil sands will be less combustible.
Russian EU-bound gas flows via Ukraine normal on Monday-Gazprom
Russian natural gas flows to the European Union via Ukraine were running normally on Monday, state-controlled exporter Gazprom said.
Unconventional energy boom drives oil and gas patents to record
A boom in the search for unconventional forms of energy such as shale gas or oil sands has led to a record high in new oil and gas patents filed across the world, research published by Thomson Reuters’ legal business showed.
EMA’s 18th Annual Meeting
Join the Environmental Markets Association and environmental industry professional for two days of dynamic sessions, two nights of networking receptions, and countless opportunities to increase your business contacts.
October 22 – 24, 2014
Santa Monica, CA
FT European Gas Summit
The FT European Gas Summit brings together leading and aspiring gas suppliers from around the globe, as well as energy industry experts, commentators and government decision makers to review the potential barriers to new gas supplies for Europe, and the impact on the region’s economic competitiveness. The summit will be chaired by Guy Chazan, Energy Editor, Financial Times.
23 October 2014
Voluntary Carbon Market Stalls, But Buyers See Silver Lining
Allie Goldstein, Ecosystem Marketplace
As Chief Sustainability Officer at the National Geographic Society, Hans Wegner uses voluntary carbon markets to offset those emissions the Society cannot eliminate.
EPA moves on green refrigerants
Ben Goad, The Hill
The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed federal approval of climate-friendly refrigerants used in household air conditioners and refrigerators, as part of President Obama’s quest to counter global warming.
Indonesia Overtakes Brazil for Worst Deforestation Title
Andrew Freedman, Mashable
Indonesia now holds the dubious title of the nation with the highest deforestation rate of primary-forest lands, beating out Brazil, which has been the historical leader.
(Costa Rica’s) Lawmaker seeks to increase income tax on any business not certified “carbon neutral”
Lawmaker Jorge Rodriguez has introduced a bill that would increase income tax on any business that is not certified as “carbon neutral” by relevant authorities. The plan would also provide a tax break for a number of years for those companies that do carry the certification.
Going vegetarian halves CO2 emissions from your food
Michael Slezak, Newscientist
If you stop eating meat, your food-related carbon footprint could plummet to less than half of what it was. That is a much bigger drop than many previous estimates, and it comes from a study of people’s real diets.
NASA mission to map carbon dioxide from space
The Sydney Morning Herald
If you have ever had a medical check-up, you have probably been asked to blow into a hand-held device that calculates the amount of air you can hold in your lungs. In the early hours of Tuesday in California, NASA will launch into space a similar, albeit much larger, instrument that captures the “breath” of the earth.
Redemption for Sacramento ethanol maker, but criticisms persist
Dale Kasler, The Sacramento Bee
These are days of sweet vindication for Neil Koehler, a Sacramento business executive who has spent his career pursuing a single goal: to get Americans to pump more ethanol into their gas tanks.
Natural gas / coal
Coal India not to be split: Minister Piyush Goyal
Putting speculation of breaking up state behemoth Coal India to rest, Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal has said the new government will not split the world’s largest coal miner but will work to smoothen the edges and improve its performance.
InterOil to sell refining arm, focus on PNG gas hunt
Sonali Paul, Reuters
InterOil Corp has agreed to sell its Papua New Guinea oil refinery and petroleum products distribution business to Singapore-based Puma Energy Group for $526 million to focus on gas exploration.
Explorers See Promise in Egypt Oil and Gas When Subsidies Eased
Eduard Gismatullin, Bloomberg
Explorers in Egypt expect constraints on domestic energy prices to loosen, prompting new investment in oil and natural gas fields.
***LB: Also in this story “Companies including Citadel Capital, Circle Oil Plc and Petroceltic International Plc expect President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to make good on promises to reduce subsidies of more than $20 billion a year and ease demands that producers sell fuel on the domestic market well below international prices, they said at a conference in London on June 27.”
Israel’s Leviathan partners target $30bn supply deal with BG
John Reed, Financial Times
The partners in Israel’s biggest offshore natural gas field have reached a preliminary agreement on a $30bn deal to supply gas to Britain’s BG in Egypt via a new undersea pipeline, in the biggest cross-border deal yet of its kind between the nascent Israeli industry and a neighbouring country.
Senate Dems push bill to stop gas price spikes amid Iraq turmoil
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is pushing legislation that would give federal regulators emergency power to reign in speculators from “taking advantage of turmoil in Iraq” to spike gas prices.
Allow fracking in national parks, says (UK’s) Environment Agency chief
Ben Quinn, The Guardian
Fracking in national parks should be permitted because the visual impact can be limited when the process is “done properly”, the outgoing chairman of the Environment Agency has declared.
Tiny balls of fire
The sun provides enough energy in an hour to meet the world’s demands for a year, yet solar energy accounts for barely 1% of global power consumption.
Abraaj to consider options for Pakistan K-Electric stake
Abraaj Group has mandated Citigroup to evaluate options for its indirect stake in Pakistani utility K-Electric, the Dubai-based private equity firm said on Monday.
Eastern states lead way with new microgrids as a strategy to weather severe storms
Julia Pyper, E&E
Two years ago this week, a fierce, fast-moving thunderstorm system known as a derecho ripped through the Mid-Atlantic leaving more than 1 million of Maryland’s 2.5 million electricity customers without power.
***LB: Also in this story “More than 40 U.S. military bases already have microgrids in operation, or that are in the planning or study stage. College campuses across the country have also established microgrids, including Princeton University; University of Missouri, St. Louis; and University of California, San Diego.”
Quinn signs Band-Aid fix for solar
Julie Wernau, Chicago Tribune
Gov. Pat Quinn said he will sign legislation Saturday to free up $30 million for the purchase of solar energy for Illinois electricity customers, a move expected to help the state catch up on its lagging renewable energy goals.
Green energy cost hits record high as expensive turbines built at sea
Emily Gosden, and James Kirkup, The Telegraph
The cost of generating green electricity has hit a record high as subsidies are handed to expensive offshore wind farms and household solar panels, new figures show.
Growing number of solar panels a concern for Wisconsin utilities
Thomas Content of the Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee-Wisconsin)
At first glance, solar panels installed on homes and businesses don’t seem like much of a threat to Wisconsin utilities.
Intelligent Energy fuel cell company plans stock market flotation
Terry Macalister, The Guardian
Intelligent Energy, a green power company originally formed by academics from Loughborough University, unveiled plans on Friday to float on the London Stock Exchange, with an expected value of £600m.
Safer Salts For Solar-Cell Production
Matt Davenport, C&EN (Chemical and Engineering News)
Substituting magnesium chloride for toxic cadmium chloride could free cadmium-telluride solar-cell manufacturers from a costly and hazardous process without sacrificing efficiency, according to a new study.
Nissan Leaf electric cars launched in Colombo
Lanka Business Today
More and more environment friendly electric cars are entering the Sri Lankan market with more companies joining the quest for green cities. In the latest move, Richard Pieris Arpico Finance Limited launched the Nissan Leaf electric car on Saturday in Colombo.
Southland falls short of achieving 20% voluntary cut in water use
Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
Southern Californians have fallen far short of achieving the 20% voluntary cut in water use sought by Gov. Jerry Brown in the face of the deep drought afflicting every corner of the state.
71 Percent of Global Population Satisfied With Water Quality
Circle of Blue
Satisfaction rates with local water quality have stayed consistent for the past five years, with 71 percent of people surveyed worldwide saying that they were satisfied in 2013, according to a newly released Gallup poll.
***LB: Also in this story “One area of the world where satisfaction rates have not improved is sub-Saharan Africa, where only 50 percent of respondents were satisfied with their water quality.”
Awakening the ‘Dutch Gene’ of Water Survival
Chirstopher F. Schuetze, New York Times
Along a rugged, wide North Sea beach here on a recent day, children formed teams of eight to 10, taking their places beside mounds of sand carefully cordoned by candy-cane striped tape.
A Slimmer Meal Tray Will Save Virgin Atlantic Millions Of Gallons Of Fuel
When it’s fully loaded and ready to fly, a 747 jet can weigh as much as 400 metric tons, and airlines obsess over shaving off every possible ounce of weight. Losing even a single pound can save around 14,000 gallons of fuel in a year.
This new mapping technology will show whether global warming could drown your town
Lori Montgomery, Washington Post
While I was reporting this story on sea-level rise on the Outer Banks, it quickly became clear that coastal residents were upset less by the raw forecast (39 inches by 2100) than by North Carolina’s decision to take that inherently uncertain projection and map its impact.
Hotter and larger tropics more vulnerable to climate change
Pichayada Promchertchoo, Channel News Asia
A landmark environmental report has found that tropical countries — in particular those in Southeast Asia — are the most vulnerable to climate change. The three-year study by scientists worldwide also found that the tropics is getting hotter and larger.
Leading insurer to close its climate change office, leaving the industry ‘mute’
Evan Lehmann, E&E
Zurich Insurance Group is closing its U.S. climate change office six years after opening it to help persuade companies to press public officials for solutions to climbing disaster losses, according to several sources.