In today’s edition, the Keystone pipeline project, like the Loch Ness monster, raises its head again, with a new push, by Republican senator John Hoeven, to secure approval, while Europe wants one price only for Russian gas. And since this is the weekend, a few long pieces on alliances to battle climate change and reflections on the impact of sanctions on Russia.
Quote of the day
“I don’t know if we will get 60. At this point I have a lot of maybes, but I don’t know how many will end up voting with us.”
North Dakota Republican Senator John Hoeven, in the Reuters’ story U.S. senators push to force approval of Keystone pipeline
EU wants one price for Russian gas for all member states
Dmitry Zhdannikov and Jakub Iglewski, Reuters
European Union member states should reject Moscow’s “divide and rule” tactics on pricing its natural gas exports and forge closer gas and power ties with Ukraine and Georgia, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Friday.
***LB: Also in this story “EU member states buy Russian gas under bilateral contracts with Moscow and pay different prices. Common purchases would improve EU’s negotiating power and likely lower prices.”
U.S. senators push to force approval of Keystone pipeline
Timothy Gardner and Thomas Ferraro, Reuters
In the latest effort by U.S. lawmakers to breathe life into the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline, Senator John Hoeven re-introduced legislation on Thursday that would force congressional approval of the controversial project.
***LB: also in this story “In an abrupt turnaround on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was considering allowing a vote on Keystone in some form, if it could also help push through a bipartisan bill on energy efficiency.”
Keystone vote coming soon?
Laura Barron-Lopez and Timothy Cama, The Hill
To be or not to be: Proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline are on the clock if they want to get a vote on binding legislation that would immediately approve the pipeline next week.
56 senators back new Keystone bill
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
Keystone XL supporters on Thursday introduced legislation they said was backed by 56 senators that would immediately greenlight the controversial oil pipeline.
BASF weighing investment in plant to tap US shale gas boom
Chris Bryant, The Financial Times
BASF, the world’s biggest chemicals maker by sales, is considering its largest investment to further capitalise on low-cost shale gas on the US Gulf coast.
Energy and climate as an optimisation problem
John Kemp, Reuters
Uncertainty about the commitment of politicians and the public to “stay the course” risks derailing Britain’s plan to cut greenhouse emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050.
UK and Japan pledge joint climate action
The UK and Japan have pledged to “work closely” on international climate change and energy security issues, as well as maximise opportunities for partnerships between low carbon businesses in the two countries.
Could a US-Japan “Green Alliance” Transform the Climate-Energy Equation?
Andrew DeWit, The Asia-Pacific Journal
US President Barack Obama’s April 23-25 visit to Japan unfortunately went pretty much as expected.
A question of gas
By Mike Peacock, Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in Washington for talks with Barack Obama after Europe and the United States imposed wider sanctions on Russia.
(Opinion) Why the Russian sanctions don’t work
Anatole Kaletsky, Reuters
Why did the U.S. and European sanctions against Russia earlier this week trigger a rebound in the ruble and the Moscow stock market?
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May 16, 2014
Carbon dioxide in atmosphere at record level
Doyle Rice, USA Today
For the first time in human history and likely for the first time in at least 800,000 years, the average level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere topped 400 parts per million for an entire month.
***LB: Also in this story “Carbon dioxide levels were about 280 ppm before the Industrial Revolution”
Arctic Methane Emissions ‘Certain to Trigger Warming’
Bobby Magill, Climate Central
As climate change melts Arctic permafrost and releases large amounts of methane into the atmosphere, it is creating a feedback loop that is “certain to trigger additional warming,” according to the lead scientist of a new study investigating Arctic methane emissions.
***LB: “Over a 100-year timeframe, methane is about 35 times as potent as a climate change-driving greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and over 20 years, it’s 84 times more potent.”
Tesco’s rail and sea voyages cut transport emissions 14 per cent
Tesco has driven down its freight transport emissions by 14 per cent over the last two years, cutting more than eight million miles from UK roads in 2013 alone.
Natural Gas / Coal
BG Aims to Speed Up Deals to Bring Its Riches to Market
Stanley Reed, The New York Times
The British oil and gas company BG Group said on Thursday that it would most likely accelerate the pace of deal-making to raise money and help develop its rich holdings in countries like Brazil and Australia.
Exxon, Conoco see a quarterly payoff from natural gas
Anna Driver and Ernest Scheyder, Reuters
U.S. oil companies Exxon Mobil Corp and ConocoPhillips both reported first-quarter earnings that exceeded Wall Street expectations on Thursday, helped partly by higher natural gas prices.
Udall to introduce natural gas bill that mirrors Gardner’s
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) said late Thursday that he is replacing his proposal to expedite liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports with a bill sponsored by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who is challenging Udall for his seat.
Better data might have helped prevent propane shortage, senators say
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Better data to forecast propane pricing changes and weather could have mitigated this winter’s unprecedented propane shortage and price spikes, though storage and transportation infrastructure could have played a role as well, senators said Thursday.
Madrid’s smart parking meters to charge more for most polluting cars
Ashifa Kassam, The Guardian
The city of Madrid is introducing smart parking meters that will slap a surcharge on cars that pollute more and reduce parking charges for efficient vehicles, a system that city officials are touting as the first of its kind in the world.
***LB: Also in this story “Starting on 1 July, the price a motorist pays to park in the city streets will be based on a complex table governed by the engine and the year of the car.”
Pocket fuel cell promises green mobile charge ‘Upp’ on the go
James Murray, BusinessGreen
UK-based fuel cell specialist Intelligent Energy has this week announced that it has secured two crucial technology certifications that will allow it to distribute its latest portable consumer electronics device internationally.
200 lawmakers push EPA to rescind water regulation
Benjamin Goad, The Hill
More than 200 House members are calling on the Obama administration to drop its plans to expand the Environmental Protection Agency’s jurisdiction over smaller bodies of water around the country.
RenewableUK to embrace new wave of tidal lagoon technology
Green energy trade body RenewableUK has expanded its membership to include companies involved in tidal lagoon energy, extending its reach in the expanding marine energy market.
Ben & Jerry’s referred to consumer watchdog over save-the-reef campaign
Paul Farrell, theguardian.com
A Queensland senator elect has referred Ben & Jerry’s to Australia’s consumer watchdog for its advocacy efforts against development around the Great Barrier Reef.
***LB also in this story : “The company has been going on the road delivering free ice-cream around the country to raise alarm about the future of the reef.”
Climate change: Pacific Ocean acidity dissolving shells of key species
Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News
In a troubling new discovery, scientists studying ocean waters off California, Oregon and Washington have found the first evidence that increasing acidity in the ocean is dissolving the shells of a key species of tiny sea creature at the base of the food chain.
It’s time to look beyond the UN’s $100bn climate finance target
Adis Dzebo and Pieter Pauw, RTCC (Responding To Climate Change)
2014 is a crucial year for climate finance. UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon will host a Climate Summit in September to catalyze action on climate change.