Today’s edition gives the first analysis of the midterms’ outcome. The biggest loser might be the climate, says a commentator. Others see Keystone supporters energized. Finally, the first solar cycle lane, in the Netherlands: solar panels embedded in the cycle path near Amsterdam could generate enough electricity to power three houses, with potential to extend scheme to roads.
Quote of the day
“The president will be very hard on any bill that massively appears to be expanding the use of oil or gas in this country.”
Charles Ebinger, director of the energy security initiative at the Brookings Institution, in the Bloomberg News’ story Keystone Approval Sought by Republicans Daring Obama Veto
Half-victory for climate billionaire
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer can claim victory in half of the elections in which his political action committee spent money.
How Green Was My Election
Josh Voorhees, Slate
This election cycle’s biggest spender—at least among those who operate through the fully disclosed part of the political system, a.k.a. not the Koch brothers—is liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, who doled out at least $57 million of his own cash to try to get voters to care about climate change.
One big loser in this election? Climate policy
Brad Plumer, Vox
In the lead-up to the 2014 midterms, a lot of green groups were hoping that this might finally be the election in which climate change became a defining issue.
***LB: Also in this story “The next Congress will be even more hostile to climate policy than the last.”
Keystone pipeline supporters nearing filibuster-proof majority
Laura Barron-Lopez , The Hill
Proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline are close, really close, to nailing down a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and a GOP victory on Tuesday is what will likely get them there.
Keystone Approval Sought by Republicans Daring Obama Veto
Laura Litvan, Bloomberg News
A top priority for a Republican-led Senate will be to send President Barack Obama a bill to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline and dare him to veto it.
***LB: Also in this story “While most senators support TransCanada Corp.’s proposed $5.4 billion Canada-to-U.S. oil pipeline, the Senate under a Democratic majority hasn’t held a binding vote on it since 2012.”
Climate skeptic Inhofe wins reelection
Vicki Needham, The Hill
Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe (Okla.) easily defeated Democrat Matt Silverstein on Tuesday, winning a fifth term in the Senate.
Kerry: U.S., China should set example by agreeing on climate goals
Lesley Wroughton, Reuters
The United States and China, the world’s largest carbon emitters, have an opportunity to agree on ambitious targets to reduce climate-warming gas emissions and set the stage for a global deal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.
Energy weighs impact of looming efficiency regs
Lydia Wheeler, The Hill
Just two months before energy efficiency standards for residential central air conditioning and heat pump systems are expected to take effect, the Department of Energy (DOE) is deciding whether to rewrite the rules.
World’s first solar cycle lane opening in the Netherlands
Philip Oltermann, theguardian.com
The bike path that connects the Amsterdam suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer is popular with both school children and commuters: around 2,000 cyclists ride its two lanes on an average day.
***LB: Also in this story “Solar panels embedded in the cycle path near Amsterdam could generate enough electricity to power three houses, with potential to extend scheme to roads.”
Air pollution slashes India’s potential grain yields by half – study
Chris Arsenault, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Air pollution seems to have a direct, negative impact on grain production in India, a study warned on Monday, with recent increases in smog decreasing projected yields by half.
Russia’s Gazprom says gets first gas debt repayment from Ukraine
Russia’s top natural gas producer Gazprom said on Wednesday it had received $1.45 billion from Ukrainian energy firm Naftogaz in the first tranche of a debt payment.
French government gives green light for GE-Alstom deal
The French government gave the green light on Wednesday for General Electric’s planned 12.4 billion euro ($15.6 billion) purchase of most of Alstom’s power business.
Germany looks to fast-track exit from coal, as well as nuclear
Giles Parkinson, REneweconomy
Germany is looking to achieve exactly what Australia says is not possible – and wean one of the world’s largest manufacturing economies off coal – as well as shutting down nuclear.
U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference
The U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference presents data, analysis and expert forecasting on the state of the solar market in the U.S.
Dec. 8 – 10, 2014
San Diego, CA
Kiwis turn CO2 into good fish oil
The New Zealand Herald
A leading carbon recycling company has developed a way to turn CO2 emissions into essential omega-3 fatty acids – offering a sustainable alternative to feeding the world’s demand for fish oil.
Solazyme hints at plans for European algae oil plant
James Murray, BusinessGreen
Biotechnology firm Solazyme has revealed that it is mulling plans for its first European production plant, as it seeks to expand its portfolio of algae-based oils.
***LB: Also in this story “The US-based company, which first rose to prominence as a provider of biofuels made from algae, but which has since branched out to also provide alternatives to natural oils such as palm oil, this year opened two major new production facilities in Brazil and Iowa.”
Carbon capture and storage research budget slashed despite (Australia’s) PM’s coal focus
Lenore Taylor, theguardian.com
The government has cut almost half a billion dollars from research into carbon capture and storage – which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deems crucial for continued use of coal – despite the prime minister insisting coal is the “foundation of our prosperity”.
Natural gas / coal
670,000 smog-related deaths a year: the cost of China’s reliance on coal
Li Jing, South China Morning Post
Smog caused by coal consumption killed an estimated 670,000 people in China in 2012, according to a study by researchers that tries to put a price tag on the environmental and social costs of the heavy reliance on the fuel.
ICE Endex introduces Belgian ZTP natural gas futures
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE), the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses, today announced that ICE Endex, the leading energy exchange in continental Europe, successfully launched Belgian ZTP Natural Gas futures contracts on November 4, 2014.
Falling Oil Prices Make Fracking Less Lucrative
Jeff Brady, NPR (audio)
Oil prices are down than more than 25 percent since June and are staying low for now.
Communities find little success in resisting fracking infrastructure
Peter Moskowitz, Al Jazeera America
Amy Nassif thought petitioning her Pennsylvania school board to vote against drilling near her two children’s school would be enough — but even without the board’s approval, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approved the permits.
Iran Seeks to Double Gas Output Amid Sanctions, Official Says
Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg
Iran, holder of the world’s largest natural gas reserves, plans to double production of the fuel to 1 billion cubic meters a day by 2017, largely on output from the South Pars field, the head of its state-owned gas company said.
Subsidy cuts and weak EU targets cloud German solar energy revolution
Arthur Neslen, theguardian.com
German ambitions to generate the vast majority its power from the sun, wind and other renewable sources by the middle of the century are at risk from cuts to solar subsidies and weak EU clean energy targets, industry and experts say.
Shell launches Springboard clean tech competition, as campaigners step up protests
Shell has this week kicked off the 10th round of its Springboard clean tech funding competition, inviting UK entrepreneurs to compete for up to £150,000 to help them commercialise cutting-edge emission reduction technologies.
Cable touts £50m to support emerging green technologies
Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen
Energy efficient computing and graphene are just some of the low carbon technologies expected to benefit from a new £50m government investment plan, launched today to support a new generation of innovations that could solve some of the biggest challenges facing the world.
Second Stage of China’s South-North Water Diversion Opens
Circle of Blue
China opened the second section of its massive South-North water diversion, while desalination is being considered to save the Middle East’s Jordan River from water diversions.
At Least 40 Percent of Treated Wastewater Goes Un-Recycled in the Middle East
Circle of Blue
In the water-scarce Middle East, at least 40 percent of treated sewage effluent ends up in the sea instead of recycled, but that’s not stopping Coca Cola: there are now plans for the first ever Coke factory in the Gaza Strip.
More than 40 percent of China’s arable land degraded: Xinhua
Dominique Patton, Reuters
More than 40 percent of China’s arable land is suffering from degradation, official news agency Xinhua said, reducing its capacity to produce food for the world’s biggest population.
Tasmanian devils’ decline ‘driven by climate change’, new research shows
Oliver Milman, theguardian.com
Tasmanian devils’ low genetic diversity and previous population declines were driven by climate change rather than hunting or a rampant facial tumour disease, new research has found.
How Oil Companies Lost $17 Billion Defying Environmental Activists Over Canada’s Tar Sands
Jeff Spross, Think Progress
If oil companies are rational economic actors, and climate activists want to keep them out of Canada’s tar sands, it’s worth asking just what cost those companies have suffered for trying to produce that oil over the environmental community’s objections.