The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on Climate Change and Renewables
Today's news brought a mixed bag
India Doubles Tax On Coal To Fund Clean Energy, Environmental Projects
See: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/07/20/...37a1-33198992522,000 MW solar power capacity by 2022, a dedicated national-level program for promoting wind energy generation, implementation of the world’s largest solar power projects (with capacity of up to 4,000 MW), covering canals with solar panels, implementing dedicated transmission corridors for distributing electricity from renewable energy projects, and cleaning one of the largest rivers in India. This is just a small list of initiatives that India plans to implement in the renewable energy and the environment protection sector.
Minister Fast Announces Support for Clean Technology in British Columbia
See: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=867749Led by BC Hydro and supported by the province of British Columbia and the private sector, the British Columbia Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project supports a shift toward the use of clean energy and electric vehicles in B.C.’s transportation sector by expanding the necessary infrastructure. The project will support the installation of approximately 300 charging stations for public use in urban areas across the province and 30 fast-charging stations along major transportation corridors. The project also includes the implementation of a data network, which will centrally collect charging data.
Renewables Account For More Than Half of 2014′s New U.S. Energy Capacity
See: http://ecowatch.com/2014/07/21/renew...a3a94-85924237According to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, solar and wind energy constituted more than half of the new generating capacity in the country for the first half of 2014. Solar and wind energy combined for 1.83 gigawatts (GW) of the total 3.53 GW installed from January to June.
World Bank to invest $775 million in clean energy projects across India
See: http://articles.economictimes.indiat...welspun-energyThe World Bank plans to invest $775 million in clean-energy projects across India, even as it expects that the new government's plan to give fiscal and policy support to the sector will galvanise further investment in renewable energy. "The support shown by the new government towards clean energy is quite encouraging and is expected to give the much-needed push to the sector and unlock pending investments," said Ashish Khanna, lead energy specialist at the multilateral funding institution.
Shell, Exxon and carbon: The elephant in the atmosphere
Managers at the biggest oil firms clash with investors over climate change
Oil companies are betting against effective government action to prevent dangerous climate change:
See: http://www.economist.com/news/busine...hange-elephantShell says: “We do not see governments taking the steps now that are consistent with the 2°C scenario,” that is, constraining carbon emissions so as to limit the rise in global surface temperatures to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Such steps would mean cutting emissions of climate-altering gases by 80% by 2050; and the prospect of that, says Exxon, lies outside “the reasonably-likely-to-occur range of planning assumptions”.
U.S. Becomes Biggest Oil Producer After Overtaking Saudi Arabia
See: http://ecowatch.com/2014/07/20/u-s-b...a3a94-85924237The expansion of domestic oil production in the U.S. has been significant under President Obama, supported by his “all of the above”—or rather the American Petroleum Institute’s “all of the above”—energy strategy which has overseen a four-fold increase in drilling rigs under his administration.
News of the surge in U.S. oil production was reported almost concurrently with the release of another news item: global climate scientists have again reported historically high levels of atmospheric carbon. As reported by Climate Central, June 2014 was the third month in a row in which carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere topped an average of 400 parts per million—a level not seen on Earth in at least 800,000 years.
Dr. Pieter Tans, a senior climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said, “As long as human society continues to emit CO2 from burning fossil fuels, CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans will continue to increase … It is urgent that we find a way to transition to non-carbon fuels as our source of primary energy.”
And the ugly:
'Historic act of irresponsibility, recklessness'
See: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/busi...51627bf4ddab3fBy repealing laws that price and limit carbon pollution, Australia today became the world’s first country to dismantle a functioning and effective carbon market, taking a monumentally reckless backward leap even as other major countries are stepping up climate action, said The Climate Institute.
“Today’s repeal of laws that price and limit carbon pollution is an historic act of irresponsibility and recklessness,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.
“With the Senate’s vote today, Australia not only lurches to the back of the pack of countries taking action on climate, but sees the responsibility of emission reductions shift from major polluters to the taxpayer.”
Analyst: Carbon tax repeal is “perfect storm of stupidity”
See: http://www.qt.com.au/news/business-g...epeal/2321771/But climate policy and economic experts on climate policy have variously described the move as a "backwards step" and a "perfect storm of stupidity". Melbourne Energy Institute senior energy analyst Dr Roger Darville said the carbon tax had already reduced emissions by 10 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide between 2012 and 2014.
"This change has been driven by the price on carbon, as well as declining demand and increasing wind power," he said.
"The cost of this shift is carried primarily by the largest emitters who have seen their revenue slashed, which is exactly what the price on carbon was supposed to do."
Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies' Professor Roger Jones similarly described the repeal as a "perfect storm of stupidity", combining "poor reasoning and bad policy making".
He said the carbon tax repeal showed a complete disregard of climate change and its impacts, a "mistrust of market forces", and largely, "a total failure of governance by government".