Climate policy

Daily Briefing | Green electricity up, but decarbonisation requires more

  • 01 Aug 2014, 09:00
  • Carbon Brief Staff

Six charts that show how challenging decarbonising the UK really is 
Despite a surge in renewables and plummeting energy use the UK remains a long way from its long-term climate goals. We've plotted six charts to help explain why, using annual UK energy statistics from the department for energy and climate change (DECC). Simon Evans, Carbon Brief

Climate and energy news

Who does Russian energy giant Gazprom sell gas to in the UK? 
Russian gas firm Gazprom has claimed a 15 per cent share of the UK's gas market selling to clients including the NHS and Oxford University, according to analysis from Greenpeace EnergyDesk. The firm is Russian but the gas isn't necessarily. Yesterday BBC Radio 4's Today programme heard that less than 5 per cent of UK gas comes from Russia, according to Sam Laidlaw, boss of British Gas owner Centrica. Europe is already receiving a trickle of oil from the Arctic, Greenpeace campaigner Ben Ayliffe said in a Q&A with Road to Paris. Damian Kahya and Christine Ottery, EnergyDesk 

India and US pledge "active cooperation" on climate change 
Two of the most important participants in any future global climate deal have promised to work together actively on that goal, reports RTCC. A high-level US delegation is currently visiting India where new prime minister Narendra Modi is said to be "much committed" to the climate change debate. Sophie Yeo, RTCC 

Energy firms to 'double' profit margins, predicts Ofgem 
The row over home energy bills is in the news again following a report from energy regulator Ofgem that predicts firms' profit margins will double over the next year. But Ofgem's figures are inaccurate saysBritish Gas owner Centrica, which has just reported a slump in profits because a warmer winter meant it did not sell as much gas. BBC Business, BBC 

Turning a slate quarry green: 40 years of Centre for Alternative Technology 
Welsh hippies ushered in an era of sustainable living well before the world had woken up to climate change says Roger Harrabin, in a retrospective on the Centre for Alternative Technology in mid Wales. The centre's latest report, Zero Carbon Britain, argues that a zero-emissions UK is possible using current technology. Roger Harrabin, The Guardian 

IMF: Hike fossil fuel taxes and reap benefits now 
Fossil fuels are "widely and substantially underpriced" according to a new study from the International Monetary Fund, reports RTCC. The IMF says national governments should not wait for a global climate deal before they start to address this because the case for action does not rest on climate concern alone. Traffic and air pollution would be cut too, the IMF points out. Megan Darby, RTCC 


Three White House charts showing why the world needs to take immediate action on climate change

  • 30 Jul 2014, 13:40
  • Mat Hope

President Obama has taken significant, if limited, steps to try and curb the US's emissions and tackle climate change. A new White House report explains why he appears to be acting with a sense of urgency: "delay is costly".

Yesterday, the White House's Council of Economic Advisers released a  report suggesting a 10 year delay could increase the cost of taking climate action by 40 per cent, as the world would have to take larger steps to curb emissions down the line. Furthermore, each degree of warming could lead to billions of dollars worth of additional damage, it says.

Here's three charts from the report showing why the council says policymakers need to act now.

Additional damage

The more the world warms, the more damaging the  impacts of climate change are likely to be - from more intense weather events, to diminishing crop yields and species migration and extinction. All these things have an economic cost, even if it's sometimes  hard to define.

And the council's study says the costs will rise as the world warms - as the blue bars on this graph show:

Additional Costs Chart

The White House report uses a model by Yale economist Bill Nordhaus to put a number on the potential impact of additional warming.


Q & A - everything you need to know about UK fracking

  • 28 Jul 2014, 12:45
  • Simon Evans

About half the country is being opened up to fracking for shale gas and oil today, various newspapers reported this morning. Here's everything you need to know about UK fracking.

What's shale gas?

Shale gas is normal gas, extracted from shale rock using a technique known as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing of the rock. Our full briefing on the fuel is here .

What has been announced today?

The government has opened the 14th onshore oil and gas licensing round. A licensing round is when firms get the chance to apply for exclusive rights to search for and extract oil and gas from beneath blocks of land measuring 10 by 10 kilometres.

The round announced today closes on 28 October this year. The last round was held six years ago when few had heard of fracking.

It is only four years since the first exploratory well to look for shale gas in the UK was sunk. Seismic tremors caused by early shale exploration operations in 2011 delayed the launch of the 14th licensing round, preparations for which had also begun in 2010.

Today's announcement and any licenses handed out as a result do not grant permission to actually start fracking. Other regulatory permissions are required first - see below.