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Daily Briefing |

TODAY'S CLIMATE AND ENERGY HEADLINES

Briefing date 04.07.2017
EDF adds £1.5bn to Hinkley nuclear plant bill and a 15-month delay, Trump suffers court setback on emissions rule, & more

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News.

EDF adds £1.5bn to Hinkley nuclear plant bill... and a 15-month delay
The Times Read Article

A new nuclear power plant at Hinkley point in Somerset will be at least £1.5bn over budget and could be delayed by almost two years to 2027, builder EDF has admitted, following an internal review of the project. The “spiralling costs” could put the final bill at over £20bn. “The estimated additional costs result mainly from a better understanding of the design adapted to the requirements of the British regulators, the volume and sequencing of work on site and the gradual implementation of supplier contracts”, EDF said. Vincent de Rivaz, EDF’s UK chief executive, claimed that the announcement would have “no impact at all for the British consumers”. The new nuclear reactors are “a key pillar of the Government’s plan to clinch investment in a clean, secure power system”, the Telegraph writes. The Evening StandardEnergy Live NewsBloombergBusinessGreen, the Financial Times and City AM also have the story.

Trump suffers court setback on emissions rule
Financial Times Read Article

The Trump administration has suffered a blow to its efforts to suspend an Obama-era pollution rule reviled by oil and gas companies, which demands that they find and repair leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, during the drilling, production or transmission of oil and gas, the Financial Times reports. The court ruled 2-1 that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not have the authority to suspend the implementation of a rule on methane emissions, so the EPA must now enforce it. “The court’s decision is a big win for common sense, public health, climate security, and the rule of law.”, said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund. The New York TimesReutersand the Hill also carry the story.

Tesla’s Elon Musk says Model 3 set to be delivered on schedule
Financial Times Read Article

A frontpage story in the Financial Times announces that Tesla’s new electric car, the Model 3s, is set to be delivered to customers on schedule later this month, despite past problems with production delays. Designed to reach a far bigger market than the company’s high-end S and X marques, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk hopes that the $35,000 car will turn low-priced electric vehicles into an object of desire for the masses, as the company rides a declining technology cost curve. By the year’s end, Musk expects the company to produce 20,000 units every month. The Washington PostArsTechnica and Bloomberg also have the story.

Energy price cap branded a betrayal of 15m families
The Times Read Article

The British prime minister Theresa May was under pressure last night to honour her pledge to cap energy prices for 17 million households after the regulator Ofgem published proposals for a watered-down version that would protect just two million, the Times reports. The plans are a “betrayal” of millions of people, according to conservative MP John Penrose. Meanwhile the shadow energy minister said that the plan ‘falls far short’ of Theresa May’s general election promise, the Guardian reports. The Financial Times also has the story.

India plants 66 million trees in 12 hours as part of record-breaking environmental campaign
The Independent Read Article

More than 1.5 million volunteers in India planted more than 66 million trees in just 12 hours, as part of a record-breaking environmental drive in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Under the Paris Agreement, India pledged to increase its forests by five million hectares before 2030 to combat climate change. “By planting trees we are not only serving Madhya Pradesh but the world at large”, said Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the state’s chief minister.

UN chief: US may meet Paris climate goals despite exit
AP News Read Article

Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, has said that the US may still meet the Paris climate agreement’s targets despite pulling out of the deal, in a speech Monday in Lisbon Associated Press reports. Guterres says that’s because some US states, cities and businesses are committed to green energy regardless of the federal government. He said that Trump’s decision strengthened the deal by prompting other major countries such as China, India and the EU to reaffirm their commitment to it.

‘Arrogance' causing climate change
Fiji Times Online Read Article

Enele Sopoaga, the prime minister of Tuvalu, has said that arrogance is one of the key contributors to the drastic impact of climate change, with low-lying Pacific islands paying the cost, the Fiji Times reports. “It is simple arrogance, meaning at the end of the day it’s the money issue that is driving climate change”, he said, continuing: “And when you are dealing with money issues, the leaders are more interested in having wars. Why? Because industries thrive, and when industries thrive, it is through making tools, equipment and guns”. He also suggested that Pacific Islanders need to rediscover the traditional knowledge system of their forefathers as solutions to the impacts of climate change.

Comment.

Hinkley takes another step backwards
Nick Butler, Financial Times Read Article

Nothing in EDF’s new cost estimate for Hinkley Point C, announced yesterday, “takes account of any consequences from Brexit or from rising UK inflation”, notes Nick Butler in the Financial Times, adding to the debate about the spiralling costs for the project. “The simplest answer would be for the French and UK governments to abandon Hinkley before any more money is wasted”, he concludes.

Bad news for climate contrarians – 'the best data we have' just got hotter
John Abraham, The Guardian Read Article

Climate deniers “have tried to tell us that satellites are better than thermometers, better than models, better than anything at measuring climate change”. But now an update of the data means that “means that the results from satellites are now in-line with all the other signals from the climate”, writes Abraham, commenting on a story broken by Carbon Brief last week. “This study also shows how science works”, Abraham writes, “we challenge each other, sometimes privately and sometimes openly. I firmly believe this culture is important. It is essential that the best ideas survive.”

Hinkley Point C: the government should start planning alternatives
Nils Pratley, The Guardian Read Article

“It is bad enough that UK consumers are locked into this ‘expensive and risky'” new nuclear project, Hinkley Point C, says Nils Pratley, the Guardian’s finance editor. But “it would be calamitous if we end up being bullied into paying more”, he argues, as EDF’s latest “clarifications” suggest that it will be £1.5bn over budget. “Ministers need to draw up a proper contingency plan – starting now”, Pratley writes.

Science.

Limits of Brazil’s Forest Code as a means to end illegal deforestation
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Read Article

Brazil’s 2012 Forest Code governs the fate of forests and savannas on 394 million hectares of privately owned land. The government has suggested that this new law could halt deforestation through implementation of a federal land registry—along with powerful tools that facilitate enforcement and give landowners a pathway to restoring or compensating their “forest deficits.” A new study of the law and its implementation suggest that it will fall well short of its promises. They suggest that while landowners in eastern Amazonia have been motivated to join state land registries, many continue to deforest and few have restored their illegally cleared areas. Results indicate that the economic benefits of full compliance with the Forest Code remain scant. To end deforestation, they argue that Brazil must realign its financial and policy incentives to encourage this outcome.

Glacial/interglacial wetland, biomass burning, and geologic methane emissions constrained by dual stable isotopic CH4 ice core records
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Read Article

In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers analyze the isotopic composition of methane trapped in Antarctic ice going back 450,000 years. They estimate global emissions of methane over time using this data, and find that tropical wetlands and floodplains seem to be the dominant sources of atmospheric methane changes, steered by past variations in sea level, monsoon intensity, temperature, and the water table. They rule out geologic emissions of old methane (e.g. methane seeps from sea-floor clathrate deposites) as a major source during that period. They also find a major shift in emissions in the last 25,000 years, and suggest that it is likely connected to changes in plant cover and fire frequency as a consequence of the extinction of many large animal species.

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