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Daily Briefing

Today's climate and energy headlines
Carbon Brief Staff

Carbon Brief Staff

13.03.2015 | 9:00am
DAILY BRIEFING Global carbon emissions stall in 2014
Global carbon emissions stall in 2014


Global carbon emissions stall in2014

For the first time in 40 years without the presence of aneconomic crisis, global carbon emissions did not rise last year.”This is a real surprise,” said Fatih Birol, the InternationalEnergy Agency’s chief economist. “We have never seen this before.”The IEA said energy consumption shifts in China, the world’sbiggest carbon polluter, were among the reasons emissions stalledlast year. Despite the global economy growing by 3% in 2014, carbonemissions remained at the 2013 level of 32.3bn tonnes. The IEA isset to published the figures in full on June 15. “[This] could notbe better news for [the Paris climate talks],” said Birol. The FTalso carries aQ&Aon “why static CO2 emissions are important”.

Financial Times Read Article

Climate and energy news.

Labour energy law 'withinmonths'

A Labour government would press ahead with its plannedenergy price freeze with new legislation within months of takingoffice, Ed Miliband is to say. The Labour leader will say thefreeze and new powers for a regulator to cut prices would be “oneof the first bills” Labour would introduce. Under its plans,regulator Ofgem would be legally required to “review prices” by theautumn and be given the power to order price cuts. TheFTsays Labour promises this wouldshave 10% of the average domestic energy bill.

BBC News Read Article
Celtique Energie shelves National Park frackingplans

Fracking firm Celtique Energy has dropped plans to test forshale oil at two sites in West Sussex, after the governmentrecently annouced a last-minute change to the law that would bandrilling in National Parks. The South Downs National Park Authorityand West Sussex County Council unanimously rejected plans forexploratory shale oil and gas wells at Fenhurst and WisboroughGreen last year.

BusinessGreen Read Article
China needs CO2 cap to meet climate pledges:legislator

China needs to impose a nationwide carbon cap if it is tofulfill a pledge made last year to bring emissions to a peak byaround 2030, a legislator said in a proposal submitted toparliament this week. Wang Yi, a member of the China Academy ofSciences and adviser to China’s climate negotiation team, said thecountry should include an absolute CO2 cap of around 10 billiontonnes for 2020 in its five-year plan covering the 2016-2020period.

Reuters Read Article
Not All Oil Is Created Equal When It Comes toPollution

Oil is not drilled, refined, shipped or burned equally, andclimate assessments should reflect that, experts say. But a newtool released yesterday by the Carnegie Endowment for InternationalPeace aims to allow analysts to make “apples-to-apples comparisonsbetween different oil streams”. The tool lets users compare carbonemissions across the life cycles of different production methods.

ScientificAmerican Read Article
Oil price fall may aid long-term Arcticexploitation - Norway

A fall in oil prices may help long-term exploitation offossil fuels in the Arctic by averting a short-lived “gold rush”into the vulnerable icy region, Norway’s foreign minister BoergeBrende said on Thursday. “It is safe to assume that Arctic gas willhave its day,” he said in a speech, saying that burning natural gasemitted half the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide as coal.

Reuters Read Article
Chinese, U.S. power firms top inefficient coalplants list

Chinese and US firms generate the most electricity frominefficient coal-fired power plants that pump out more greenhousegases and use more water than newer power stations, a University ofOxford study has found. “There is a strong case for investors toevaluate the risk of companies exposed to the least efficient coalplants,” said Ben Caldecott, lead author of the report and directorof the university’s stranded assets programme. RTCCreports that the studyconcludes many of China’s dirtiest coal plants “could be forced toclose early as regulations to curb greenhouse gases, air pollutionand water stress tighten”. BusinessGreensays that operatorsin the UK, such as RWE, E.On, GDF Suez, EDF and Drax, are allincluded in the report’s list of world’s 100 largest subcriticalcoal-fired power station.

Reuters Read Article
Shell warns oil demand could fall without climatesolution

Demand for oil and gas could fall if major producers fail tofind economically viable and publicly acceptable ways of cuttingtheir climate-warming gas emissions, Shell has warned. The oilgiant revealed its fears in its Strategic Report for 2014, releasedon Thursday, telling investors that new climate change regulations”may result in project delays and higher costs”.

Russian scientists say climate change to blame formysterious Siberia craters

Russian scientists have now discovered seven giant cratersin remote Siberia, a geologist has told AFP, adding that themysterious phenomenon was believed to be linked to climate change.Scientists say the holes are caused by the melting of undergroundice in the permafrost, which has possibly been sped up by risingglobal temperatures.

Wind Could Power 35 Percent of U.S. Electricity by2050

A new report released on Thursday by the US Department ofEnergy draws a roadmap for how “carbon-free wind power can becomeone of America’s leading sources of energy”. It projections findthat wind farms could supply as much as 35% of US electricity by2050.

ClimateCentral Read Article

Climate and energy comment.

Pumping CO2 underground can help fight climatechange. Why is it stuck in secondgear?

Herzog, a senior research engineer at the MassachusettsInstitute of Technology, asks why carbon capture and storage (CCS)is being used so little, “nowhere near the scale required to make ameaningful dent in emissions”. He argues: “We are not making theinvestments needed to meet a long-term goal of 80% reductions inCO2 emissions by mid century. I prefer to have an economy-widecarbon price to create markets for low-carbon technology. Thenmarkets, not advocates, will make decisions about the technologymix.”

Howard Herzog, TheConversation Read Article
'Find a new way to tell the story' - how theGuardian launched its climate changecampaign

The Guardian has launched the first podcast from its new”Keep It In The Ground” campaign aimed at raising awareness aboutthe “climate crisis”. The series “lets you behind the scenes as theGuardian’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, and team set out tofind a new narrative”. It adds: “You’ll hear what works, as well asour mistakes. Is there a new way to make the world care?”

The Guardian Read Article
Oxford University should lead the way and divestfrom fossil fuels

Collord, a student at Oxford’s University College, says thather university is due to decide on Monday whether or not to rid its£3.8bn endowment of fossil fuel investments. She is supportive ofthe move, saying: “If the university divests, it will add to thecritical mass of institutions that are demonstrating how to investin a liveable planet.”

The Guardian Read Article

New climate science.

Disappearing Arctic tundra ponds: Fine-scaleanalysis of surface hydrology in drained thaw lake basins over a 65year period (1948-2013)

Ponds in the Arctic tundra are shrinking and slowlydisappearing, according to a new study. Using satellite images andhistorical photos, scientists analysed over 2,800 Arctic ponds inAlaska between 1948 and 2010. The researchers found that the numberof ponds in the region had decreased by about 17 percent, whilepond size had shrunk by an average of a third. “Plants are takingover shallow ponds because they’re becoming warm andnutrient-rich,” says the lead author. “Before you know it, boom,the pond is gone.”

Journal of Geophysical Research:Biogeosciences Read Article


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