Today's climate and energy headlines:
- Insulation market to 'shrink by 69 per cent' inthis parliament
- Green energy budget faces squeeze as power pricesforecast to stay flat this decade
- Oklahoma earthquakes linked to fracking wastewaterwells, study says
- Carbon tax goes 'lock, stock and barrel', saysGreg Hunt after call to keep ETS
- Study maps fracking methane risk to drinkingwater
- Aggressive Tactic on the FrackingFront
- Obama Mocks Congress on ClimateChange
- Will the climate debate end up being fought incourt?
- The water impacts of climate change mitigationmeasures
- IPCC lessons from Berlin
Analysis by industry group the Association for theConservation of Energy (ACE) and the Energy Bill Revolutioncampaign shows the number of home insulation installations hasfallen 60 per cent in a year. The drop was largely caused by thegovernment’s decision to curb its main company-led energyefficiency scheme, the Energy Companies Obligation, the researchsuggests.
Climate and energy news.
Credit rating agency Moody’s has said power prices may staylow for years, not rise as the government expects. That could meanthe government ends up paying more for renewable energy subsidiesthan it anticipated.
A fifth of Oklahoma’s earthquakes may have been caused byfour fracking wells, new research suggests. Academics from CornellUniversity tracked seismic records and showed there has been alarge increase in the number of earthquakes since the stateembraced shale gas exploration. The tremors were mainly caused bywastewater disposal from the wells, the BBCreports.
The Australian government continues its mission to dismantlethe country’s climate policy. The environment minister yesterdayresisted calls to keep a version of Australia’s carbon price,saying the scheme will be shut down as promised in the election. Healso suggested the country could take part in an internationalclimate agreement so long as targets to cut emissions were notlegally binding.
About half of the UK’s shale oil and gas reserves could belocated close to aquifers used for drinking water, a new studyshows. Environmentalists have long been concerned that fracking toextract shale gas could lead to contamination. But because most ofthe recoverable reserves are deep below the aquifers – about 650maway – the risk of water supplies being contaminated is much lowerin Britain than in the United States, the Timessays. The organisationthat conducted the study, the British Geological Survey, has alsoundertaken research to establish current levels of methane indrinking water. The US’ failure to do so was one reason frackingand water contamination is such a hot topic, a geologist tells theBBC.The Environment Agency has pledged to block any shaledevelopments it fears are too close to aquifers, with the new mapsan essential tool to establish such guidelines,BusinessGreenreports.The Guardiansays the report shows howthe UK’s complex geology could slow shale gas companies’progress.
A Pennsylvania shale gas company has been offering residents$50,000 if they agree to waive any right to sue the frackers forthe drilling’s ill effects. One legal expert calls the agreements”crazy”.
Climate and energy comment.
The New York Times has a video of the President’s speech tothe League of Conservation Voters where he mocks Republicancongressmen for saying climate change is a ‘liberalconspiracy’.
Citizens may be struggling to push politicians to tackleclimate change today, but that doesn’t mean they’ll never be heldto account. Future generations may end up suing today’s politiciansfor neglect, two Australian acamdemics argue. “With the IPCC soclearly stating the need for action, there is now the very realrisk that politicians, media outlets and scientists could facelegal prosecution for their role in delaying action that could havesaved properties, livelihoods and lives”, they say.
New climate science.
There’s more to trying to slow down climate change than justcutting greenhouse gas emissions. Policies should also takeenvironmental factors such as water usage into account, especiallyin arid countries such as Australia, say researchers.
A collection of papers by IPCC authors examine how farpolitics overlaps with science when it comes to mapping countries’historical greenhouse gas emissions in the last IPCC report. Shouldthe IPCC insulate itself from government participation or find abetter way to embrace it? The authors discuss.
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