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Daily Briefing

27.04.2018
Today's climate and energy headlines
DAILY BRIEFING Public support for renewables hits record 85 per cent high
Public support for renewables hits record 85 per cent high

News.

Public support for renewables hits record 85 per cent high

BusinessGreen reports that “support for renewable energy among UK residents has climbed yet again to hit 85%, its highest level since the government first began recording attitudes towards energy and climate change issues five years ago”. The latest polling from the government’s “public attitudes tracker” shows “there has been a clear uptick in support for renewables from the previous quarterly survey, which demonstrated overall support of 79%”. The results also show growing concern over climate change over the past year, with 74% stating that they were “very” or “fairly concerned”, up from 71% in May 2017. Leo Barasi’s Noise of the Crowd blog zooms in on this particular question: “This mirrors the trend of rising concern about climate change that we’ve generally seen in the US and Australia.” Carbon Brief’s Simon Evans has also produced a Twitter thread showing all the key findings from the polling. Separately, BusinessGreen reports on Good Energy-commissioned YouGov polling which shows that “global warming concerns dominate among 18-24 age group”.

BusinessGreen Read Article
Grilled by U.S. lawmakers, Trump's EPA chief calls ethics scandals lies

There is widespread coverage of Scott Pruitt’s appearance before two Congressional hearings yesterday. Reuters says the embattled US Environmental Protection Agency chief “rejected a litany of ethics complaints against him as lies intended to derail President Donald Trump’s agenda, and put much of the blame for any agency missteps on his staff”. The New York Times says he “deflected Democrats’ pointed questions about accusations of ethical infractions and lavish personal spending at the taxpayers’ expense” with Republicans being “largely sympathetic” to him. The Hill has published “five takeaways from Pruitt’s big testimony”, whereas Vox has “three big takeaways”. The Washington Post carries an op-ed by the actor Robert Redford who says: “Pruitt should be replaced by a principled leader who will do what the EPA was intended to do: protect America from men such as Pruitt.” Meanwhile, the Guardian reports on how Democratic senators are set to “scrutinise Koch brothers’ ‘infiltration’ of Trump team”.

Reuters Read Article
BP appoints former Statoil boss to breathe life into renewables

The Times reports that BP has hired Helge Lund, the 55-year-old Norwegian who was the former boss of BG Group and Statoil, to succeed Carl-Henric Svanberg as its chairman. The newspaper says: “Mr Lund joins at a time when BP is focusing on getting back to growth, with plans to significantly increase production as well as a drive into renewable energy. He led Statoil’s expansion from a Norway-focused company to a leading global player, which partners BP in projects around the world. He also oversaw its move into the offshore wind industry.” The Financial Times also carries the story.

The Times Read Article
China orders local governments to ease burden on renewable power firms

China has ordered local governments to “ease the burden” on renewable power generators by strengthening guaranteed purchase agreements and giving them priority access to new grid capacity, according to China’s National Energy Administration. Reuters explains that, according to China’s renewable energy law, grid companies are obliged to take on all electricity generated by renewable sources, but many projects have still been left with inadequate grid access, a problem known as “curtailment”. Separately, Reuters reports that at least three steel mills in the Chinese city of Xuzhou – the nation’s No. 2 steelmaking province – have suspended operations amid local authority orders to shut plants until they meet tough anti-pollution rules. Meanwhile, BusinessGreen reports on a new MIT study focused on China which shows that the cost of reducing CO2 emissions over the long-term can be recouped by governments from short-term savings in healthcare costs arising from air pollution.

Reuters Read Article

Comment.

Scientists struggle to explain a worrying rise in atmospheric methane

A feature by the Economist’s environment correspondent examines the “mystery” of why “in the past decade methane levels have shot up, to the extent that the atmosphere contains two-and-a-half times as much of the gas as it did before the Industrial Revolution”. Piotrowski says: “A dip in carbon-13 implies that biological sources are driving the change. But which? One big worry is the Arctic. The soil their contains methane equivalent to 2.3 times all the carbon dioxide humanity has emitted since the 1800s. If it were released it could set off a vast new burst of global warming. But methane-rich Siberian air shows no sign of rising any faster than the rest of the world.” The list of potential causes range from “increasing numbers of cattle in India and China, along with more rice paddies in South-East Asia” through to tropical wetlands or “a decline in bushfires”. Additionally, a new satellite, funded by an NGO, is being planned which will “train its sights on oil and gas installations”.

Jan Piotrowski, The Economist Read Article
EU carbon allowance market to shake its over-supply problem

Mark Lewis, the global head of research at Carbon Tracker, writes in the FT that changes to Europe’s emissions-trading scheme, which come into force from next year, should be a turning point for the scheme: “For the first time in its history the EU-ETS will have a mechanism to modulate supply, thereby enabling the absolution of the EU carbon market’s original sin: that of fixed supply in the face of varying demand…And with the commission tasked with drafting a proposal for a Paris-compliant emissions trajectory over the long term, the pain for the EU’s coal-fired generators can only get worse from here.” Separately, Bloomberg carries a feature about how “even Europe’s coal addict wants to get clean”. The article focuses on Poland’s ship-building heartlands are now turning to building offshore wind turbines.

Mark Lewis, Financial Times Read Article

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