Daily Briefing |
TODAY'S CLIMATE AND ENERGY HEADLINES
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Every weekday morning, in time for your morning coffee, Carbon Brief sends out a free email known as the “Daily Briefing” to thousands of subscribers around the world. The email is a digest of the past 24 hours of media coverage related to climate change and energy, as well as our pick of the key studies published in peer-reviewed journals.
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Today's climate and energy headlines:
- UK to miss legal climate targets without urgent action, official advisers warn
- BNEF: Global clean energy investment climbs in 2017 on back of China solar boom
- UK and Japan look at public finance for Wylfa nuclear plant
- More green power could curb India's water, electricity gap - researchers
- Bitcoin’s Power Needs May Be Overblown
- Federal research, development, and demonstration priorities for carbon dioxide removal in the United States
- China CO2 emission accounts 1997–2015
The UK will miss its legally-binding carbon targets without urgent government action, official advisers have warned, reports the Guardian. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advice says vague ambitions, such as banning new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, must be turned into solid plans and policies, it adds. The paper quotes CCC chair Lord Deben saying: “We have given every benefit of the doubt…But even if they do all the things they say they are going to do, to the maximum, there will still be a gap.” The UK risks breaching its carbon budget that starts in just five years’ time, notes the Financial Times. The government’s plan to cut emissions was delayed by over a year and lacks detailed policies, reports the Telegraph. The UK will need new policies to bridge the gap to meeting its goals, reports Reuters. Measures likely to be needed include raising the share of electric vehicles in new sales to around 60% by 2030, report the Press Association, BBC and Independent, while the Times focuses on the CCC’s views on home energy efficiency. BusinessGreen, DeSmog UK, Bloomberg and Carbon Pulse also have the story. Carbon Brief takes a detailed look at the legal aspects of today’s CCC verdict.
Global clean energy investment rose 3% to $333.5bn last year, reports BusinessGreen and others, covering the latest annual figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). A surge in Chinese solar spending is behind the increase, BNEF says, with 53 gigawatts (GW) installed last year. Although the spending was 7% below the record reached in 2015, the amount of new capacity installed reached a record 160GW, according to BNEF. Reuters and Carbon Pulse also have the story. Separately, BNEF has set out 10 predictions for 2018, including that global clean energy investment will remain at around the same level. In the UK, meanwhile, BNEF figures show green energy investment halved last year, notes the Guardian. It says “stop-start” government policy is to blame.
The British and Japanese governments have agreed to look at joint financing of a new nuclear plant at Wylfa in Wales, the Financial Times reports. The move is a softening of previous refusals to commit public funds to new reactors, the paper says. Partial public financing would represent a new approach for the UK, it adds, drawing on cheap government debt to reduce capital costs but exposing taxpayers to some of the risks of the project.
Water shortages have disrupted India’s power plants for years and are likely to worsen as power demand grows and climate change brings more frequent droughts, reports the Thomson Reuters Foundation. A shift towards renewables would ease this problem, it adds, covering the findings of new analysis from the World Resources Institute (WRI). The analysis points out that 14 of India’s 20 largest power firms have experienced water shortage-related disruption at least once between 2013 and 2016.
There’s a growing debate over how much power will be used by the world’s expanding rank of cryptocurrency miners, writes Tim Loh for Bloomberg. Last week, he notes, Morgan Stanley said Bitcoin miners could use as much as 140 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity this year – nearly half the UK total. But this week, Loh says, Credit Suisse “dumped cold water on the notion that Bitcoin would create ‘uncontrolled growth’ in power demand,” recalling previous bullish predictions about the demand for electricity from marijuana growers or data centre operators, who later found ways to do more with less in order to cut their costs. The bank predicts a similar trend for cryptocurrencies, Loh says.
While the US is a world leader in supporting science and engineering, a new study highlights that research into CO2 removal (CDR) technologies by federal agencies has been largely “voluntary or piecemeal”. The paper lays out the research needs, relevant agency authority, barriers to coordination, and interventions to enhance CDR development across the US federal government. The departments of Energy, Agriculture, and the Interior, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Science Foundation are “most central to conducting research, funding projects, monitoring effects, and promulgating regulations,” the researchers say.
China is the world’s top energy consumer and CO2 emitter, yet no annual, officially-published emissions data exist for China. A new study uses Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) accounting methods to construct a timeseries of CO2 emissions for China and its 30 provinces. These include energy-related emissions (17 fossil fuels in 47 sectors) and process-related emissions (cement production) for 1997 to 2015, and will be updated annually.