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In the headlines: solar revenues set to double worldwide by 2020 and call for carbon market reform to reverse EU coal comeback

Date
28 July 2014
In the headlines: solar revenues set to double worldwide by 2020 and call for carbon market reform to reverse EU coal comeback

News snapshot for the w/c 28.07.14 is below, please click the links to read further.

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Global

UN row simmers over climate inclusion in development goals
Tackling climate change is one of 17 goals included in the UN’s blueprint for its new post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Diplomats passed the final document outlining the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on Saturday, after 29 hours of negotiating. The text, pieced together by representatives from 30 countries, will be passed on to the UN for discussion among all member states at the General Assembly in September. Whether or not the document will contain a goal dedicated to climate change has concerned some countries and civil society groups. While countries such as France, Peru, Mexico and Bangladesh have supported the inclusion of a goal on global warming, others, including China and India, had rejected these calls. RTCC.org, July 22

Asia – Pacific

Australia needs new climate plan – UN
Australia will still need to come up with a coherent climate policy by March next year in order to comply with responsibilities agreed to at the Cop 19 conference in Warsaw, according to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres. Australia last week repealed its carbon pricing mechanism, leaving the nation without any major policy for lowering greenhouse gas emissions. All nations agreed in Warsaw to present by March 2015 "intended nationally-determined contributions" to a global deal that the UN hopes to agree at global climate talks in Paris in December 2015. Argus Media, July 21

Pacific leaders to discuss climate change, sustainable fishing during Pacific Islands Forum in Palau
Hundreds of delegates from across the Pacific are arriving in Koror in Palau to discuss climate change, non-communicable diseases and protecting marine life. The 15 members of the Pacific Islands Forum include several countries made up of atolls that barely rise one metre above sea level. They will be joined at the forum, running from July 29 to August 1, by observers from countries including the United States, China and India. Palau's President, Tommy Remengesau Jr., has declared the theme of this year's forum to be 'The Ocean: Life & Future'. ABC.net, July 27

China

China coal demand to peak by 2020 – Standard & Poor
China’s demand for coal is likely to peak by 2020, according to new analysis from ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. It bases the conclusions on the country’s GDP increasing by 7.4% and 7.2% in 2014 and 2015, with coal demand falling to single figures later this decade. “This is due to the slow shift of the economy toward consumption from capital investments; lower GDP growth; and the Chinese government’s increasing focus on tightening emission standards and moving to more renewable energy sources,” it says. “Other tangible factors include the low level of fresh water and lack of long-term quality coal resources.” RTCC.org, July 22

China’s Energy Plans Will Worsen Climate Change, Greenpeace Says
China’s plans for 50 coal gasification plants will produce an estimated 1.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year and contribute significantly to climate change, according to a report released Wednesday by Greenpeace East Asia. The plants, aimed in part at reducing pollution from coal-fired power plants in China’s largest cities, will shift that pollution to other regions, mostly in the northwest, and generate enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas produced by fossil fuels, said the organization, which is based in Beijing. If China builds all 50 plants, the carbon dioxide they produce will equal about an eighth of China’s current total carbon dioxide emissions, which come mostly from coal-burning power plants and factories, the organization said. New York Times, July 23

Europe

Call for carbon market reform to reverse EU coal comeback
Coal’s comeback in Europe could become permanent unless policymakers rethink their approach, campaigners have warned. Carbon emissions from coal power across the EU have risen 6% since 2010, despite falling electricity demand and increased renewable generation. That is a result of cheap coal displacing expensive, but less polluting, gas in the energy mix. Sandbag, a London-based NGO and think-tank, called for urgent action to curb coal emissions, in a report published on Thursday. RTCC.org, July 24

Climate Change Already Having Profound Impacts on Lakes in Europe
European Union’s Water Framework Directive have amassed an impressive body of research on the topic on how climate change is affecting lakes. Not only are extreme weather events such as droughts and intense rainstorms becoming more common, climate warming is leading to increased algal growth and more frequent toxic algal blooms. It also affects the entire aquatic food web, including the number, size and distribution of freshwater fish species, according to the latest research. New evidence from studies in Europe shows that a warming climate, in particular, is already having a profound impact on lakes, according to Dr. Erik Jeppesen at Aarhus University in Denmark. National Geographic, July 25

India

India may install more wind capacity after tax incentive revived
India may add an additional 1,000 megawatts of wind energy a year after the government revived a tax incentive. “Small manufacturers dependent on diesel power will now find it viable to invest in wind projects with 2 megawatts to 3 megawatts of capacity,” said Madhusudan Khemka, chairman of Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association. “Without the credit, some wind projects that depend on accelerated depreciation were not viable,” Khemka said in a phone interview from Chennai. “This gives a huge fillip to the sector,” Khemka said. Live Mint,  July 24

Carbon tax repeal in Australia to help in coal supplies to India
The move of Australian Parliament to repeal the carbon tax in the country is likely to help coal exporting companies in delivering cost effective and high quality fuel to Indian markets, according to Adani Mining, a wholly owned subsidiary of India's Adani Group. The repeal of the carbon tax in Australia on Thursday will lower costs for Indian firms such as Adani and GVK exporting from the country, Adani Mining spokesperson told PTI here today. Sustainability Outlook, July 21

North America

Obama Attributes Wildfires to Climate Change
President Barack Obama says a wildfire that has burned nearly 400 square miles in the north-central part of Washington state, along with blazes in other Western areas, can be attributed to climate change. Obama, speaking at a fundraiser Tuesday, offered federal help to deal with Washington's wildfire, the largest in the state's history. Obama has asked Congress for $615 million in emergency spending to fight Western wildfires. He said spending on such fires has increased over the years. He says, "A lot of it has to do with drought, a lot of it has to do with changing precipitation patterns and a lot of that has to do with climate change." ABC News, July 22

U.S. leads in number of people unconcerned about climate change and environmental disaster
The U.S. leads the world in number of people who aren’t convinced climate change and other environmental concerns are disasters in the making, according to a new poll released this week. This comes after the 2014 National Climate Assessment stated that climate change is happening now, and that the primary driver is “unequivocally” human emissions. The poll, conducted by U.K. research organization Ipsos MORI, was conducted in 20 countries across the globe, and gathered feedback from over 16,000 people. Washington Post, July 25

UK

Solar revenues set to double worldwide by 2020, analysts say
The UK solar market may be having its fair share of difficulties at the moment, what with government plans to cut subsidies for large solar farms, planning constraints, and concerns about the level of available funding, but a new report this week seeks to reassure the industry that at a global level it is still booming. According to a new report by analyst Frost & Sullivan published this week, global solar power market revenues are set to more than double to $137bn by 2020, up from just under $60bn in 2013. BusinessGreen, July 25

Renewable energy proves a success in Scotland
The carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere in Scotland by renewable energy projects since 2012 was the equivalent of halting every motor vehicle journey for an entire year, according to Scottish Renewables. The trade body has produced a video to highlight the benefits of renewable energy to Scotland. The animation, which will be premiered at an international Commonwealth Games renewables event in Glasgow, highlights 30 key green energy points. The Scotsman, July 24

Innovation

Chinese hackers target Tesla Model S electric car
Tesla Motors has promised to fix any “legitimate vulnerability” after Chinese hackers reportedly discovered a flaw which allowed them to honk the horn, unlock the doors and flash the headlights of its Model S electric cars, even while they were moving. The news emerged from the SyScan360 conference (motto: “I hack, therefore I am”), which is intended to be a “platform for the international security community to interact with the Chinese security community”. A post on the social network Weibo said that the IT department from Chinese company Qihoo 360 Technology Co had been able to take control of the car’s door locks, horn, headlights and sunroof. The Daily Telegraph, July 21

 

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