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In the headlines: UN releases Ban Ki-moon climate summit plan and coal country set to sue EPA over climate rule

11 August 2014
In the headlines: UN releases Ban Ki-moon climate summit plan and coal country set to sue EPA over climate rule

News snapshot for the w/c 11.08.14 is below, please click the links to read further.

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UN releases Ban Ki-moon climate summit plan
Heads of state speeches are set to take up half of Ban Ki-moon’s climate summit on September 23, with the remaining time focused on finance, cities, farming and energy. A scenario document issued by Ban’s office reveals around 200 leaders will make simultaneous announcements in three separate rooms from 1015-1315 on the day. The Secretary General wants governments to come armed with deliverable climate initiatives, either in the form of financial sweeteners or examples of domestic carbon cutting action., August 8

Deep emissions cuts needed by 2050 to limit warming: U.N. draft
Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of 40 to 70 percent by mid-century will be needed to avert the worst of global warming that is already harming all continents, a draft U.N. report showed. The 26-page draft, obtained by Reuters on Thursday, sums up three U.N. scientific reports published over the past year as a guide for almost 200 governments which are due to agree a deal to combat climate change at a summit in Paris in late 2015. Yahoo News, August 7

Asia – Pacific

Pacific Islands Forum urges tough action on climate change and ocean conservation
Pacific Island nations last week re-affirmed their commitment to tackling climate change, sea level rise and ocean conservation, as they met in Palau for the 45th Pacific Islands Forum. Last year, nations, meeting in the Marshall Islands for the region’s annual meeting, signed the Majuro Declaration, placing climate change front and centre on the region’s agenda, committing Pacific nations to take action and calling on other nations to follow suit.  TckTckTck, August 4

Actress Emma Thompson targets Tony Abbott on climate change
British actress Emma Thompson has targeted Prime Minister Tony Abbott as part of a campaign to protect the Arctic from global warming. The Academy Award winner is pictured atop the Smeerenburg glacier holding a placard that reads: "Tony Abbott climate change is real, I'm standing on it!" Ms Thompson is travelling in the Arctic alongside Greenpeace in an effort to encourage government leaders to take action on climate change and protect the North Pole. "Most of us want to live cleaner lives, but our governments don't make these things easily available." Sydney Morning Herald. August 8


China Adds Australia-Sized Solar Capacity in Energy Push
China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, accelerated solar power installations in the first half, adding enough capacity in the period to equal Australia’s entire supply of power from sunlight at the end of last year. China added 3.3 gigawatts of solar capacity in the six months ended June 30, double last year’s additions, the National Energy Administration said today in a statement. China now has 23 gigawatts of solar power supply, almost seven times as much as Australia, which is described by its own government as the world’s highest recipient of radiation per square meter. Bloomberg, August 7


Europe's forests 'particularly vulnerable' to rapid climate change
Climate change is here, it’s happening now, and for the last few decades it has been demonstrably bad news for many of Europe’s forests. An international team of researchers say in a report from the European Forest Institute that climate change is altering the environment, and it is long-lived ecosystems like forests that are particularly vulnerable to the comparatively rapid changes occurring in the climate system. The Guardian, August 5

Uruguay seeking $100 million for wind project
Uruguay’s state-run power company is seeking $100 million in financing from the Central Bank for a 140-megawatt wind park, as the nation seeks to diversify its energy mix, El Observador reported. Administracion Nacional de Usinas & Trasmisiones Electricas, also known as UTE, needs a total of $300 million for the project in Uruguay’s northern Pampa region, the Montevideo newspaper reported Aug. 2, without saying where it got the information. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, August 4


India to Sart Construction on German-backed $8 Billion Renewable Grid Project
India will begin construction this year on an $8 billion project backed by Germany’s development bank to upgrade its grid to handle a more than doubling of renewable power capacity by 2022. Power Grid Corp of India Ltd., the state-run utility that transmits about half the electricity generated in the nation, has invited bids for work beginning in Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu states, Andreas Thermann, deputy director at Germany’s KfW, which will lend an initial 250 million euros ($334 million) to the project, said in a phone interview from New Delhi. Renewable Energy World, August 7 

India not bound to cut greenhouse gas emission levels
India is not bound to mandatorily cut greenhouse gas emission levels under Kyoto Protocol but voluntary efforts are being undertaken to reduce them, the government said ton Wednesday. India is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol. "India does not have legally binding emission reduction commitments under Kyoto Protocol...We are not bound for any emission cut," Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour. Sustainability Outlook, August 7

North America

US officials push India to target tighter carbon cuts
US officials have pressed India to take a greater burden of emission reductions under a potential new UN climate agreement, according to reports. Secretary of State John Kerry and his lead climate official Todd Stern have been in intense discussions with environment minister Prakash Javadekar in Delhi this week., August 7 

Coal country sues EPA over climate rule
A dozen states representing America’s coal country are suing the Environmental Protection Agency to block forthcoming regulations imposing new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The lawsuit, filed late last week in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, accuses the agency of overstepping its authority under the Clean Air Act. The Hill, August 8


British Solar and Santander sell solar farms for £73m
The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG) has bought three solar farms for a total of £73.3m, nearly doubling the size of its photovoltaic portfolio in a move that further highlights the growing investor appetite for completed solar farm projects. The three schemes, located in Dorset, Cornwall and Norfolk, were purchased from a joint venture between British Solar Renewables and Santander. Combined, the projects offer a generation capacity of 56.6MW, while the acquisitions bring TRIG's total renewables generation capacity up to nearly 400MW. Business Green, August 8

UK's new environment ministers aren't climate change deniers
It appears the UK now has a full suite of environment and energy ministers who actually accept that dangerous climate change is being driven by human activities and needs to be tackled. What? You say that should be the minimum qualification for such important roles? Well, you are right. But, given the recent occupants of these offices of state, we should celebrate good news where we find it. It was, however, weirdly tricky to establish. The Guardian, August 7


Students beat Tesla with 500km range electric car
Tesla has a new competitor, and it's not from BMW or General Motors. It's from Australian university students, whose electric Sunswift eVe set a new world record for fastest average speed -- more than 60mph -- over 500 kilometres (310 miles) on a single battery charge, on July 23. That's a big deal: range is the biggest issue holding back the widespread adoption of EVs, and this record shows the car can drive hundreds of miles at a reasonable highway speed. It stomped on the old record, a mere 45 mph, and drove farther than even the Tesla Model S, the current king of EVs, can go on a full charge. Wired, August 5

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