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In the headlines: 13 stories you may have missed

Date
13 November 2012
In the headlines: 13 stories you may have missed

Here's a global snapshot of some of the biggest clean technology, economy and policy headlines, from the week commencing November 12, 2012.

Australia

Fewer big Australian companies are identifying risks to their business from the carbon tax than was the case last year, a new survey finds. However, the 2012 Australia and New Zealand report from the Carbon Disclosure Project still found almost three-quarters of the largest Australian companies said there were risks. Only three companies - David Jones, Origin Energy and OneSteel - said it was a 'high risk'. Sky News Australia, November 7.

China

Chinese President Hu Jintao has opened a Communist Party congress that begins a once-in-a-decade power transfer with a stark warning on corruption. Addressing more than 2,000 delegates, Mr Hu said that a failure to tackle the issue "could prove fatal to the party". China faced unprecedented opportunities and challenges, he said, and the nation should "aim higher and work harder". His speech kicks off a week-long meeting that will see a new set of leaders unveiled. BBC News, November 8.

China's first indigenous purely electric supermini car hit the market on Monday as part of a government-sponsored project to encourage the use of energy-saving vehicles. Roewe E50 buyers in Shanghai could save around 100,000 yuan ($16,000), thanks to government subsidies and an upcoming local policy waiving license plate fees, according to company sources. China Daily, November 6.

Global

The next United Nations climate report will ''scare the wits out of everyone'' and should provide the impetus needed for the world to finally sign an agreement to tackle global warming, the former head of the UN negotiations said. "That report is going to scare the wits out of everyone,'' Mr de Boer said. "I'm confident those scientific findings will create new political momentum.'' The IPCC's fifth assessment report is due to be published in late 2013 and early 2014. Sydney Morning Herald, November 7.

The world's 16 largest power grids need to invest $700 billion over the next 10 years to cope with a rising share of renewable energy in mature economies and with soaring demand in emerging nations, French power grid RTE said. The 16 grids, which transport 70 percent of the world's electricity demand, expect global demand to jump 50 percent by 2022, when renewable energy will equal the capacity of 250 medium-sized nuclear reactors. Reuters, November 6.

North America

The international fight against climate change received a boost from President Obama’s re-election but there are also concerns of a ‘dash for shale gas’ in his second term. To the relief of the environmental lobby groups, President Obama finally made a direct reference to global warming in his victory speech. “Despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future,” he said. “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened up by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” Daily Telegraph, November 7. Read our story: Obama victory ensures climate discussion, but action will require unity. 

There were a record number of patents granted to the US clean energy sector in the second quarter of 2012, according to results from law firm Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C.’s Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. According to the CEPGI, which provides an indication of the trend of innovative activity in the clean energy sector, there were 786 granted US patents in the clean energy sector, which is the highest quarterly total since tracking of the CEPGI began in 2002, and the fourth consecutive record-breaking quarter. Environmental Leader, November 5.

UK

The average annual returns households can expect to generate from domestic solar panels has increased by around £100 since May this year, according to new research from the Energy Saving Trust (EST). The Trust revealed its latest assessment of the domestic solar market which shows that the average combined savings on energy bills and income from feed-in tariff incentives generated by well-located domestic rooftop solar installations has risen from £540 a year in May to £635 a year at the start of this month. BusinessGreen, November 7.

Britain will need to invest 330 billion pounds in its energy sector, excluding networks, by 2030 and return its economy to growth to meet carbon emissions reduction targets, the London School of Economics said in a report on Thursday. Reuters, November 8. 

David Cameron is poised to defend the green economy after a group of more than 20 Conservative MPs expressed their concern on the issue in a letter to Downing Street. Peter Aldous, the Conservative MP for Waveney, who organised the letter to Cameron, said investment from overseas was vital to rejuvenating UK infrastructure. He said: "It is vital the government works to encourage and incentivise investment from emerging markets in order for offshore energy to flourish and for our country to be a world leader in renewable energy." The letter comes as Cameron pushes for new Middle Eastern investment in Britain's energy production including cash for windfarms. The Guardian, November 6.

Electric Vehicles

Chargemaster is looking to fit its UK network of electric car charging points with technology that replenishes batteries wirelessly. The Qualcomm Halo system is soon to go on trial at six Chargemaster sites in London, as well as the company's headquarters in Luton. BusinessGreen, November 7.

Volvo Car Corporation is testing a fast-charger for electric cars that cuts recharging time to 1.5 hours — six times faster than existing on-board devices, according to the company. Environmental Leader, November 7.

LED lighting

Glebe’s Bicentennial Park is the first park in Sydney to have new LED lights installed as part of the City of Sydney’s $7 million three-year rollout of the green technology. The lights were produced by GE and installed by UGL Limited. “Replacing 6450 conventional lights is not only good for the environment but makes good business sense as they will save the City of Sydney nearly $800,000 a year in electricity bills and maintenance costs,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Electricalsolutions.net.au, November 8.

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