In the headlines: Obama and Canada’s Justin Trudeau Promote Ties and Climate Plan

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16 March 2016

A snapshot of latest news. Please click the links to read the articles in full.

First, The Climate Group news stories you may have missed:

The Climate Group in the news

How to Keep Companies Honest About Fighting Climate Change, TIME
Now that Walmart, Google, Goldman Sachs and other international corporations have pledged to cut their carbon footprint—commitments that would have been almost unimaginable a decade ago—climate leaders are turning their attention to the next challenge: ensuring that companies follow through on their promises. “All sorts of institutions have registered their various commitments,” says Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group, an advocacy group that works with dozens of corporations. “Some of those were real commitments and some of those were high level ‘we’ll think about doing something.’ How do we find a common set of methodologies and monitoring, verification and reporting systems so things can be compared?”

India Looks to LEDs in Massive Energy Conservation Bid, Voice of America
The Climate Group, a non-profit that advocates cleaner technologies, says LED is not just environment-friendly, it helps consumers save money and enables the government to fill energy gaps. “It is a win-win-win situation, it is a triple win. So it’s a non-brainer when it comes to seeing that LED makes an absolute case for rapid transition, rapid scale up in a country like India or anywhere in the world for that matter,” said Krishnan Pallassana, India director of The Climate Group.

Tata Motors pledges to go 100% renewable, The Hindu
Tata Motors Ltd has joined the RE100 initiative of The Climate Group, under which companies pledge to get all the energy their businesses need only from renewable sources. Krishnan Pallassana, Executive Director, India at The Climate Group, has said in the release that by joining RE100 Tata Motors was “sending a clear market signal that business wants more renewable energy on the grid.”

British firms 'haven't yet woken up' to business benefits of clean energy switch, Business Green
Businesses are increasingly signing up to renewable power contracts. For example, the 53 major companies, including Goldman Sachs, H&M, Marks & Spencer and Ikea, who pledged to source 100 per cent renewable electricity as part of the global RE100 initiative are already halfway to their goal. Moreover, the group is growing fast, with Indian automotive giant Tata Motors becoming the latest big name to sign up to the RE100 pledge earlier this week.

Foreign experts: "Thirteen Five" plan to lead the development of China's green focus global clean energy revolution, China Daily
International non-profit organization "The Climate Group" (The Climate Group) published an article that China low-carbon "energy revolution" Tenth Five-Year Plan as a core. The article said, "Thirteen Five" plan to focus on building a "clean, low-carbon and efficient modern system" to carry out an energy revolution. "I am very pleased to witness the positive unfolding Clean Revolution China." "Climate Group" Wu Changhua, Greater China president, said, "The scale and speed of the world's largest developing country in history to have never seen to achieve sustainable change, the planning for this has laid a solid foundation. China will lead a global clean energy revolution. "

Global

Obama and Canada’s Justin Trudeau Promote Ties and Climate Plan, The New York Times
President Obama on Thursday said the United States and Canada were more closely aligned than ever, using a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce joint efforts to curb emissions of planet-warming gases and to promote his personal rapport with the leader of a pivotal neighbor. As part of the announcement, United States officials said they would immediately begin a new push to regulate methane emissions from existing oil and gas facilities, though finishing that process before the end of Mr. Obama’s tenure is unlikely.

United States delivers first payment to global climate fund, Reuters
The United States has paid $500 million into the United Nations' Green Climate Fund, the first tranche of the $3 billion it pledged as part of the commitments it made in the December Paris Climate Agreement, the State Department confirmed Monday. The United States in 2014 pledged $3 billion for the GCF, to be used by poor and climate-vulnerable countries for transformational projects to adopt cleaner energy technologies and build their resistance against the impact of climate change.

China, India back $150m GEF initiative to green cities, Climate Home
A global push to green urban areas across 23 cities in 11 countries launched in Singapore today, backed by the Global Environment Facility and World Bank. Officials say the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities will drive investments up to $1.5 billion and offer planners in developing countries access to data, ideas and solutions to tackle pollution.

Asia – Pacific

Tokyo aims to increase ratio of renewable energy-derived electricity to 30% by 2030, Japan Today
The Tokyo metropolitan government decided to have a goal of increasing the ratio of renewable energy-derived electricity to all the electricity used in Tokyo to about 30% by 2030. This time, the government announced a goal of introducing 1.3GW of solar power generation facilities in Tokyo by 2030.

Australian coal prices under pressure from sagging Chinese demand, Reuters
Australian thermal coal prices have fallen since the beginning of the month, pulled down by weak demand from China, and analysts said there was little hope for a rise in prices if China's imports do not pick up. China, the world's largest coal buyer and consumer, imported 13.54 million tonnes of coal in February, down 11.1 percent from January, figures from the General Administration of Customs of China showed this week.

China

China confirms 2015 emissions fall as solar, wind break records, Climate Home
China’s CO2 emissions and coal consumption fell for a second year in 2015, new data by the National Bureau of Statistics indicated on Monday. The world’s number one polluter emitted 1-2% less CO2 in the period as the cooling Asian economy used 2-4% less coal, according to a Greenpeace analysis of the data. It brings it closer to meeting targets to arrest growth in emissions by 2030.

China aims to maintain growth pace, fend off unemployment in five-year plan, Reuters
China faces a tough battle to keep its economy growing by at least 6.5 percent over the next five years while creating more jobs and restructuring inefficient industries, Premier Li Keqiang said as he opened China's annual parliament on Saturday. Seeking to improve the environment, Beijing aims to cap total energy consumption at 5 billion tonnes of standard coal by 2020 and set targets for improving water efficiency.

China aims to boost renewable energy with 'green certificates', Reuters
China plans to set up a market for renewable energy certificates to try to increase the use of cleaner energy as the world's largest greenhouse gas producer tries to reduce its reliance on coal. Power suppliers will be able to trade "green certificates" that represent the proportion of non-hydro renewable energy that they generate, the country's National Energy Administration said on Thursday in a statement on its website

India

India Hikes Renewable Energy Budget Allocation To $2.1 Billion, CleanTechnica
The Indian Government seems ready to implement the ambitious renewable energy capacity addition targets it announced last year. The Ministry of Finance recently announced a significant increase in the budget allocation for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The Finance Ministry allocated Rs 3,661 crore (US$546 million) to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in FY2015-16. Against the budgetary allocation, MNRE is expected to receive Rs 5,677 crore (US$847 million).

India's big move into solar is already paying off, CNN
The price of solar power has plummeted in recent months to levels rivaling that of coal, positioning the renewable source as a viable mainstream option in a country where 300 million people live without electricity. Solar prices are now within 15% of coal, according to KPMG. If current trends hold, the consultancy predicts electricity from solar will actually be 10% cheaper than domestic coal by 2020.

Europe

New 'Coalition for Higher Ambition' calls on EU to step up efforts to honour Paris Agreement, Business Green
Newly formed business and civil society group calls for more climate action from Europe to bring it into line with pledges made in Paris deal, as Commission praises bloc's role in delivering historic agreement. A coalition of businesses, investors, cities, civil society groups, and trade unions has this week urged the European Union (EU) to deliver a new strategy in line with the goals set out in the historic Paris Agreement.

EU set to emit 2bn tonnes more CO2 than Paris climate pledge, The Guardian
The EU is set to emit 2bn tonnes more CO2 than it promised at the Paris climate talks, threatening an agreement to cap global warming at 2C, a note from the European commission has revealed. Carbon prices will rise too slowly to cut industrial emissions as much as needed, says a confidential note prepared for MEPs on the environment committee, which the Guardian has seen.

North America 

Coal made up more than 80% of retired electricity generating capacity in 2015, U.S. Energy Information Administration
Coal's share of electricity generation has been falling, largely because of competition with natural gas. Environmental regulations affecting power plants have also played a role. About 30% of the coal capacity that retired in 2015 occurred in April

These Old-School Companies Are Going Big With Solar and Wind, National Geographic
Businesses made deals to acquire 3.4 gigawatts of renewable energy in 2015, equivalent to half of North Dakota’s entire power capacity. Of that amount, two-thirds came from first-time buyers. They’re moving forward to cut greenhouse gas emissions even as the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan faces uncertainty from a recent Supreme Court stay.

Oregon Lawmakers Approve Pioneering Pro-Climate Coal Bill, ABC News
Oregon lawmakers on Wednesday gave final approval to pioneering legislation that will eliminate coal from the state's energy supply by 2030 and provide half of customers' power with renewable sources by 2040.

US Solar Market Set To Grow 119% In 2016, CleanTechnica
The US solar market is expected to grow by a phenomenal 119% in 2016, installing 16 GW by the end of the year. The groundbreaking predictions were the key highlights from the latest US Solar Market Insight Report 2015 Year in Review, written by GTM Research and published in conjunction with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

UK

Smart energy could save UK £8bn a year by 2030, say government advisers, Business Green
Smart energy infrastructure and policies could save consumers up to £8bn a year by 2030, according to an influential report released today by the government's infrastructure advisers. "The UK is uniquely placed to lead the world in a smart power revolution," the report said. "If we get this right we could save consumers up to £8bn a year."

World's biggest floating solar farm powers up outside London, The Guardian
Five years in planning and due to be finished in early March, the £6m project will generate enough electricity to power the utility’s local water treatment plants for decades. The energy will help provide clean drinking water to a populace of close to 10 million people in greater London and the south-east of England, a huge and often unrecognised drain on electricity, rather than nearby homes.

Innovation

SolarCity’s Gigafactory, MIT Technology Review
Here’s How Electric Cars Will Cause the Next Oil Crisis, Bloomberg
GE To Design Wind, Solar Energy Storage Project In India, CleanTechnica

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