Britain is set to grant hundreds of millions of pounds in subsidies to highly polluting diesel generators as a way to help solve the energy supply crunch facing the country over the next 15 years. If all of those registered are successful in their bids — which analysts believe is likely — it could cost the taxpayer £436m, provide enough energy to power more than 1m homes and emit several million tonnes of CO2 a year. The subsidies on offer are so appealing that even solar-power developers are building diesel generation on their sites as a way of maximising their returns. –Kiran Stacey, Financial Times, 4 November 2015
A second act in Volkswagen’s massive emissions scandal just began. Late on Tuesday night VW Group announced that the company had identified “irregularities in CO2 levels” which had emerged as part of internal investigations. As many as 800,000 vehicles could be affected across the entire group, according to the release. Shares are getting crushed in early European trading, down by as much as 10%, pushing the price below €100. –Mike Bird, Business Insider UK, 4 November 2015
China, the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases from coal, is burning far more annually than previously thought, according to new government data. The finding could vastly complicate the already difficult efforts to limit global warming. Even for a country of China’s size and opacity, the scale of the correction is immense. China has been consuming as much as 17 percent more coal each year than reported, according to the new government figures. By some initial estimates, that could translate to almost a billion more tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere annually in recent years, more than all of Germany emits from fossil fuels. “It’s created a lot of consternation,” he said. “Our basic data will have to be adjusted, and the international agencies will also have to adjust their databases. This is troublesome because many forecasts and commitments were based on the previous data.” –Chris Buckley, The New York Times, 4 November 2015
This year’s UN climate conference, the 21st, will take place in Paris just one month after All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints’ Day. The climate treaty under negotiation is like a vampire from a bad old horror film. Every time you think it’s dead, it rises from the grave. This vampire is not sucking blood, but money and resources from taxpayers and needy people around the world. It’s time to put a stake through its heart and cut off the head of this climate-treaty monstrosity once and for all. Congressional Republicans are working to do just that. Without Senate ratification, any climate agreement coming out of Paris, just like Obama’s executive orders and climate regulations, can be undone by his successors. Republicans have already made it clear that the Senate will not ratify any agreement Obama makes requiring either steep, economy-killing, greenhouse-gas emission reductions or climate payoffs to developing countries. –H. Sterling Burnett, National Review, 21 October 2015
For investors in yieldco stocks, it’s been a quick and wild ride. Two years ago, yield companies like TerraForm Power Inc. and NRG Yield Inc. were the newest, hottest thing for energy investors — a way to make steady returns off the booming clean energy sector. Share values soared after they were spun off by parent companies eager to cash in. Today, those same parent entities have put as much as $26 billion worth of sales to their affiliates on hold after the market value cratered. Given the drop in their values, yieldcos effectively have lost their sense of purpose, which was to use their shares to buy new plants. –Mark Chediak and Chris Martin, Bloomberg, 3 November 2015
In spring 2013 the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) published a brochure directed against journalists who reported on doubts about the predictions by the IPCC and PIK. Unusually for a government agency, the brochure mentions the names of some journalists whose articles allegedly “do not conform with the established scientific knowledge.” Martin Schneider, Chairman of the Science Press Conference (WPK) declared: “It is not for a government institution to determine which opinions may and which may not be expressed. Journalists may and must represent different positions, and they may and must again and again question established scientists.” Furthermore, it could not be the task of a public authority to declare, quasi officially, certain scientific positions as official truth. –Michael Miersch, Global Warming Policy Forum, 4 November 2015
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