Daily Archives: April 21, 2009

Kate Mackenzie

The US begins a rather epic week of energy-related Congressional hearings today; 54 witnesses are expected to testify at hearings before the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

They will be considering the carbon cap-and-trade proposal included in a bill outlined by Democratic congressmen Henry Waxman and Ed Markey three weeks ago.

The line-up includes EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, Transportation secretary Steve LaHood, energy secretary Stephen Chu, and… Al Gore. Industry representatives, including Duke Energy Chairman President and chief executive Jim Roger, are also expected to testify.

Kate Mackenzie

On Energy Source:

UK Budget: Not much of a green stimulus, but that may be a relief

The long road to credibility for new modes of transport

Clean energy investment in 2009: Spain is the winner, so far

China’s coal industry needs a scrub, says IEA

Halliburton, small oil and picking up bargains

The politics of the EPA’s greenhouse gas decision


Russia: Surgut ‘faces Mol lockout’ Local media report that the Russian producer may be prevented the AGM of Mol, the Hungarian oil company in which it bought a 21 per cent stake (UpstreamOnline)

Science: Cold fusion is hot again: Excitement flares up about the widely discredited science, amid reports of successful ‘nuclear effect’ experiments and an episode of 60 Minutes (CNet)

Politics: Nader: Green agenda must be better articulated: Former Green presidential candidate Ralph Nader says the ‘language of the marketplace’ should be used (Consumer Energy Report)

ETS: Australia’s scheme will pay you to drive your car: In attempting to head off petrol populism, the government may end up paying out for people to drive (Crikey)

China: Fast and loose: China is not, contrary to some reports, engaging in a major shift of focus to becoming a sustainable economy (China Environmental Law)

Kate Mackenzie

The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision that carbon dioxide and five other gases contribute to climate change, and should therefore be regulated, sparked predictable excitement from the green movement and outrage from groups representing carbon emitters.

As we pointed out on Friday, it won’t be clear for quite some time what this means in terms of regulation.

But John Kemp at Reuters believes that administration officials are talking up that lengthy time frame to reassure legislators and business organisations, while telling green groups that they are prepared to go ahead with measures to regulate greenhouse gases even if supporting legislation is not passed.

Part of the complexity of the decision, he says, relates to the components of the Clean Air Act, which is in fact a series of laws passed over three decades. They divide into Title I of the Act, Air Pollution Prevention and Control, and Title II, Emission Standards for Moving Sources.Title I covers all sources of pollution, but Title II applies primarily to motor vehicle.

Sheila McNulty

The steep drop in US drilling is starting to hit home. Halliburton, one of the world’s biggest oil services companies, said on Monday its net income was $378m in the first quarter, down from $580m in the year-earlier period.

Dave Lesar, chairman, president and chief executive, noted the falling north American rig count and the price erosion that this was causing for oil services.

Halliburton is just one of many feeling the impact. Most hit are the small oil and gas companies that drill 90 per cent of US wells.

Kate Mackenzie

The UK’s total investment in renewable energy has fallen sharply in 2009, research from New Energy Finance shows, which meant it fell in NEF’s international rankings from 5th place in 2008 to 15th place, behind Bulgaria and Peru. After investment of £2.5bn last year, the UK saw only £138m of investment in the first quarter of 2009.

The figures show it is Spain that has something to boast about; it has gone from second to first place, pushing aside the US, where congressional hearings on  a clean energy draft bill begin tomorrow.

There was scepticism from NEF that the UK would reach its target of achieving a 26 per cent reduction in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020, and from Cambridge Econometrics that the UK would reach its EU target of 15 per cent of energy coming from renewable sources by 2020. And this is despite the recession which is expected to take about 3 per cent per year off emissions with no effort from policymakers.

James Fontanella-Khan

Energy news from elsewhere:

- Goldman forecasts oil at $45 before it rises to $65 (Bloomberg)

- Russia to present new energy security document, says Medvedev (Platts)

- China considers setting targets for carbon emissions (Guardian)

- ArcelorMittal said to cut capacity at Indian plant (Bloomberg)

James Fontanella-Khan

Energy news from the FT:

- Rio Tinto stands by Chinalco deal
Jan du Plessis, Rio’s new chairman, says deal would be his priority

- Lex: Rio Tinto
Good news is bad news for Tom Albanese

- EDF accused of spying on anti-nuclear groups
Nuclear operator allegedly paid investigators to infiltrate groups around Europe

- Business Life: Into a low-carbon future
Collaboration is helping the development of sustainable new businesses

- China rules out pursuit of African farmland
Beijing says it prefers to depend on its own land to maintain self-sufficiency

- Gold rush in the suburbs as shine disappears from US economy
North Americans are flocking home parties to sell valuables

- Chile’s upgrade a reward for saving its copper
Country stashed extraordinary profits from sales of the red metal

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