The White House underlined its support for biofuels today, forming a Biofuels Interagency Working Group that will include the Secretaries of Agriculture and Energy, as well as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The group is to develop the country’s first comprehensive biofuels market development program, while also providing financial assistance, such as helping to refinance troubled biofuel factories and guaranteeing loans for new bio-refineries. It also will help build a market for biofuels products by developing policies to increase flexible fuel vehicle production and assist in retail marketing efforts.
The timing could not be better. The National Biodiesel Board noted yesterday that a review of the March biodiesel production numbers show commercial biodiesel production fell to 30m gallons. That trend, if it continues, could well reduce industry production to half of the 700m gallons produced last year, the board said. The White House wants the biofuels industry, like all alternative energy industries, to grow, not contract.
Low-energy light bulbs have been the subject of increasing controversy as we draw closer to the date when the UK and the European Union have decided to phase out incandescent bulbs in favour of the more efficient variety.
Complaints over the quality, size and shape of low-energy bulbs, and about the kind of light they give out, and claims that the bulbs contain a list of nasty substances, (overdone claims, according to the scientists) have exercised sections of the British press. (Who knew that incandescent lightbulbs had inspired such love and devotion?)
Now energy-efficient lightbulbs are coming under attack for a different reason.
Far too many are being given out free to consumers.
Environmentalists and the Mafia make strange bedfellows in the pursuit of wind power in Sicily. You could be forgiven for wondering if the notorious Italian gangs have belatedly developed a conscience. In reality this episode serves to highlight the deep contradictions in European policies towards renewable energy.
Australia has now committed to cut its emissions by 15 to 25 per cent, compared with 2000 levels, by 2020. But is this commitment all that it seems?
Australia’s commitment appears still much weaker than that of other countries such as the European Union. Under the Kyoto protocol, Australia was allowed to increase its greenhouse gas emissions, and did so. Although for years, until the election of Mr Rudd in 2007, the country refused to ratify the protocol, it was – ironically – always on track to meet its commitments.
What effect will the delay to the start of the Australian emissions trading scheme have?
Kevin Rudd’s government made the U-turn on Monday, announcing the introduction of the scheme would be put off by one year to mid-2011. It was embarrassing for the prime minister as only recently he insisted said any change to the original plan would be “irresponsible”.
However, in a nod to proponents of stronger action on climate change – and don’t forget that global warming was a big part of Mr Rudd’s election campaign – the government said it would raise its target on emissions reduction.
As almost 20,000 flock to the world’s biggest wind power conference in Chicago this week, it is not surprising that oil and gas executives in a survey of alternative energy from KPMG say they believe wind will be the biggest winner from President Obama’s policies.
Almost two years ago, I took a look at the fledgling market in carbon offsetting and discovered a lot of rather peculiar practices: companies selling offsets that resulted in no net emissions savings; companies asking consumers to pay them to cut their pollution; companies reaping massive rewards in carbon credits for a tiny outlay. All of these practices, it should be noted, are perfectly legal.
The idea behind offsetting is sound – you pay someone else to make an emissions cut because that is cheaper than you cutting emisions yourself.
- Royal Dutch Shell at risk of investor pay revolt
Investor advisory groups raise concerns over board pay (FT)
- Mafia link to Sicily wind farms probed
EU subsidies lure organised crime (FT)
- Green energy tangled in web of shady deals
Italian investigators try to track gangs (FT)
- Obama faces climate test with EPA rule on ethanol
Agency to rule this week on whether fuel cuts emissions (Reuters)
- US lawmakers to consider bill for disposing nuclear waste
Options include reprocessing and long-term storage near plants (Platts)
- Iraq’s prime minister supports Total’s oil-exploration bid
Al-Maliki says he wants company to sign contract in June (Bloomberg)
- Siemens to build wind-turbine factory in Kansas
Company aims to catch up to GE and Vestas (WSJ)
- Australia delays carbon emissions limits
Promises more industry support (FT)