Daily Archives: June 2, 2009

Kate Mackenzie

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Kate Mackenzie

The Waxman-Markey/ACES bill may have only made it through one of several big hurdles in Congress, but it’s already creating unhappiness in the blogosphere. Greenpeace criticised the bill a couple of weeks ago, arguing that the political compromises had made it too weak.

Now Joe Romm, formerly a senior Clinton government official on renewable energy and efficiency, is not happy. The Breakthrough Institute has gained a lot of coverage for its lengthy assessment of the legislation, which argues as it does not include a binding cap on emissions, the relevant sectors will continue to increase their emissions as they otherwise would. TBI hit back, accusing him of trying to “shut down the climate bill debate” and it has even set up a category devoted to the subject. Read more

Commodity markets pulled back on Tuesday, pausing for breath after a strong rally on Monday that lifted oil prices, copper and agricultural commodities to multi-month highs.

In energy markets, Nymex July West Texas Intermediate slipped below the $68 a barrel level to trade 60 cents lower at $67.98 after reaching 68.68 a barrel on Monday, a seven-month high. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

China will be the focus of this week’s international climate change talks in Bonn – part of many such meetings leading up to the Copenhagen meeting in December. As Fiona Harvey writes in today’s FT, the UN is stepping up its diplomatic efforts and developed countries – particularly the US but also Europe and Japan – are increasing the pressure on Beijing to agree to curb its rapid growth in greenhouse gas emissions. China says developed countries should bear much of the cost of reducing emissions because they have historically been the biggest contributors.

In particular, China wants developed countries to commit to a 40 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020; a contribution of 0.5 to 1 per cent of GDP to developing countries to aid with developing clean technology; and access to relevant technology and intellectual property.

None of those calls are meeting much acceptance from the wealthier countries. “The proposal has been privately dismissed by western diplomats as posturing, but in public officials have been careful to adopt a conciliatory tone,” Fiona Harvey writes. Even in public, they have been less than welcoming: Todd Stern last week said China must ‘be in the game’. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

GM and the US government are in overdrive reassuring the public and shareholders that the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection will not affect parts of the business such as product development – meaning plans for low emission cars such as the Chevy Volt are safe.  In fact vice-chairman Bob Lutz last week said it was great to have ‘the ear of the president’ and that the company’s long-running development of its electric car would continue.

A Detroit Free Press interview with GM’s group VP for global product planning, John F. Smith, gave a similar message:

“We’ve steadfastly retained all our core, high-volume vehicle and advanced-technology programs,” Smith said. “We foresee no impact on product development.”

Key programs such as new families of midsize, compact, subcompact and minicars are on schedule. So is the high-profile Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car due to go on sale in November 2010.

GM’s new chief executive, Fritz Henderson, explained the rationale behind this. Read more

James Fontanella-Khan

- Oil majors cut investment less than expected
Investment steady in spite of oil price drop (FT)

- Scramble to hedge commodities exposure
Companies grapple with soaring levels of risk (FT) Read more