Saturday, 27 June 2015

Climate change: six months to Paris >>> an nef overview >>> "The UK is now listed as the EU country furthest from its 2020 target."

The UN conference in Paris on climate change will be at the end of the year:
Futures Forum: Climate change: looking towards Paris

This is the latest from the New Economics Foundation:
New Economics Foundation

With fewer than six months to go until the UN climate summit in Paris, it’s worth asking: what’s been achieved in this very significant year for action on climate change? Recent news has certainly been positive, and from unusual suspects.

Wednesday saw the Dutch government set a new emissions target in a landmark judgement by their courts – a reminder to politicians of their constitutional duty to safeguard the environment and protect their citizens (we’ve written more on this here). In fact three quarters of the world’s constitutions include some provision on the protection of the environment.

This ruling comes just a week after Pope Francis made a strong moral judgement on inaction on climate change, calling for a swift and fair transition from fossil fuels. He even went viral, partly due to phrases like “the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth”. The divestment movement is still in full swing, too.

As demand for action gains ground, how are our current efforts measuring up? New analysis from the IEA shows that that nearly half of new worldwide electricity capacity added in 2014 was renewable, while Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) forecasts renewables will supply 56% of global power by 2040.

But even with this rollout of renewables the BNEF forecasts suggest the climate is still, in their words, “screwed”: current emissions reduction promises are far from enough to keep warming below 2C. Reasons for this are rapid demand growth in developing countries, causing coal capacity to mushroom despite an impressive renewable investment boom. The optimistic idea of natural gas as a bridging fuel is dismissed by BNEF as a lacking solution.

In Britain the government is now honouring its election pledge to axe subsidies for onshore wind, currently the cheapest form of renewables, a year early. This casts doubts over whether Britain will be able to meet its 2020 target of 15% renewable energy at a low cost. The UK is now listed as the EU country furthest from its 2020 target, something that may undermine any strong words in advance of the Paris talks.

While the science, the technology and the economics are all in favour of a transition, inaction and low ambition still rule the political game. When will our elected representatives catch up?

Best wishes,
Sandra Bernick
Co-editor, Energy Crunch

PS. Want to know more about that landmark court judgement in the Netherlands? Listen to me discuss its importance on BBC World Service’s World Business Report.

Three things you shouldn't miss this week

  1. Chart: Expected renewable energy deployment in member states compared to their 2020 EU renewable energy targets.
    EU Expected renewable energy deployment 2020
    Source: European commission
  2. Article: The Way Humans Get Electricity Is About to Change Forever - These six shifts will transform markets over the next 25 years.
  3. Article: Tories to end onshore windfarm subsidies in 2016 - Planned turbines in jeopardy after government announces plans a year early.

Energy Transition

IEA: Energy emissions can peak 10 years early, if fossil fuels targeted - It was possible without changing the economic and development prospects of any region and would come at no net economic cost, the IEA said in its Energy and Climate Change paper.
New record for UK renewables output - Renewable energy provided 13.4 GW, or 43%, of British electricity at 2pm on Saturday. I believe this is a new record.
EU climate chief criticises UK wind farm policy - The UK's decision to stop subsidising new onshore wind farms will make it harder to meet renewable energy targets, the EU's climate chief says.

Oil & Gas

Fracking poses 'significant' risk to humans and should be temporarily banned across EU, says new report - A major scientific study says the process uses toxic and carcinogenic chemicals and that an EU-wide ban should be issued until safeguards are in place.
Oil investors betting on crude hitting $82 per barrel - European hedge fund believes market for crude is oversold as demand picks up.


Tories to end onshore windfarm subsidies in 2016 - Planned turbines said to be in jeopardy after government announces it will stop subsidies next April, a year earlier than set out under coalition government.
UK offshore wind breezes past 5GW milestone - The UK's offshore wind capacity has passed 5GW for the first time, with the official inauguration of the Gwynt y Mor wind farm off the coast of North Wales.
U.K. May Get Negative Power Price by 2020 on Renewables Jump - Power prices in the U.K. may fall below zero during some hours before the end of the decade as intermittent renewable energy output is poised to soar.
Government trying to fast-track fracking without public consent - The Government is bidding to change the rules so local residents are no longer consulted at the testing stage.
Lancashire county council defers fracking decision - Councillors defer decision on Cuadrilla’s bid to undertake hydraulic fracturing for shale gas at Preston New Road, saying they need to seek further legal advice.
UK and France 'may miss EU renewable energy target' - Britain, France, Netherlands, Malta and Luxembourg are projected to miss binding goal of getting 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Austria to file legal complaint against UK's Hinkley Point nuclear plans - Austrian chancellor blasts UK project and says legal action is symbolic of his country's stance against nuclear power.
Government ordered to publish redacted fracking report in full - Heavily redacted report on the impact of fracking in the UK should be released in full, information commissioner tells environment department.
New Gatwick oil gusher claims 'mean nothing' says expert - Horse Hill investors issue new report of billions of barrels of oil under Surrey but experts remain sceptical of claims


Papal Encyclical: key statements on climate, energy and the environment - Here are the document's key statements on climate, energy and the environment.
Dutch government ordered to cut carbon emissions in landmark ruling - Dutch court orders state to reduce emissions by 25% within five years to protect its citizens from climate change in world’s first climate liability suit.
Coal crash: how pension funds face huge risk from climate change - The plummeting coal sector and a growing green divestment movement is leaving firms who still invest in fossil fuels and connected pension holders heavily exposed.


A Fairer Way to Fly - It’s estimated that 70% of the total number of flights are taken by only 15% of the population, while 57% of the population took no flights abroad whatsoever in 2013.

Related Reports and Commentary

New Energy Outlook 2015: Powering a Changing World - Summary - Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Energy and Climate Change – International Energy Agency
Managing Aviation Passenger Demand with a Frequent Flyer Levy – New Economics Foundation

Energy round-up: six months to go | New Economics Foundation

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