24 - 30 August 2012

General policy         

Court Strikes Down US EPA Rule on Coal Pollution

A U.S. appeals court on 22nd August overturned a key Obama administration rule to limit sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-burning power plants in 28 mostly Eastern states and Texas, in a 2-1 decision, sparking a rally in coal company shares and relief among utility firms.


Australia's opposition backs Kyoto 2

Australia's opposition Liberal party climate spokesman Greg Hunt on Thursday gave his "in principle" backing to signing up for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, making it easier for the under-fire government to sign the U.N. climate treaty.


Low-Carbon Infrastructure Investment Driving Green Economy 'Success Story'

The scale of the economic "success story" delivered by the UK's green businesses was highlighted today with the release of a major new Green Alliance report revealing how low-carbon industries are now among the UK's largest employers, accounting for almost 10 per cent of economic activity and how revenues, exports and infrastructure investment is all rising with it.


German Minister Mulls Slower Green Revolution

Germany may have to slow down its planned transformation to green energy, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said on Tuesday in an effort to assuage worries that consumers will bear the brunt of the immense costs of the switch from nuclear.


China to Spend USD372 Billion on Cutting Energy Use, Pollution

China will plough USD372 billion into energy conservation projects and anti-pollution measures over the next three-and-a-half years, part of a drive to cut energy consumption by 300 million tonnes of standard coal, the country's cabinet said Tuesday.


ADB Releases Environmental Analysis on China, Recommends Fiscal Reform For Green Growth

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has released an updated Country Environmental Analysis of China, titled “Toward an Environmentally Sustainable Future.” The 225-page report details the environmental achievements of China over the last five years, and current challenges including water pollution, water scarcity, and solid waste.


ESMAP Publication Focuses on Energy Access for the Urban Poor

The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) of the World Bank has published the report "Innovative Approaches to Energy Access for the Urban Poor: Summaries of best practices from case studies in four countries," which aims to address the lack of energy polices targeting growing populations of urban poor.


ADB Supports China's CCS Roadmap

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced it is assisting China in developing a carbon capture and storage (CCS) roadmap. The roadmap is intended to assist the country in achieving its carbon dioxide emission reduction goals.   


Changing Consumer Behaviour to Sustainability

Concerns about the sustainability of natural resources are rising, prompting policymakers and companies to encourage consumers to think green. Labelling is one way of doing this, but consumer groups advise against confronting shoppers with too much information and warn that green claims aren't always independently verified.


Romney Launches All-Out Assault on Green Jobs

Republican Presidential hopeful slams Obama's green jobs record and vows to tear up environmental protection rules.


Industry, business and utilities         

UK Launches EUR20m Low-Carbon Fund for SMEs

The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change has created a €20 million fund for small and medium businesses to provide an injection of cash to help drive innovation and uptake of low-carbon technologies. Energy efficiency technologies are among those supported by the Entrepreneurs Fund, taking EUR12 million from the first chunk of available money, which is now open to applications. 


Private Sector Must Fund Bulk of Green Energy

Most of the funding for Europe's push into green energy needs to come from the private sector, the president of the EU's long-term lending arm said on Monday, adding that the continent's credibility hinged on its ability to manage the shift.


Coal Plants Still Pressured Despite Romney Plan, EPA Court Loss

US Coal-fired power plants will face pressure and in some cases closure despite Republican candidate Romney’s energy plan which is favourable to the industry, and the U.S. court decision to strike down an Environmental Protection Agency rule that placed tight curbs on power plant emissions across states borders.


Peru May Give Environment Ministry More Power Over New Mines

President Ollanta Humala has sent a bill to Congress that would give the environment ministry more power to approve or reject new mines in Peru, an overhaul that critics say is long overdue.


UK Energy Supplier Announces 9% Price Rise

SEE, a “big six” energy supplier, announced on Wednesday that it was increasing electricity and gas prices 9 per cent from October 15, in a move consumer groups said could drive more cash-strapped households into fuel poverty.


Building the Largest U.S. Energy Efficiency Project

An energy efficiency project at Norpac, a paper manufacturer in Longview, Washington, has been identified as potentially the largest of its kind in the United States, saving more energy than any reported project.


Risky Operations Affect Oil Firm Green Ratings

Oil and gas companies have in general received low sustainability ratings in a new analysis of the sector published this week by Oekom Research. The highest scores among integrated oil and gas firms were given to Austria’s OMV, French firm Total and the US-based Hess Corp, all of which were given a B-. Some firms with more limited operations achieved slightly higher scores.


Hungary Defies EU Over Energy Distribution Rules

Hungary expects “a big debate” with the European Union over its plans to transform energy distribution in the household sector into a "non-profit activity", the country’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on 22 August. In Brussels, the European Commission declined to comment, saying it learnt of the plans from the press.


Italy Miners Barricade Themselves Underground With Explosives

Up to 100 Sardinian miners armed with hundreds of kilograms of explosives have barricaded themselves nearly 400 metres underground in Italy's only coal mine to put pressure on the Rome government to protect its survival.


Japan's MOE Promoting 'Super Cool Biz' Campaign for 2012 to Help Save Energy

Japan's Ministry of the Environment announced on May 25, 2012, that it would promote its "Super Cool Biz" campaign for 2012, which encourages people to change their fashions and habits at the workplace, by wearing more casually and shifting working hours. The activities aim for living more comfortably at a room temperature of 28 degrees Celsius in summer.


Danish Glasshouses Renew Energy Agreement

The Danish Energy and Horticultural Agencies have signed a new 3 year industry agreement on energy efficiency. The first 3-year agreement on energy efficiency in glasshouse horticulture having been signed in 1996, this encourage growers to reduce their energy consumption by nearly 40 percent.



US Energy Department Partnership to Certify Zero Net-Energy Ready Homes

The US Energy Department has announced a new partnership between its Challenge Home program and the Passive House Institute US for a voluntary certification process for energy-efficient homes. The partnership will streamline certifications for homes that can offset most or all of their utility bills with a small renewable energy system.


 Majority of UK Unaware of Smart Meters, Research Shows

The majority of people in the UK have never heard of smart meters, despite plans by the government and energy companies to install them in all of the country's 30m homes by 2019, a series of government-commissioned surveys reveal.


Tokyo Metropolitan Government Establishes Benchmark to Increase Low-Carbon Buildings

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) announced on May 28, 2012, that it has established an evaluation index (benchmark) that can compare and evaluate emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by existing small- and medium-sized tenant buildings. It is part of the TMG's transition policy to realize a "smart energy city," which is low-carbon, strong against natural disasters, and comfortable.


Japanese City to Start Leasing Rooftop Space for Solar Power Generation

Ashikaga City of Tochigi Prefecture in Japan announced on May 9, 2012, that it will start leasing rooftop space on public facilities for solar power generation. The new project involves "generating electricity," one of the three pillars for improving the Ashikaga Residential Power Generation Plan that the City has been promoting.



U.S. Sets Higher Fuel Efficiency Standards

The Obama administration issued on Tuesday the final version of new rules that require automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks by 2025. The standards will increase the pressure on auto manufacturers to pursue electrified vehicles as well as sharply improve the mileage of their mass-market models through efficient engines and lighter car bodies.


Shipping Companies Make CO2 Progress

According to figures released by the Clean Cargo initiative, a ten-year-old industry programme that measures and reports on the environmental impact of companies in the shipping sector, ocean shipping companies achieved a drop of more than five per cent in terms of grammes of carbon dioxide emitted per kilometre travelled by cargo at sea when compared with 2010.


Marine Fuel Rules Could Cost Billions, Analysts Say

A European crackdown on pollution from ships will require billions worth of investment by shipping firms on filter technology and by refineries on upgrades to produce cleaner fuels - burdens the industries say they can ill afford.


Plastic-Powered Plane to Fly From Sydney to London

A British adventurer hopes to help change the face of the airline industry by completing a record-breaking flight from Sydney to London in a single engine aircraft powered entirely by fuel made from plastic waste.


US Rule Set to Slash Cars’ Fuel Use

New fuel economy standards for cars to be announced by the US administration are expected to cut consumption of petrol and diesel by up to 18 per cent over the coming decades, according to an official study, but are courting controversy.


U.S. Electric Battery Company secures Chinese Bailout

A123 Systems, a maker of innovative electric car batteries, is located in Walton, Massachusetts and was facing financial failure as a result of a major recall of defective batteries.1 A123 had been seeking new investors for a number of months. The chief executive of A 123 Systems indicated that they had found a new investor in Wanxiang, who is one of the largest auto suppliers in China.


Singapore to Move to Cleaner Fuels by 2014

Singapore will move towards cleaner fuel and reduce sulphur emissions from cars and industries by 2014 in a bid to keep up with global changes, the country's National Environment Agency said.


Obama Hails Tough New Fuel Rules

The Obama administration has confirmed plans to adopt new Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (Cafe) standards, which demand a near-doubling of average fuel efficiency by 2025, in a high-profile announcement underlining the importance of auto industry policy to this autumn’s election.



India Approves USD4.1 Billion Green Vehicle Push Over Eight Years

India's government has approved a 230 billion rupee ($4.13 billion) plan to spur electric and hybrid vehicle production over the next eight years, setting itself an ambitious target of 6 million vehicles by 2020.


Appliances and equipment         

Commission Prepares To Update TV Energy Rules

The European Commission has recommended new energy efficiency standards for televisions for 2014, 2015 and 2017 ahead of a consultation forum on 8 October.


Showa Denko to Market New LED-Based Plant Cultivation Method

Showa Denko K.K., a major Japanese chemical company, announced that it would start licensing a new method of cultivating plants under light-emitting diodes (LEDs), called the "Shigyo Method," which it has developed jointly with the Faculty of Agriculture at Yamaguchi University, and sell cultivation equipment based on the new method.


Newly Developed NTT Technology Opens Door to Thin LED Production

In a world first, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) announced on April 11, 2012, that it had developed gallium nitride (GaN)-based thin-film devices, an element generally used with light-emitting diode (LED), from a substrate for layer growth.


Emissions trading/Carbon market         

EU and Australia Agree Emissions Trading Link

Discussions will aim to make allowances transferable between the two emissions trading schemes by July 2018. A partial link could apply from 2015.



Australia Scraps Carbon Floor Price, Agrees EU Link

Australia and the European Commission on Tuesday agreed to link their carbon trading schemes by 2018, allowing Australian companies to buy cheaper EU carbon credits and providing a much-needed boost for the flagging European market.


Australia Could Face CER Ban: Study

Australia could be barred from buying U.N.-issued carbon offsets if it doesn’t sign up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, an outcome that would likely lead to a price spike in the country's emerging carbon market, according to a new study.


NZ Moves on Bill to Weaken Emissions Trading Scheme

The New Zealand government has introduced to parliament a bill that will indefinitely shield companies from tougher CO2 targets, saying the emissions trading scheme (ETS) must support economic growth.


 Poland Says it May Have Allies in ETS Opposition

The European Commission's proposal to back-load allowances from auctions in phase 3 of the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) may not receive a qualified majority in member state negotiations, Poland's environment minister Marcin Korolec said.


Romania Withdraws Legal Claim for 100 Mln CO2 Permits

Romania has dropped a lawsuit against the EU Commission over how many carbon permits it can allocate to its biggest emitting countries under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), ending a five year dispute with the scheme’s regulator, said a spokesman with the European Court of Justice.


National Plans on ETS Cash Slowly Emerging

A picture of how EU countries intend to use future revenues from the auctioning of carbon allowances is beginning to emerge, although few seem to have issued concrete plans.


Pressure Grows For California to Hand Out More CO2 Permits

California air regulators are facing growing pressure to up the number of carbon permits they hand out for free in the state’s coming carbon cap-and-trade program, a move that would please regulated businesses but could raise the risk that the state will repeat the EU's mistakes when it implemented its own carbon market years ago.


Industry Resistance Delays Rio Carbon Market Start to 2014

Brazil’s second largest state Rio de Janeiro has delayed the start of its carbon cap-and-trade system by one year to 2014 under pressure from local industry, which it says will increase operation costs for companies, a state official said.


California to Test Carbon Trading System

California will on Thursday test its electronic platform for selling carbon allowances to companies covered by its carbon cap-and-trade program, part of a dry run prior to its first auction in November.


Russia Issues 11.2 Million Carbon Credits in August

Russia has awarded 11.2 million Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) to seven projects since Aug. 10, government data showed on Tuesday, up sharply from the 1.7 million credits handed out in its previous round of issuance.


Climate change negotiations         

Finance Key as U.N. Talks on Climate Deal Resume

The U.S., Japan and the EU will come under pressure this week to pledge billions of dollars a year from 2013 to help the world’s poorest nations fight climate change, as negotiators from more than 190 countries meet to advance talks on a new global climate pact.


Arctic Sea Ice Levels to Reach Record Low, by Some Estimates

The dramatic melt expected over the next week signals that global warming is having a major impact on the polar region.


Antarctic Methane Could Worsen Global Warming: Scientists

Large volumes of the greenhouse gas methane could have been produced under the Antarctic Ice Sheet over millions of years, which could add to global warming if released into the atmosphere by a thaw, a study said on 29 August.


Delayed Climate Fund Meeting Agrees Chairs

The board of the Green Climate Fund agreed a number of administrative details at its meeting last week. A decision on a host country for the fund has to be made before the end of the year.


Oslo Urges Brazil, Indonesia to Keep Forest Protection

Norway's environment minister on Friday urged Brazil and Indonesia to avoid backtracking on policies to protect tropical forests, saying up to $2 billion in aid promised by Oslo hinged on proof of slower rates of forest clearance.


US EPA Awards USD9 Million to 13 Universities For Climate Change Impacts Research

The US EPA announced on August 22 that it awarded USD9 million in grants to fund 13 universities for technologies that can help predict and prepare for the impacts of extreme weather triggered by climate change may have on air and water quality.


Continued Delays for EU-Funded CCS Projects

The carbon capture and storage projects supported by an EU economic recovery fund are still behind schedule, according to a European Commission report.