Energy and Environment News Brief

Energy and Environment News Brief

October 28, 2014

Top Stories

Energy Outlook.  The Wall Street Journal reports that the trading unit of the state-run China National Petroleum Corporation is purchasing record volumes of crude oil on the open market in an effort to build strategic reserves of petroleum.  The strategy — which is part of a greater effort to boost China’s energy security — implies that China views the current oil price decline as temporary.  WSJ

Nuclear.  Several Chinese state-owned nuclear companies have gone public recently in efforts to raise capital and expand capacity.  The Wall Street Journal reviews the basic tariff and regulatory structure in place for nuclear power in China, and suggests that the political risks associated with nuclear power are too great for investors in the global IPO marketplace. WSJ

Op-Ed of the Day

Oil.  Michael Levi of Politico argues that the current “free-fall” of global oil-prices is good for the United States as the whole, but will have significantly different implications for Americans depending on state residency and occupation.  For example, the economic “stimulus” of lower oil prices will be greatest in states that consume more oil than they produce, and industries closely tied to the oil industry will be adversely affected.  Politico

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

October 27, 2014

Top Stories

Energy Policy.  The New York Times reports that the European Union Greenhouse Gas deal reached last Friday fell short of expectations largely due to the “complexity of managing a bloc of 28 member nations with widely varying energy systems”.  Additionally, the article notes that support for a green policy agenda has been weak among Europeans due to their stagnant economy, as well as fears that new regulations could worsen Europe’s declining international competitiveness.  NY Times

Energy Outlook.  According to researchers in Japan, melting Arctic sea ice over the past decade has doubled the chance of severe winters in Europe and Asia.  The findings support many scientists’ view that warmer-than-average global temperatures make storms more severe in some places and change the character of seasons in others.  Bloomberg

OP-ED of the Day

Climate Change.  Op-ed by Republican Senate candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina calls for business leaders to avoid succumbing to the pressures of “professional” climate activists.  Fiorina argues that business leaders should contribute to the public discourse surrounding climate change policy and not “let the urgency of a manufactured crisis direct their policy priorities”.  WP

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

October 24, 2014

Top Stories

EPA.  After a three year hold, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit lifted its hold on EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule. The Rule — which governs some air pollution that drifts across state lines — was upheld by the Supreme Court in April.  Politico

Energy Policy.  At yesterday’s EU meeting about energy and climate change policy, leaders committed to a legally-binding agenda to cut carbon emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. Additionally, the leaders agreed to raise the proportion of renewables in the EU’s energy mix to 27% compared with1990 levels, as well a 27% improvement in energy efficiency.  WSJ

 

OP-ED of the Day

Energy Outlook.  William Antholis and Han Chen of the Brookings Institute argue that President Obama’s “Climate Change legacy” will likely be greatly impacted by the results of the upcoming midterm congressional elections.  The authors assert that if Congressional Republicans succeed in undermining Obama’s EPA authority, future U.S. pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other such negotiations in next year’s Paris Climate Conference will lose credibility with foreign diplomats.  Brookings

 

Quote of the Week

“Here in the U.S., if we were to take off the table an existing source of carbon-free energy, it would simply be irresponsible.”

— Former Environmental Protection Agency chief Carol Browner in a statement about the need to maintain supplies of nuclear power.  (10.24.14)

Energy & Environment News

Energy & Environment News

October 23, 2014

Top Stories

 

Energy Policy.  The Wall Street Journal reports that the energy package up for vote at the EU’s meeting today will likely include concessions in order to avoid a veto by one of the member countries.  Additionally, reactions by businesses to the energy package have been split — some sectors have warned that it will drive up energy prices and harm competition, while others argue that it will help generate energy efficiency improvements across the board.  WSJ

Energy Security.  According to Treasury Department official David Cohen, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) brings in roughly $1 million per day from black market oil sales by extracting oil and then selling it to smugglers, who then proceed to transport the oil outside of ISIL’s strongholds.  The Treasury Department announced plans last month to “intensify [their] effort to undermine” these sales, and reports that these efforts have been mildly successful so far.  The Hill

OP-ED of the Day

Coal.  Marina Lou, legal adviser to Greenpeace International, discusses measures many countries are taking against corruption associated with the coal industry.  She argues that greater transparency within regulatory systems and greater accountability of national leaders are crucial to reduce this corruption and protect citizens who receive little benefit from natural resource exports.  Project Syndicate

Fact of the Week

Energy Outlook.  U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) have declined in five of the past eight years — largely due to emissions reductions in the electric power sector and historically low growth in electricity demand.  EIA

 

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

October 22, 2014

Top Stories

Energy Outlook. Disputes between Russia and Ukraine over natural gas have raised concerns in Europe that Russian oil piped through Ukraine will be interrupted in the coming winter. The disputes center around how much Ukraine owes for gas it has already consumed and how quickly the country needs to repay Russia, as well as the terms of future deliveries. NY Times

Energy Policy. Leaders of the European Union will meet tomorrow to “reassert their global leadership in climate protection”, but are divided about how to generate needed energy given tight budgets for green-energy projects and their diverse views on the role of natural gas and nuclear power. The leaders will be primarily discussing the 2030 climate and energy package, the goal of which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. NY Times

OP-ED of the Day

Energy Outlook. David Russell, contributor to The Hill, notes that declining oil prices are the norm for the foreseeable future and will serve as a direct stimulus to the United States economy. He argues that gasoline prices are likely to drop by over $1 per gallon in the coming year, which equates to $130 billion of money “in the hands of ordinary folk to spend on other things”. This “extra money” amounts to more than $320 billion if the ripple effects of extra buying power are accounted for. The Hill

Report of the Week

Energy Outlook. A new report from the American Action Forum, a research group aligned with Republicans, found that energy-producing states were able bounce back more quickly and successfully from the 2009 recession than states who imported most of their energy. The report argues that additional policies to encourage energy development would insulate the economy from future international disruptions. The Hill

 

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