Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

July 15, 2015

Top Stories

Energy Policy.  Today marks the 17th day of talks between Iran and six major powers in efforts to establish a deal that would block Iran’s near-term path to construction of a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting international sanctions.  While European officials suggested that Monday was a “make-or-break” day for the negotiations, U.S. diplomats aren’t pressured to walk away from talks so long as the parties continue to make progress. WSJ

Energy Outlook.  The Financial Times reports that the falling price of crude oil endangers poorer nations’ ability to switch to renewable energy.   This is particularly relevant for island countries and smaller countries in Africa, which rely heavily on expensive and polluting diesel, heavy fuel oil, and/or kerosene and have slowed efforts to move towards renewables now that savings in these investments have become less obvious.  FT

Oil.  OPEC cut its demand forecast for crude this year to 29.2 million a day — a level far below its previous 2015 projection, as well as its current output.  The cartel also increased its forecast of non-OPEC supply growth this year, while also increasing its forecast for world oil demand in 2015.  WSJ

Climate Change.  In response to pleas from activists and business leaders across the west, President Obama used executive power to designate three new national monuments that will cover more than a million acres in California, Texas, and Nevada.  The sites were named monuments rather than parks because the associated bill was not authorized by Congress.  WSJ

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

July 13, 2015

Top Stories

Energy Policy.  Today marks the 17th day of talks between Iran and six major powers in efforts to establish a deal that would block Iran’s near-term path to construction of a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting international sanctions.  While European officials suggested that Monday was a “make-or-break” day for the negotiations, U.S. diplomats aren’t pressured to walk away from talks so long as the parties continue to make progress. WSJ

Energy Outlook.  The Financial Times reports that the falling price of crude oil endangers poorer nations’ ability to switch to renewable energy.   This is particularly relevant for island countries and smaller countries in Africa, which rely heavily on expensive and polluting diesel, heavy fuel oil, and/or kerosene and have slowed efforts to move towards renewables now that savings in these investments have become less obvious.  FT

Oil.  OPEC cut its demand forecast for crude this year to 29.2 million a day — a level far below its previous 2015 projection, as well as its current output.  The cartel also increased its forecast of non-OPEC supply growth this year, while also increasing its forecast for world oil demand in 2015.  WSJ

Climate Change.  In response to pleas from activists and business leaders across the west, President Obama used executive power to designate three new national monuments that will cover more than a million acres in California, Texas, and Nevada.  The sites were named monuments rather than parks because the associated bill was not authorized by Congress.  WSJ

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

July 10, 2015

Top Stories

Energy Outlook.  The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that while world demand for oil will continue to grow, it is likely to do so at a slower pace over the next two years.  Coupled with near record-high supply volumes from the Middle East, Russia, and the United States, IEA warns that this slowdown in demand is likely to drive down crude prices for a second time.  WSJ

Energy Policy.  Several Republican governors who are running for president have threatened to ignore forthcoming EPA regulations that would limit power plant emissions.  To date, Republican candidates have hesitated to make such provocative threats, and many question whether such resistance will be a winning political strategy for the GOP amid increased public concern over global warming.  WP

Energy Outlook.  The Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. consumption of gasoline has surged to more than 9.5 million barrels per day (bpd) over the last four weeks — approximately 250,000 bpd above the 10-year seasonal average.  While traffic volumes on U.S. highways are at least three percent higher than one year ago, there has also been a pick-up in demand for larger vehicles with relatively high fuel consumption per mile.  Reuters

Oil.  Russian natural gas exporter Gazprom recently canceled its $2.6 billion deal with an Italian contractor to build a pipeline under the Black Sea as part of a larger pipeline project connecting Russia and Turkey.  Some analysts report that the cancellation could delay the project — also known as “Turkish Stream” — at least six months as Gazprom seeks other potential contractors.  NY Times

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

July 8, 2015

Top Stories

Energy Policy.  International parties negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran failed to meet Tuesday’s deadline extension, leading the White House to consider continuing talks with an open-ended diplomatic process while keeping in place a November 2013 interim agreement that provided Iran with limited sanctions relief in exchange for rolling back parts of its nuclear program.  This outcome is supported by Israel and some influential Republicans — including chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN).  WSJ

Energy Policy.  In negotiations last week, Germany opted to preserve its coal industry and maintain the resource as its largest fuel source for power generation for at least another decade.  Nick Butler of the Financial Times asserts that the package is a clear political calculation in anticipation of Germany’s 2017 election — it avoids the prospect of heavy job losses in the coal industry itself and in coal-fired power plants, but hurts foreign suppliers of natural gas who coincidentally will not be voting.  FT

Energy Outlook.  Forbes reports that the automotive industry develops new fuel-efficient cars each year, while the airline industry has evolved at a considerably lower pace given that changes in design take longer to incorporate in planes.  According to the EPA, almost one-third of global aircraft emissions originated from U.S. aircraft — a figure that won’t change unless airlines begin to use a lower GHG fuel source or phase in more efficient models.  Forbes

Climate Change.  A recent study reports that record-breaking rainfall events around the world in recent weeks are largely attributable to long-term global warming.  While wet regions have seen greater increases in record downpours, drier regions have experienced record dry spells — which fits expectations for how much water the atmosphere is able to store when temperatures rise.  Bloomberg

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

July 7, 2015

Top Stories

Energy Policy.  Today the Obama administration announced an initiative to triple the capacity of solar and other renewable energy systems installed in federally subsidized housing by 2020.  The White House has received more than $520 million in donations from charities, investors, states, and cities to help low- and middle-income Americans gain access to alternative energy.  NY Times

Oil.  Russia has secured up to $10 billion in investments from Saudi Arabia — its oil-producing rival — as part of a larger effort to replace Western funding recently strained by sanctions.  Although the key investments will take place on Russian territory,  Moscow also plans to invest in Saudi Arabia, which it considers to be a very promising market.  WSJ

Energy Policy.  The Chinese government is offering many of its private companies the opportunity to explore some of its oil and gas blocks in efforts to open the nation’s energy resources to private investment.  Experts believe that the initiative is a positive first step in reforming China’s state-dominated oil and gas sector, but warn that its success will likely depend on the quality of the reserves offered.  WSJ

Energy Outlook.  A new report analyzing the contributions of nuclear energy to the U.S. economy finds that nuclear energy plants contribute about $60 billion annually to GDP and over $100 billion in gross output.  Furthermore, the report finds that when compared with coal and natural gas, nuclear power avoids 573 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, keeps retail electricity prices about 6% lower, and is more resilient against climatic changes and severe weather events than any other energy source.  Forbes