Top 3 stories
1) Majority of fossil fuels need to stay in the ground under 2 degrees C target, study says
Covered just about everywhere from the Daily Mail to the Guardian, a study published in Nature has revealed in more detail than previous research what fossil fuel reserves need to say buried where in the world.
In summary the report, published in Nature, said that more than 80% of coal, 50% of gas and 30% of oil reserves are “unburnable” for a 50/50 chance to limit global warming to no more than 2C, the BBC reported.
The report breaks down which countries need to hold off exploiting their fossil fuel resources in detail – with China, Russia, the United States and the Middle East hardest hit. The study also rules out drilling in the Arctic.
Lead researcher Dr Christophe McGlade, of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources said:
“Policy makers must realise that their instincts to completely use the fossil fuels within their countries are wholly incompatible with their commitments to the 2C goal.”
Professor Paul Ekins, an economist and director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, questioned whether energy companies should have spent £430 billion in 2013 searching for fossil fuels that cannot be burned.
Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, told the Mail leaving the fuels in the ground was unrealistic.
The Guardian highlights that major fossil fuel companies face the risk that significant parts of their reserves will become worthless if they must stay in the ground, with Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Exxaro owning huge coal reserves and Lukoil, Exxon Mobil, BP, Gazprom and Chevron owning massive oil and gas reserves.
Grist wins the award for funniest headline: “Leave the damn fossil fuels in the ground, says big nerdy study”.
Meanwhile, UK energy secretary Ed Davey told MPs yesterday he feared the Paris climate talks later this year will not be able to secure a world with 2 degrees of global warming.
2) Eurozone energy prices fall – but will savings be passed on to consumers?
Inflation in the eurozone has turned negative with prices in December 0.2% lower than the same month a year earlier. The fall was driven mainly by lower energy costs due to the plunging price of oil, according to the BBC.
The Telegraph focuses on whether the growing gap between wholesale prices and bills will be closed as the result of a Treasury invesigation.
A energy price comparison site suggested the price falls, if passed on, could save the average customer save £140 on their bill, the Guardian reports.
The chancellor, George Osbourne, warned in a tweet:
Oil price was $53 pbl last night – lowest in 5yrs. Vital this is passed on to families at petrol pumps, through utility bills and air fares
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) January 6, 2015
Meanwhile, the rapid decline in oil prices could be a boon for renewables projects, reports The Engineer.
3) Coal mine closures and job losses planned in Poland
Kompania Weglowa SA, the European Union’s biggest coal producer, will cut 4,800 jobs, close mines and get financial aid from state-owned power utilities after the Polish government backed a rescue plan for its third-largest employer reports Bloomberg.
The cost of restructuring the group is expected to be 2.3 billion zlotys ($631.24 million) in 2015-2016, Reuters writes.
In other news
In 2014, wind-generated energy made up 39.1% of Denmark’s overall electricity consumption, making the country the world’s leading nation in wind-based power usage, reports EurActiv.
In the UK a proposed amendment to the Infrastructure Bill by Labour would see fracking prohibited on the land that collects the nation’s drinking water, the Guardian reports.
Wave energy integration costs in the Pacific Northwest of the US should compare favorably to other energy sources according to a new study.
Big energy companies are investing in energy storage startups, with Stem and Total Energy Ventures investing millions this week into two startups, Forbes reports.
California is to source 50% of energy from renewables by 2050, says Climate Action.
The coal miner in India strike is off, the BBC reports.