Smog Hits Shanghai

Top stories

UK climate minister Amber Rudd admits UK won’t meet 2020 renewables target

Yesterday afternoon the news broke that the UK climate minister has admitted that renewables targets will not be met, in a leaked letter seen by The Ecologist and us over here at Energydesk. Minister Amber Rudd warned senior Tories that the “absence of a credible plan” to meet the target could trigger fines and judicial review from the EU Court of Justice. The BBC finds that government energy policies are to increase CO2 emissions and could even put up bills in the long run.

Coal on the rocks: Sector in crisis, Peabody investor risk, China imports tumble

It’s a bad week for Big Coal as Peabody Energy, one of the world’s biggest coal companies, has been found misleading its investors on the risks climate change could pose to its bottom line. It now must file revised shareholder disclosures to the US Securities and Exchange Commission with new language acknowledging that “concerns about the environmental impacts of coal combustion … could significantly affect demand for our products or our securities.”

Quartz’s Cassie Werber charts how 2015 is likely to be remembered as “the beginning of the end of coal”, as the FT reports that three coal companies have filed for bankruptcy in the past six months.

The news comes as the second-largest coal miner in the US, Arch Coal, is likely to file for bankruptcy amid $2bn 3rd-quarter losses and $5.1bn of debt.

And the OECD, which represents 34 of the world’s wealthiest countries, will meet next week in Paris to discuss a bold plan to scale back billions of dollars of support for coal power plants worldwide – possibly making about 1,000 cola plants ineligible for export credit agency backing.

Over in China, coal imports slumped 13% from the same period (Jan-Oct) last year, according to Platts. And HuffPo Green has head of the Natural Resources Defence Council Barbara Finnamore with seven things you should know about China’s coal consumption.

Global warming hits 1.02C, Obama Facebook climate video

The world has passed the halfway mark to the internationally agreed safe limit of 2C warming, representing “uncharted territory” according to the UK’s Met Office.

Head of climate monitoring at the office’s Hadley Centre Dr Peter Stott said, “These are the highest temperatures we have seen in our record, which goes back to 1850… It’s the first time I’ve seen such a big jump between one year and the next.”

And US President Obama has now got his very own Facebook page and has posted a video on it all about climate change.

Big Oil: IEA reports on prices and Exxon probe “insane”

The International Energy Agency has warned in its World Energy Outlook that low oil prices continuing to the end of the decade will derail efforts to reduce pollution blamed for warming. They also said that the oil price is unlikely to return to even $80 a barrel before 2020.

Exxon’s inquiry on what it knew about climate change will address what influence the company had on then-President George W. Bush not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, reports the New Scientist. And this Bloomberg View piece from Cass R. Sunsteinlooks at the the ethical obligations to the public of large corporations like Exxon.

And Fox News pitches into the Exxon investigation debate with from critics of the probe who decry it as “really an attempt to scare companies into silence”. Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress said “The investigation is insane…  The idea that we have a country such as the United States of America, and people are condemning companies for funding alternative ideas about climate change — is exactly backward.”

In other news

VW: EU asks company to provide emissions details within 10 days

After Keystone: What’s next on the environmental movement’s hit list?

India: Fishermen and farmers sue World Bank lending arm over power plant in India

Burst dam: BHP Billiton faces $1bn clean-up bill for Brazil disaster