Yellow river coal water
Greenpeace/Lu Guang

On Energydesk

In pictures: China coal industry pollutes the Yellow River basin

The impacts of mining operations near to the Huangpuchuan River in Inner Mongolia have been caught on camera – birds dying by contaminated water, and the struggles of local fishermen and farmers.

Top 3 stories

1) David Cameron calls for an end to onshore wind subsidies

The PM said lots of energy things as he was grilled by the Liaison Committee yesterday. Cameron stressed the limitations of clean energies like renewables and nuclear, saying “the sun doesn’t shine enough,” reports RT.

He announced that he would end subsidies for onshore wind turbines because the British people are “fed up” and “enough is enough”, reports the BBC.

He’ll introduce “a tax regime to encourage” fracking to get on with it – despite the efforts of anti-shale zealots – and the British people will come to like it.

You can watch the entire session here.

Meanwhile the government held its first capacity market auction yesterday, Carbon Brief reports.

And the biggest battery in Europe has been switched on over in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, reports the BBC, in a trial that will indicate the near-term viability of using local storage rather than the National Grid.

2) Oil crisis leads to mergers and acquisitions

First off, the price of Brent Crude currently sits at around $59.70.

Now comes the time for M&A, according to the Financial Times, with the energy industry readying for a series of deals.

First to strike is Spanish oil and gas company Repsol, who last night confirmed the $8.3 billion purchase of Talisman Energy, Canada’s fifth largest independent oil producer, reports Reuters.

3) And also defaults, layoffs, and a changing of the guard

Bloomberg believes the plunge in oil price will see the number of debt defaults double, especially if US oil (WTI) hits $50 a barrel.

Russia’s troubles are well documented, the latest is Putin refusing to cut the country’s oil production and gas giant Gazprom possibly getting rid of a quarter of its employees (around 100,000), reports The Times.

Meanwhile the FT says OPEC is increasingly irrelevant, and Quartz asks how this whole thing is going to end.

In (lots of) other news

  • The US introduces steep tariffs on Chinese solar panels, says the NYT.
  • Environmental policies likely improve rather than reduce productivity, according to OECD via Business Green.
  • European coal use this year dropped to its lowest point since 2009, reports Bloomberg.
  • France’s right-wing National Front has launched a new environmental movement – ‘New Ecology’ – that will oppose international climate negotiations and champion French nuclear, reports EurActive.
  • Scientists say Europe’s hottest year on record was caused by greenhouse gas emissions, the Guardian reports.
  • Climate change will cause an increasing number of blackouts across the US, writes the Daily Mail. And there’s a map: