The Crossing

Top 4 stories

1) US push for Arctic drilling

As Royal Dutch Shell is moving its oil rigs to Alaska in anticipation of the possible resumption of controversial drilling activities – ahead of the green light from US authorities, Reuters points out – a US Department of Energy report has urged the exploitation of Arctic oil to take the place of oil from fracking, which it says is on the way out, DeSmog and Fuelfix report.

CTV News writes the US is pushing for Arctic oil drilling “despite low prices and recent mishaps” while The Telegraph makes the economic case for Arctic drilling.

A recent Nature paper ruled out Arctic drilling on climate grounds.

In related news, the oil price has dropped – on Friday Brent dropped to $56 per barrel and US oil to $48, the WSJ reports. Reuters writes that once-bullish fund managers have started to concede oil prices will stay low for as long as a year or more because of a global glut.

2) UK renewables boosted

Almost 20% of the electricity the UK produced last year came from renewables, Quartz reports, while renewables provided Scotland with almost half its electricity last year.

The Renewables Infrastructure Group, a London-based fund that has invested in solar and wind in the UK and abroad, is boosting its latest share offer to 102.25 million pounds ($152 million) in response to investor demand, Bloomberg reports.

Britain and Norway are going to build the world’s longest power cable in order boost Britain’s renewable energy supplies, reports the IB Times, while a ‘surf and turf’ project combining tidal and wind power in Orkney has received a £1.35 million grant, Click Green reports.

A survey of power industry workers has found 80% believe that the electricity system can be 70% renewable by 2050 – creating a massive opportunity for software using communication technology to manage the flow of energy from storage and distributed generation facilities to meet demand on the grid, according to Business Green.

3) Mexico and Norway make climate pledges

Mexico has vowed to slash its output of greenhouse gases and make 2026 its peak emissions year, an ambitious goal and the first one submitted by an emerging-market country in the runup to December’s global climate conference in Paris, Washington Post writes.

Also last Friday, Norway has submitted its pledge to cut greenhouse gas levels 40% on 1990 levels by 2030 to the UN, ahead of a proposed global agreement scheduled to be signed off in December, according to RTCC, which also has a handy roundup of who has pledged what ahead of the talks.

Meanwhile Australia’s climate change policy is on course for ‘disastrous’ 4C warming - reports the Guardian – as Abbott’s government put out a climate policy discussion paper with no mention of the internationally-agreed 2 degree goal.

4) India could overtake China as the world’s biggest coal importer

India, the world’s second-largest coal consumer, is stepping into the breach left by China’s reduced coal consumption, pulling in more coal cargoes amid a price slump, WSJ reports.

India’s coal imports could rise by more than 8% this year to 170 million metric tons, research firm Wood Mackenzie estimates, putting them almost on a par with those of China, which imported 207 million tons last year.

The NYT writes that China is reducing the use of coal for power generation faster than expected, as the nation turns to cleaner-burning fuels and economic growth slows.

In related news, Pakistan has halted work on six coal-fired power projects of some 14,000 megawatts due to environmental concerns, lack of needed infrastructure and foreign investment, RTCC reports.

In other news

Solar Impulse plane leaves Myanmar for China, BBC reports, while Facebook test flies solar-powered drones over the UK in attempt to increase internet access, the Indy and others report.

Duke Energy CEO’s pay was docked about $600,000 after last year’s massive spill of coal ash that coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in sludge containing toxic heavy metals.

Appalachia’s strip mining industry is looking to tourism to replace coal, Fox reports.