Australian coal

Top 3 Stories 

1) US to promise 28% emissions cut as big oil and coal fight back 

Today the US is expected to pledge to reduce its emissions by up to 28% as part of a global climate change treaty to be finalised in December. Most nations will miss today’s informal deadline, with only the EU, Switzerland and Mexico submitting early.

Meanwhile US crude oil production has reached a 100-year high, reports The Times, the highest since records began in 1900, with growth rates also breaking records.Reuters reports doubts about North Dakota’s oil train safety checks.

Shell is about to resume its Alaska drilling, the US envoy to the Arctic said on Monday, but gave no details as to when. The company froze operations following the grounding of a rig in 2013. A new study on Arctic sea ice says natural variability could slow the pace of loss, but the decline would continue long-term.

Industry figures in the US are trying to slow scientific enquiries into fracking and earthquakes, Bloomberg reveals, while the Wall Street Journal interviews coal CEO Robert Murray on how to survive in an industry in decline.

2) UK: CCS application submitted, doctors warn on fracking – and more fossil fuel news

In Scotland, a planning application has been submitted for a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, with Shell and SSE in the running for UK government funding to develop a commercial scheme.

In UK fracking news, health charity Medact has urged the government to impose a moratorium on fracking for shale gas and oil after a report showed the practice could generate “numerous” health risks.  The Times claims the report was partly written by an “activist” opposing fracking near his home.

Meanwhile, The Independent reports that Britain’s leading private university – the University of Buckingham – has appointed an anti-windfarm campaigner to set up an energy institute.  Academics warn it is becoming a mouthpiece for the fossil fuel industry.

And the Guardian reports February’s letter from UK’s former climate change envoy to Shell, saying that the company and its oil and gas peers are “narcissistic, paranoid and psychopathic” in their attempts to address concerns over climate change.

EurActiv have a published comments from the former chief of the UK Environment Agency, who says that fossil fuels must stay in the ground – but that was must “be realistic”.

They also cover the news that rich nations have provided around five times as much in export subsidies for fossil fuel technology as for renewables energy over a decade.

3) Falling cost of solar, and increasing use

As the Solar Impulse continues from Myanmar landing safely in China, the FT reports that the falling cost of solar power has made it competitive in oil rich countries in the Arab world.

Elon Musk’s Tesla is to unveil a major new product on April 30, “not a car”, which is thought to be related to residential storage batteries for solar power, as Musk is chairman of SolarCity Corp. Share prices rose on the announcement, made by Musk in a tweet.

Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp is to expand its industrial-use solar panels sales to the residential market in April.

And the BBC reports how solar energy is powering reverse osmosis water purification technology in Pakistan’s drought-hit Thar desert.

Other news

A new study confirms that environmentalism has gone mainstream in Germany.

The Guardian explores the truth behind Costa Rica‘s 75 day renewable only electricity milestone.

News has emerged from a meeting on the UN’s Green Climate Fund: it has refused to ban the funding of fossil fuel projects. Campaigners have called it akin “to a torture convention that doesn’t forbid torture”.

Campaigners in Australia have begun a legal bid to prevent the creation of the the country’s biggest mine – the Carmichael coal mine – on climate, water and biodiversity grounds. Climate change is reported to be causing droughts in Australia to worsen as rain patterns shift.

Bloomberg reports a Kiribati national’s bid to becoming the first climate refugee.

And India has rejected BP’s request to market jet fuel, saying it doesn’t meet necessary conditions.