Top stories

1) Europe: Weak pollution regs as leaders talk of Paris COP

A new analysis of the EU’s proposed air quality standards has found them to be so weak that their implementation may cost tens of thousands of premature lives and tens of billions of pounds.

The report, covered by Energydesk here, claims there could be up to 8,000 deaths in the UK in the 2020’s due to failure to beef up BREF.

The Guardian also covered the story, as did Business Green.

It follows recent revelations that the proposed regulations are weaker than those in effect in Japan, China and the US.

Even some major European energy companies are unhappy with the revisions to the draft, with EON writing to the EA to complain.

One coal plant that won’t be regulated by BREF is Ferrybridge. SSE has announced it will close down its second-to-last coal plant around March 2016 as it is no longer economical, reports the BBC.

Meanwhile Merkel and Hollande yesterday issued a joint statement calling for an ‘ambitious’ climate deal at the Paris summit in December and an end to fossil fuel pollution this century, according to the FT.

This comes as a report covered by Business Green claims a strong deal in Paris could both kickstart renewables growth around the world, and send utilities into a ‘death spiral’.

According to Clean Energy Wire, Merkel may today weigh in on the controversial climate levy on old coal-fired stations over which there have been protests in recent weeks.

2) China: Hydro replacing coal as solar sector booms

In the second part of our analysis on China’s falling coal use, Lauri Myllvirta looks atjust how the world’s biggest polluter was able to cut emissions. Controversial hydro projects are largely picking up the slack, though there is promising growth for wind and solar.

This comes as an expert told Bloomberg that coal demand in China has already peaked. Bloomberg also ran a story yesterday about how China and Japan’s solar panel manufacturing efforts look set to give the sector its best year since at least 2011, with panel production expected to grow by a third.

3) Fossil fuels: Peabody embroiled in scandal as Shell defends Arctic drilling

The Guardian today led with revelations that Peabody Energy, the world’s largest privately owned coal company, is using the Ebola crisis in Africa to pitch fossil fuels as the solution to global poverty.

Suzanne Goldenberg wrote also wrote a longform piece looking at the ‘truth of Peabody’s attempt to rebrand coal’.

Peabody bonds have fallen massively in the last couple of months as the company has been hit by persistently low prices, reports Bloomberg.

Meanwhile at its AGM, Shell claimed the odds of an oil spill incident in the Arctic has been overestimated – and hit out at critics who say the company is doing major damage to the planet (inc one person who asked that they stop lobbying against renewables), reports the Guardian.

In other news:

US: All 50 states look set to become wind energy producers, as California signed onto a interstate and international agreement to fight climate change.

France: EDF is looking to buy at least the nuclear reactor arm of Areva.

Canada: The mismatched graph published alongside Canada’s climate pledge.