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Tory onshore wind plans look confused after Queen’s speech

The UK government’s plans for onshore wind remain shrouded in uncertainty, even after the Conservatives plan for government was set out in the Queen’s speech.

The Tories made a clear commitment to end onshore wind subsidies in their manifesto. Energy secretary Amber Rudd reaffirmed this commitment in comments after the election when she said DECC would end onshore wind subsidies and give planning permission powers to local authorities.

But a raft of caveats contained in briefing note attacked the government legislative programme have meant that there still looks to be life in onshore wind yet.

The bill outlines the transfer of the planning veto from Communities Sec to local authorities — but only for wind farms larger than 50MW, of which there are zero currently planned in England.

For more on this story, read Energydesk here.

US may miss emissions targets, despite Obama’s rhetoric

President Obama may see tackling climate change as a major part of his legacy, but that won’t stop his county failing to meet its emissions targets, according to a new study.

The World Resources Institute found that meeting Obama’s goal of cutting carbon emissions by roughly a quarter by 2025 from 2005 levels would require the US to undertake radical, far-reaching measures.

The new study underlines the scale of the challenge facing global leaders in the run-up to historic talks in Paris later this year.

Corporate execs begin to recognise climate change

Leading companies are beginning to recognise the risks posed by climate change, according to the Financial Times.

Gérard Mestrallet, chief executive of French giant Engie, claims that having lagged behind government for years, business are today “leading the fight against climate change”.

Such bold words have been matched by action. Axa, one of the world’s biggest insurance companies, recently ditched 500m euros of investments in coal, while increasing the money it puts into clean energy. Bank of America has also ramped up its investments in green technology.

But any claims that we’re witnessing some kind of new wave of corporate responsibility on climate change would be misplaced.

Just as Mestrallet was describing a new age of climate awareness, shareholders at two of America’s biggest oil companies were rejecting a proposal to include climate experts on their boards.

Shareholders at Exxon and Chevron both failed to back the proposals.

In January this year, Royal Dutch Shell inestors backed a measure calling on the company to plan for the results of climate change.

Norway accused of ‘pretend divestment’

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has been accused of increasing investments in the coal industry, after making historic pledges to end fossil fuel investments.

A new report accuses the country of doing “pretend divestment”, Norwegian Government Pension Fund (GPF) increasing its holdings in the coal by 3bn Norwegian kroner to more than £7bn.

Yesterday it was reported that Norway ‘s £900bn sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, would consider pulling billions of investments out of the coal industry, in what was seen a major victory for the global divestment campaign.

A key Norwegian parliamentary committee called on the world’s largest fund to reduce its exposure to the global coal industry and sell off its stakes in the sector.

The proposal to cut investments in coal will be put to parliament on June 5th, with cross-party agreement meaning it is likely to pass.

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