1) UK energy politics: Green taxes hit £44.6bn
Environmental taxes hit a new record high of £44.6 billion in 2014, official figures show, as the bill for renewable energy levies rose to almost £3 billion, reports Emily Gosden in The Telegraph. The analysis comes as the newly appointed Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, called on power firms to cut prices now they are no longer threatened with a price freeze.
2) Global climate: Scientists call for research ‘apollo’ programme, arctic melting, marine risk & climate negotiations
Global scientists have called for a ‘apollo programme’ style push for research into clean technology to tackle climate change, in an excellent piece Carbon Brief explain the programme and it’s objective to make renewable energy cheaper than coal before asking some important questions. Why isn’t nuclear and carbon capture included in the research? aren’t renewables already cheaper than coal across much of the world? if we burn less coal won’t the cost of coal (without carbon prices) fall? and what will this kind of research do to shut existing coal and gas power plants (not a great deal).
In other climate news new research suggests climate change poses the biggest risk to marine species in 3 million years (see another great piece in Carbon Brief) and rapid arctic ice loss is linked to extreme weather in the US and Europe, reports Jon Vidal in The Guardian.
All of this noise means there must be climate neogotiations going on, and indeed they are. G7 ministers are meeting in Germany with climate high on the agenda whilst diplomats gather in Bonn to continue negotiating a 2015 deal on reducing emissions – Carbon Brief (again) has the lowdown whilst Alistair Doyle and Bruce Wallace at Reuters ask if the deal could spell the end for global ambitions to keep global warming at 2 degrees.
In other news
China renewables: Investment rises by 31%
Solar Impulse: Stuck in Japan
Clean tech: Are bladeless wind-turbines the future – and other wind tech advances