Steel Cities in China's Hebei Province

Top 4 stories

1) Paris: China climate pledge expected soon

Maybe even today.

The BBC reported this morning there are growing expectations that the world’s biggest emitter will soon give details of its pledge to cut carbon emissions ahead of key UN climate talks at the end of the year in Paris, while AFP says Chinese state media is trailing the unveiling of the country’s INDC as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Belgium and France ahead of a Paris climate summit.

India is not the world’s fastest growing polluter, however, with CO2 emissions rising 8.1% in 2014.

Meanwhile EU ministers are seeking an ambitious, durable and legally-binding deal to curb global warming, enforced through five-yearly reviews, the Guardian reports.

2) More fracking: Lancashire decision expected today – and IGas says it will put in applications 

One down, one to go. In Lancashire on Friday councilors rejected an application from Cuadrilla to frack at Roseacre Wood because of traffic impacts – but have still to make a decision on the firm’s Little Plumpton site application. The outcome was deferred until today.

While all this has been going on IGas has said it wants to submit ‘several’ planning applications over the next year – though the firm’s shares have been dropping on the oil price slump.

3) Arctic drilling: One Shell rig reaches Alaska – but Canadian & Russian Arctic exploration looking less viable

NPR reports that one of Shell’s Arctic rigs has now made it to Alaska on its way to drill in the Arctic.

The second rig as poised to leave on Friday – CTV News says this was despite Shell lacking the full gamut of permits it needs to drill in the waters off Alaska.

On the other side of the landmass, an oil industry consortium including Exxon Mobil Corp.and BP PLC on Friday suspended its Canadian arctic exploration program in the Beaufort Sea, the WSJ reports.

And in Russia, Arctic drilling is too expensive for too little reward at current oil prices, unless the country’s oil tax regime is reformed, according to a minister.

Michael Byers, an expert in law, global politics and the Arctic, writes in the Globe and Mail that Arctic offshore oil could be a stranded asset.

And a new study in Science Advances describes the use of plant-based oil herders, which could be used to clean up oil spills.

4) UK renewables: Scotland gets half its electricity from renewables

New data from the Scottish government shows that the country generated 49.8% of its electricity from renewables in 2014, meeting its renewables targets a year early, according to Climate Progress.

In related news, Carbon Brief reports that contrary to recent press reports, the UK met its interim renewable energy target for 2013/14, according to a report issued earlier this morning.

And apparently Good Energy – 100% renewable electricity supplier – now accepts payment in Bristol Pounds.

In other news

Solar: French energy major ENGIE plans $180 million renewable energy acquisition in India, writes Clean Technica.

Oil: With oil prices recovering, rig count steadies, says the NYT.

Greece debt crisis: The price of a deal to unlock funds for Greece includes “irreversible steps” to privatise its power network and making energy reforms that EU regulators have been demanding for years, its creditors say – Reuters’ Barbara Lewis reports.

Regulation: The Dutch courts have been busy again, this time ruling that energy producers and energy network operators must be split into separate companies.