1) Oil, gas, coal: Cheap oil endangers renewables, coal demise latest, shale oil drops & other fossil fuel news
The FT’s Pilita Clark brings us an overview of advances in renewable energy – particularly ever-cheaper solar power suited to far-flung, off-grid areas – and the threat to these projects from collapsed oil prices. Solar panel and battery costs have also plummeted however, bringing hope to remote areas keeping the leapfrogging dream alive.
Meanwhile Shell’s Arctic oil pursuit faces a small setback as an icebreaker crucial to the project is sent to Portland, Oregon to repair a gash in its hull – reports Timothy Gardener on Reuters.
In coal and gas news, the NYT reports AP news that natural gas has overtaken coal in US electric generation; Bloomberg’s Tom Randall tracks coal’s demise through big producers’ bad bond performance; US shale oil output is slipping towards a record drop, again on Bloomberg.
And live updates are still streaming in on the BBC that the Iran nuclear deal is said to have been ‘reached’ in Vienna this morning. Negotiations have lasted over 20 months, with Iran wanting crippling sanctions lifted – insisting its nuclear work is peaceful.
2) UK: Cuts to efficiency measures, fracking fast-track plans & UK minister climate warning
UK officials have drawn up plans to cut funding for household energy efficiency to seek saving from the energy department budget, write Jim Pickard and Elizabeth Rigby in the FT.
Carbon Brief’s Simon Evans has a Q&A on whether the UK green power budget has been blown, following new forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.
The Times’ Ben Webster reports new government measures to allow fracking firms to drill boreholes to test groundwater without planning permission – and before fracking has been approved.
A new 5MW solar farm has just been agreed in Southern Scotland’s Kelso, reports the BBC.
3) New climate studies: A threat as big as nuclear war, air travel & climate feedback study
In the FT Pilita Clark again reports on a UK Foreign Office study that warns leaders that the risk of climate change creating a “nightmarish world of unbearable heat, food crises and swamped cities is so material that world leaders must urgently try and quantify it”.
That report is covered in Reuters by Alister Doyle, which leads with the national security angle; in the Guardian by Damian Carrington, who leads with the report’s comparison to the risks of nuclear war (as does Quartz and the Daily Express who capitalises this particularly).
Another study, this time from the White House, listed deepening health risks, and is reported by Sabrina Tavernise in the NYT.
And back in the UK, as the Airports Commission, West Londoners and as of yesterday morning Plane Stupid protesters tussle with the idea of a new runway and increased flights at Heathrow Airport, another new climate study says that long-haul flights are taking longer due to erratic, high-altitude winds – thought to be caused by rising global temperatures.
In other news:
So hot right now: Europe hit by climate change-induced heatwave
Solar & wind boom: Shift from tech to market barriers to reap benefits
Turbine danger response: Impacts on brains of low-frequency noise
Toxic Welsh site: Monsanto, BP, Veolia agree cleanup