George Osborne visits the delayed Taishan plant
George Osborne visits the delayed Taishan plant

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UK drops in renewable energy rankings as Conservative cuts deepen

The UK has fallen out of the top ten of internationally recognised rankings on renewable energy for the first time.

Analysts from EY (formerly Ernst & Young), which began producing the rankings annually 12 years ago, write that the Conservative government has sentenced the renewable energy sector to “death by a thousand cuts”.

In a damning report produced alongside the rankings, researchers warn that investor confidence has been undermined by the plethora of policy changes announced by the government since the election.

Investors in the nuclear and fracking sector, seen as priorities by the Conservatives, could be deterred due to current government policy

Tory cuts to wind and solar projects are denounced for lacking “any rationale or clear intent”.

The UK is now placed at number 11 in the rankings, behind even developing countries like Chile and Brazil.

Ben Warren, energy corporate finance leader at EY, said:  “Worryingly, this trend of inconsistent policy tinkering could also sour investor confidence in other areas, such as new nuclear, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and shale gas, as well as offshore wind.”

The Conservative party made a manifesto commitment to have no new onshore windfarms, and has already scrapped a number of planned sites across the UK.

Former Liberal Democrat MP and energy minister Ed Davey recently accused the government of a “disastrous” assault on the green agenda since coming into office.

Chinese coal data casts doubt on global CO2 emissions

New data on coal consumption in China has cast doubt on the idea that curbing CO2 emissions need not undermine economic growth, according to Reuters.

The International Energy Agency published a report in March which suggested that the global economy had continued to grow, as global carbon emissions flatlined in 2014.

This assertion was partly based on preliminary data, released in February, which showed that coal consumption in China fell by 2.9% in 2014, compared to the previous year.

But little known data from May put together by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that coal consumption in the country actually slightly increased, 0.06% from 2013, which would push up global carbon emissions as a whole beyond the previous year’s levels.

This means we could be some way from proving that you can have constant economic growth and falling CO2 emissions at the same time.

House vote to repeal 40-year-old oil export ban

In a move denounced by environmentalists, the House of Representatives is set to vote this month to repeal the 40-year-old ban on the export of crude oil produced in the United States.

The oil industry has long lobbied for an end to the ban, which was first introduced in 1970s.

The American Petroleum Institute is now set to pump millions of dollars into an advertising campaign in support of repealing the ban.

The Institute has argued that repealing the ban would keep up demand for domestic production in the US at a time when the oil price continues to tumble.

Any attempt to repeal the bill is likely to face stiff opposition in the senate, and is firmly opposed by the White House.

In other news

UK: A taskforce has said shale gas fracking should go ahead as a short-term way to reduce carbon emissions. But environmentalists have rubbished the report, which was funded in part by industry.

Nigeria: The cash-strapped state oil company in Nigeria will look to renegotiate its production sharing agreement with some of the world largest oil majors, as oil producing countries continue to be hit by the tumbling price of crude.

Iraq: The Iraqi government has warned international oil majors they will have to make spending cuts on southern fields.

Climate change: Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm, has cut its ties with coal producers and climate change deniers, saying the association undermine the company’s reputation.