China-UK High Level Economic And Financial Dialogue

Top stories

1) China’s nuclear technology export: UK bets first

The big news this week is the UK finance and energy teams announcing their mega-collaboration with China over long-standing plans to build the £24bn EDF nuclear plant Hinkley C in Somerset. FT’s Christopher Adams reports on this plant that there is “no turning back”.

But this morning the news has shifted slightly to a totally new project – Bradwell in Essex – which could be the first Chinese-designed nuclear power plant in the West. The BBC’s Carrie Grace calls this “the prize on offer in the UK”, and Reuters outlines how Bradwell could heighten credibility for China’s nuclear technology. The Guardian reports comment from the GMB union – who say it would be a “betrayal” of British workers. Reuters has a video summarising the plans: “UK bets on China’s nuclear future”.

2) China coal production down as solar funding soars

Coal production in China is has fallen silent according to a NYT piece from Edward Wong and Chris Buckley. It may even be “finished”, says one miner interviewed. Although this may signal an earlier peak in emissions, there are still calls for a boost in industry to prop up the struggling economy.

(We have a piece from last week suggesting there will be a more profound shift in China’s economy: Comment: Is this the final showdown between China’s old economy and its new one?)

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that a Hong Kong-based developer of solar projects,Sky Solar Holdings, rose to a one-month high in New York after it signed an agreement for new projects worth as much as $100m with Hudson Clean Energy Partners – a deal to tap into Latin America, Japan and the US.

3) Climate change costs: VW emissions-fixing scandal, fossil fuel subsidies, Arctic meltFollowing Bloomberg news’ revelations that Volkswagen was cheating EPA emissions test for their, many outlets report on the damage done to German business and climate credibility. “German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s lectures on environmental responsibility may ring a little hollow when she heads to New York this weekend,”writes Patrick Donahue on Bloomberg – and that the company could face a criminal probe.

The WSJ’s Helen Thomas reports on the hit the company has taken in the US – a key growth market, where the Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard names them the“Lance Armstrong” of the car industry.

Meanwhile Bloomberg also reports that the OECD has pointed out 800 ways rich industrial nations support fossil fuels with taxpayer money, along with a handful of countries that are catching up quickly.

And in further climate costs news – thawing permafrost could cost the world economy $43tn, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change from Cambridge University and the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

4) UK: climate credibility warning from business, coal gasification, bills

The UK’s biggest business lobby group has warned that green policy reversals and “mixed messages” on energy efficiency send a worrying signal on the country’s commitments to low-carbon investment. This has “sapped the UK’s hard-won credibility on climate change”, reports Pilita Clark in the FT. The BBC’s Roger Harrabin reports the same, with a warning from former Treasury chief economist Lord Stern who says that without green policies “we are subsidising hydrocarbons big time”.

Meanwhile another set of economists (reporting for Cluff Natural Resources) sayconverting underground coal into gas could generate £13bn for the UK – with half being retained in Scotland. No proposals have yet been submitted.

And the Express’s Lana Clements reports that only one of the UK’s biggest retails energy providers have cut costs following wholesale price drops.

Other news

India: In 2025, Delhi air will be the world’s deadliest. But a minister has suggested an“Indian lifestyle” as a remedy for climate change.

Indigenous rights: Coalition of forestry and energy companies in Canada calls on government to give indigenous communities power to veto projects.

US: West has new landscape from wildfire surge.

Retro space solar: NASA wanted to use space plane to build solar power plants in orbit – as response to the 1970s oil crisis.

Trash: More of it = more greenhouse gas emissions, and twice as much was dumped in 2012 in the US than we thought.

Africa: Surreal photographs reveal environment in crisis.