EPA Proposes New Limits On Emissions From Coal-Fired Plants

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US coal: Clean power plan legal challenge – while coal baron trial continues

On Friday US president Obama formally published his Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce the nation’s power-sector carbon footprint to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. It’s the backbone of Obama’s carbon reduction policies and pledge towards the international climate talks process.

On the same day, a coalition of 24 states (full list here) and a coal mining company filed lawsuits to challenge the new legislation. Republicans are also trying to block the plan.

Mother Jones reporter Tim MacDonnell points out most of the states opposing the plan care the biggest coal consumers and goes so far as to say “So if the plan were to be killed in court, the whole international agreement could collapse.”

 

Forbes commentator Ken Silverstein suggests the coal industry is doing more damage to itself than the Clean Power Plan ever could. He was talking about the Blankenship trial, of course. On Friday the US’ most notorious coal boss testified that he never conspired to flout safety rules resulting in the deaths of 29 miners.

Oil: Oil glut outlook to end of year – may perk up in mid 2016 says IEA

Crude oil prices nudged down in early Asian trading on Monday. Investors cut their bets on rising prices in line with weak demand forecasts, the interest rate cut in China and the slowing rate of oil rig reductions causing an oversupply.

The IMF has warned Saudi Arabia, could burn through its financial assets within five years, amid a drop in oil prices.

Meanwhile the IEA has said countries should not bank on oil prices remaining low when formulating their energy policies, as supplies could tighten from mid-2016 due to a drop in investment and falling US output.

Renewables: Renewables mainstream and low risk

Renewables Investors around the world no longer see renewable energy as a risky or low-yield investment sector, according to a recent UN report.

Figures from IRENA say that jobs in the renewables sector have jumped 18% last year globally.

IEA’s ED Fatih Birol said “Renewables are becoming a mainstream fuel… we expect that in the next five years, two-thirds of global renewables will come from emerging countries, led by China and India.”

But, Birol warned, it is vital that government are consistent with their policies and don’t scare off investors.

Was he speaking in thinly-veiled code to the UK government? As the FT’s Pilita Clark writes, UN delegates at climate talks in Bonn were baffled and concerned by the British government’s u-turnon renewbles.

In other news

UK fuel poverty: Elderly hit by energy bill overpayment ‘trap’ while families urged to help their elderly relatives find better energy deals.

Solar: Almost a third of  industrial scale solar arrays in California are displacing natural scrublandsalong with pastures and farms, says new PNAS study.

Fracking sexism row: There has been a backlash against chairwoman of UK Onshore Oil and Gas Averil Macdonald’s comments over women not understanding the science of fracking: hereand here. She attempted to explain her position here.

Polish elections: Polish right ousts government, sweeps parliamentary elections (See what thenew government think of climate action)

Fracking UK: Fracking fears at nature area in Yorkshire, local press report.

Fracking US: Oklahoma earthquakes are a national security threat

Green transport: Belgium to power 170 trains with wind energy