Conservative Party Autumn Conference 2015 - Day 2

On Energydesk

UK regulators failed to spot VW emissions cheat software

This morning we can reveal that the UK government agency responsible for testing pollution levels in new cars failed to spot VW Group vehicles fitted with cheat software.

Top stories

UK: Ministers accused of trying to sneak through fracking in national parks

The UK government is trying to sneak through rule changes that would allow fracking companies to drill under national parks, according to the Labour party and anti-fracking campaigners.

New rules announced this summer would allow companies to drill underneath areas of outstanding natural beauty, national parks and sites of special scientific interest. This is despite energy secretary Amber Rudd promising to ban fracking in these areas before the election.

Ministers are now being accused of trying to rush through these changes without a proper debate, by having the measure voted on by just a small group of MPs on a select committee, rather than the parliament as a whole.

Lisa Nandy, the shadow energy secretary, and Kerry McCarthy, the shadow environment secretary, accused the government of “completing their u-turn”, and warned that the industry regulations suggested by the Conservatives were “totally inadequate”.

The Conservatives have made getting fracking off the ground in the UK a priority.

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change told the Guardian there had been no attempt to rush through the rule changes and that the process was “routine”. They added: “the UK has one of the best track records in the world for protecting our environment while developing our industries.”

China: Communist party considering new coal plant ban

Reports coming out of China indicate that the government is considering a ban on building new coal-fired power stations, in what would be a major shift in the country’s energy policy.

An analysis published by Radio Free Asia suggest the government is considering a ban for the first time, as the Communist Party’s Central Committee prepares to meet in Beijing next week to discuss the 13th five year economic plan.

Previously, the government had only been considering a cap on new coal plants.

The news will be a welcome sign for the international community of China’s willingness to shift to greener technologies ahead of the UN climate conference in Paris at the end of the year.

BP cuts costs as oil price stays low

BP has become the latest company to dramatically cut staffing costs, as the low oil price continues to hurt the energy giants.

The FT report that the company will aim to save billions by 2017, with the oil price looking to remain low for the foreseeable future.

On Tuesday, BP announced that underlying replacement cost profits fell 40% to $1.8bn from the same period 12 months ago. The company has also had to pay out billions in compensation for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the United States.

The energy giant will be find solace in the Asian markets at this tough time, having cosied up to President Xi Jinping during his visit to the UK to strengthen its links with state oil company CNPC.

The new partnership will see the company enjoy new access to the Chinese market as well as increasing its presence in Africa and the Middle East.

In other news

Arctic: New data shows Arctic sea ice volume return to normal after 2013 peak

Middle East: Climate change could make Gulf states uninhabitable, says new study

Solar: Morocco looks to become solar superpower with new desert energy project