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Big Oil (& Solar): Prices rally but outlook still bleak

Oil and commodity prices are up is the rallying cry this morning – with crude adding 6.3%, the most in eight weeks. All this could lead to US interest rate rises in December, Bloomberg reports.

But Carbon Tracker research reported in the Independent by Hazel Sheffield shows that there is a gap between business projections for fossil fuel demand and probable drops in demand post-Paris. Businesses are “in denial” because they selectively pick figures from the International Energy Agency and fail to acknowledge the rise of renewables mandated by necessary drops in emissions. Here’s the chart:

India’s Economic Times reports British oil giant BP’s fall in third quarter profits, and that the company expects a low oil price for years. Yesterday it was also confirmed that all five Gulf of Mexico states had reached a settlement with the owner of the drilling rig in the 2010 BP oil spill, Transocean.

In more Big Oil news, Shell is abandoning its Canadian oil sands business, taking a $2bn writedown, blaming an “uncertain business environment” according to the WSJ Energy Journal blog.

Big Solar isn’t doing that well either, with solar panel maker SunPower reporting a quarterly loss as revenue from its power plant business fell 68%, according to Reuters.

And 350.org‘s founder Bill McKibben asks – what if Exxon had told the truth on climate change 25 years ago?

Paris talks: Saudi’s scuttlings, & the $90tn clean energy elephant-in-the-room

Scrutiny of meeting minutes between US Secretary of State John Kerry and King Salman of Saudi Arabia shows discrepancies on what was said regarding the Paris climate talks. The US readout says that both sides “pledged to work together in advance of the upcoming COP 21 climate conference in Paris”, but the Saudi description omitted such a pledge.

A hopeful Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph writes that the old fossil order is on borrowed time as China and India join the drive for emissions cuts. He also looks at the difference between IEA predictions and actual installation figures for solar power – finding that they have exceeded all expectations:


This bodes well for the Paris talks, it follows – which will ignite a $90tn energy revolution.

India’s Economic Times hints that the country is likely to propose a special session at the UN talks on solar energy and issues related to technology transfer to the developing world.

UK: Renewables tax relief cut, Leadsom climate question, Dong Energy world’s biggest offshore windfarm

The UK government is to cut tax relief for community green energy schemes – on top of previously announced subsidy cuts. The unexpected move is a further blow to the UK renewables sector say green campaigners.

Wired reports that Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom admitted at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas that on appointment to the role she asked whether climate change was real. She also asked is fracking was safe.

And Danish firm Dong Energy is set to build the world’s biggest wind farm – to deliver power to 460,000 homes – off the UK coast.

China update: Kicking coal, $3.2bn in electric vehicles

The Washington Post explores China’s withdrawal from coal in their series on climate action versus world hunger for cheap electricity.

China’s SAIC Motor Corp Ltd said on Wednesday that it would invest more than 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion) in new energy vehicles in the next five years, reports Reuters. And CNTV reports on four more shale gas fields in the country, due for commercial use.

In other news

Storage: Batteries will shake up everything in storage revolution

Indonesia: Fires make country biggest climate polluter, exceeding China

US: Presidential candidates: Who believes in climate change?

Pensions: NYC approves hiring advisor to weigh climate change risk