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UK: Call for renewables and storage, and energy savings

Over the weekend, the UK government has accrued yet more criticism for its energy policies.

David Cameron’s chief climate change adviser Lord Deben warned the government is “clearly failing” in key policy areas and demoralising green tech investors. He is particularly concerned about energy waste and a lack of progress on renewable heat technology.

The Scottish Energy minister Fergus Ewing has written to the UK energy and climate secretary Amber Rudd to demand a focus on renewbles and storage following a warning from the National Grid about capacity last week when several coal plants came offline.

Green MP Caroline Lucas wrote that renewable, community-owned energy and storage are the answer to capacity issues.

An analyst on meanwhile wrote that energy storage  – which is booming in the US – could become the hottest market in energy.

Climate: Poverty and extreme weather warnings – systems change needed, says Stern

The World Bank sees millions of people driven into poverty by 2030 because of climate change and military experts say the phenomenon is the “mother of all risks” to national security.

A new NOAA study showed that some extreme  weather in 2014 was linked to climate change – here are some examples. Scientific American reports extreme heat definesclimate change.

Meanwhile, Lord Stern said ahead of the Paris climate talks Europeans need to end subsidies for fossil fuels, multiply energy efficiency efforts, improve mass public transport systems and accelerate the roll-out of electric cars.

US: Exxon climate lies probe

On Friday it was announced that the New York attorney general is investigating Exxon Mobil and coal firm Peabody for hiding the financial risks of climate change from its investors.

This marks a watershed for climate litigation and opens the doors for suits against other fossil fuel firms – perhaps Shell, BP and Texaco.

Any fraud prosecution would depend on what role executives may have had in climate denial campaigns, according to CS Monitor.

The case (considered by a Forbes staffer to be a witch-hunt) is being likened to the JP Morgan and Bank of America suits on misrepresentation of the risk of mortgages – and also to tobacco industry suits.

One key difference to the tobacco suits seems to be the health risk element is not part of the probe.

As the Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard points out, the investigation piles on the pressure to an industry threatened by the divestment movement and the risk of stranded assets.

US: Keystone XL pipeline nixed

President Obama announced on Friday that he had rejected the Keystone XL oil pipeline over climate change concerns – thus ending a seven-year review.

Various commentators highlighted that by itself rejecting the pipeline would have little impact on the amount of fossil fuels burnt – though reports have suggested that if several pipelines are not built it could restrict tar sands expansion.

There is an expectation among market analysts that the move may hit oil prices – though the low oil prices mean that the decision could have less impact than it would have done otherwise.

In other news

Shell sees carbon price of $60 to $80 needed to justify CCS

Comment: The convenient truth that is falling UK energy demand

Carmichael coal mine: Conservation group lodges fresh challenge in court

National Grid said to be planning sell-off of its gas distribution arm to foreign investors

Renewables use by top emitters will more than double by 2030

Vancouver sets renewables target of 100%

Enbridge ramps up E.ON plans for 400MW Rampion offshore wind farm off Brighton