George Osborne Presents The 2016 Budget Statement To The House Of Commons

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UK Budget: Chancellor announces sugar tax, sweeteners for oil extraction

The UK oil industry is set to cost the taxpayer £1bn a year as firms offset losses due to the low oil price against tax paid on profits in previous years – according to data from the UK’s budget plan.

The data comes as the chancellor, George Osborne, moved to slash the tax on oil production in a bid to retain production in the North Sea where thousands of jobs have been lost.

The move – along with the much more significant news that OPEC is to meet to discuss freezing production – led to a bounce in the value of UK oil firms.

The budget wasn’t just about oil though. It also contained interesting – if confusing – details on the future of the UK’s levy control framework, that is to say, how much money will be available for renewable and nuclear investment beyond 2020. See Carbon Brief’s excellent analysis.

Renewables: Rise in renewables halts rise in emissions

New data from the International Energy Agency suggests that the increase in global use of renewable energy has allowed increases in growth to become ‘decoupled’ from increases in emissions. That is to say the global economy grew last year but emissions did not rise. 

The data comes as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimated that doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix could save up to $4.2tr a year by 2030. The savings would come from reduced air pollution and carbon emissions, meaning the benefits of increased renewables investment would exceed the costs by up to 15-fold.

Coal: Peabody shares plunge as bankruptcy looms

This from Reuters:
“Peabody Energy Corp (BTU.N), the largest U.S. coal producer, may have to seek bankruptcy protection, the company said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday, citing poor economies in countries that import coal and other factors battering the coal industry.

Its shares fell 46 percent to $2.16.” Not much else to say really.

In other happenings:

Air pollution: Leak reveals commission gave inside info to car lobby on tests

Solar: Massive california plant could close after failing to meet targets

US: What are the environmental bonafides of the new supreme court nominee?