2014 hottest year ever, another major coal divestment, oil and gas capex cancellations spread, cheapest solar in world in Dubai, solar grid parity almost everywhere by 2017; US utilities fear "death spiral": Week 3, 2015

18.1.15.
Nordea to blacklist coal-mining companies. The largest Nordic asset manager specifies up to 40 companies for exclusion from their $228bn of assets.
17.1.15.
“Steepest Oil-Rig Drop Shows Shale Losing Fight to OPEC”. Bloomberg reports fall of 209, steepest 6 week decline since Baker Hughes began data tracking began in 1987.
16.1.15.
2014 officially confirmed as hottest year ever. NASA and NOAA say 0.07F (0.04C) higher than previous records and 38th consecutive year above ’51-’80 average.
Miliband would support zero net emissions by 2050 as PM. BP and Shell oppose this. BP expects its Clair project in the North Sea to still be producing in 2050.
IEA expects oil price rise in second half of year. Sweeping spending cuts must mean project delays and faster decline rates, the agency says.
“Age of $100 oil will return as energy industry cuts too deep”. “….Oil prices could bounce back harder and faster than before”: Telegraph.
Caudrilla gets green light from Environment Agency to drill UK shale again. It admits fracking caused earthquakes, but has assuaged the regulator’s concerns.
15.1.15.
Climate risk is becoming “synonymous with reputation risk”, says Axa. The major European investor sees the divestment movement as a fast-growing force.
Study shows global sea-level rising 25% faster than thought over last 20 years. Harvard-led team used 600 tide gauges to show the acceleration.
Life on Earth at risk, two new scientific reports conclude. Rate of environmental degradation is simply too high, across nine processes underpinning life.
UK orders urgent tax review for North Sea oil. BP has cut 300 jobs in Aberdeen and others are cutting too. Ian Wood: once you cut, its difficult to repair.
Norway to hold crisis talks on oil industry. Government and industry will discuss a possible stimulus package.
Judge rules BP spill was 3.19m barrels, meaning a potential bill of $13bn. This on top of $42bn already for the Macondo spill, but less than US government sought.
Dubai solar plant will produce cheapest solar energy in the world. Electricity from the 200MW plant to be built by ACWA will sell at 5.85 cents per kWh.
Tesla and Nissan Leaf sales rise as oil price falls. But worldwide EV sales have fallen with the oil price since September.
14.1.15.
“Oil projects worth billions put on hold”: FT. Shell in Qatar, Premier off the Falklands, Statoil off Greenland – the list of cancelled capex is growing.
Obama moves to cut oil-and-gas industry methane emissions by 45%. From 2012 levels, by 2025: needed, if US is to hit overall target of 26-28% GHG cut by then.
Obama methane plan criticised for only spanning future infrastructure. In excluding existing activities, it will miss 90% of the pollution, campaigners say.
Fracking companies will be legally bound to reveal chemicals used in UK. Government makes this concession in Parliamentary in discussion of the Infrastructure Act.
Harvard increases fossil-fuel investments sevenfold in a quarter. A measure likely to inflame the 7 students taking them to court, and many more besides.
350 campaign urges Pope Francis to divest Vatican from fossil fuels. Ahead of a trip to the Philippines, the Pope comes under pressure to walk the talk.
13.1.15.
“Poland’s shale gas revolution evaporates in face of environmental protests.” Public opposition and disappointing test drilling are putting investors off.
 
“Could Global Tide Be Starting To Turn Against Fossil Fuels?” Events now raise a question once unthinkable, Fred Pearce writes.
 
US utilities fear a “death spiral” in face of mobile-telephony equivalent. Edison Electric Institute paper charts the extent of the fears.
German utility RWE slashes renewables spending in 2015. It will invest €1bn over 2015-17, having invested €1bn annually since 2008.
GM introduces Chevy Bolt EV, with 200 mile range. The car beats a promised new Tesla to a US EV market that grew 18% in 2014.
EVs should give hope to utilities, Tesla’s Elon Musk says. If demand roughly doubles, and half is met by solar and half traditionally.
5 week trial of battery-powered train begins in UK. The passenger trains in Essex are the first battery trains to run on the rail network for half a century.
India stops Greenpeace campaigner from travelling to UK to talk about coal. She had a visa and no criminal record, but was not allowed to board a plane.
China’s oil imports topped 7m barrels a day for the first time in December. With prices at 6 year lows, biggest importer is topping up reserves.
12.1.15.
“We are the last generation that can fight climate change. We have a duty to act.” So insists Ban Ki-moon, saying the UN must work harder.
Brent for February falls as low as $48.45. Goldman Sachs says it will fall to $42 in the next three months.
Solar power at grid parity in up to 80% of the world by 2017. So says Deutsche Bank, assuming power prices go on rising at the same rate of late.
SunEdison and Adani Enterprises plan a $4bn solar factory in India. A major boost for PM Narendra Modi’s plan for 110GW of solar capacity by 2022.
Oil and gas “will be part of climate solution”, says Saudi climate envoy. Total decarbonisation is “unrealistic”, Khalid Abuleif insists.