UK ends zero carbon homes and slaps retrospective cuts on renewables, UK shale-bonanza advocate "steps down", Pope says unbridled capitalism fuels climate change: Week 27, 2015

Gas overtakes coal in US electricity generation for the first time in April. Gas is now 31%, coal 30%. There were 593 coal-fired plants in 2009, down to 518 by 2013 (303 GW).
Australian government extends renewable energy investment ban to solar. A directive already bans the Clean Energy Finance Corporation from investing in wind.
German “vindictiveness” and Greek “fecklessness” are “killing the European project”. So writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times as the Eurozone crisis hangs in the balance.
“It is a complete car crash.” Larry Elliot: “Any suggestion that Europe provides an alternative to the nastiness of Anglo-Saxon capitalism has disappeared during the Greek crisis.”
Pope Francis: Unbridled capitalism is the “dung of the devil”. A long speech in Bolivia, around messages of the encyclical, has many quotes like this. It was given a standing ovation.
Green Climate Fund partners with Deutsche Bank, infuriating green campaigners. They are worried about the German bank’s financing of global coal projects prompts.
Petrobras faces $98bn shareholder lawsuit in US over corruption scheme. The class action by pension funds begins as soon as February.
UK government ends its zero carbon homes policy. Treasury drops plans to abate carbon in new homes/buildings. Solar Trade Association calls move “irresponsible”.
“George Osborne’s budget marks his full transformation from green ally to foe.” So writes Adam Vaughan for the Guardian. An EV is taxed the same as a Prosche, roadbuilding, and and.
Denmark’s wind power generates up to 140% of nation’s electricity demand. Plenty to spare for Germany, Sweden and Norway.
Seas could rise 6 meters even if governments curb warming. A US-led international team reports tracts of Greenland and Antarctica melting at temperatures not much > today’s.
UK Chancellor applies Climate Change Levy to renewables – retrospectively. Meanwhile, in his budget, he proposes a “sovereign wealth fund” for communities that support shale gas.
Fossil fuel firms risk wasting billions by ignoring climate change: IEA. If they think they are immune, they are wrong, says Fatih Birol.
“California Farms Are Using Drilling Wastewater to Grow Crops.” Chevron piped almost 8 bn gallons of treated wastewater to almond and pistachio farmers last year. Others look to copy.
Australian government approves Chinese coal mine on prime agricultural land. Agriculture minister says “the world has gone mad.”
UKOG Chairman Lenigas “steps down” after Gatwick shale gas fiasco. He launched a “reserves” media frenzy, after which the company had to back down after LSE questions.
US firms are already using energy storage for savings. Companies in California, New York, and Hawai move as costs fall fast. By 2020 expect 5 year paybacks across 46 states & 455 utilities.
Startup may be close to hybrid solar power devices that also store energy. SunVault Energy has developed a graphene hybrid device that is both a supercapacitor and battery storage.
$3 tn Chinese stock market plunge threatens reforms and leadership’s standing. Small-time investors encouraged into the market roughly equal Communist Party membership.
Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, but funded deniers for > a quarter century. So an e-mail from Leonard Bernstein, climate expert for Exxon then Mobil pre merger, shows.
Warwick becomes latest university to divest. All fossil fuel investments to go after two year student campaign.
Osborne drops renewables exemption from climate-change levy. The retrospective move comes in on August 1st. Drax shares drop immediately.
Archbishop of Canterbury fears for Arctic as oil giants move in to drill. Former Shell exec Justin Welby doubts a spill could be contained.
“German Green Power Forces Neighbors to Bolster Blackout Defenses”. Poland Czech Republic say they are having to spend $180m to defend against German RE power surges.
Carbon Tracker Sees $283 billion of LNG projects as uneconomic. 16 of the 20 biggest LNG companies are considering major projects that probably won’t be needed in the next decade.
Halting global warming without denting global economic growth now “within reach”. 96% of cuts needed feasible by 2030, says the Calderon Commission in a new study.
US government boosts solar in poor housing, creates solar jobs for poor. Sets a goal of installing 300 megawatts of solar and other renewable energy in affordable housing by 2020.
“Among many climate scientists, gloom has set in.” Things are worse than we think, but they can’t really talk about it. Jason Box is one such, Esquire magazine reports.
New Zealand climate pledge a “slap in the face” to Pacific islands. Analysts and NGOs condemn plan to slash emissions 11% on 1990 levels by 2030.
Shell’s Arctic icebreaker develops 39 inch crack in hull, turns back. It is not yet known whether the mishap will delay drilling, but the damaged ship carries equipment vital to containment.
China’s oil production set to peak in 2015. China is both a massive importer and among the top five oil producers, behind only the US, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, &= to Canada.
Austria files lawsuit against EU Commission over UK nuclear plant. Their argument is that Hinkley Point goes against the EU’s aim to support renewable energy.