Global glacier retreat accelerates, value of oil companies down >$1 trillion, Obama backs off shale gas in climate plan, UK now prepared to over-ride councils and push through fracking: Week 31, 2015

“Our country needs shale gas, so let’s go get it.” So writes Amber Rudd. “A responsible, long-term energy policy demands a willingness to take decisions today for the good of tomorrow.”
Energy industry attacks £24.5bn Hinkley Point. “We will look back and think that nuclear was a expensive mistake,” RWE npower CEO says. An HSBC report rips into the project.
“Do you really want to be the last coal investor?” So asks Henry de Castries, chair of giant insurer Axa. He reports no negative shareholder reaction to Axa’s sell off of coal shares.
Shell joins the corporate exodus from Alec over climate-change denial. The right-wing group’s position statement on climate change calls it an “historical phenomenon”.
Revolutionary tidal turbine set for installation Bristol Channel. Kepler Energy hopes to install its Transverse Horizontal Axis Water Turbine (THAWT) in the Bristol Channel.
Corbyn would go for 100% renewables if he is elected Labour leader. “We need a renewable energy revolution, an end to fracking, no new nuclear power, efficient homes,” etc, he writes.
Welsh Council rejects open cast coal mine. Company applying, Miller Argent, threatens to sue. Campaigners offer to pay council’s costs.
“King Coal, Long Besieged, Is Deposed by the Market”: NY Times. “’Clean coal’ remains an expensive and thus far impractical pipe dream.” Peabody & Arch Coal will soon go bankrupt.
Campaigners race to stop Turkey’s coal rush. The government plans 80 new coal plants, the third biggest programme after China and India, and only 5% electricity from solar by 2023.
Top two commodity traders disagree on oil’s path after rout. Andy Hall says glut is overstated and sees strong price recovery. “Something of a disconnect between perception and reality.”
“Oil’s $4.4 Trillion Hole:” the amount producers are now set to lose in next 3 years, relative to figures a year ago. “Deflation spreads through the global oil industry”, the WSJ observes.
India’s oil companies offer easy solar loans to petrol pump owners. “Oil companies betting big on solar doesn’t sound ironic any more, writes India’s Economic Times.
Emerging markets stocks languish. Bloomberg: “Today, after heady runs and abrupt reversals, most of the BRICs — in fact, most developing nations — look like big-time losers.”
BBC gives Daily Mail columnist 28 minutes to mock climate change science. Radio 4 allows Quintin Letts a full programme to parade sceptics, with no right to reply.
Federal Court overturns approval for Adani’s Queensland coal mine. The Carmichael project now faces 6-8 weeks of delay before a ministerial revisit to the permitting decision.
“Inside Shell’s Extreme Plan to Drill for Oil in the Arctic.” “A global oil glut has tanked prices and cut profits”, Bloomberg reports, “so why won’t Shell give up on the north?
UK government wipes 4 GEW off solar capacity with proposed changes to support. So calculates Solar Intelligence.
“Saudi Arabia may go broke before the US oil industry buckles.” US shale drillers say their cost cutting means they can resist low oil prices. Production can surge when the price rises again.
Glaciers retreating worldwide at “historically unprecedented” rate. World Glacier Monitoring Service report shows glaciers losing ice annually now at 2-3 times 20th century average.
Methane leaks may greatly exceed estimates. So says an inventor of device commonly used for measuring industrial leakage.
UK government poll on popularity of energy “temporarily” drops renewables. And shows support for shale gas and nuclear at lowest ever levels.
“The Oil Crash Has Caused a $1.3 Trillion Wipeout”: Bloomberg. This the loss in market cap of 157 energy companies since the oil price peaked at $107 in June 2014.
Subsidies for fossil fuels amount to $1,000 (£640) a year for every G20 citizen. So the IMF finds, despite the group’s pledge in 2009 to phase out support for coal, oil and gas.
UK fossil fuel subsidies amount to $635 (c£400) per person. So IMF figures show: a total of $41bn ($26bn) a year.
GE re-enters the energy-storage race. They gave up on a sodium-ion battery manufacturing plant but are now doing business with lithium-ion batteries.
EPA says 2007 Supreme Court ruling allows Obama coal plan. So says the EPA Administrator. The White House will be on a strong legal footing when the Republican backlash comes.
Second biggest US coal producer goes bankrupt. Alpha Natural Resources filed just hours before the EPA filed new rules. It was $3.3bn in debt.
Obama reverses on shale gas as a bridge fuel in his climate plan. White House says “In the final rule, that early rush to gas is eliminated. Indeed, the share of natural gas is essentially flat.”
US gas frackers furious as Obama plan gives solar and wind a chance to compete. So raising the prospect of a leap straight from coal to renewables.
“Another day, another billion-dollar renewable energy deal”: FT. “….the story of the past few weeks as a raft of companies have made eye-catching solar and wind-power investments.”
Negative emissions needed to keep global warming below 2°C. So a team of scientists conclude. And we do not have the technology to remove CO2 from air at sufficient scale.