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ODAC Newsletter - May 14

Welcome to the ODAC Newsletter, a weekly roundup from the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, the UK registered charity dedicated to raising awareness of peak oil.

There was much to welcome in the new coalition's energy policy. In particular, ODAC supports the commitment to a “huge increase” in anaerobic digestion; raise renewables targets; the "full establishment" of feed-in-tariffs while maintaining the existing banded ROCs to ensure continuity for big renewables investors; a shift of aviation duty from people to planes; scrap Heathrow's third runway and block new ones at Stanstead and Gatwick.

Some policies are little different to the previous government's (smart meter roll-out, green investment bank, no new coal without CCS), and some lack detail so far (provision of home improvement paid from savings in energy bills, measure to encourage marine energy etc). The Tories got their way on nuclear - yes, but without public subsidy - and Lib Dem Chris Huhne landed the ticklish job of fronting this policy as the new Energy and Climate Change Secretary.

In his first TV interview in post, Mr Huhne toed the party line, but maintained that no new nuclear stations had been built without subsidy for decades, clearly hoping the industry would walk away, whereas early reaction from power company bosses suggests the contrary. But the coalition has also committed to establishing a floor under the carbon price in Britain — which ODAC supports — and this may well be the territory on which the nuclear issue is fought out by proxy.

The UK carbon floor is Tory policy, and the Lib Dems oppose the idea precisely because they fear it will make nuclear economically viable, despite the fact it would also help renewables. The argument will probably by thrashed out in private, but if you encounter the curious spectacle of the Tories arguing for a higher carbon price — making their friends in business bleat — and the ‘radical' Lib Dems arguing for lower, what they're really fighting about is nuclear.

In the US this week attempts to build a coalition on climate change policy continue to struggle. Senators Kerry and Lieberman unveiled their cap and trade climate bill this week, but despite significant compromises it looks unlikely to receive any Republican support.

The bill was hastily rewritten this week to reflect the changing attitudes to off-shore drilling as the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster worsens. The Obama administration is applying more weight to the 'boot on BP's neck' with plans to raise its liability cap from $75m to $10bn retrospectively, and to levy an industry-wide tax to help recoup clean up costs. But unless the President is willing to confront Americans' fossil fuel addiction, he will have to live with deepwater drilling. Only time will tell whether the incident becomes a watershed in American public opinion. But if it does, Stanford Professor Mark Jacobson has a plan to move to 100% renewables.

View our Reports and Resources page


Barack Obama plans to punish BP with tax hike as Gulf spill worsens

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US oil industry watchdog to be broken up

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IEA warns against US oil spill over-reaction

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Tread carefully, Mr Obama. You need big oil

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Oil production hit for decades after BP spill

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Shell's Alaska plans at risk after oil spill

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Crude Oil Tumbles to 12-Week Low as Dollar Climbs Against Euro

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Tar sands crude is reaching British petrol stations, Greenpeace says

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Iraq violence set to delay US troop withdrawal

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Iraq announces date for gas fields auction

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BG pays $950m in latest US shale gas deal with Exco

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Canada home to a century's worth of natural gas

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North Korea reports nuclear fusion success

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Q&A: Mark Jacobson on 100% renewable energy

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Solar to generate 25% of world's electricity by 2050, IEA predicts

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Underwater 'kite' captures tidal energy

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Offshore wind farms agreed

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Coalition sets out plans on runways and nuclear

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UK nuclear power groups eager to press on

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What the coalition means for environmental policies

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Senate Gets a Climate and Energy Bill, Modified by a Gulf Spill That Still Grows

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Europe to examine case for bigger CO2 cuts

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Editorial Notes: The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) is an independent, UK-registered educational charity working to raise international public awareness and promote better understanding of the world's oil-depletion problem.

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