Coal, climate, politics, and money – headlines

July 12, 2013

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

U.S., China agree to cut emissions from vehicles, coal

Timothy Gardner, Reuters
The United States and China, the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases, agreed to five initiatives on Wednesday to cut carbon output from the largest sources, including heavy duty vehicles, manufacturing and coal-fired plants, the State Department said.

The U.S.-China climate change working group, which officials from both countries formed in April, will work with companies and non-governmental groups to develop plans by October to carry out the measures aimed at fighting climate change and cutting pollution…
(10 July 2013)

The Coal Industry Knows That Enviros Are Winning
Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones
The coal industry is worried about environmental threats. Not threats like climate change, superstorms, or wildfires. Threats posed by environmentalists.

In May, the American Coal Council—an industry group whose membership includes the biggest coal producers and consumers in the US—hosted a webinar called "What Environmental Activists Are Planning for Coal in 2013." As the invitation put it, "Using social media and community organization tactics, these groups are savvy, motivated and may be off your radar." The industry has begun to refer to this kind of strategy as a "war on coal" that aims to stop pollution from coal-fired power plants…
(5 July 2013)

Carbon’s unburnable truth

John Connor, Business Spectator
The coal industry has made a feeble attempt to pop the concept of the carbon bubble and its investment consequences. The Australian Coal Association commissioned Alan Oxley to examine The Climate Institute and Carbon Tracker’s recent research into Australia’s Unburnable Carbon. Oxley attacked the carbon bubble concept in the AFR yesterday. If you accept the science of climate change, the carbon bubble concept is based on a simple unburnable truth. There is a limited budget for the heat trapping greenhouse gases we can put in the atmosphere to avoid global warming goals…
(21 July 2013)

In the board room, climate sceptics are nowhere

James Murray, Business Green
Everyone knows that large swathes of the press fail to reflect the fact that 97 per cent of climate scientists are convinced mankind is impacting the climate in a serious and unprecedented manner, but what is less often commented upon is the way in which certain papers also fail to reflect the thinking of the majority of business leaders on the topic.

The US media monitoring blog has a really good article this week exploring the disconnect between mainstream press coverage of climate change and business press coverage, where titles such as Bloomberg, Reuters, the Financial Times and the Economist tend to reflect the seriousness with which their core readers address climate change and as a result report on the topic in a relatively responsible fashion (with occasional exceptions)…
(5 July 2013)

Climate Change Will Cause More Energy Breakdowns, U.S. Warns

John M Broder, New York Times
The nation’s entire energy system is vulnerable to increasingly severe and costly weather events driven by climate change, according to a report from the Department of Energy to be published on Thursday.

The blackouts and other energy disruptions of Hurricane Sandy were just a foretaste, the report says. Every corner of the country’s energy infrastructure — oil wells, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants — will be stressed in coming years by more intense storms, rising seas, higher temperatures and more frequent droughts.
(11 July 2013)

Read the press release

How fossil-fuelled is your university?

Alice Bell, The Guardian
It’s easy to cry "corporate stooge" at scientists without actually looking at the complex sets of social, cultural and economic negotiations they engage in. That isn’t to say journalists and campaigners should not "follow the money" and investigate the impact of industry funding on science. But the key word here is "investigate". So said the Science Media Centre last week, and I agree. But we do need to do that investigative work.

A bit of citizen science policy research launched by Platform and People & Planet this week offers the chance to do some such digging. The two NGOs share an interest in campaigning against the fossil fuel industry and want to learn more about the links between oil and gas companies and UK universities. They are hoping to crowdsource information from those who know these institutions best: students, staff and alumni…
(3 July 2013)

Coal’s Over — Anyone For Wine And Cheese?

Bernard Lagan, The Globe and Mail
Kevin Rudd, on Thursday, July 11, called time on Australia’s long-running mining boom. In a speech to the National Press Club, Prime Minister Rudd — who was returned to the office two weeks ago when he and his Labor Party colleagues ousted Julia Gillard — called a blunt end to the good times which have largely accounted for Australia’s record run of 22 years of economic growth.

“The truth is, in 2013, the China resources boom is over,” he said.

The reason, as the Prime Minister made clear in yesterday’s speech, is the plummeting price of Australia’s coal and iron-ore exports – which have been the great drivers of our resources boom. Growth has slowed in China. The Chinese are also moving, rapidly now, to contain their carbon emissions by accelerating their uptake of renewable energy sources such as solar power… But it is not just the economic slowdown in China that has slowed the coal trains. Big investors have realised that the threat of global warming now means that coal consumption the world over will have to drop dramatically…
(12 July 2013)

Act now placard image via benmabbet/flickr

Tags: Carbon Bubble, climate change, Coal, geopolitics