Archive for the ‘Coal’ Category

Week 3, 2015: 2014 hottest year ever. Another major coal divestment. Oil and gas capex cancellations spread. Poland’s shale revolution evaporates. Solar PV at grid parity almost everywhere by 2017. US utilities fear “death spiral”.

January 16, 2015 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil


Nordea to blacklist coal-mining companies. The largest Nordic asset manager specifies up to 40 companies for exclusion from their $228bn of assets.


“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.


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.


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 CSP 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.


“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.


“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.


“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.

Week 2, 2015: Brent falls <$50. First oil company goes bankrupt in US shale. Oil-rout contagion has spread to stocks. Obama makes anti-tar-sands position clear.

January 11, 2015 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil


300 Stanford professors call on university to divest from oil and gas, as well as coal. They speak of teaching about a bright future whilst investing in its destruction.

“As oil prices fall, banks serving the energy industry brace for a jolt.” Among the hardest hit are likely to be Wells Fargo and Citi.

At least one major oil company will turn its back on fossil fuels, says scientist.” Jeremy Leggett bases warning on high cost of production plus climate policy.


US oil drillers idle most rigs since 1991 in clearest signal yet of retreat. 35 horizontal rigs were idled last week alone: “This is the end of the boom.”


Investment in renewables hit record high in 2014: up 16% to $310bn, 29% in China. c.100 GW of solar and wind built, c. half of each, up from 74 GW in 2013.

Much lending to shale done by “people who believed they were taking little risk.” Investors learned nothing from subprime mortgage securitisation, says John Dizard.

Oil companies seek supertankers to store and later trade 20 million barrels of oil. Traders stored as much as 100 mb in 2009.


Oil price plunge could harm prospects of carbon-emissions limitation: HSBC. Meaning less capital for low-carbon investment. So says head of HSBC’s climate-change centre.

Oil’s drop is so sentiment-driven that investors should avoid it, say banks. As Brent drops <$50, traders are ignoring supply disruptions that would normally lift price.

Low oil price = “potential, if not inevitability, for supply shortfalls in the future”. Andrew Hall warns long lead times mean cancelled projects cannot be reinstated quickly.

Record renewables generation, almost 26%, and falling coal in Germany in 2014. Renewables > lignite for the first time, and will reach 80% in 2041 at current rate.


Oil price drags down stock prices due to fears over cancelled capex: BoA. S&P 500 benchmark is down, at a time when consumers should be enjoying a bonus.

Reserves that can’t be burned to hit 2˚C: 82% of coal, 49% of gas, 33% of oil. Cost-curves in UCL study places out of bounds Arctic oil, most tar sands, much shale.

Kepler Cheuvreux expects US shale production to stall in H2 2015. With Brent at $50.3, drillers are increasingly signalling sharply lower capex this year. (no url).

Advocacy groups sue EPA for public access to toxic chemicals used in US fracking. Lawsuit filed by the Environmental Integrity Project in a Washington federal court.

UK Labour party seeks ban on fracking on the 15% of land area feeding aquifers. They are seeking an amendment to the government’s catch-all Infrastructure Bill.

Denmark hits 39% of annual electricity from wind: 4th consecutive annual record. Increase from 32.7% is partly due to new installations, partly increased efficiency.


2014 confirmed as UK’s hottest year since records began. Also the fourth wettest, says the Met Office.

Outrage in Brussels at UK lobbying to weaken 40% emissions-cut agreement. A draft plan authored with Czech Republic proposes “light touch” oversight.

£1.7bn UK loan to foreign oil & gas projects despite pledge to withdraw. UK Export Credit Finance deals, including with Petrobras, fly in face of Coalition Agreement.

White House says President Obama would veto tar sands pipeline. If Congress passes a bill approving Keystone XL, he won’t sign it.

China carbon trading set to more than double in 2015. All 7 regional market pilots will be up and running this year. 24 mt CO2e were traded in 2014.

First oil company goes bankrupt in the shale, unable to raise more cash. WTH Energy, a small Texan driller. Analysts warn there will be others.

Decline in number of US oil rigs fails to halt Brent’s fall to just short of $50. Baker Hughes data show 1,482 rigs, down from record high of 1,609 mid October.

The bear market in oil is “polluting non-energy stocks”. Too many companies have made investments on the premise that oil will always be expensive.

Half California’s electricity from renewables by 2030, Governor pledges. He will use his fourth term to drive most ambitious green energy plan anywhere.


Investors opinions differ on carbon-fuel divestment v. engagement. Both approaches are needed, says Carbon Tracker CEO Anthony Hobley.

E.ON’s U-turn, “as surprising as it was revolutionary”. “We are the first to draw this conclusion,” CEO says, clearly infering others will follow.

Week 1, 2015: Overwhelming US support for wind and solar; Russia hits post-Soviet oil-production record; US methane leakage from shale visible from space.

January 4, 2015 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Oil


Methane leak across W. USA, visible from space, suggests high warming toll. 40,000 gas wells in New Mexico just part of a $2bn fugitive emissions problem.

UK & Norway close to power cable deal linking Norwegian hydro to UK grid. €2bn 1.4 GW project would be ready by 2020, final decision this quarter.


Russia and Iraq supply the most oil in decades as 2015 begins with a glut. Russia hits post-Soviet record of 10.67 mbd; Iraq’s Dec. export of 2.94 mb most since ‘80s.


Senior politicians in denial on climate risk, David Attenborough says. The popular TV naturalist speaks out: “the penalty of not taking notice is huge”.

Cheapest oil for 5.5 years is boosting US truck sales. Consumers bought more pickups, minivans and SUVs than cars in every single month of 2014.

Aviation emissions continue to soar: a new report expects tripling by 2050. If the airline industry were a country it would rank 7th for annual GHG emissions.

UK oil and gas directors could face criminal prosecution for overseas corruption. UK becomes first member state to implement the EU Directive on Extractive Industries.

“Fighting alliance in Lima takes the battle to the carbon giants.” Jeremy Leggett for Recharge : Flustered fossil fuel companies are facing an accelerating crisis.


“Americans Want America To Run On Solar and Wind”. Support is “overwhelming”, pollster finds, and few favour “all the above” in energy.

US motorists may save $75 billion on gasoline in 2015 because of low oil price. So AAA estimates: also that savings in 2014 were $14bn.

Weeks 51 &52, 2014: Oil rout continues. 2 in 3 UK quoted oil and gas companies face bankruptcy. Russian economy in trouble. How can Petrobras ever hope for $200bn to develop the pre-salt? Saudi Arabia has to borrow and cut jobs to keep the pressure on.

December 31, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

Russian government props up ailing energy companies and banks. Including Yamal LNG, the Arctic gas project of Novatek, at Rbs150bn, Gazprombank gets 40.

Polish farmers threaten civil unrest if a vast lignite mine on farmland goes ahead. 22 villages and a windfarm would have to go if Polish energy company PAK gets its way.


US drillers idle most rigs in two years as WTI falls below $55. But there are still 1,499 drilling for oil and 340 for gas.

US government allows more exports of oil condensate: some relief to producers. But the ban on unrefined crude exports stays in place, except to Canada.

Domestic political pressure builds on Statoil over climate change. Provider of 25% of Norway’s GDP is facing pushback across society, even in parliament.


Brent crude hits $57.88, the lowest since May 2009. It has fallen 48% this year, and analysts expect a surplus of c. 1.5 mbd in H1 2015.

A third of quoted UK oil and gas companies face bankruptcy. Company Watch warning includes conclusion that 70% are unprofitable, wracking up losses.

How long can Saudi Arabia keep the pressure up in oil markets? They are dipping into their >$700bn reserves of foreign exchange.

Petrobras risks pariah status whilst needing $221bn 5 year pre-salt capex. With billions creamed off contracts, US SEC investigates & PWC refuses to sign accounts.

Vermont’s only nuclear plant shut down to make way for renewables. It providing 71% of all electricity generated in the state over its 42 years.

Norwegian state electricity company plans $8.1bn renewables drive. Government injects $1.3bn to start push for wind, hydro & other projects home and abroad.

Chinese flock to study Copenhagen’s low-emissions route to heating cities. It has reduced greenhouse gas emissions 40% since 1990 with smart heating grids etc.


Pope to convene a summit of religious leaders in 2015 in support of Paris treaty. He will also send a lengthy message to all 1.2 bn Catholics, to the rage of a minority.


Saudis to curb wages but keep investing as deficit reaches $39bn, 5% of GDP. The Kingdom will resort to borrowing and reserves to plug the gap.


Fracking ban proves to boost New York Governor’s ratings. One in three voters think better of Andrew Cuomo since he responded to health concerns.

UK  capacity auction hands a £ billion to the generators for doing nothing different. Negligible amounts of new capacity created, says Chris Goodall.

IRENA boss: “switch to renewable energy is a battle we cannot afford to lose.” 144 countries have renewable energy targets, 50 countries support decarbonisation by 2050.


Signs of slowdown mount up across UK shale: Williston Basin rigs down 9%. Saudis say US high-cost production will drop first, Continental CEO warns Saudis of instability.

David Hughes wades into Nature/EIA fracking spat with data from his report. “The EIA is letting us down with its extremely optimistic projections.”


Russian bank bailed out: echoes of Northern Rock. IMF fears global crisis via contagion as Russia’s Central bank hands Trust Bank $530m.

South Korean nuclear plant operator computers hacked. Hacker tweets information about plants and workers. Operator says control system not at risk.

Week 50, 2014: Brent falls below $60. NY state bans fracking. Shale drillers threaten global financial stability as crisis spreads to banks. Shell recognises a global energy transition is underway,

December 21, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

Coral bleaching event spreading across northern Pacific set to become worst ever. Previous worst, in 1998, saw 15% of world’s corals die. All could be gone within 50 years.

Ebay joins Google and others in quitting ALEC over climate denial stance. Many tech companies have now departed the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Obama expresses strong scepticism over Keystone pipeline. The President says it will do little to reduce American energy prices, and provide few jobs.

Insurance problems add to the woes of ailing US shale drillers. At least six companies have signed up to a type of hedge that does not fix a minimum oil price.

UK’s biggest solar farm connects to grid: 46 MW Landmead project. Belectric’s installation on grade 3 (of 5)  agricultural land shares site with grazing sheep.

UK wave power in anger of collapsing for want of c. £200m. Pelamis has gone into administration, and Aquamarine Power is in financial difficulties.

Construction of world’s largest planned tidal project to begin off Caithness. 400 MW, ABB as the onshore contractor, first electricity scheduled in 2016.

Nuclear bombs capable of destroying entire cities transported in delivery vans. So wrote analysts of Pakistan in 2011. We are forgetting the danger, warns US politician.


“Bankers see $1 trillion of zombie investments stranded in the oil fields”. Goldman Sachs study of 400 oil and gas fields, finds $930 bn unprofitable at $70.

US oil output set to rise into 2015 even as prices plunge. (But for how long?). More oil can be extracted from lowest-cost spots with enhanced techniques, say analysts.

“North Sea oil industry ‘close to collapse’”: BBC. Chairman of independent explorers association says almost no new projects are profitable.

Chevron drops Arctic drilling plans – not even short term – indefinitely. Economics plus regulatory requirements have put them off drilling first well in 2025.

US government plans vividly portrayed in animated time series map video. Post-Carbon Institute’s plot shows 85,000 wells in last 10 years and 675,000 by 2040.

Real danger to global financial system from oil price collapse: credit derivatives. Bill for CD swaps would exceed $$100 bn if worst drillers default. But there is contagion risk.

Health groups confident New York fracking ban will now spread to other states. With bans in two dozen municipalities & two countries, industry is using courts to fight back.

UK consumers face £750m extra for subsidy scheme to keep lights on. But £15-20 per kW price in “capacity market” auction is lower than feared.


Attribution of 2014 heat to global warming boosts prospect of class actions. Oxford researchers conclude chances of 2014 record increased by a factor of ten.

New York state to ban fracking as health officials say “potential risks too great”. No prospect of 6 year moratorium ending now, as governor says he will be bound by experts.

EU Parliament dismays greens by failing to veto oil imports from tars sands. Vote to label tar-sands oil fails by a narrow margin.


China calls Lima deal “balanced”, but is critical of rich countries on finance. Chinese media coverage is broadly positive.

Late meeting of US and Chinese envoys saved the Lima climate talks. They solved dilemma of “who goes first” by inserting text from US-China pre-summit accord.

Brent crude price falls below $60 for first time in >5 years. Gloomy Chinese manufacturing output data offered as explanation for latest phase of slide.

First large oil company merger of this price fall. Repsol agrees to buy Talisman for $8.3bn. Others can be expected, as in the last phase of low oil price.

Cameron wades into green groups “religiosity” for being anti-fracking. He says all subsidies for onshore wind will end, that tax breaks for fracking are not subsidies.

Bond investors are skittish over emerging markets”: New York Times. Once popular bonds of Petrobras, Pemex, Gazprom looking shaky, with contagion possible.

BoE warns that lenders to US shale drillers may not be able to repay their loans. This could have a knock-on effect in the wider junk bond market, Mark Carney says.

Regional utility MVV takes 50.1% stake in German renewables developer Juwi. Condition of takeover, for €99m, is that €300m, raised from 40 financial institutions.

Rouble falls to dramatic new low as Russian rate rise fails. Rosneft bond issue becomes part of the blame-game raging in Moscow.


“Lima leave Australia, Big Oil, with giant fossil fuel headache.” Complete phasing out of fossil fuels by 2050 had explicit support of more than 100 countries.

“Lima deal represents a fundamental change in global climate regime.” The agreements made end the division of the world into developed and developing nations.

Winners and loser at Lima: the Carbon Brief analysis. No-one hailed the text as a triumph, but there were “small victories scattered throughout”.

Tropical rainforests not absorbing as much carbon as expected, scientists find. Studies show CO2 is not meaning faster tree growth, raising question about sink efficacy.

New satellite maps measure detail of Greenland ice loss faster in 21st century so far. 4 cm sea-level rise from 2003-2009 melt from loss measured by lasers at 100,000 locations.

Russian central bank raises interest rate to 17% to prevent collapse of rouble. Decline is 45% against the dollar this year. Russians fear joint US Saudi oil-price plot.

Texas wildcat veterans warn Dakota rookies that an oil bust is on the way. But in the Bakken of North Dakota, many do not seem to agree that a storm is coming.

“Dissecting Denton: How a Texas City Banned Fracking”: Texas Tribune. Too many of the 277 wells near children, and callous disregard by Range Resources et al.

Police ask university for list of attendees at debate on fracking. Canterbury Christ Church University refuses to hand it over.

“Falling oil price poses new threat to banks”: FT. As much as half of outstanding financing may be stuck on banks’ balance sheets.

Oil price fall threatens $1 tn of oil projects, Goldman Sachs says. Echoing Carbon Tracker’s prescient report in May, 7.5 mbd over next decade.

“We recognise that an energy transition is under way”: Shell CEO in letter to FT. But responding to Davey’s warning, Ben van Beurden’s answer is still gas and CCS.

Week 49, 2014: DECC lines up with the Bank of England on the carbon bubble as the oil industry tries to rubbish it. The Pope becomes a climate campaigner. Lima pulls progress from the jaws of defeat.

December 14, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Commentaries, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

Lima talks reach eleventh-hour global agreement by deferring key issues. But the Lima Call For Climate Action commits all nations to emissions cuts for the first time.

US DoE writes to Nature protesting the 4 Dec. “fracking fallacy” article. EIA’s forecasts complementary with UT forecasts, not competitive: paper is “deeply flawed”.

EDF to net £3bn windfall from existing plants under UK’S capacity market scheme. It has pre-qualified 8 nuclear plants and 2 coal plants for the auction, starting next week.


Finance for developing countries once again the issue. US, EU, and others want focus on emissions reductions, developing countries want finance too.

Climate negotiations drag on as workers start dismantling the Lima summit site. As frustration turns to fury in some cases, negotiators seem incapable of escaping old agendas.

Emerging text takes the talks backwards, keeping world on course for climate crisis. The draft contains no commitment to overall 2˚C target, even no review of national targets.

US lead negotiator warns Lima climate talks face”major breakdown”. With the talks now run over by 25 hours, Todd Stern says major differences remain.


Condensed draft text tabled in Lima risks inflaming developing countries. The original text had ballooned to 60 pages. NGOs label the new one “dangerously weak”.

“Like minded group” says no deal is better than a bad deal. Coalition including Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia and India say talks could resume in early 2015.

Pope Francis urges Lima delegates to agree a strong deal. The head of the Catholic Church says “the time to find global solutions is running out.”

Lima summit extended as row over finance boils over. The amounts offered by the rich nations are “ridiculously low”, just over $10bn.

“Fossil fuel companies facing crisis, warns Davey”: Times. Bank of England should require disclosure of carbon investments and involve other regulators.

Oil price plunge continues: Brent close to $62. IEA warns of global social instability and threat of debt defaults in eg Russia, Venezuela.

World stock markets suffer worst fall since 2011: £112bn wiped from FTSE 100. The oil price, and China fears, lead a long list of reasons why investors are losing faith.

“Stuck Earning $1 a Day? Exxon Wants to Be Your New Best Friend”: Bloomberg. Exxon et al are increasingly “portraying themselves as champions of the world’s poor.”


“Fossil-Fuel Exposure May Need to Be Disclosed in U.K.”: Bloomberg. Ed Davey tells reporters he has written to BoE Governor about this. FT cites Carbon Tracker.

Kerry pledges US will take lead, but every nation must act. “We simple don’t have time to sit around going back and forth, says US Secretary of State.

With 24 hours left in Lima, negotiators have agreed only one paragraph. “We are going backwards” say NGOs.

Slow progress in Lima is costing lives: Oxfam Chief. Winnie Byanyima says negotiators have detached human feelings from the negotiations.

“Russia has just lost the economic war with the west”. Larry Elliot argues that full blown currency crisis is only part of a perfect storm facing Putin.


Avaaz mass e-mail: “Something huge is happening this week” in Lima. Governments are about to set a goal to cut carbon pollution completely. But it is at risk.

Catholic bishops from every continent demand end to fossil fuels. Their statement call s for 100% renewable energy, and strong focus on finance for adaptation.

“We are winning the war”: international wind and solar industries at COP 20. Steve Sawyer for GWEC and Jeremy Leggett for EPIA give a 30 minute press conference.

“UN climate negotiations ‘15 years out of date’ on renewables”, GWEC boss tells Lima. “We can renewably power the world well before 2050,” says Jeremy Leggett for EPIA.

Wind and solar “not ready for prime time”, says Exxon’s chief strategist Bill Colton. And “peak oil theorists have been run out of town by American ingenuity,” he adds.


Full decarbonization by 2050 on the table in Lima as ministers arrive at summit. “Elements of a draft negotiating text”, published for week 2 in Lima, contains the key words.

Peru and Brazil diplomats say they will help broker a deal in Lima. But NGOs accuse them of more talk than action on emissions.

Funds press oil and gas boards to explain how they will deal with climate change. Global coalition including Calpers, Aviva, turn up the pressure.

“US shale industry faces endurance test after Opec rejects cuts”: FT. “Survival of he fittest” chart says it all in one graphic: some have net debt >4x EBITDA.

Worsening S African electricity crisis: blackouts worst since 2008. Among structural-constraint reasons for S Africa’s downgrading by ratings agencies.

100,000 hydrogen fuel cells installed in Japan en route to hydrogen-society. The national goal is 5.3 million home installations by 2030, 10% of all households.

Challenges to the energy industry and society are “potentially existential”. JL interview in Energy World, foreseeing E.ON’s U-turn in business model.


Saudi Arabia in ‘race against time’ to cut fossil-fuel dependency, says envoy. But total fossil-fuel phase out by 2050 is “unrealistic”, and 2C target “needs more work.”

“Global shale ambitions wane”, as OPEC’s price war rolls on. KPMG talks of potential “nail in coffin” for shale projects outside N America.

As defaults loom in the tar sands, short sellers in banks target debt. Producers need an oil price of $85, and it sits c. $65.

Six arrests made in UK solar fraud investigation. Serious Fraud Office on the case of Solar Energy Savings, and serious mis-selling practices.

Week 48, 2014: E.ON becomes the first big energy company to break ranks with a U-turn on energy transition. Trouble of all sorts for shale. Lima climate summit gears up in face of the hottest year ever. BP & Shell in disfavour with the Church. Viable future for oil and gas giants questioned in FT.

December 7, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Oil

Typhoon Hagupit forces a million Philippinos to flee their homes. For the third climate summit running, the nation suffers a devastating storm.

“UN climate talks call future of energy majors into question”: FT. “ExxonMobil and Shell would cease to exist in their current form in 35 years”, FT concludes.

Tories ban Climate Change Minister from attending Lima talks. Lib Dem’s deem this “stunning ….the Tories are showing their true colours”.

Ecuador indigenous leader found murdered days before he was due to protest in Lima. José Isidro Tendetza Antún was leading protest against a state-Chinese mine.

Peru say glaciers ‘melting at alarming rate’, threatening survival for 30 million people. Scientists say they have lost 20% of their mass in just three decades due to global warming.

California’s drought is worst for 1,200 years – and scientists say worse is to come. “No doubt” we are entering a new era where humans have changed the climate, they say.

Oil companies dismiss carbon bubble and stranded assets at Lima climate talks. IPIECA offers 5 reasons to support their case: 2 based on wrong premise, 3 disingenuous.

NYT exposes “secret alliance” between Attorneys General and the energy industry. Thousands of pages of open-records requests show collusion against Obama regulatory efforts.

George Osborne oversees biggest fossil fuel boom since North Sea oil discovery.” Meanwhile UK investment in clean energy plummets and road and airport building soars.

Adapting to a warmer climate could cost up to $500 billion by 2050: UNEP report. This latest estimate by scientists is almost three times as much as previously thought.

Much methane hydrate offshore Washington state vulnerable to global warming. Threat “along a larger fraction of continental margins worldwide than previously recognized.”

Analysts forecast big drop in US shale spending in 2015. But meanwhile, the oil drilling barrels on, with a momentum of its own, and 1,575 rigs active.

Leniency expected from oil creditors of US shale drillers, argues ratings agency. Fitch: “Are the banks going to be the ones that push companies to the wall? We don’t think so.”

“I did not think the financing tap would be turning off so quickly”: John Dizard in FT. Crunch time is “redetermination date” for borrowing, usually in April and October.

Fracking chemicals could pose risks to reproductive health, say researchers. University of Missouri team recommends people living near frack sites should be monitored.

“Why Elon Musk’s batteries scare the hell out of the electric company.” “At a sagebrush-strewn industrial park outside of Reno, Nevada, bulldozers are clearing dirt.”


China tells Lima summit climate aid pledges are so far inadequate. As for Australia’s non-contribution, “It is not good news”, says head of delegation Su Wei.

Kiribati president knows that Lima will bring too little, too late to save his people. Drinking water shrinks, the sea floods ever more. Even strong action “doesn’t matter”, he says.

Church of England challenges BP and Shell over global warming. Shareholder resolution calling for climate strategy a “vital opportunity”, says investment chief.

Oil sells for less than $50 at wellhead in N Dakota. 29% less than Brent, the global benchmark, because of regional discounts.

US is basing plans for economic resurgence on a “fracking fallacy”. University of Texas researchers say data shows “we’re setting ourselves up for a major fiasco”.

NextEra buys Hawai’s biggest utility to create renewables-transition proving ground. Largest US provider of wind and solar aims for 65% renewables in the mix by 2030.

Yet another study shows that rooftop solar is contagious. This one in Connecticut, shows clustering in same geographical areas irrespective of income.

Tempus Energy launches legal challenge against UK government’s capacity market. Demand-side response firm argues discrimination against consumers who want to participate.


WMO: 2014 set to become the hottest year ever: 14 of hottest 15 now all in 21st century. Global average 0.57C above the average of 14C for the 1961-1990 reference period.

Many developing countries commit to a total carbon-pollution phase out by 2050. The AOSIS & AILAC  groups do so at at the Lima Climate Summit (COP20). So does Norway.

Germany agrees extra cuts from power sector to meet 40% carbon cuts target by 2020. Merkel’s cabinet agrees to what Environment Minister calls a “tripling” of effort.

IEA tells COP20 that measures to get on 2C track by 2020 have no impact on GDP, anywhere. Energy efficiency can do the job alone, the Agency says: “it really shouldn’t be that hard”.

Norway oil fund’s experts advise engagement on climate, and exclusion of “worst” offenders. World’s biggest wealth fund should eschew ethics-motivated divestment, they say.

Sub-$2 gasoline is back in the US. An Oklahoma City station, becomes to first to sell at $1.99.


UK banks at risk of losing billions in oil-services debt writedowns. Barclays, HSBC, RBS, could face bad debt writedowns of about $1 bn each, say analysts.

New U.S. oil & gas well permits fall nearly 40% in November. These show which rigs will be active 60-90 days in future: i.e.expect collapse Jan – Feb 2015.

“Oil Investors May Be Running Off a Cliff They Can’t See”: Bloomberg. BoE enquiry on stranding risk, and E.ON’s business model U-turn, should be writing on the wall.

Junk bonds backing shale boom face $11bn loss, and counting. The $90bn of debt issued by junk-rated energy producers has fallen 13% since June.

How a Texas town, top to bottom Republican, home of fracking, voted no more. Callous disregard by drillers for residents, and manifest health impacts, turned the tide.

IEA: Climate policymaking is sparing $250bn clean energy industry from oil turmoil. 60% of the $5 trillion to be spent on powerplants in the next decade will go to renewables.


US shale lenders’ shares fall after Opec’s decision to maintain current oil production. Midsize banks have as much as 20% of total institutional loan book in energy.

E.ON to retreat from coal and gas to focus growth on renewables and energy services. Germany’s biggest utility will split into two companies, admitting failure of old business model.

BoE to examine risks carbon-fuel companies pose to financial stability.

November 30, 2014 Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Oil

FT: “The Bank of England has revealed it is to examine formally for the first time the risks fossil fuel companies pose to financial stability.”

UK regulator introduces tough controls aiming to cut energy bills.

November 28, 2014 Coal, Gas, Nuclear

FT: “UK energy regulator Ofgem has outlined tough annual price controls for power distributors that it claims will cut £2.1bn from customer bills – equivalent to £11 per household – and increase compensation for extended power outages.”

Obama climate change envoy: fossil fuels will have to stay in the ground.

November 25, 2014 Climate, Coal, Gas, Oil

Guardian: “The world’s fossil fuels will “obviously” have to stay in the ground in order to solve global warming, Barack Obama’s climate change envoy said on Monday.”

One of three UK emergency power plants fails output test.

November 24, 2014 Coal, Gas, Nuclear

FT: “One of the three power stations being paid by National Grid to come online in an emergency this winter has failed a test run, heightening concerns over the reliability of Britain’s creaking, accident-prone electricity system.”

Norway’s largest pension fund vows to drop coal mine holdings.

November 23, 2014 Climate, Coal, Finance

FT: “Norway’s largest pension fund has vowed to drop its holdings in coal miners, intensifying pressure on the coal industry from global investors.”

CCS will struggle to be viable, lead practitioner says.

November 23, 2014 Climate, Coal

FT: “A technology at the heart of efforts to avoid global warming will struggle to be economically viable in many places, the company spearheading its use in the power industry has revealed.”

Ten years of watching unrealistic scenarios in IEA World Energy Outlooks.

November 13, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Nuclear, Oil

David Macleod for Resilience: “The International Energy Agency (IEA) is the energy watchdog of the industrial world. The developed nations of the world were caught off guard by the oil crisis of 1973.”

Coal isn’t the way out of energy poverty: Carbon Tracker report.

November 13, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal

Carbon Tracker press release (no url): “Rural communities in Africa and India suffering most from a lack of modern energy can exploit the falling costs of renewable power, to access electricity without the need for expensive grid transmission networks, new research by the Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI) shows.”

China targets 8 GW of rooftop solar this year.

November 13, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal

Bloomberg: ” China, the world’s biggest solar market for two years running, is pushing to install more panels at factories, schools and even greenhouses as it seeks to meet its goals under a historic climate agreement with the U.S.”

Rich countries subsidise fossil fuels by $88bn a year.

November 11, 2014 Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Oil

Guardian: “Rich countries are subsidising oil, gas and coal companies by about $88bn (£55.4bn) a year to explore for new reserves, despite evidence that most fossil fuels must be left in the ground if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.”

The world’s largest coal mine, in Wyoming, barrels on.

November 10, 2014 Climate, Coal

Guardian: “In the world’s biggest coalmine, even a 400 tonne truck looks like a toy. Everything about the scale of Peabody Energy’s operations in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming is big and the mines are only going to get bigger”

“Fracking’s mythology is single biggest threat to the solar revolution.”

November 5, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Commentaries, Finance, Gas, Oil

Jeremy Leggett in Recharge magazine: “There are days of late when the solar revolution seems to be an inevitability, and an imminent one.
When one reads that by 2020 an “energy trio” purchase of solar roof plus electric vehicle plus domestic battery will be able to pay for itself within six to eight years, while giving a 7% pre-tax return on investment, how could it be otherwise? Especially when that prognosis comes from a team of analysts at the world’s biggest private bank. Such developments, UBS says, will change the face of the energy industry.
But then there are days when the vehemence of the incumbency’s rearguard action is so daunting that one wonders if Big Energy can delay the solar revolution, maybe for years, or even derail it.”

“One Trillion Tonnes and $5 Trillion: Thoughts on IPCC Synthesis Report.”

November 3, 2014 Clean Energy, Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Oil

Mark Lewis for Kepler Cheuvreux (no url): “….The (IPCC) Synthesis Report states that if the world is to stand a better than even chance  of limiting warming  to no more than 2°C, only about one trillion tonnes of CO2 more can be emitted from 2011 onwards (the precise amount will depend on emissions trends for other GHGs).”