Daily Archives: October 8, 2013

Will GOP Threaten Shutdown Over Climate? – Ken Walsh’s Washington

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/Ken-Walshs-Washington/2013/10/08/will-gop-threaten-shutdown-over-climate

By Kenneth T. Walsh

October 8, 2013 RSS Feed Print

Regulations being prepared by President Obama’s administration, through the Environmental Protection Agency, to impose greenhouse gas controls for power plants will likely trigger widespread conservative outrage, a new study said.

Fighting regulations designed to limit climate change could be the next big cause among hard-line Republicans, according to a new study.

Widespread conservative outrage will likely be triggered by an assortment of regulations being prepared by President Obama’s administration, through the Environmental Protection Agency, to impose greenhouse gas controls for power plants, the study said. Some members of Congress and business interests argue that these regulations would badly hurt the coal industry and cost thousands of jobs.

The study by Democracy Corps, a Democrat-leaning research organization, found that, “Climate change is poised to replace health care reform among Republicans [as a central issue], with the very same dynamics already in evidence. But that also could further isolate and divide Republicans, too.”

[READ:
Washington’s Politics Turn Nasty, Profane
]

“Evangelicals and tea party Republicans share and are consumed by skepticism about climate science – to the point where they mistrust scientists before they begin to speak,” the survey found. These constituencies, which dominate the GOP, strongly oppose “the big government and regulations that inevitably result from climate science,” Democracy Corps said.

“Tea party Republicans, in particular, are concerned that climate science is another way to force regulations on individuals and businesses,” the study added. “And they fear the subsequent costs – both to consumers and taxpayers.”

Republican moderates, however, have a different view. “Moderates are more apt to accept the science – and respond more positively to science in general,” the survey found.

[BROWSE:
Political Cartoons on Climate Change
]

“… Although some are doubtful about climate change, they do not reject science offhand, but rather say they simply do not know enough to know who to believe. And while moderates reject high taxes and over-regulation, many do accept that climate is one area where government ought to do more.”

The survey was based on six focus groups conducted recently among Republicans in Raleigh, N.C.; Roanoke, Va.; and Colorado Springs, Colo.

In a related development, Reuters reports that Heather Zichal is stepping down as Obama’s chief energy and climate adviser to work in the private sector. No successor has been named but White House officials say there will be no reduction in Obama’s commitment to fighting climate change.

….(read more)

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Native tribes’ traditional knowledge can help US adapt to climate change

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131003162944.htm

Oct. 3, 2013 — New England’s Native tribes, whose sustainable ways of farming, forestry, hunting and land and water management were devastated by European colonists four centuries ago, can help modern America adapt to climate change.

That’s the conclusion of more than 50 researchers at Dartmouth and elsewhere in a special issue of the journal Climatic Change. It is the first time a peer-reviewed journal has focused exclusively on climate change’s impacts on U.S. tribes and how they are responding to the changing environments. Dartmouth also will host an Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Working Group meeting Nov. 4- 5.

The special issue, which includes 13 articles, concludes that tribes’ traditional ecological knowledge can play a key role in developing scientific solutions to adapt to the impacts. “The partnerships between tribal peoples and their non-tribal research allies give us a model for responsible and respectful international collaboration,” the authors say.

…(read more).

Dartmouth College (2013, October 3). Native tribes’ traditional knowledge can help US adapt to climate change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 8, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2013/10/131003162944.htm

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

IEA – World Energy Outlook 2013

http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/

To be released on 12 November‌‌

In a world where big differences in regional energy prices impact competitiveness, who are the potential winners and losers?

Huge volumes of oil are needed to meet growing demand and offset declines in existing fields. Where will it all come from?

What could trigger a rapid convergence in natural gas prices between Asia, Europe and North America, and how would it affect energy markets?

Is the growth in renewable energy self-sustaining and is it sufficient to put us on track to meet global climate goals?

How much progress is being made in phasing out fossil-fuel subsidies and expanding access to modern energy services to the world’s poor?

The answers to these and many other questions are found in WEO-2013, which covers the prospects for all energy sources, regions and sectors to 2035. Oil is analysed in-depth: resources, production, demand, refining and international trade. Energy efficiency – a major factor in the global energy balance – is treated in much the same way as conventional fuels: Its prospects and contribution are presented in a dedicated chapter. And the report examines the outlook for Brazil’s energy sector in detail and the implications for the global energy landscape.

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Securing our pensions: The close interdependence of investments and the new world order

http://www.good-measures.eu/uploads/30-document.pdf

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Canada’s Carbon Liabilities: The Implications of Stranded Fossil Fuel Assets f or Financial Markets and Pension Funds / Marc Lee and Brock Ellis

http://d7.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National%20Office,%20BC%20Office/2013/03/Canadas%20Carbon%20Liabilities.pdf
Mounting evidence of climate change impacts worldwide will inevitably
lead to a new global consensus on climate action. Based on recent research,
between two-thirds and four-fifths of known fossil fuel reserves have
been deemed to be unburnable carbon — that cannot safely be combusted.
This is of profound importance to Canada, a nation making fossil fuel
development and expansion the centrepiece of its industrial strategy. This
study looks at the implications of unburnable carbon for the Canadian fossil
fuel industry and in particular for financial markets and pension funds.
We argue that Canada is experiencing a carbon bubble that must be strategically
deflated in the move to a clean energy economy.

Doing the Math
A carbon budget is the maximum amount of CO2 that can be emitted in the
future, based on scientifically-estimated probabilities of staying below 2°C
of global warming, above which would lead to catastrophic or “runaway”
climate change beyond humanity’s capacity to manage. The world’s carbon
budget is now approximately 500 billion tonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide, an
amount that would provide an 80% chance at staying under 2°C.
Canada’s share of that global carbon budget would be just under 9 Gt
based on its share of world GDP, and 2.4 Gt based on share of world population.
An internationally negotiated carbon budget for Canada could go
up depending on export arrangements with other countries, or down if larger
historical emissions mean disproportionate reductions from rich countries.
A plausible carbon budget for Canada would almost certainly fall between
2 and 20 Gt.
Canada’s reserves of fossil fuels are significantly larger than Canada’s
fair share of a global carbon budget:
• Canada’s proven reserves of oil, bitumen, gas and coal are equivalent
to 91 Gt of CO2, or 18% of the global carbon budget.
• Adding in probable reserves boosts this figure to 174 Gt, or 35% of
the global carbon budget.
• A final, more speculative category including all possible reserves is
1,192 Gt — more than double the world’s carbon budget.
This means that business as usual for the fossil fuel industry is incompatible
with action to address climate change that keeps global temperature
increase to 2°C or less. Even at the high end of a 20 Gt carbon budget, this
would imply that 78% of Canada’s proven reserves, and 89% of proven-plusprobable
reserves, would need to remain underground.

Carbon Liabilities, Stranded Assets
The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) is highly weighted towards the fossil fuel
sector. At the end of 2011, the TSX had 405 listed oil and gas companies with
a total market capitalization of over $379 billion. When coal producers are
added this number rises further.

To assess the implications of Canada’s carbon bubble, we developed a
database of 114 fossil fuel companies operating in Canada — 103 listed on
the TSX (assets greater than $70M for oil and gas, and $50M for coal), and 11
foreign-owned subsidiaries. For each we compiled financial data on revenue,
assets and market capitalization. Then we added data on fossil fuel reserves
(proven and probable), which we converted into potential CO2 emissions.
We develop an estimated range of their carbon liabilities by applying a carbon
price, representing the estimated damages from emitting a tonne of carbon
(known as the social cost of carbon, or SCC, based on recent literature).

….(read more).

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets

http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/publication/unburnable-carbon-2013-wasted-capital-and-stranded-assets/

http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/PB-unburnable-carbon-2013-wasted-capital-stranded-assets.pdf

and

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Carbon Bubble | Carbon Tracker Initiative

http://www.carbontracker.org/carbonbubble

Unburnable Carbon – Are the world’s financial markets carrying a carbon bubble?

http://www.carbontracker.org/linkfileshare/Unburnable-Carbon-Full-rev2.pdf

This award-winning analysis by Carbon Tracker discovers that:

  • Already in 2011, the world has used over a third of its 50-year carbon budget of 886GtCO2, leaving 565GtCO2
  • All of the proven reserves owned by private and public companies and governments are equivalent to 2,795 GtCO2
  • Fossil fuel reserves owned by the top 100 listed coal and top 100 listed oil and gas companies represent total emissions of 745GtCO2
  • Only 20% of the total reserves can be burned unabated, leaving up to 80% of assets technically unburnable

(click image for larger version of map)

Distribution of reserves across exchanges

By allocating reserves to exchanges, it is possible to build up a picture of where reserves are listed. The map shows how the listings of coal, oil and gas reserves are distributed, indicating that capital markets are supporting the continued exploitation of fossil fuel reserves around the world.

Focus on the UK:

The analysis shows that London currently has 105.5 GtCO2 of fossil fuel reserves listed on its exchange, over ten times the UK’s domestic carbon budget for 2011 to 2050, of around 10 GtCO2. This amount is only growing with the addition of companies such as Glencore, Vallar and Vallares, and the predominance of mining companies amongst new listings – 70% in the first half of 2011.

Relevance for investors

Asset owners typically invest large amounts in passive funds which track the market, or active funds which are benchmarked against market indices. This means many investors are backing huge fossil fuel reserves purely as a result of the structure of the financial products they invest in. The continued focus on short term returns perpetuates the status quo .

Regulation needed

Carbon Tracker argues that the new Financial Policy Committee, set up to monitor risks and bubbles in the financial system, must urgently address the “carbon bubble” and ensure regulators require greater disclose on reserves and carbon emission in order to assess this material risk to financial stability. Carbon Tracker recommends that this market failure is also considered by the Kay review into the structure of Equity markets to deliver a more long-term, transparent system.

….(read more).

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120