Category Archives: Carbon Finance

China air pollution moved to the top of the political agenda for the new government this year

China air pollution moved to the top of the political agenda for the new government this year

Reducing the extreme levels of air pollution in China has moved to the top of the political agenda for the new government this year. Without reform, China’s air pollution could worsen by another 70% in 2015. Construction and industrial emissions contribute approximately 20% of particle matters (as measured by PM2.5). We expect measures to address this crisis may have important implications for industrial sector activity. In fact, the forthcoming power rationing in Hebei province highlights that provincial governments may step up their effort to tackle pollution crisis.

According to Bloomberg, Tangshan city will shut 199 polluting factories by rationing their power supply from May 20th. Power supply for three ore-sintering lines at Tangshan Steel and two at Guofeng Steel will be cut. Operations won’t be resumed until desulfurizing devices are added to satisfy environmental standards. Furthermore, outdated, unlicensed and illegal facilities in Tangshan will also be closed by May 31st. If these measures are implemented strictly, we expect this could support steel prices while depress iron ore demand.

Chinese authorities have sought to appease public anger after smog in Beijing hit hazardous levels in January. Pollution has surpassed land disputes as the biggest cause of protests in China, Chen Jiping, a former leading member of the Communist Party’s Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs, said in March.

Related Video Post:  Think China’s Air Pollution is bad – try again – look at its water pollution problem.

Related FAQ:  What is PM2.5 ? Click here to find out

by Anric


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An Inevitable Headline in 2014 — ‘Planet’s CO2 Level Reaches 400 ppm for First Time in Human Existence’

An Inevitable Headline in 2014 — ‘Planet’s CO2 Level Reaches 400 ppm for First Time in Human Existence’

Dr. Peter Gleick
Sometime, about one year from now, the front pages of whatever decent newspapers are left will carry a headline like the one above, announcing that for the first time in human existence (or in nearly a million years, or 3 million years, or 15 million years), the global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide — the principal gas causing climate change — will have passed 400 parts per million.

Image courtesy of Peter Gleick via ScienceBlogs. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere measured by Scripps/NOAA at Mauna Loa. We’re rapidly approaching 400 parts per million. Click image to enlarge.

That’s a significant and shocking figure.

Unfortunately, it is only a temporary marker on the way to even higher and higher levels. Here (Figure 1 above) are the most recent (March 2013) data from the Mauna Loa observatory showing the inexorable increase in atmospheric CO2 and the rapid approach to 400 ppm.

There is a range of estimates around the detailed time record of atmospheric composition, and the study of changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over the billions of years of the Earth’s existence is an exciting area for research. A commonly cited figure with strong evidence comes from measurements of air trapped in ancient ice cores obtained from Antarctic ice. We now have a detailed 800,000 year record, which shows clearly that atmospheric CO2 levels never approached 400 ppm during this period (as shown in Figure 2).

Image courtesy of Peter Gleick via ScienceBlogs The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, measured over the past 800,000 years. It never came close to 400 ppm. Present day is on the right of the curve. Click image to enlarge.

In December 2009, a research team from UCLA published a paper in Science that suggested we would have to go back at least 15 million years to find carbon dioxide levels approaching today’s levels. This research used isotopic analysis of shells in deep sea sediments and reported that CO2 concentrations may not have exceeded 400 parts per million since the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum (MMCO) — between 16 million and 14 million years ago. The MMCO was associated with reduced planetary ice volumes, global sea levels a huge 25 to 40 meters higher than today, and warmer ocean temperatures. Decreasing CO2 concentrations after that were associated with substantial global cooling, glaciations, and dropping sea levels.


Dr. Peter Gleick is president of the Pacific Institute, an internationally recognized water expert, and a MacArthur Fellow.
Gavin Schmidt of NASA’s GISS has pointed me to research in a December 2011 article in the journal Paleoceanography by Gretta Bartoli, Bärbel Hönisch, and Richard E. Zeebe reporting on paleoclimatic records that suggest that CO2 concentrations (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) may have been around 400 ppm between 2 million and 4.6 million years ago. This evidence comes from isotopes measured in planktic foraminifer shells spanning 2.0 million to 4.6 million years ago and indicates that atmospheric CO2 estimates during the Pliocene gradually declined from just above 400 ppm to around 300 ppm in the early Pleistocene 2 million years ago.

800,000 years ago? Three million years ago? 15 million years ago? More research will continue to clarify the variability of Earth’s atmospheric composition over time, as well as the impacts for the planet as a whole of screwing with it. [That’s a technical term…]

But the more important point to remember is that never in the history of the planet have humans altered the atmosphere as radically as we are doing so now. And the climatic consequences for us are likely to be radical as well, on a time-scale far faster than humans have ever experienced.

–Peter Gleick
Follow Peter Gleick on Twitter.

Originally published by Science Blogs on March 7, 2013.

The post Peter Gleick: An Inevitable Headline in 2014 — ‘Planet’s CO2 Level Reaches 400 ppm for First Time in Human Existence’ appeared first on Circle of Blue WaterNews.

by Anric


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Jeremy Grantham – The Race of our Lives

Jeremy Grantham – The Race of our Lives

“Our global economy, reckless in its use of all resources and natural systems, shows many of the indicators of potential failure that brought down so many civilizations before ours. By sheer luck, though, ours has two features that might just save our bacon: declining fertility rates and progress in alternative energy. Our survival might well depend on doing everything we can to encourage their progress. Vested interests, though, defend the status quo effectively and the majority much prefers optimistic propaganda to uncomfortable truth and wishful thinking rather than tough action. It is likely to be a close race.
The collapse of civilizations is a gripping and resonant topic for many of us and one that has attracted many scholars over the years. They see many possible contributing factors to the collapse of previous civilizations, the evidence pieced together shard by shard from civilizations that often left few records. But some themes reoccur in the scholars’ work: geographic locations that had misfortune in the availability of useful animal and vegetable life, soil, water, and a source of energy; mismanagement in the overuse and depletion of resources, especially forests, soil, and water……

by Anric


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Energy Outlook – A view to 2040

Energy Outlook – A view to 2040

Walking through the lobby at the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha, Qatar, we stumble across a live presentation by ExxonMobil of its annual Energy Outlook. Normally every year we like to present the key findings of this excellent industry source to our clients and partners.

The Outlook for Energy is ExxonMobil’s long-term view of our shared energy future. They develop the Outlook annually to assess future trends in energy supply, demand and technology to help guide the long-term investments.

This year’s Outlook reveals a number of key findings about how we use energy, how much we will need in the future and what types of fuels will meet demand.

For example:

Efficiency will continue to play a key role in solving our energy challenges. Energy-saving practices and technologies, such as hybrid vehicles and high-efficiency natural gas power plants, will help countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – including those in North America and Europe – keep energy use essentially flat even as OECD economic output grows 80 percent.

Energy demand in developing nations (Non OECD) will rise 65 percent by 2040 compared to 2010, reflecting growing prosperity and expanding economies. Overall, global energy demand will grow 35 percent, even with significant efficiency gains, as the world’s population expands from about 7 billion people today to nearly 9 billion people by 2040, led by growth in Africa and India.

With this growth comes a greater demand for electricity. Today, and over the next few decades, electricity generation represents the largest driver of demand for energy. Through 2040, it will account for more than half of the increase in global energy demand.

Growth in transportation sector demand will be led by expanding commercial activity as our economies grow. However, energy consumed by personal vehicles will gradually peak and then begin to fall as our cars, sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and small pickup trucks become much more fuel-efficient.

Technology is enabling the safe development of once hard-to-produce energy resources, significantly expanding available supplies to meet the world’s changing energy needs.

Oil will remain the No. 1 global fuel, while natural gas will overtake coal for the No. 2 spot. Use of nuclear power and renewable energy will grow, while demand for coal peaks and then begins a gradual decline.

Evolving demand and supply patterns will open the door for increased global trade opportunities.

Around 2030, the nations of North America will likely transition from a net importer to a net exporter of oil and oil-based products. The changing energy landscape and the resulting trade opportunities it affords will continue to provide consumers with more choices, more value, more wealth and more good jobs (see page 44).

The Outlook provides a window to the future, a view that we use to help guide our own strategies and investments. Over the next five years, ExxonMobil expects to invest approximately $185 billion in energy projects alone. Given the magnitude of these investments, it’s critical that we take an objective and data-driven approach to ensure that we have the most accurate picture of energy trends.

The information contained in the Outlook regarding energy markets is also crucial for individuals, businesses and policymakers. We hope that by sharing this Outlook, we can enhance understanding of energy issues so that we can all make informed decisions about our energy future.

Download the entire report: Energy Outlook – A view to 2040

by Anric


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More than 100 of the world's largest companies are calling for governments to bring in a global carbon price

More than 100 of the world’s largest companies are calling for governments to bring in a global carbon price to drive the huge investment needed to deliver substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Shell, Unilever, EDF Energy, Statoil, Swiss Re, and Skanska are among those that have endorsed the Carbon Price Communiqué, coordinated by the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, ahead of the Doha climate summit.

Click here to download and read the Carbon Price Communique

The businesses believe a market-driven carbon price would offer regulatory certainty and create the level playing field with conventional energy sources developers needed for large-scale low-carbon investment and innovation.


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77% of Americans Think Fighting Climate Change Should be a Priority

We Americans have garnered ourselves quite a little reputation as foot-dragging obstructionists when it comes to global warming; the arctic is melting, our crops are drying out, the problem is staring us in the face, the rational world is moving to act, and our politicians and pundits blather on about sunspots and debunked conspiracy theories.

But no more! A post-Sandy America cries out. Or at least 77% of us do. The latest survey from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication finds that that many Americans want to address climate change. From said study: “A large majority of Americans (77%) say global warming should be a “very high” (18%), “high” (25%), or “medium” priority (34%) for the president and Congress. One in four (23%) say it should be a low priority.”

One in four Americans evidently don’t live in flood zones or the American southwest. And here’s the interesting part of the study—a vast majority of Americans say they’re willing to pay more for electricity to combat climate change, if that’s what it takes:

A large majority of Americans (88%) say the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs. A plurality (44%) favors a medium-scale effort, even if it has moderate economic costs. One in four (24%) supports a large-scale effort even if there are large economic costs.

Interesting. The only thing that Americans are even more united around is clean energy—92% say the government should making developing renewable power sources a priority.

Download the study now


South Korea wins race to host $100bn Green Climate Fund

South Korea has been selected as the official host for the UN’s high-profile Green Climate Fund (GCF), after the fund’s board approved plans for a new headquarters in Songdo, Incheon City.

The South Korean government announced on Saturday that it had been chosen to host the planned $100bn-a-year fund after beating competition from Germany, Mexico, Namibia, Poland and Switzerland.

The formation of the GCF was agreed at last year’s UN climate change summit in Durban as a means of managing the $100bn a year in climate-related funding that countries have committed to delivering by 2020.

The board managing the development of the fund is yet to release proposals on how the funding will be raised, although it is understood to be considering a wide range of different options, including the expansion of the global carbon market and the introduction of new levies on international shipping and aviation.

Ministers gathering at the annual UN climate summit in Doha, Qatar next month are expected to rubber-stamp the selection of South Korea as the host for the new fund and continue negotiations on how it will be funded through to 2020 and how to raise the targeted $100bn a year thereafter.

The fund is widely regarded as critical to efforts to get developing countries to support a new binding emissions reduction treaty, which under a timetable agreed in Durban is expected to be agreed by 2015 and finalised by 2020.

Richer nations have committed to provide billions of dollars of funding to help poorer countries switch to cleaner technologies and adapt to unavoidable climate change impacts.

The transfer remains highly controversial with some industrialised countries insisting that they cannot afford significant climate change aid programmes, while poorer countries and charities warn that the $100bn a year commitment falls a long way short of what will be required.

There have also been arguments over how the new funding will be managed and distributed with the formation of the GCF seen as a compromise to win over those nations that had resisted the use of the World Bank to manage climate change funding.

Diplomats indicated that the selection of an emerging economy in the form of South Korea to host the fund could help to ease tensions between developing and industrialised economies.

The move will also provide a further boost to the south-east Asian state’s position as a major clean tech hub, which has seen the government commit to a multi-billion dollar green stimulus programme, sign up to ambitious emission reduction targets, and develop plans for a new carbon market.

The announcement comes as South Korea this week hosts a preparatory meeting for senior negotiators ahead of the Doha Summit next month.

A host of issues remain unresolved ahead of the fortnight talks, which are expected to focus on securing climate funding commitments for the period from 2013 to 2020, finalising the timetable for talks to secure a global agreement in 2015, and securing an extension to the Kyoto Protocol before it expires at the end of the year.

In related news, the high-profile Masdar project in Abu Dhabi this week announced it had awarded design and construction contracts for its new headquarters, which will include the global headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The new agency will be located at the state-of-the-art Masdar eco-city when the headquarters construction project is completed in summer 2014.

“The award of this contract marks a major milestone in the development of Masdar City,” said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the chief executive and managing director of Masdar. “The buildings integrate cutting-edge technologies in energy efficiency, green building and water conservation. We remain committed to the growth of Masdar City as a technology cluster, enabling companies to set up Middle-East operations to support the achievement of regional renewable energy targets and the development of clean technologies.”

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