2013 – the year in review: Carbon emissions, badger culls and extreme weather … – The Independent

The Independent

2013 – the year in review: Carbon emissions, badger culls and extreme weather
The Independent
Meanwhile, the world continued to experience the kind of extreme weather events that cannot be directly linked to climate change but which scientists say are likely to occur more often as a result of a changing climate. Britain experienced the coldest

and more »

extreme weather – read more

Carbon Markets Cut Emissions 17x Cheaper Than Subsidies

The cornerstone appeal of carbon markets is their ability to cut emissions while creating clean energy investments – but it turns out they may be far more effective at the task than anyone could have ever imagined.

Carbon markets reduce greenhouse gas emissions nearly 17 times cheaper than paying power generators renewable energy subsidies, according to new analysis of 15 nations by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Thermal power plant emissions

Thermal power plant emissions image via Shutterstock

OECD’s research once again shows the power carbon markets can have in fighting climate change and funding clean energy, especially when linked across international systems, and is another example that cap-and-trade is far from dead.

Carbon Markets Cut CO2 17 Times Cheaper

Emissions reduction efforts have traditionally focused on decarbonizing the global power sector by boosting clean energy generation, but OECD’s findings hint at a better way to spend limited government funds.

According to the report, the cost of cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) from electricity generation through carbon markets is roughly €10/$ 13.50 per metric ton on average. Compared to average feed-in tariff costs of  €169/$ 228.40 and capital subsidies costing €176/$ 237.80, the potential for rapid decarbonization is evident.

Emissions reduction prices in electricity sector

Emissions reduction prices in electricity sector chart via OECD

Before dismissing the OECD’s findings, consider the list of countries analyzed in the report: Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The analysis covers nearly every potential energy market – from developed economy to developing, from high renewables to fossil fuel dependent, and those with mature carbon markets to those just starting out or under consideration.

No “Climate Bailout Option” If We Fail

Considering the Earth has 30 years at most until its carbon budget is exhausted and the planet is locked into dangerous climate change, “consistent carbon pricing must be the cornerstone of government actions to tackle climate change,” says OECD.

By combining policies that include pricing every ton of CO2 emitted, placing an implicit price on emissions, removing fossil fuels subsidies, and transparently operating carbon market functions, OECD maintains both consumers and investors will be incentivized to reduce emissions while offsetting power price increases.

“Cherry-picking a few easy policy measures is not enough…and we don’t have any time to waste,” said Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General. “Unlike the financial crisis, we do not have a climate bailout option up our sleeves.”

But beyond the world’s carbon budget, OECD’s analysis also tackles the carbon bubble – the potential financial meltdown that could occur when fossil fuel corporations and the investments that depend on their stability are suddenly devalued as a result of proven reserves coming off balance sheets as they’re forced to remain in the ground as “unburnable assets.”

By one OECD-cited estimate alone, over 55% of pension fund portfolios is invested in high-carbon assets or sectors greatly exposed to climate change-related regulation – forcing a decision of “either stranding those assets or stranding the planet.” This figure doesn’t even consider the $ 523 billion in fossil fuel subsides governments paid in 2011: How well would Big Oil perform without that support?

Fossil fuel subsidies in OECD countries

Fossil fuel subsidies in OECD countries chart via OECD

In addition, governments face a “carbon entanglement” where they hold a major stake in bringing fossil fuels to market and being paid their share of the profits – around $ 200 billion annually from royalty payments and taxes on oil and natural gas in OECD states alone.

Funding A Fossil-Free Future

And that’s where dedicated revenue from the transition to a clean energy economy comes in. Carbon markets are pouring money into energy efficiency, climate mitigation, and renewable energy projects across the world. With roughly 60 carbon pricing systems currently in place or under development, a clear path forward is apparent – if governments choose to make the right policy decisions.

“We are on a collision course with nature, and we need to take bold decisions to change that path,” concluded Gurria. “ There is only one way forward – governments need to put together the optimal policy mix to eliminate emissions from fossil fuels.”

Carbon Markets Cut Emissions 17x Cheaper Than Subsidies was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 other subscribers: RSS | Facebook | Twitter.


Bio-based Nylon Could Reduce Climate Change Emissions 85% Compared To Petroleum-based

California-based Rennovia develops chemicals and chemical processes that are bio-renewable to replace petrochemical production. In a press release, they announced that they have produced a 100% bio-based nylon polymer. Compared with petroleum-based adipic acid, which is used in making nylon polymer 6,6, using their bio-based version could reduce climate change emissions by 85%.

Image Credit: Silverxxx

“The production of 100% bio-based nylon-6,6 further validates Rennovia’s unique ability to create technological breakthroughs in the production of bio-based chemicals and materials, with projected significant cost advantages and environmental benefits vs. products produced from petroleum-based feedstocks. Practicing our AA and HMD processes at demonstration scale is the next  important milestone for the company, explained the Rennovia CEO. (Source: Green Car Congress)

About six billion pounds of Nylon 6,6 is made every year. It is used in products like carpets, tire cord, ropes, apparel, hoses, blankets, zip ties and even guitars. Rennovia’s nylon 6,6 production process could decrease typical costs 20-25%. It also uses renewable sources.

Their press release raises many questions, such as, how toxic is Nylon 6,6 for long-term exposure to humans? What about to other species? Six billion pounds a year of a material containing chemicals derived from petroleum sounds like a great deal of plastic resin that doesn’t appear to be very environmentally or human friendly.

Another question: does the bio-based polymer generate less toxic gases when it burns? Nylon 6,6 is used in automobiles, so would it reduce toxic gases from fires to use a bio-based version?

Some sources say nylon could be harmful, such as the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia, which lists it as a harmful ingredient for babies on their website. Others might say it doesn’t seem to have caused much harm so far, and it is nearly everywhere so it probably isn’t toxic.

Still, if it can be replaced with a cheaper version and made from renewable sources, it sounds like the kind of change that would be sensible. Though it may not be very harmful at all, one less source of petroleum-based chemicals in our environment couldn’t hurt.



Image Credit: Silverxxx

Bio-based Nylon Could Reduce Climate Change Emissions 85% Compared To Petroleum-based was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 other subscribers: RSS | Facebook | Twitter.


U.S. ups ‘social cost’ of carbon emissions

The U.S. government has increased a key economic measure it uses to estimate the damage caused by carbon-emitting activities, upping the so-called social cost of carbon from $ 22 US per tonne of CO2 to $ 36 a tonne, meaning projects like the Keystone XL pipeline could be seen as more financially damaging than before.
environmental damage – read more

EU environment agency: Greenhouse gases emissions in 2011 lowest in 14 years

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – The EU’s environmental agency says the 27-nation bloc’s greenhouse emissions in 2011 were the lowest since it began monitoring them in 1990. The European Environment Agency says greenhouse gas emissions dropped 3.3 …
enviroment – read more

Thinktank: Biofuels are too expensive – and they don’t always reduce emissions – Carbon Brief (blog)

Thinktank: Biofuels are too expensive – and they don't always reduce emissions
Carbon Brief (blog)
oils is not a cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Biofuel targets have been controversial ever since scientific studies began indicating that these fuels may have a far higher impact on greenhouse gas emissions than previously

and more »

Read more

Fracking Wells’ Air Emissions Pose Health Risks, Study Finds – BusinessWeek

The Public Record

Fracking Wells' Air Emissions Pose Health Risks, Study Finds
Hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, has enabled oil and gas companies to access fuel trapped in previously impenetrable shale rock, reversing a decline in US gas production. Environmentalists have previously raised concerns about water
Study shows air emissions near fracking sites may impact healthEurekAlert (press release)

Center Seeks To Shed Light On Fracking And HealthAOL Energy
Fracking: Pennsylvania Gags PhysiciansThe Public Record

all 11 news articles »

Read more

Judge: Wash. must restrict refineries’ emissions –

The Sierra Club, the Washington Environmental Council and their lawyers at Earthjustice sued the state Ecology Department and two regional clean air agencies in March to force them to do a better job curbing emissions from the refineries.
Read more

Management Meeting: CMS Discusses Michigan Regulatory Environment, Emissions Compliance Spending – MSN Money

We met with CMS Energy NYSE:CMS CFO Tom Webb at the Edison Electric Institute’s Financial Forum last week in Florida. We spent most of our time talking about Michigan’s regulatory environment, as the state has a new chairman at the PSC, John …
Read more

U.K. Plans 50 Percent Cut in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2025

Britain is poised to announce ambitious targets for cutting the emissions – an example of a government committing to big environmental initiatives even as it pursues austerity measures.
Read more