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In the headlines: Estonia is on track to meet EU renewable targets & EV development center opened in Spain

Date
29 April 2013
In the headlines: Estonia is on track to meet EU renewable targets & EV development center opened in Spain

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Industrialized nations' greenhouse gas emissions dipped 0.7 percent in 2011, helped by a U.S. shift from high-polluting coal in power plants and by Europe's economic slowdown, data compiled by Reuters showed on Friday. Reuters, April 26.

Australia

Companies are sitting on Australian coal resources likely to generate an extra 150 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases, setting a potential collision course with international efforts to curb global warming that would strand investments. A new report claims investments in new Australian coal, oil, and gas projects are being made with no regard for the risk that they will later be devalued as the world moves to cut emissions. The report by the British-based Carbon Tracker Initiative and the Australian Climate Institute says companies listed on the ASX 200 spend $5.7 billion a year developing and replacing coal reserves. Sydney Morning Herald, April 29.

Mining shale oil under the Great Barrier Reef is likely to be banned by Australia's federal Labor government as tensions rise over the environmental impact of the booming oil and gas industry on the coastline beside the reef. In February, the conservative Queensland state government lifted a moratorium on the shale oil industry in most places along the coast to allow companies to assess whether the US shale oil boom could be replicated in Australia. The Guardian, April 25.

China

A new report by the Australian Climate Commission has found that China is emerging as the global leader on climate action. The study praises work to establish carbon trading, renewable energy expansion in the country and the government’s efforts to put the brakes on growing electricity demand and greenhouse gas emissions. With increasing momentum to act on climate change in the US as well, the report claims action from the world’s two largest economies could stimulate efforts around the globe. RTCC.org, April 29.

Europe

Estonia is on track to become the first nation to meet the EU’s target of providing 20% of its final energy use from renewable sources, according to new Eurostat figures released on 26 April. Across the continent, energies such as wind, solar and biomass contributed 13% of Europe’s total energy consumption in 2011, up 0.9% on the previous year. The highest shares of renewables were found in Sweden, Latvia, Finland and Austria but the EU has set countries different individual goals according to their circumstances, and only Estonia exceeded theirs. EurActiv, April 29.

Poland is prioritizing low-cost electricity as it revamps its energy policy and shifts away from its reliance on coal-fired generation, the nation’s environment minister said. Marcin Korolec said he’d like to phase out subsidies for both clean power and fossil fuels, though the country must also replace aging power stations including some that are more than 40 years old. Bloomberg, April 25.

India

The western Indian state of Rajasthan recently became the second state to have an operational solar power capacity of over 500 MW. Last year, another western state, Gujarat, achieved this milestone with its aggressive solar power policy. The state had unveiled its solar power policy, among the first in the country, a few years ago. The state had allocated a number of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal power projects under this policy. Clean Technica, April 23.

North America

Negotiators heading to the latest round of UN climate talks in Bonn next week appear quietly confident the US could be ready to re-engage with the multilateral process. Washington has been a reluctant participant in efforts to develop a global consensus on climate change over the past decade, preferring to pursue non-binding schemes outside the UN framework. And while it’s unlikely Congress would currently accept any form of international emissions deal, UK government sources have told RTCC the administration’s attitude to international talks has become far more positive the past few months. “It’s early days but there looks like there’s something behind the PR,” they said. RTCC.org, April 26.

The campaign to make climate policy a central plank of President Obama's second term cranked up a notch with the launch of a new push to embarrass Republicans over their climate scepticism and an important victory for the high profile 350.org campaign group. The Organizing for Action (OFA) campaign group, which was formed to support the President's re-election campaign, yesterday made one of its most significant interventions since the election, with the launch of a new campaign urging its supporters to 'call out' climate deniers in Congress. BusinessGreen, April 26.

UK

The UK is one of the most active countries in the world when it comes to using taxes to drive more sustainable corporate behaviour and achieve green goals, according to new analysis by consulting firm KPMG. The country ranks number three in a new assessment of 21 major economies investigating key environmental policy areas such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, carbon emissions, clean tech innovation, and green buildings. BusinessGreen, April 26.

Electric Vehicles

Detroit Electric has teamed up with Geely to develop a fully electric version of the Chinese manufacturer's best-selling Emgrand EC7 saloon. The two companies expect the new co-branded EC7-EV to be on the market in the first quarter of next year and will initially target business users and public-sector organisations. They are predicting sales of around 3,000 units in the first 12 months, growing to 30,000 in three years' time. BusinessGreen, April 29.

The southern Spanish city of Malaga on Thursday opened a centre to develop electric cars in a project backed by Japanese automaker Mitsubishi and Spanish utility Endesa. The research centre, installed in a former tobacco factory, is part of a pilot project with a budget of 60 million euros ($78 million) "aimed at achieving mass access to e-mobility," Endesa said in a statement. Bangkok Post, April 26.

A line of Mini Coopers, each attached to the regional power grid by a thick cable plugged in where a gasoline filler pipe used to be, no longer just draws energy. The power now flows two ways between the cars and the electric grid, as the cars inject and suck power in tiny jolts, and get paid for it. This nascent form of electric car commerce will be announced by the University of Delaware, the regional grid operator and an electric company. They have developed a system to collect payments for work (balancing supply and demand moment to moment) that is normally the domain of power plants. The New York Times, April 25.

LED Lighting

Researchers believe they have come up with a new type of LED-powered streetlamp that could radically reduce light pollution. Current designs "leak" large amounts of light in unwanted directions, obscuring views of the stars, wasting energy and making it harder for drivers to see. The team, based in Mexico and Japan, said they believed their solution was the "best ever reported". However, they have yet to turn their theory into a working prototype. The study - carried out by scientists in Mexico and Taiwan - appears in the open-access journal Optics Express. BBC News, April 25.

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