Effective today, The ROBERT|CHARLESGroup is discontinuing our postings and links to content and news for investing in worldwide cap and trade and sustainable energy markets. This blog will be phased out in the coming days and weeks.
Judging by his recent choice of presidential transport, Francois Hollande looks like he’s going to be putting climate change and the low-carbon economy back at the top of France’s political agenda. BusinessGreenreports today that the newly elected administration is already looking to revive the idea of putting a carbon tax on all goods imported from outside Europe – a move that was first proposed by Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkzoy, but dismissed by critics as overly protectionist. In an interview on FranceTV, the newly appointed French minister for “industrial revival,” Arnaud Montebourg, outlined the planned scheme, which would require importers of goods manufactured outside Europe to buy carbon permits from the EU ETS.
This summer at the largest urban mall in Europe, visitors may notice something different at their feet. Twenty bright green rubber tiles will adorn one of the outdoor walkways at the Westfield Stratford City Mall, which abuts the new Olympic stadium in east London.The squares aren't just ornamental. They are designed to collect the kinetic energy created by the estimated 40 million pedestrians who will use that walkway in a year, generating several hundred kilowatt-hours of electricity from their footsteps. That's enough to power half the mall's outdoor lighting.
Britain's ageing nuclear reactors, which were due to close in the next decade, are set to be kept open under a plan approved by the industry's regulator. In a move that could have far-reaching implications for the government's energy policy, the Office for Nuclear Regulation has told the Guardian it is working with the country's dominant nuclear operator, the French-owned company EDF, to extend the life of its eight nuclear power stations in the UK, and that it is "content for the plants to continue to operate", as long as they pass regular safety tests. The two organisations are also discussing other improvements to EDF's plants, including monitoring systems and dealing with the reactors' ageing. Just a few weeks ago ministers were still referring to the need to "keep the lights on" in Britain when a number of existing nuclear and coal power stations closed over the next few years, by building new nuclear and gas power and subsidising renewable energy technologies and carbon capture and storage.
South Africa is pushing forward with its ambitious renewable energy rollout, announcing overnight it has awarded contracts for another $3.4 billion of renewable energy developments, with 19 wind, solar and hydropower projects totaling 1,043MW getting the nod. South Africa has much in common with Australia. It relies heavily on coal for its electricity (85 per cent) and has a similar sized grid (41GW). But it has chosen to kick-start its target of sourcing at least 30 per cent of its electricity requirement from renewables by 2030 with a series of competitive tenders that will allocate contracts for a total of 3,725MW of capacity. It reasons that once this is built, the rest of the 17,000MW of renewable energy required to meet the target will flow.
Europe’s largest renewable energy infrastructure fund is only investing in projects that are closest to being viable without government support, according to the fund’s manager. “People still want clean and renewable energy. But there’s a change in what they are willing to pay for it,” said Tom Murley, London-based director and head of the renewable energy team at HgCapital.
China’s three main carbon markets – the Beijing Environment Exchange, Shanghai Environment Energy Exchange and Tianjin Climate Exchange – were all formed within two months of each other, towards the end of 2008. At that point, the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS) was still struggling to recover from a crash a year previously, which had seen the price of carbon allowance plummet from 30 euros to just a few cents. The World Bank estimates that carbon trading globally could be worth US$3.5 trillion by 2020, meaning it would overtake oil to become the world’s largest market. Spurred by this rosy outlook, China had 100 carbon exchanges in operation or under preparation by late 2011.
A tool commonly used by financial strategists to determine what shares to purchase to create a diversified stock portfolio was used to develop a diversified portfolio of another kind -- land to be set aside for conservation purposes given the uncertainty about climate change. Instead of plugging into the formula the data for the history of a stock, University of Illinois environmental economist Amy Ando and agricultural economist Mindy Mallory used the historical climate data of the Prairie Pothole Region of the northern Great Plains to develop a new application of the financial tool called the Modern Portfolio Theory. "It's a very well-known tool in finance," said agricultural economist Mindy Mallory. "There are many tools that are widely available to solve a portfolio problem. So it was really just a new marriage of the tool with a different kind of portfolio problem."
Around a quarter of the world’s businesses are taking a serious look at green vehicles as a way of cutting costs, new research has revealed. The major survey of 3,000 executives, conducted by business advisers Grant Thornton and released last week, has found that Asian and G7 countries are leading the shift to greener cars, where respectively 31 per cent and 28 per cent of companies have examined the possibilities presented by alternatively-fuelled car fleets, powered by electricity, biofuels, or liquefied natural gas.
Two key independent Australian MPs have said they would back opposition leader Tony Abbott’s plan to dismantle Australia’s carbon trading scheme if he wins next year’s election, fuelling investor fears that the market might not happen and holding back demand for U.N.-issued offsets.
Chesapeake Energy Inc. shareholders should withhold votes against two board members and refuse to endorse Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon’s pay at next month’s meeting, Egan-Jones Proxy Services said. The board of Chesapeake has conducted “egregiously weak” oversight and executive pay is disconnected from financial performance, the advisory service said in a statement released today to clients. The company’s annual meeting is scheduled for June 8 at its headquarters in Oklahoma City. Chesapeake, the second-largest U.S. natural-gas producer, is borrowing $4 billion to ease a cash-flow shortfall that Fitch Ratings estimates will reach $10 billion this year.
A leading carbon pricing advocate has warned Australia will face a continuing investment strike in building base load power generation capacity if it scraps the floor price in the carbon pricing scheme after 2015, which could push up electricity costs. Erwin Jackson, the deputy chief executive of the Climate Institute, argues maintaining a floor price in the carbon scheme is an economically efficient way to manage the risks associated with international trading while ensuring domestic investment in low-emissions technologies.
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