Archive for the ‘emissions’ Category

“Look out for the flags,” former Anglo boss warns miners

Most small mining companies are not in a position to look beyond funding the next stage of their project or trying to find a strategic partner. But a recent presentation at the Hong Kong Mines and Money conference gave an insight into how large mining companies take a much longer-term view, and how they consider all kinds of eventualities that could impact their business.

British-born Clem Sunter was CEO of Anglo American’s successful gold and uranium businesses in South Africa, and became the company’s expert in “scenario planning.” He and co-author Chantell Illbury penned a book on the subject, entitled Mind of a Fox, which became a best-seller in the wake of 9/11.

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Could natural gas be the answer to London’s pollution concerns?

Over 8% of the deaths in some parts of London may be attributable to long-term exposure to man-made particulate air pollution, according to a new study from UK government body Public Health England.

The figures are highest for Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster (both at 8.3%), followed by Tower Hamlets, the local authority containing the international trading center of Canary Wharf (8.1%). In some rural parts of the UK the level is much lower, at around 2.5%.

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Regulation and Environment: Malaysia’s clean fuel goals run into its subsidies

Malaysia wants to introduce cleaner fuels. But that isn’t easy in a country where fuel prices are subsidized. Jonathan Nonis and Yen Ling Song teamed up to look at the issue in this week’s Oilgram News column, Regulation & Environment.

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Platts Crude Oil-Americas conference: loans, numbers and a possible XL-less world

A few notes from day one of the Platts Crude Oil Markets-Americas conference in Houston.

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Energy Economist: The ambition to reach zero coal consumption

Whether practical or not, the unstated implication behind current emissions abatement policies is that zero coal-fired generation is the ultimate ambition. However, the reality is that zero coal can only be contemplated from a privileged, developed world perspective, and even then no coal at all may prove to be a sub-optimal solution. Ross McCracken discusses that perspective in this offering taken from the pages of Platts Energy Economist.

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Energy Economist: tough times for European utilities may have a lesson for the US

Europe has taken renewable energy generation further and faster than any other region of the world in terms of system penetration, and now appears to be heading into a maelstrom. Where Europe falls, others will follow. Perversely, the impacts of the successful build out of low carbon generation could put at risk the consensus behind climate change mitigation policies. US utilities should take note: never before has the need for international comparison been so pressing. Ross McCracken discusses this issue in a story that appears in this month’s edition of Platts Energy Economist

There has been talk in the United States of the utility “death spiral,” a process in which environmentally-targeted subsidy support enables consumers to disengage, partially if not wholly, from the electricity grid through demand-side management and distributed generation. Utilities, required to invest to incorporate renewables into a centralized system, are left in an unsustainable situation of higher embedded costs and fewer customers.

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Big changes in California LCFS are called for in a new report

The University of California-Davis has a new study out about California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Once you get past the standard dry academic writing, much of it is fairly startling.

We care about the source of the report because the school’s Institute of Transportation Studies is essentially the intellectual center of the LCFS. And what it calls for in the study, released last month but published on an LCFS-centered Twitter feed just a few days ago would, if implemented, mark a significant change in the way the state’s LCFS is administered.

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A new showdown over renewable fuels: Big Ethanol vs. Big Cars

This is how the whole concept of a “war room” works in Washington.

The AAA — that’s now the formal name, but it used to be the American Automobile Association — sent out a press release today that landed in my mailbox at 12:05 pm Eastern time. The release said that the Environmental Protection Agency should reduce the 2014 renewable fuels mandate, which it has signaled it will do, because of concerns that the 10% blend wall would be hit, creating “a possible surge in gas prices or the increased use of potentially damaging E15 gasoline.”

The time of the response by the Renewable Fuels Association: 12:24 pm, just 19 minutes later. That’s what a “war room” does.

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A leading newspaper didn’t get the news about California’s gasoline change

The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial page checked in recently with its view on the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Not surprisingly, it’s against it.

But in making its case, it also committed a significant error.

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When it comes to the ethanol mandate, throw out the usual Washington left-right divide

The complicated politics of the Renewable Fuel Standard were on full display Wednesday, as an Iowa Republican — a member of a party generally favorable to the oil industry — vehemently defended the biofuels blending mandate, while a Vermont Democrat — from a party traditionally aligned with alternative fuels advocates — bashed it.

The differing opinions, presented at a forum hosted by National Journal in Washington, illustrate how tricky it could be to reform the law, which the oil industry has long sought to eliminate.

The issue does not neatly fall along political lines, but rather geographical.

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