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Shale’s false dawn shouldn’t obscure the clean electricity revolution

It is impossible to have missed the news on cheap oil and gas, and what it is doing to our economies. A Google search for ‘oil price drop’ shows you what Reuters, BBC, Bloomberg, Forbes, etc – the big boys – have to say on the subject. And shale plays a key role in both. And indeed, oil costs less than it did in 2008 and 2012. And indeed, this is having a big economic impact. It means that Europe in 2014 saved around 1% of GDP, more than €100 billion, in import bills. A free and welcome boost. But this column is not seeking to add to what Reuters has to say. It wants to offer two other perspectives.

Major oil companies call for carbon pricing

Six of the largest oil and gas companies in Europe have called for the UN to let them help devise a global carbon pricing system. Responding to rising pressure ahead of the Paris climate talks at the end of this year, the chief executives of Royal Dutch Shell, BP and BG Group from the UK, France’s Total, Norway’s Statoil and Italy’s Eni have sought direct talks with governments.

Seven years’ biofuels deliberations teaches us ‘put quality before quantity’

April 2015 will enter history as the month in which the EU reversed course on its energy policies in transport. It adopted its long-mooted reform of biofuels policy – especially regarding indirect land-use change (ILUC). The practical implications in the next years may not be so big. But the political and longer-term ones are.

EU finally agrees to stop bad biofuels after 2020

The European Parliament has given its final approval to a law capping the use of land-based biofuels in transport. The reform, which aims to be a check on the growing consumption of biofuels that increase carbon emissions compared to conventional diesel and petrol due to ILUC emissions, has been passed after seven years of public debate and tense negotiations between the European Commission, MEPs and EU member states.

Biomass ‘zero’ rating sees up to 150m tonnes CO2 escape ETS

Between 90 and 150 million tonnes of CO2 resulting from burning biomass with no climate safeguards are labelled carbon neutral in Europe, according to a new study. This costs EU governments €630m-€1 billion a year in foregone revenue from the emissions trading system (ETS) because such emissions do not require carbon permits and thus industry does not have to surrender allowances for burning biomass.

German environment agency suggests list to allay concerns about TTIP

Germany’s environment agency UBA has expressed serious concern that the EU’s position on the emerging Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal could weaken environmental protection standards in Europe. The UBA is also suggesting that any TTIP agreement should include a list of areas where cooperation on environmental standards would benefit both America and Europe.

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