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JLN Environmental/Energy: JLN Environmental/Energy: Trash Into Gas, Efficiently? An Army Test May Tell; Energy markets bet on survival of carbon price; New Zealand reduces carbon emissions target

This edition leads with a handful of feature-length weekend pieces that dive into the bigger environmental issues. The Guardian has a think piece looking at the future of energy in Africa. And the FT interviews Dutch chemicals chief Feike Sijbesma of DSM about the shift from fossil fuel dependence. Also today: New Zealand reduces carbon emissions target, reports Reuters.

Quote of the Day:

“We have got quite a bit more certain that climate change . . . is largely manmade. We’re less certain than many would hope about the local impacts. You can’t write an equation for a tree.”

–Reto Knutti, a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, in Reuters’ “Experts surer of manmade global warming but local predictions elusive”

Lead Stories

Trash Into Gas, Efficiently? An Army Test May Tell
The New York Times
There is an indisputable elegance to the idea of transforming garbage into fuel, of turning icky, smelly detritus into something valuable.
http://jlne.ws/1cR2lGv

Africa can choose its future: will it be coal and oil or renewables and water?
The Guardian
May 2013 was the 339th consecutive month of above average global temperatures and we have already breached the 400 parts per million (ppm) carbon limit that we were warned about. This must shift the focus in capital markets from short term gains toward long term consequences and give rise to the mother of all asset bubbles for carbon-producing industries. As President Obama said recently, this is no time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society.
http://jlne.ws/15WIBHI

FT’s The Monday Interview: Feike Sijbesma, chief of DSM
FT.com
For several months now, Feike Sijbesma has been doggedly promoting an idiosyncratic vision for transforming global capitalism. The head of DSM, the Dutch nutrition and chemicals group, is one of the chemical industry’s strongest proponents of shifting from fossil fuels to processes that use biological materials, such as enzymes produced by algae. All manufacturing should be in the process of becoming 100 per cent renewable, he says.
http://jlne.ws/13K3k1L

China to invest in energy saving industries to tackle pollution
The Guardian
China’s State Council announces plans to make green industries central to the economy by 2015.
http://jlne.ws/1djSPJH

As Worries Over the Power Grid Rise, a Drill Will Simulate a Knockout Blow
The New York Times
The electric grid, as government and private experts describe it, is the glass jaw of American industry. If an adversary lands a knockout blow, they fear, it could black out vast areas of the continent for weeks; interrupt supplies of water, gasoline, diesel fuel and fresh food; shut down communications; and create disruptions of a scale that was only hinted at by Hurricane Sandy and the attacks of Sept. 11.
http://jlne.ws/1ahKnLd

Experts surer of manmade global warming but local predictions elusive
Reuters
Climate scientists are surer than ever that human activity is causing global warming, according to leaked drafts of a major U.N. report, but they are finding it harder than expected to predict the impact in specific regions in coming decades.
http://jlne.ws/12g6exO

Ecuador Seeks Crude in Amazon Rainforest as Economy Slows
Bloomberg
PEC-member Ecuador, where the rights of nature are recognized in the constitution, plans to develop crude deposits in an Amazon area declared a biosphere reserve by the United Nations as existing fields age and economic growth slows.
http://jlne.ws/14rlIfZ

Events

Water and Society 2013
September 4-6
New Forest, U.K.
http://jlne.ws/13bNnUA

EMA’s 17th Annual Meeting
September 25-27
Las Vegas
http://jlne.ws/192w3CR

Climate Strategies Forum
Association of Climate Change Officers
October 14-17
Washington, D.C.
http://jlne.ws/14cGFtN

Verge: Where Tech Meets Sustainability
October 14-17
San Francisco
http://jlne.ws/1bAKXT4

FT Global Shale Energy Summit
October 21
London
http://jlne.ws/1cemi7d

Solar Power International
October 21-24
Chicago
http://jlne.ws/184e0wa

Climate Leadership Conference
Association of Climate Change Officers
February 24-26, 2014
San Diego, CA
climateleadershipconference.org/

Carbon

Energy markets bet on survival of carbon price
Canberra Times
Electricity markets are showing Australia’s biggest polluters will have to pay for their carbon emissions regardless of who wins the September 7 election.
http://jlne.ws/16YbdoH

All the dirt on carbon
The Age
Both main parties agree we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But which approach is better: Labor’s carbon price or the Liberals’ direct action? Tom Arup and Ben Cubby report.
http://jlne.ws/1cRgjIk

New Zealand reduces carbon emissions target
Reuters
New Zealand scaled back its target for reducing carbon emissions on Friday, saying the move was an interim step ahead of a new United Nations pact from 2020.
http://jlne.ws/1eUPLSk

CR Carbon Credits Approved; Scam Warning
Costa Rican Times
Costa Rica News – A local carbon market will exist soon in Costa Rica, according to the Costa Rican Minister of Environment and Energy, Rene Castro, whose aim to reduce emissions. Ms. Castro informs us that they have already made a road map for the market they seek to create.
http://jlne.ws/1cXC20d

Potential of carbon trading from rubber plantations
Daily Mirror
Recently a training workshop was held in Colombo under the auspices of the International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRDB) to promote the subject of Carbon Trading from rubber plantations among Plantation Companies in Sri Lanka.
http://jlne.ws/1bJJR6H

Natural Gas/Coal/Alternative Fuels

Indonesian Palm Oil Exports Seen Holding Near 2-Month Low
Bloomberg
Palm oil shipments from Indonesia, the biggest producer, were probably little changed last month from the two-month low in June as higher local prices lured importers to cheaper supplies from Malaysia. Futures rose.
http://jlne.ws/1cXwF18

Putin fails to undermine Azerbaijan as gas competitor
EurActiv.com
Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to clinch a concrete energy deal on a rare trip to Azerbaijan yesterday (13 August), dashing Moscow’s hopes to challenge the dominance of Western energy majors in the former Soviet republic.
http://jlne.ws/12gjOBe

Ford Cuts C-Max Hybrid’s Fuel-Economy Claims
The Wall Street Journal
Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it would cut the fuel-economy rating for its C-Max hybrid, following an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that triggered a broader review of the mileage claims for gas-electric hybrid vehicles.
http://jlne.ws/15WCJhD

Power

Czech house votes to curb growth of solar power subsidies
Reuters
The Czech lower house voted on Friday to end support for renewable power plants that start operation after Jan. 1, 2014, in the latest effort to curb subsidies that have saddled businesses and consumers with higher electricity prices.
http://jlne.ws/13wdh8n

Renewable energy — the data is blowing in the wind
Fox News blog
Better weather and power forecasting has many benefits. Among the most financially significant is improving the economics of renewable from wind and solar energy as well as fostering integration with conventional sources such as hydro and fossil.
http://jlne.ws/16Yivsw

Could suburbs become the future of renewable energy?
E&E ClimateWire
Environmentalists have a long-held contempt for the sprawl of suburbia, where the low rooftops of tract housing sometimes seem to stretch to the horizon and where commuters spend their days spewing carbon dioxide into the air. But now some researchers are viewing this differently, as an opportunity for an energy revolution.
http://jlne.ws/1djRZMQ

Water

Water: The Most Critical Asset in Your Production Strategy
Tetra Park CEO Michael Zacka on Huffington Post
No commodity seems to be more top-of-mind in the American consciousness than fuel. The media reports its price swings so frequently that I know the numbers by heart–today gas is $4.27 per gallon today in greater Chicago, where I work and reside, and crude oil just hit a nine-month peak of $106.11.
http://jlne.ws/1djMOwy

Report: U.S. EPA Has Chance to Vastly Reduce Water Pollution from Power Plants
Circle of Blue
The United States Environmental Protection Agency should place stricter controls on pollutants like mercury and arsenic when it publishes new effluent guidelines for steam electric power generating plants next year, according to a report from the Sierra Club. The report—and rules—come at a time when power companies are making decisions to either invest in aging coal plants or turn more of their production over to alternate fuel sources like natural gas and renewables, a shift that heralds its own decrease in polluted wastewater.
http://jlne.ws/16zCvTV

China Takes a Keen Interest in Water-Energy Connections
Circle of Blue
Almost three years ago a team of reporters and photographers from Circle of Blue, assisted by Jennifer Turner and her staff at the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum, mustered here in China’s capital city.
http://jlne.ws/16Yg7Sv

Reports

Sub-national involvement in NAMA development (posted August 7, 2013)
Ecofys’ International Climate Policies Unit
http://jlne.ws/19LKChs

U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather (Posted July 14, 2013)
U.S. Dept. of Energy
http://jlne.ws/12z1YK5

Turn down the heat: climate extremes, regional impacts, and the case for resilience (Posted June 19, 2013)
World Bank
http://jlne.ws/14KrLza

Four energy policies can keep the 2 Degree C climate goal alive (Posted June 10, 2013)
IEA
http://jlne.ws/12Bpk41

Maneuvering the Mosaic: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013 (Posted June 10, 2013)
Ecosystem Marketplace
http://jlne.ws/12Cyi0X

Mapping carbon pricing initiatives: developments and prospects (Posted May 30, 2013)
World Bank
http://jlne.ws/15iik9E

Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind April 2013 (Posted May 1, 2013)
Yale Project on Climate Change
http://jlne.ws/ZWPD1Z

View all reports >

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About Author

Koning Beals is a contributing editor to JLN Environmental/Energy.