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22 июня, 00:32

EPA Chief Spent First Weeks Courting Fossil Fuel Execs, Exposing 'Fatal Flaw' At Agency

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); One month after taking office, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt hosted BP’s U.S. chairman at his office to discuss issues the company “works with” the agency on. The next day, Pruitt met with two top executives from Chevron Corporation to discuss “regulatory reform.” The day after that, he spent two hours mingling with 45 CEOs from oil and gas companies at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. It’s not unusual for the nation’s top environmental regulator to meet with leaders of some of the industries he or she regulates. But Pruitt, who came into the agency with a reputation for siding with fossil fuel interests, has virtually ignored conservation and public health advocates, according to calendars released under the Freedom of Information Act and first reported by E&E News. Pruitt’s calendars show far fewer meetings with environmental and public health advocates. On Earth Day, the agency issued a press release feting the “great natural resources that the United States is blessed with” and touting a meeting with The Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society. A church, an interfaith group and the Indiana chapter of the NAACP were also included on a list of 25 organizations Pruitt met with that an EPA spokeswoman provided to HuffPost.   That lopsided courting of fossil fuel executives lays bare a major shift in how the agency is operating, former EPA officials told HuffPost. It also demonstrates what one legal scholar described as the “fatal flaw” in administrative law that allows an industry-friendly agency boss to buddy up to polluters with little oversight. “It’s not surprising,” Liz Purchia, who left her post as the EPA’s communications director under President Barack Obama in January, told HuffPost. “It’s confirming everything that people who opposed Scott Pruitt all had expected.” Pruitt spent his six years as Oklahoma’s attorney general suing the EPA to block environmental regulations more than a dozen times, often at the behest of big oil and gas firms. In 2011, he allowed Oklahoma’s biggest natural gas driller to write a complaint to the EPA on his letterhead, which he then signed and sent as his own with few changes. Thousands of emails released just before Pruitt’s confirmation as the EPA’s 14th administrator revealed a deep, chummy alliance with oil, gas and utility companies forged during his years as Oklahoma’s attorney general. His administration would amount to a “fox guarding the henhouse,” League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski warned in January. Pruitt battled the Obama EPA’s power plant rules on lawyerly technicalities, arguing that the agency had overstepped its regulatory authority and insisting that any need to curb global warming was beside the point. He is similarly operating within the bounds of the law now, legal scholars said. Agency chiefs are allowed to seek outside counsel through federal advisory committees, which must report their meetings to the public under federal law. The EPA has 23 committees, including a financial advisory board, scientific counselors and a council devoted to the Great Lakes. On Tuesday, Pruitt cleared the way to stack the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors with allies after he dismissed dozens of advisers, according to The Washington Post. But agency law gives Pruitt the right to seek counsel from anyone, as long as his meetings clear a low legal bar: If Pruitt isn’t meeting exclusively with one person or industry, he’s free to do as he wants ― provided he maintains what critics see as a fig leaf in groups like The Nature Conservancy and Audubon. “That’s the fatal flaw in this legal regime,” Sid Shapiro, the Fletcher chair of administrative law at the Wake Forest University School of Law, told HuffPost. “On the one hand, we want agencies to reach out and become more informed about issues and policies. But on the other hand, we’ve left them able to meet with a very selected group of people without any kind of legal remedy to those that might object.” Pruitt’s not just meeting with oil and gas executives. Lynn Good, chief executive of the utility giant Duke Energy, requested time with Pruitt to spell out her “policy priorities,” and got 45 minutes on March 9. Bob Murray, the bombastic coal baron who sued the EPA, booked two 30-minute meetings with Pruitt on March 28 and 29, though the topic of the meetings was not specified on the calendar. The first meeting took place the day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order instructing Pruitt to review the Obama administration’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants ― which Murray blamed last year for “virtually destroying” the coal industry. The Trump administration hasn’t been shy about courting the fossil fuel industry. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent the previous 40 years of his career at Exxon Mobil Corp., including the last nine as its chief executive. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spoke in March at the same American Petroleum Institute confab at the Trump International Hotel that Pruitt attended. The White House issued an executive order overturning bans on oil exploration off the Arctic and Atlantic coasts, iced out funding for energy efficiency and climate programs in its proposed budget and axed rules requiring drillers to report methane pollution. “We’d try to always have a balance,” Stan Meiburg, a former acting deputy EPA administrator who spent 39 years at the agency before retiring in January, told HuffPost. “At least the appearance of balance.”   For years, Republicans lambasted the Obama administration for “picking winners and losers” by bolstering renewable energy like wind and solar to curb planet-warming emissions. By sidling up to fossil fuel companies, the Trump administration is raising new red flags that it is giving favor to heavily polluting industries, said Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group. “What is a concern is who’s getting the access,” Libowitz told HuffPost. “Is access to secretaries being offered out to everyone on that level, or is it just certain people? If it’s just certain people, that raises a question as to why.” We’d try to always have a balance. At least the appearance of balance. Stan Meiburg, former acting deputy EPA administrator. Now Pruitt is poised to name a deputy with the knowhow and experience to further cement his legal standing. He plans to nominate Jeff Holmstead, a long-time coal and oil lobbyist registered with the EPA, as his No. 2 sometime soon, Axios reported Monday. A partner at the corporate law titan Bracewell LLP, Holmstead served as assistant EPA administrator under President George W. Bush. During his tenure, the agency weakened environmental rules and attacked scientists, becoming “less independent than its predecessors and more closely tied to the White House’s ideology,” according to the educational nonprofit American Chemical Society. If confirmed, Holmstead could help Pruitt stave off a bevy of legal challenges from environmental groups fighting his deregulatory agenda. “Holmstead will probably understand that some of what they’re trying to do won’t pass legal muster,” Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the nonpartisan Environmental Integrity Project, told HuffPost. “But you’ll have bought the industry years of delay, which is the game in Washington.” Holmstead, whose auto-reply email said he is on vacation rafting in the Grand Canyon, did not respond to a request for comment. Unlike previous administrations, this White House seems unconcerned with courting critics in environmental circles, Schaeffer said. For now, the best environmental advocates can do is wait and hope the next administration will work hard to rectify the damage done by this one. “The agency is pretty much under occupation at this point,” Schaeffer said with a sigh. “I’m hoping there will be a strong political rebound and, once these guys are cleared out, that the agency will be in a stronger position than before they came.” type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=58fe2c1be4b00fa7de1665cb,58adda3ce4b03d80af71a4eb,58a71504e4b07602ad53f023,58b0618ee4b060480e075086,58ac7e76e4b0c4d51057164f -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

22 июня, 00:32

EPA Chief Spent First Weeks Courting Fossil Fuel Execs, Exposing 'Fatal Flaw' At Agency

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); One month after taking office, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt hosted BP’s U.S. chairman at his office to discuss issues the company “works with” the agency on. The next day, Pruitt met with two top executives from Chevron Corporation to discuss “regulatory reform.” The day after that, he spent two hours mingling with 45 CEOs from oil and gas companies at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. It’s not unusual for the nation’s top environmental regulator to meet with leaders of some of the industries he or she regulates. But Pruitt, who came into the agency with a reputation for siding with fossil fuel interests, has virtually ignored conservation and public health advocates, according to calendars released under the Freedom of Information Act and first reported by E&E News. Pruitt’s calendars show far fewer meetings with environmental and public health advocates. On Earth Day, the agency issued a press release feting the “great natural resources that the United States is blessed with” and touting a meeting with The Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society. A church, an interfaith group and the Indiana chapter of the NAACP were also included on a list of 25 organizations Pruitt met with that an EPA spokeswoman provided to HuffPost.   That lopsided courting of fossil fuel executives lays bare a major shift in how the agency is operating, former EPA officials told HuffPost. It also demonstrates what one legal scholar described as the “fatal flaw” in administrative law that allows an industry-friendly agency boss to buddy up to polluters with little oversight. “It’s not surprising,” Liz Purchia, who left her post as the EPA’s communications director under President Barack Obama in January, told HuffPost. “It’s confirming everything that people who opposed Scott Pruitt all had expected.” Pruitt spent his six years as Oklahoma’s attorney general suing the EPA to block environmental regulations more than a dozen times, often at the behest of big oil and gas firms. In 2011, he allowed Oklahoma’s biggest natural gas driller to write a complaint to the EPA on his letterhead, which he then signed and sent as his own with few changes. Thousands of emails released just before Pruitt’s confirmation as the EPA’s 14th administrator revealed a deep, chummy alliance with oil, gas and utility companies forged during his years as Oklahoma’s attorney general. His administration would amount to a “fox guarding the henhouse,” League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski warned in January. Pruitt battled the Obama EPA’s power plant rules on lawyerly technicalities, arguing that the agency had overstepped its regulatory authority and insisting that any need to curb global warming was beside the point. He is similarly operating within the bounds of the law now, legal scholars said. Agency chiefs are allowed to seek outside counsel through federal advisory committees, which must report their meetings to the public under federal law. The EPA has 23 committees, including a financial advisory board, scientific counselors and a council devoted to the Great Lakes. On Tuesday, Pruitt cleared the way to stack the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors with allies after he dismissed dozens of advisers, according to The Washington Post. But agency law gives Pruitt the right to seek counsel from anyone, as long as his meetings clear a low legal bar: If Pruitt isn’t meeting exclusively with one person or industry, he’s free to do as he wants ― provided he maintains what critics see as a fig leaf in groups like The Nature Conservancy and Audubon. “That’s the fatal flaw in this legal regime,” Sid Shapiro, the Fletcher chair of administrative law at the Wake Forest University School of Law, told HuffPost. “On the one hand, we want agencies to reach out and become more informed about issues and policies. But on the other hand, we’ve left them able to meet with a very selected group of people without any kind of legal remedy to those that might object.” Pruitt’s not just meeting with oil and gas executives. Lynn Good, chief executive of the utility giant Duke Energy, requested time with Pruitt to spell out her “policy priorities,” and got 45 minutes on March 9. Bob Murray, the bombastic coal baron who sued the EPA, booked two 30-minute meetings with Pruitt on March 28 and 29, though the topic of the meetings was not specified on the calendar. The first meeting took place the day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order instructing Pruitt to review the Obama administration’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants ― which Murray blamed last year for “virtually destroying” the coal industry. The Trump administration hasn’t been shy about courting the fossil fuel industry. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent the previous 40 years of his career at Exxon Mobil Corp., including the last nine as its chief executive. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spoke in March at the same American Petroleum Institute confab at the Trump International Hotel that Pruitt attended. The White House issued an executive order overturning bans on oil exploration off the Arctic and Atlantic coasts, iced out funding for energy efficiency and climate programs in its proposed budget and axed rules requiring drillers to report methane pollution. “We’d try to always have a balance,” Stan Meiburg, a former acting deputy EPA administrator who spent 39 years at the agency before retiring in January, told HuffPost. “At least the appearance of balance.”   For years, Republicans lambasted the Obama administration for “picking winners and losers” by bolstering renewable energy like wind and solar to curb planet-warming emissions. By sidling up to fossil fuel companies, the Trump administration is raising new red flags that it is giving favor to heavily polluting industries, said Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group. “What is a concern is who’s getting the access,” Libowitz told HuffPost. “Is access to secretaries being offered out to everyone on that level, or is it just certain people? If it’s just certain people, that raises a question as to why.” We’d try to always have a balance. At least the appearance of balance. Stan Meiburg, former acting deputy EPA administrator. Now Pruitt is poised to name a deputy with the knowhow and experience to further cement his legal standing. He plans to nominate Jeff Holmstead, a long-time coal and oil lobbyist registered with the EPA, as his No. 2 sometime soon, Axios reported Monday. A partner at the corporate law titan Bracewell LLP, Holmstead served as assistant EPA administrator under President George W. Bush. During his tenure, the agency weakened environmental rules and attacked scientists, becoming “less independent than its predecessors and more closely tied to the White House’s ideology,” according to the educational nonprofit American Chemical Society. If confirmed, Holmstead could help Pruitt stave off a bevy of legal challenges from environmental groups fighting his deregulatory agenda. “Holmstead will probably understand that some of what they’re trying to do won’t pass legal muster,” Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the nonpartisan Environmental Integrity Project, told HuffPost. “But you’ll have bought the industry years of delay, which is the game in Washington.” Holmstead, whose auto-reply email said he is on vacation rafting in the Grand Canyon, did not respond to a request for comment. Unlike previous administrations, this White House seems unconcerned with courting critics in environmental circles, Schaeffer said. For now, the best environmental advocates can do is wait and hope the next administration will work hard to rectify the damage done by this one. “The agency is pretty much under occupation at this point,” Schaeffer said with a sigh. “I’m hoping there will be a strong political rebound and, once these guys are cleared out, that the agency will be in a stronger position than before they came.” type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=58fe2c1be4b00fa7de1665cb,58adda3ce4b03d80af71a4eb,58a71504e4b07602ad53f023,58b0618ee4b060480e075086,58ac7e76e4b0c4d51057164f -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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21 июня, 22:54

Does Coal Stand a Chance Against Renewable Energy?

You might have heard the news that the first new coal mine in a decade opened this month in a small Pennsylvania town called Friedens.

21 июня, 22:07

Paris Agreement Could Cost Big Oil Big Bucks: Report

If governments around the world stick to the Paris Agreement targets for CO2 emissions, big oil companies stand to lose US$2.3 trillion in the period until 2025. This is the striking outtake from a new report by Carbon Tracker, a climate change think tank, which partnered with a group of institutional investors to compile it. The authors of the report analyzed the 69 biggest public oil and gas companies, and compared how they will fare in terms of capital expenditure on a business-as-usual basis and on a basis that involved full compliance…

21 июня, 17:30

Trump's Apprenticeship Program Should Help Train Coal Miners For Solar Jobs

Last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that boosts American apprenticeships. It will double the amount of money for apprenticeship grants and move control of the program away from the federal government to the private sector. Often with these internships, workers are paid while being trained for a new job, so it preferentially benefits the nearly half of Americans finding it hard to make ends meet. This program could be a real boon for industries like solar, which are desperate for skilled workers, as well as existing workers trapped in declining industries. Trump has repeatedly shown great interest in America’s coal industry, which has faced a steep decline in profitability. One major American coal company after another has filed for bankruptcy, and coal is declining globally. Even China is moving away from it. The industry is shedding jobs, and it has an enormous negative impact on health. Coal is responsible for killing about as many Americans every year from pollution (about 52,000) as it currently employs (about 53,000). It is clear that coal is all but dead no matter what Trump does to help it. Coal investors can simply call their brokers to move their money to more profitable and less risky industries, but coal workers are left with pink slips and mortgages in blighted coal country. But Trump can still help the coal workers themselves by retraining them for a more profitable industry. Trump's executive order will double the amount of money for apprenticeship grants and move control of the program away from the government to the private sector.   How can a coal worker get a solar career? A study I co-authored for the journal Energy Economics provides an analysis of the need to retrain current coal workers for employment in the solar industry. In the study, we evaluated the skill sets of current coal workers and tabulated salaries. For each type of coal position, we determined the closest equivalent solar position and tried to match current coal salaries, and then we quantified the time and investment required to retrain each worker. The results show that a relatively minor investment in retraining would allow the vast majority of coal workers to switch to solar-related positions even in the event of the elimination of the domestic coal industry. This good news for coal workers should be compounded by Trump’s apprenticeship program announcement, assuming it will make retraining easier for many of them. Since the rapid decrease in the costs of solar photovoltaic technology, unsubsidized solar is now often the least expensive source of electric power, and solar deployment is rising rapidly. This is creating a lot of jobs in the U.S. solar industry, which is bringing on new workers 17 times faster than the overall economy. The solar industry increased employment by 25 percent last year — adding about as many new jobs in one year (51,000) as there are in the entire coal industry. As Tom Kimbis of the Solar Energy Industries Association pointed out in a discussion with me, “These aren’t just punch-the-clock jobs — these are careers.” As Christopher Turek, a director at Solar Energy International, pointed out, “One interesting opportunity for many of these coal miners is that many of them have transferable skill sets.” Although coal workers have skills, they still often need some retraining — just like anyone moving to a new industry. California’s solar apprenticeship program, a state program run through a private company, started in 2009, for example. There are others: one in Oregon, for example, and another through the Interstate Renewable Energy Council. There are many apprenticeship models and educational pathways to follow ― under President Obama’s ApprenticeshipUSA state accelerator grants, for example, states used funds to develop strategic plans and build partnerships for apprenticeship expansion and diversification. In areas where there are no formal solar apprenticeships, workers can be trained through an apprentice program in another field. In many states, an electrician has the qualifications required to connect solar systems to the electric grid, so an electrician apprenticeship is a particularly good career move. The Independent Electrical Contractors runs an apprenticeship program that can be accessed through local chapters. This can help real people, Turek explained: “[Solar Energy International] is headquartered in the heart of the declining Western Colorado coal country — this hits home for us. ... The good news is that they have the solar industry’s leading technical training school right here in their backyard.” These aren’t just punch-the-clock jobs — these are careers.   Apprenticeships are not for everyone. Apprenticeships can be great for many workers — about 90 percent are gainfully employed by the conclusion of their apprenticeship — but it is not a panacea. The vast majority of Americans who can go to college, should. A typical bachelor’s degree recipient can expect to earn about 66 percent more during a 40-year working life than the typical high school graduate. In the end, college graduates (electrical engineers, for example) earn $830,000 more than those who skip college. And potential earnings rise with a master’s degree or Ph.D.  America needs tens of thousands of engineers to remain competitive in the energy sector; they will be well-paid for helping modernize the grid. For some workers, apprenticeships will help make the jump to the growing solar industry. For others, a more traditional university education will provide a richly compensated career. The bottom line is workers in dying industries like coal could have a lifeline to jobs in growing industries like solar if they take advantage of retraining opportunities like the new apprenticeship program. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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21 июня, 15:45

Global Coal Use, Power Sector Emissions Will Peak Within A Decade As Low-Cost Renewable Energy Grows

Bloomberg New Energy Finance's New Energy Outlook 2017 is the newest report to predict a diminishing role for fossil fuels as renewable energy and battery storage become the cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable grid resources to 2040.

21 июня, 15:18

Canadian Solar Divests Stake in Brazil's Pirapora II Project

Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) has announced the divestment of 80% stake of its Pirapora II solar energy project to EDF EN do Brasil.

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21 июня, 14:13

Is The Oil Industry Going Green? And Moving Away From Oil?

Reports of oil industry investment in renewable energy and electricity should be taken with a large dose of salt, as this has happened before only to be abandoned.

21 июня, 11:49

America’s hungriest wind and solar power users: big companies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Major U.S. corporations such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and General Motors Co have become some of America’s biggest buyers of renewable energy, driving growth in an industry seen as key to helping the United States cut carbon emissions.

20 июня, 23:54

Oil Prices Get Tiny Reprieve As API Reports Modest Crude Draw

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a draw of 2.72 million barrels in United States crude oil inventories, compared to analyst expectations that the EIA would report a 2.0-million barrel draw for the week ending June 16. This week’s inventory draw almost completely offsets last week’s API-reported crude inventory build of 2.75 million barrels. Oil prices started off the week with a rather poor showing, only worsening on Tuesday. As so often is the case, prices rallied on Tuesday—if you are inclined to call it a rally—from…

20 июня, 22:15

Big Oil Backing A Tax It Would Have To Pay To US Citizens

Oil supermajors ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, and BP are backing a proposal for taxing carbon emissions created by veteran Republican politicians who have been seeking to raise support for their initiative. The oil giants, as well as GM, P&G, Johnson&Johnson, and Michael Bloomberg and Stephen Hawking, among others, are the founding members of what is known as the Climate Leadership Council, which ran a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, proposing a “consensus climate solution that bridges partisan divides, strengthens…

20 июня, 17:31

New Strong Sell Stocks for June 20th

Here are 5 stocks added to the Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) List today:

20 июня, 16:26

Pattern Energy Poised to Grow on Strategic Initiatives

Pattern Energy Group Inc. (PEGI) recently announced a set of strategic initiatives that aim at improving long-term growth outlook as well as capital opportunities.

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20 июня, 14:36

Solar energy is killing coal, despite Trump's promises

Coal-fired power is projected to be cut in half by 2040 as renewable energy gains popularity.

20 июня, 14:31

US: People Power - earthrise

Even before he became president, Donald Trump made it clear that his administration's environmental policies would fly in the face of much of the US legislation crafted in recent years to combat global warming. In late April, more than 200,000 people gathered in Washington DC to advocate for action against climate change. Russell Beard attends the march and speaks to some of the men and women at the forefront of a global network of grassroots resistance. He meets Wes Gillingham, who not only lives on a farm which uses 100 percent renewable energy, but also led the charge on a citizen campaign, one of many activist movements that got fracking banned across New York State. Now, he has set his sights on a new bill: to have New York State running on renewable energy by 2050. - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/

20 июня, 08:50

GGP: Natural Gas in the Romanian Energy Mix: Strategic Importance and Circumstantial Barriers

The statements, opinions and data contained in the content published in Global Gas Perspectives are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publisher and the editor(s) of Natural Gas World. This paper was originally published by Energy Policy Group in...

20 июня, 00:49

Insurers Talk A Lot About Climate Change, But Most Still Do Business In Coal

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); The insurance industry’s annual confab last week was supposed to be a dry, stoic affair. Instead, anti-coal protesters stormed the 44th Geneva Association conference at a ritzy hotel in San Francisco, plastered the bathrooms with slogan stickers and slipped fliers under the doors to executives’ rooms. A plane toting a banner reading “unfriend coal” circled the high-rise where the executives held their closing dinner and cocktail party.   The activists’ demands were twofold: Insurance companies should divest from coal projects and stop underwriting the fossil fuel. Insurers have raised the alarm on the risk posed by climate change in recent years, forming international coalitions aimed at preparing for the increased floods, storms and heatwaves that come with a warming planet. But of the 16 companies on the board of the Geneva Association ― the insurance industry’s think tank ― just one told HuffPost it cut off both funding and insurance for coal companies. AXA Group, France’s largest insurer, in 2015 announced plans to divest from companies most exposed to coal activities. This April, the firm said it would no longer offer property or casualty insurance to mining companies or utilities deriving 50 percent of their sales from coal. “Coal is often a low-cost form of energy, and is widely available to a large proportion of the world’s population,” the company said at its annual shareholder meeting on April 26. “However, coal is also the most carbon-intensive energy source. AXA, like many investors, believes coal both poses the biggest threat to the climate and its business is the most likely to be constrained.” On the opposite end of the spectrum is XL Group, whose chief executive, Mike McGavick, is the Geneva Association’s current chairman. His Ireland-based firm has refused to divest from coal companies and continues to cover them with casualty and property insurance, calling such moves “nonsense.” Other firms have followed his lead, including Japan’s Tokio Marine, the United Kingdom’s Lloyd’s, Brazil’s SulAmérica Seguros, Canada’s Intact, Switzerland’s Zurich Insurance Group and the People’s Insurance Company of China, known as PICC. (Berkshire Hathaway, the U.S. insurance behemoth led by billionaire Warren Buffett, underwrites and invests in coal, though the firm is not on the Geneva Association’s board.) Italy’s biggest insurance company, Assicurazioni Generali Group, has yet to divest or curtail coverage for coal, but a spokesman told HuffPost it was completing an internal audit to determine the scope of its exposure to the fuel. “Generali is currently performing an in-depth analysis of its exposure to coal infrastructure both from an investment and underwriting perspective,” Matthew Newton said by email. He did not respond to questions about when the audit would be complete, but suggested it could be a first step toward the company divesting and ending insurance policies for coal. Coal divestment campaigns have gained steam in recent years as hundreds of cities and universities pull their pension funds and endowments out of the industry. The fuel faces fierce competition from natural gas and renewable energy, and its use is on pace to peak in the next decade. But scientists warn that a business-as-usual approach to the industry that’s disproportionately responsible for planet-heating emissions rapidly causing Earth’s climate to change jeopardizes any hope of averting the worst effects of global warming.  Peter Bosshard, who coordinated last week’s protest for the activist group Unfriend Coal, said convincing insurers to abandon coal would hasten the industry’s demise. “It’s the one critical fact that’s been left off the hook,” Bosshard, who works for the global warming advocacy group the Sunrise Project, told HuffPost on Monday. “Insurance is a precondition for any major project to go ahead. It’s one thing to divest, but more important is to stop insuring coal.” Some companies don’t offer any insurance for coal projects. These include New Jersey-based giant Prudential, Canada’s Manulife Financial, the United Kingdom’s Aviva and the Netherlands’ Aegon. Aviva and Aegon also have moved to pull money they manage out of coal companies. Germany’s Allianz, France’s SCOR and Switzerland’s Swiss Re similarly have committed to divest, but have stopped short of cutting off insurance coverage for coal-heavy clients. None of these firms responded to HuffPost’s request for comment on Friday. “Given the clean energy transition underway, all insurers should assess their risk exposure to carbon-intensive fossil fuel industries ― including oil, gas and coal ―- and disclose this information, along with their plans to reduce their fossil-fuel risk exposures, to industry regulators and other stakeholders,” Cynthia McHale, insurance director at the sustainability shareholder advocate Ceres, told HuffPost. “Coal rapidly is being replaced and eclipsed by clean, renewable energy. The market growth opportunities are with renewables, not coal.” type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related... + articlesList=56d36cade4b03260bf773563,59441b0ae4b01eab7a2d6f48,58da777ae4b018c4606b99f9,58c993d9e4b0be71dcf104b1,59089118e4b05c397682ce92,58dad105e4b054637062e61d -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

20 июня, 00:49

Insurers Talk A Lot About Climate Change, But Most Still Do Business In Coal

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); The insurance industry’s annual confab last week was supposed to be a dry, stoic affair. Instead, anti-coal protesters stormed the 44th Geneva Association conference at a ritzy hotel in San Francisco, plastered the bathrooms with slogan stickers and slipped fliers under the doors to executives’ rooms. A plane toting a banner reading “unfriend coal” circled the high-rise where the executives held their closing dinner and cocktail party.   The activists’ demands were twofold: Insurance companies should divest from coal projects and stop underwriting the fossil fuel. Insurers have raised the alarm on the risk posed by climate change in recent years, forming international coalitions aimed at preparing for the increased floods, storms and heatwaves that come with a warming planet. But of the 16 companies on the board of the Geneva Association ― the insurance industry’s think tank ― just one told HuffPost it cut off both funding and insurance for coal companies. AXA Group, France’s largest insurer, in 2015 announced plans to divest from companies most exposed to coal activities. This April, the firm said it would no longer offer property or casualty insurance to mining companies or utilities deriving 50 percent of their sales from coal. “Coal is often a low-cost form of energy, and is widely available to a large proportion of the world’s population,” the company said at its annual shareholder meeting on April 26. “However, coal is also the most carbon-intensive energy source. AXA, like many investors, believes coal both poses the biggest threat to the climate and its business is the most likely to be constrained.” On the opposite end of the spectrum is XL Group, whose chief executive, Mike McGavick, is the Geneva Association’s current chairman. His Ireland-based firm has refused to divest from coal companies and continues to cover them with casualty and property insurance, calling such moves “nonsense.” “It’s too large a part of the economy,” he said two years ago at an insurance industry forum. “It’s too many of the investible opportunities out there and the reality is that we would be failing our shareholders if we weren’t investing in a prudent way.” Other firms have followed McGavick’s lead, including Japan’s Tokio Marine, the United Kingdom’s Lloyd’s, Brazil’s SulAmérica Seguros, Canada’s Intact, Switzerland’s Zurich Insurance Group and the People’s Insurance Company of China, known as PICC. (Berkshire Hathaway, the U.S. insurance behemoth led by billionaire Warren Buffett, underwrites and invests in coal, though the firm is not on the Geneva Association’s board.) Italy’s biggest insurance company, Assicurazioni Generali Group, has yet to divest or curtail coverage for coal, but a spokesman told HuffPost it was completing an internal audit to determine the scope of its exposure to the fuel. “Generali is currently performing an in-depth analysis of its exposure to coal infrastructure both from an investment and underwriting perspective,” Matthew Newton said by email. He did not respond to questions about when the audit would be complete, but suggested it could be a first step toward the company divesting and ending insurance policies for coal. Coal divestment campaigns have gained steam in recent years as hundreds of cities and universities pull their pension funds and endowments out of the industry. The fuel faces fierce competition from natural gas and renewable energy, and its use is on pace to peak in the next decade. But scientists warn that a business-as-usual approach to the industry that’s disproportionately responsible for planet-heating emissions rapidly causing Earth’s climate to change jeopardizes any hope of averting the worst effects of global warming.  Peter Bosshard, who coordinated last week’s protest for the activist group Unfriend Coal, said convincing insurers to abandon coal would hasten the industry’s demise. “It’s the one critical fact that’s been left off the hook,” Bosshard, who works for the global warming advocacy group the Sunrise Project, told HuffPost on Monday. “Insurance is a precondition for any major project to go ahead. It’s one thing to divest, but more important is to stop insuring coal.” Some companies don’t offer any insurance for coal projects. These include New Jersey-based giant Prudential, Canada’s Manulife Financial, the United Kingdom’s Aviva and the Netherlands’ Aegon. Aviva and Aegon also have moved to pull money they manage out of coal companies. “We decided last year to strike coal mining off our investment list,” Dick Schiethart, an Aegon spokesman, told HuffPost by email. “We have added companies that derive more than 30% of their revenues from thermal coal mining to our exclusion list.”  Germany’s Allianz, France’s SCOR and Switzerland’s Swiss Re similarly have committed to divest, but have stopped short of cutting off insurance coverage for coal-heavy clients. In 2015, Munich-based Allianz imposed stricter environmental standards on insurance for industrial firms. “Allianz sees itself as a partner supporting our customers on a journey to a low-carbon economy, for example by providing them with our technical expertise,” Anja Rechenberg, an Allianz spokeswoman, told HuffPost by email. “That’s why we will continue to insure utilities and mining companies when they show an adequate sustainability performance or suitable risk mitigation strategies.” None of the other firms responded to HuffPost’s request for comment on Friday. “Given the clean energy transition underway, all insurers should assess their risk exposure to carbon-intensive fossil fuel industries ― including oil, gas and coal ― and disclose this information, along with their plans to reduce their fossil-fuel risk exposures, to industry regulators and other stakeholders,” Cynthia McHale, insurance director at the sustainability shareholder advocate Ceres, told HuffPost. “Coal rapidly is being replaced and eclipsed by clean, renewable energy. The market growth opportunities are with renewables, not coal.” This article has been updated with comments from McGavick, Aegon, Allianz and XL Group. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=56d36cade4b03260bf773563,59441b0ae4b01eab7a2d6f48,58da777ae4b018c4606b99f9,58c993d9e4b0be71dcf104b1,59089118e4b05c397682ce92,58dad105e4b054637062e61d -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

20 июня, 00:13

ExxonMobil Announces Breakthrough In Renewable Energy

Synthetic Genomics and ExxonMobil’s partnership bore fruit on Monday, said a press release that announced the development of a modified algae strain that could push algae-based energy closer to being a commercially viable alternative energy source. The only way forward for algae-based energy to become commercial is if a high content strain that grows quickly is discovered. SG’s advanced cell engineering technologies has now managed to enhance the algae’s oil content from 20 to 40 percent, according to an official report published…

Выбор редакции
27 ноября 2014, 12:39

Почему Google отказалась от "зеленой" энергетики

Несколько лет назад компания Google инициировала амбициозный энергетический проект. Но даже мастеру инноваций современной эпохи не удалось найти реальную замену углю и другим ископаемым источникам топлива. Целью проекта RE

10 июня 2014, 09:23

Налоги на нефть. Mother Jones

Обсуждение налогов на добычу полезных ископаемых, а также льгот в этой области зачастую оказывается значимой частью политической полемики. Эту тему энергично освещают СМИ; она же в ряде случаев фигурирует как знаковый момент политической или активистской риторики. В США последняя волна налоговых льгот в недавней истории пришлась на 1995 г., когда цены на нефть упали настолько, что вложения в отрасль стали казаться невыгодными. Чтобы дать стимул к развитию нефтедобычи, правительство стало вводить налоговые льготы, вплоть до полного устранения налогов для тех, кто разрабатывал нерентабельные или низкорентабельные месторождения (например, глубоководные). В результате эти льготы продолжают действовать в отношении разработок, начавшихся в период с 1996 по 2000 г. Властям США в условиях бюджетного дефицита такие льготы в настоящее время очень невыгодны, тем более что цены на нефть, с тех пор как льготы были введены, выросли в десятки раз. В связи с этим тема устранения этих льгот обсуждается регулярно. В 2013 г., например, за нее энергично взялся [1] конгрессмен Эдвард Марки (Edward Markey, демократ из Массачусетса), член Комитета по природным ресурсам. Он, в частности, подсчитал, что если бы налоговые льготы отменили сразу после того, как цены на нефть начали расти, то общий доход бюджету от налогов, выплачиваемых нефтяными компаниями, мог бы составить порядка $11 млрд. Входящие в состав Комитета демократы выпустили отчет, в котором сообщалось, что около 25% нефти, добываемой только в Мексиканском заливе в настоящий момент не подлежит налогообложению, то есть более 100 нефтегазовых компаний арендуют не менее 200 не облагаемых налогом нефтеносных участков. По их прогнозам, если снять льготы, то за следующие 10 лет дополнительный доход бюджета составит порядка $15,5 млрд. Нефтяные компании, в свою очередь, стали высказываться резко против этой инициативы Комитета. В частности, они сразу стали апеллировать к тому, что устранение льгот приведет к сокращению объемов нефтедобычи, так как у компаний пропадет стимул к разработке труднодоступных месторождений, а дохода федеральному бюджету, соответственно, не прибавится. Еще один распространенный аргумент [2] состоит в том, что уплата налогов в итоге ляжет не на корпорации, а на плечи конечного потребителя, который будет больше платить за нефтепродукты . Компромисс до сих пор не был найден, и полемика продолжается. В апреле 2014 г. был опубликован большой материал [3] в левом некоммерческом издании Mother Jones, которое, конечно, поддерживает отмену льгот для крупных корпораций. Авторы, в частности, приводят следующие цифры. За последние сто лет федеральное правительство вложило в нефтегазовую отрасль более $470 млрд. в виде налоговых льгот, которые «первоначально были призваны поддержать американских нефтяников, а потом превратились в чистый бонус для самых доходных в мире компаний». При этом налогоплательщики сейчас спонсируют нефтедобычу в размере примерно $4,8 млрд. в год, из которых половина идет пяти крупным нефтяным компаниям (ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP и ConocoPhillips). Их льготный налог в среднем составляет $3,34 за баррель, притом что цены на нефть превысили $100 за баррель. Авторы также отмечают, что со времени введения первых государственных субсидий для нефтедобывающих компаний (это произошло в 1916 г.) вопрос о непропорциональном распределении налоговой нагрузки поднимался неоднократно – преимущественно при президентах-демократах. В частности, приводится высказывание Гарри Трумэна, который назвал правила взимания налогов с нефтедобывающих компаний самой вопиющей дырой в системе налогообложения. Тем не менее, вплоть до настоящего момента нефтяники удерживают за собой льготы. Технически говоря, они сейчас действительно ничего не получают от государства, помимо налоговых поблажек, а для того чтобы отменить их, нужно изменить законодательство. Когда цены на нефть после 1998 г. только начали расти, министерство внутренних дел США (DOI - iv_g) попыталось ввести ограничения на льготы, поставив порог в $28 за баррель, после которого льготы считались недействительными. Большинство компаний последовали этому требованию, однако корпорация Kerr McGee, которую позднее купила Anadarko, подала на министерство в суд на том основании, что у него не было права вводить такие ограничения. Kerr McGee выиграла процесс, после чего все компании, уже выплатившие налоги, получили эти средства обратно. Больше подобных инициатив пока не было. Британские нефтяные компании сейчас энергично разрабатывают месторождения в Северном море. Прибыль с этого они начали получать во второй половине 1970-х гг., а в середине 1980-х гг. наступил первый пик их доходности, составившей более 3% национального дохода. По некоторым подсчетам, с начала разработок к настоящему моменту доход государству должен составить 850 млрд. фунтов. В отличие от США, полемика о налоговых льготах в области добычи нефти в Соединенном Королевстве не настолько острая. Стимулирующие льготы там обычно встраиваются в бюджетный план на предстоящий год. Это, конечно, тоже может быть поводом для возмущения, но менее массового. В частности, когда в 2012 г. ряд компаний, в том числе BP, получили льготы [4] на разработку глубоководных месторождений к северу от Шотландии, это вызвало недовольство у экологов и сторонников зеленых движений. Оно было вызвано тем, что нефтяные компании не просто получили разрешение на проведение своих неэкологичных работ (особенно BP, отметившаяся в 2010 г. тем, что разлила в Мексиканском заливе нефть и устроила там экологическую катастрофу), но еще и удостоились за это вознаграждения. Всерьез тема налогов на добычу нефти стала обсуждаться в британской прессе – также, в первую очередь, с позиции политического противостояния – в 2014 г. Поводом послужило поступившее в январе сообщение [5] норвежского национального Пенсионного фонда о том, что каждый норвежец стал потенциальным миллионером, так как объемы фонда достиг 5 трлн. крон, в миллион раз превысив численность населения страны (около 5 млн. человек). В 1990 г. был создан Нефтяной фонд, куда стали поступать налоги из нефтегазовой отрасли (в том числе налоги на добычу). Позднее он был объединен с Пенсионным фондом, в результате чего получился такой эффект. Естественно, граждане не могут просто прийти в фонд и забрать деньги. Однако известно, что эти средства идут на обеспечение гражданских нужд, в том числе строительство дорог и обеспечение отопления. По подсчетам экспертов [6], доход от нефтяных налогов на душу населения в Великобритании, конечно, был бы меньше - с учетом большей численности населения, однако всё равно составил бы около 13 000 фунтов на человека. Но ничего в этой сфере не изменилось, и ни о каком использовании этих средств для прямого обеспечения гражданских нужд речи не идет. Эти средства шли и продолжают идти на установление налоговых льгот для крупных корпораций вне нефтяной сферы. Левые комментаторы ставят это в упрек консервативным правительством, по чьей инициативе это было организовано так. Их оппоненты указывают на общественную полезность стимулирования развития бизнеса http://www.oilru.com/news/412616/ http://polit.ru/article/2014/06/01/oil_royalty/ 1/ http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/lawmaker-attacks-oil-companies-free-drilling-in-gulf/2013/02/26/cc55014a-806a-11e2-b99e-6baf4ebe42df_story.html 2/ http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2014/04/californians-already-pay-oil-severance-tax-states/  3/ http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/oil-subsidies-renewable-energy-tax-breaks 4/ http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/mar/21/budget-2012-oil-industry-tax 5/ http://www.radioazadlyg.ru/content/article/25225524.html 6/ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/13/north-sea-oil-money-uk-norwegians-fund  - - - - Выжимка из статьи i/ В США последняя волна налоговых льгот в недавней истории пришлась на 1995 г., когда цены на нефть упали настолько, что вложения в отрасль стали казаться невыгодными. Чтобы дать стимул к развитию нефтедобычи, правительство стало вводить налоговые льготы, вплоть до полного устранения налогов для тех, кто разрабатывал нерентабельные или низкорентабельные месторождения (например, глубоководные). В результате эти льготы продолжают действовать в отношении разработок, начавшихся в период с 1996 по 2000 г. ii/ около 25% нефти, добываемой только в Мексиканском заливе в настоящий момент не подлежит налогообложению, то есть более 100 нефтегазовых компаний арендуют не менее 200 не облагаемых налогом нефтеносных участков. iii/ если снять льготы, то за следующие 10 лет дополнительный доход бюджета составит порядка $15,5 млрд. iv/ За последние сто лет федеральное правительство вложило в нефтегазовую отрасль более $470 млрд. в виде налоговых льгот v/ налогоплательщики сейчас спонсируют нефтедобычу в размере примерно $4,8 млрд. в год, из которых половина идет пяти крупным нефтяным компаниям (ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP и ConocoPhillips). Их льготный налог в среднем составляет $3,34 за баррель, притом что цены на нефть превысили $100 за баррель. Выводы i/ Убивать курицу, несущую золотые яйца, чтобы получить в среднем прибавку $1,5 млрд. в год неразумно. ii/ Налоговые льготы за 100 лет в среднем $4,7 млрд. в год, вероятно, большая часть в последние 20 лет. Очень немного, принимая во внимание мультиплицирующий эффект на экономику и значительную степень выработанности запасов - - - - Mother Jones Mother Jones (abbreviated MoJo) is an American magazine featuring investigative and breaking news reporting on politics, the environment, human rights, and culture. First issue February 1976 Company Foundation For National Progress http://www.motherjones.com/search/apachesolr_search/oil Jan. 2, 2013 Big Oil's Billions in Tax Perks Survive Fiscal Cliff Deal http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/01/big-oil-tax-subsidy-fiscal-cliff Apr. 14, 2014 A Brief History of Big Tax Breaks for Oil Companies http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/oil-subsidies-energy-timeline  Oil derricks and a "lake" of spilled crude in Santa Barbara, California, in 1935. Associated Press      Chart sources Estimated Annual Tax Breaks for the Big Five: Center for American Progress Estimated Tax Break per Barrel of Oil Produced in US: Calculation based on companies' SEC filings and Center for American Progress data Total Tax Breaks…/Average Annual Tax Breaks: DBL Investors (PDF), Congressional Budget Office (PDF) Political Giving Center for Responsive Politics Federal Lobbying: Center for Responsive Politics Campaign Spending by Top 20 Donors: Center for Responsive Politics Energy Tax Breaks: Congressional Budget Office (PDF) Where Our Energy Comes From: Energy Information Administration http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/oil-subsidies-renewable-energy-tax-breaks  О диаграммах i/ Налоговые льготы ВИЭ весьма существенны ii/ Лоббирование ВИЭ значительно, особенно если посмотреть как долю от продаж iii/ Сравнивать 2005 и 2011 не совсем корректно. 2005 - пик добычи традиционной нефти в мире и в отдельных компаниях iv/ Журнал демократов ведет кампанию против нефтяных компаний, которые плохо финансируют демократов. И более благосклонен к ВИЭ, которые приносят демократам больше, чем республиканцам v/ Налоговые льготы ВИЭ весьма существенны особенно если сравнивать объем льгот и производство энергии. На максимуме в 2008 г. налоговые льготы на ВИЭ превосходили все льготы на ископаемое топливо в более чем в 5 раз, а сейчас превосходят более чем в 2раза.

18 февраля 2014, 14:14

Успехи Техаса и США: нефть и газ животворящие :)

Richard W. Fisher, President and CEOFederal Reserve Bank of DallasDallas, Texas February 11, 2014             - - - - - - - 05 Февраль 2014 О ценах на газ в США http://iv-g.livejournal.com/997777.html   23 Октябрь 2013 U.S. Natural Gas Proved Reserves, 2011. 2 http://iv-g.livejournal.com/956077.html   28 Август 2013 McKinsey: Five opportunities for US growth and renewal (Energy) http://iv-g.livejournal.com/931584.html  26 Август 2013 API.org: Инфографика о добыче сланцевых нефти и газа. 2 http://iv-g.livejournal.com/931067.html   24 Август 2013 API.org: Инфографика о добыче сланцевых нефти и газа http://iv-g.livejournal.com/929565.html   17 Январь 2013 IEA: World Energy Outlook 2012. Presentation to the press http://iv-g.livejournal.com/818512.html  26 Декабрь 2012 forbes: Влияние нетрадиционных газа и нефти на экономику США http://iv-g.livejournal.com/806390.html   25 Июль 2012 Занятость в США и добыча углеводородов http://iv-g.livejournal.com/715320.html     28 Март 2012 Citigroup report. Energy 2020: North America as the new Middle East http://iv-g.livejournal.com/633928.html