The United States and China have committed to work together on the climate crisis after U.S. climate envoy John Kerry spent last week with Chinese officials — including veteran negotiator Xie Zhenhua — ahead of President Joe Biden’s upcoming climate summit. The two countries, which are among the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, pledged to work on the issue “with the seriousness and urgency that it demands,” despite diplomatic differences on a number of other subjects. (The Washington Post)
BP PLC reportedly intends to stop flaring natural gas in the Permian Basin by 2025, spending roughly $1.3 billion on infrastructure to capture the natural gas produced as a byproduct of the energy giant’s oil operations. (The Wall Street Journal)
A group of progressive lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), is set to release legislation later today billed as the “Green New Deal for Public Housing Act,” which would aim to modernize the country’s public housing system and contribute to the renewable energy transition. The act is the first of several proposals that progressives are expected to unveil in the near future, as they move to influence the ultimate results of Biden’s proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan. (The New York Times)
A group of 35 major investors controlling $11 trillion in assets is applying pressure on 27 of the world’s largest banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and BNP Paribas SA, to stop financing projects that result in significant carbon emissions, pushing them to align their investments with a goal of net-zero emissions and to link executive pay with the target. (Financial Times)
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday revoked a series of Trump administration orders that promoted fossil fuel development on public lands and waters, and issued a separate directive that prioritizes climate change in agency decisions.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres wants the United States to commit this week to at least halving its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 — a move he said could unlock similar action from the world’s other large emitters.
A planned $3.1 billion merger of two Australian miners is set to create one of the world’s biggest producers of lithium products key to meeting fast-growing global demand for electric vehicle batteries.
Last August, solar developers entered an auction to sell power into the Portuguese electricity grid. And many planned to lose money on every megawatt. One of the winning bidders, Spanish solar firm Enerland, offered to sell electricity for €11.14 (US$13.12) per megawatt-hour (MWh), one of the lowest auctioned electricity prices in history. One megawatt hour is slightly more than the average home in the US consumes per month.
Natural gas is falling out of favor with emissions-wary investors and utilities at a quicker pace than coal did, catching some power generators unaware and potentially leaving them stuck with billions of dollars of assets they can’t sell.
Julie Steinberg and Summer Said, The Wall Street Journal
Saudi Aramco wants to finance billions of dollars in payments to its suppliers, the latest in a series of moves by the crude giant to generate cash in a low-oil price world, according to people familiar with the proposal.
Some of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies have used advertising to “greenwash” their ongoing contribution to the climate crisis, according to files published by the environmental lawyers ClientEarth. They describe the practice as “a great deception”.
It was President Joe Biden’s favorite phrase during the 2020 campaign, one that he repeated over and over again whenever the subject of electric cars came up: “500,000 charging stations.” Despite his reputation as an ardent fan of trains and Amtrak, the president has spent the last year conjuring an image of an America filled with electric vehicles by 2030, each one seamlessly zipping from one charging station to the next.
Coal financing costs have surged over the last decade as investors demand returns four times as high as the payoff required from renewable energy projects to justify the risk of investing in fossil fuels, as the world moves towards cleaner energy sources.
The Interior Department says a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands is not being immediately reinstated even though Secretary Deb Haaland has revoked a Trump administration move that reversed it.
Gregory Wetstone (President and CEO, American Council on Renewable Energy), Morning Consult
At the heart of the Biden administration’s new American Jobs Plan are provisions designed to accelerate the transition to renewable power and modernize the nation’s outdated electric grid. A long-overdue response to pleas from scientists concerned by clear evidence of climate instability, these policies can also catalyze America’s economic recovery.
California is suffering from severe drought again. This winter produced water conditions far below normal for the second year in a row, the eighth year in the last 10, the 14th year in the last 20. Los Angeles has had 39% of normal precipitation; San Diego, only 30%; San Francisco, 37%; Sacramento, less than 40%.
Mike Specian et al., American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Achieving societal net zero goals requires electrifying the technology used to heat buildings. One of the most promising strategies available is the conversion of fossil-based heating to electric heat pumps. In combination with growing solar generation capacity, heat pumps’ efficient cooling will likely drive a reduction in net summer load and an increase in net winter load. Consequently, electric demand in many regions of the United States is projected to transition from peaking in summer to peaking in winter. Winter peaks differ from summer peaks in important ways (underlying technologies and fuels; time and duration of occurrence) and must be met with distinct solutions.