Other stories below: CSP Market to See Ups and Downs; Fisherman Sue ConocoPhillips Over China Oil Spill
Mitt Romney may be the GOP presidential candidate that is most often criticized for flip-flopping, but as Newt Gingrich rises to challenge him at the top of the polls, the former House speaker may also be giving him a run for his money on that label of inconsistency.
When it comes to global warming, Gingrich’s position seems to have changed faster than the climate.
“I don’t know if he’s just being opportunistic or of he’s had a real change of heart, but it is a bit disconcerting,” said Jim DiPeso, the policy director for Republicans for Environmental Protection.
In the more than 30 years since Gingrich was first elected to the House, he has said there is both sufficient evidence to prove the climate is changing and also that there is no conclusive proof. He supported a cap-and-trade program to limit carbon emissions and then later testified against it before a Congressional committee.
And while in the House he co-sponsored a bill that said climate change was “resulting from human activities,” but he later said he did not know if humans were to blame.
The market for concentrated solar power (CSP) systems began a revival around 2004, at which time several key policy announcements inspired investors and engineers to start developing again. The revival gained further momentum in 2006, fueled by concerns about climate change and energy independence, with a peak in 2007-2008 as silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) modules rose to record prices during a temporary global shortage of solar-grade silicon.
While the 2008 global economic crisis did not have an immediate effect on the CSP sector due to strong momentum of projects in the pipeline, the capital crunch along with pullbacks in government incentives eventually caused growth to slow down.
A new report from Pike Research forecasts that the global CSP market will continue to experience ups and downs between now and 2020, rising dramatically from $2.1 billion in 2012 to $5.1 billion in 2013, and then experiencing a gradual decline to $2.0 billion by 2016 before resuming gradual growth again to $4.9 billion by 2020. Despite this volatility in market value, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that total installed capacity of CSP will increase significantly by the end of the decade, rising from 1.7 gigawatts (GW) in 2012 to 35.0 GW by 2020.
After several false starts over nearly a decade, U.S. oil giant Chevron Corp. looks set to be frustrated again in its ambition to export Australian natural gas to China–at least for now.
Chevron has been courting state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp., known as Cnooc, over a deal to sell liquefied natural gas, or LNG, from its US$29 billion Wheatstone project in Western Australia state, a person familiar with the matter told Deal Journal Australia.
But talks over a long-term supply contract have stalled recently, the person said, citing China’s move to shelve indefinitely plans to reform its natural gas pricing system because of inflationary concerns.
That Chevron is marketing Wheatstone gas isn’t a surprise. The company has committed roughly 60% of gas from the project’s first phase to Japanese customers, and LNG projects typically begin construction with around 80%-90% of gas volumes locked into long-term contracts.
A group of Chinese fishermen is suing ConocoPhillips for damages allegedly caused by a huge oil spill at an offshore field operated by the US energy giant, their lawyer said Friday.
The early-June spill leaked more than 3,000 barrels of oil and oil-based mud — a substance used as a lubricant in drilling — off China’s eastern coast, drawing widespread public criticism and warnings from Chinese authorities.
The group has filed a civil lawsuit in a court in the eastern city of Qingdao asking the Houston-based firm to pay 30 million yuan ($4.7 million) to more than 200 fishermen living there, Jia Fangyi told AFP.
“In environmental pollution lawsuits, we follow the principle of ‘inverse responsibility of providing proof’ — the victims detail the damage and the respondent must provide counter evidence,” he said.
ConocoPhillips was not immediately available for comment.
Environmental groups and local fishermen have accused the US firm and its Chinese state-run partner CNOOC of initially covering up the spill, which was discovered in June but only made public nearly a month later.
The Environmental Protection Agency has taken tough enforcement action against a copper smelter in Arizona that has drawn complaints about toxic pollution for years.
The unpublicized “finding of violation” issued against the Asarco copper smelter in Hayden, Ariz., claims the company has been continuously emitting illegal amounts of lead, arsenic and eight other dangerous compounds for six years.
The EPA revealed the existence of the Nov. 10 finding to NPR and The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) as they were concluding a joint, six-month-long investigation of air pollution and regulation in Hayden as part of the Poisoned Places series.