About two-thirds of all proven reserves of oil, gas and coal will have to be left undeveloped if the world is to achieve the goal of limiting global warming at two degrees Celsius, according to the chief economist at the International Energy Agency.
Addressing participants in the latest round of UN climate talks in Bonn, Fatih Birol said this should be an “eye-opener” for pension funds with significant investments in the energy sector — particularly in coal — as well as for ratings agencies.
He predicted coal would be hardest hit in the “unburnable carbon” scenario, followed by oil and gas. “We cannot afford to burn all the fossil fuels we have. If we did that, it [average global surface temperature] would go higher than four degrees.
“Globally, the direction we are on is not the right one. If it continues, the increase would be as high as 5.3 degrees — and that would have devastating effects on all of us.”
Instead of ignoring it, energy companies had a “crucial” role in confronting the challenge of climate change. “We think the energy sector cannot afford to be isolated — not just for moral reasons, but also for the business perspective.”
The Midwest got slammed by high winds, large hail, and rain from a long string of thunderstorms that spun off some tornadoes, and the storm cell has now reached the Mid-Atlantic. [New York Times]
The White House is receiving criticism for blocking appliance, lighting and building efficiency standards through regulatory review delays at OMB. [New York Times]
American oil production jumped 14 percent last year to 8.9 million barrels per day — the largest increase in history, and the largest increase in the world. [Wall Street Journal]
A House committee sent three bills to the floor yesterday that would all vastly increase (mostly oil and gas) energy development on public lands. [The Hill]
Alberta’s chief regulator has waived penalties for Canadian oil sands producers after they failed to meet promised targets for toxic waste reduction. [WSJ]
Corporate sustainability spending will rise from $34.5 billion last year to $43.8 billion in 2017, according to a new report. And, according to the report, this is still not fast enough to build genuinely sustainable business models. [Business Green]
Cuba’s government is completely rethinking coastal development in response to alarming rising sea projections. [Boston Globe]
The United States’ emissions have fallen to their lowest level since the mid-1990s. [New Scientist]
One of several ongoing international climate negotiations in the run-up to the Paris Summit in 2015 just stalled out. [Business Green]
Research suggests that harvesting forests releases more carbon than previously thought, thanks to deforestation’s disturbance of the soil. [Carbon Brief]
A form of geoengineering in which iron is introduced into the ocean to encourage carbon-consuming algae blooms could backfire, new research shows. [Science Daily]
Solar Energy International is starting up a scholarship plan in response to interest in solar jobs among military veterans. [Clean Technica]
This may disrupt the Congressional Baseball Game scheduled for tonight. [Roll Call]
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have written a joint opinion piece urging action on climate change. [ABC]