June 5 News: China Noncommittal On Carbon Cap

China, contrary to previous reports, will not announce a plan to adopt an absolute cap on carbon emissions at the UN talks in Germany. [Bloomberg]

China’s Chief Climate Negotiator Su Wei reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to lower emissions relative to economic output while dismissing reports that it will adopt an absolute cap on greenhouse gases.

The Financial Times and Independent newspapers both said last month that China is looking to introduce a cap in 2016. The Independent cited a proposal by the National Development and Reform Commission, the economic planning agency where Su works. The FT cited Jiang Kejun, an NDRC carbon-policy researcher.

“The paper quoted an expert,” Su said today in an interview in Bonn, where two weeks of climate talks began yesterday. “It’s not necessarily presenting the view of the government or the NDRC. The NDRC would reaffirm that we have committed to a carbon-intensity target by 2020.”

Su’s comments are the first by a senior Chinese negotiator since the reports were published. While not an outright denial, they suggest China isn’t ready to announce a cap at the United Nations talks in Germany, where such a move may have spurred other nations to step up measures against global warming. …

China’s current goal is to reduce emissions per dollar of economic output by 40 percent to 45 percent in 2020, from 2005 levels. With a growing economy, that may still allow emissions to rise, whereas an absolute cap would set a carbon ceiling.

According to the American Petroleum Institute (!), the State Department is considering one final public hearing on the Keystone pipeline this summer. [The Hill]


Top scientists told the State Department that the draft environmental impact statement on the Keystone pipeline is “without merit in many critical areas.” [InsideClimate News]

A House bill would almost entirely cut EPA out of regulating coal ash. [The Hill]

The world’s largest coal company is looking to install solar panels to reduce its energy costs. [Renew Economy]

The Koch brothers are behind recent efforts to weaken Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. [Bangor Daily News]

Google is touting its support for a 2012 legislative effort by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) to strip the EPA of its ability to regulate mercury and other toxic emissions. [DeSmogBlog]


Methane leaks from natural gas drilling must be one percent or lower for the fuel’s climate benefits to hold, but leaks could be as high as 7.9 percent. [WAToday]

40 national governments and 20 sub-national ones have implemented or are planning to implement a price on carbon, something the U.S. Congress has not seen fit to do. [Washington Post]

The Interior Department approved two major solar projects and one serious geothermal installation on public lands. [Sustainable Business]

A battery made of water, zinc, and air sets its sights on commercialization and being cheap enough to compete with natural gas for baseload electric power. [MIT Technology Review]

Bold Nebraska, Sierra Club and Nebraska Farmers Union are raising money to build solar and wind projects in the way of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. [Sustainable Business]

The head of the Forest Service told Congress that climate change has made the wildfire season two months longer than normal, while burning up twice as much land as normal. [Guardian]


Commensurate with a previous report by House Democrats, the Forest Service said it would have to hire 500 fewer firefighters this year because of the sequester. [Washington Post]

New research suggests that because the U.S. is the biggest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, it should have responsibility for the largest amount of reductions that are needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change — almost three times that of China, the current emissions leader. [Bloomberg]

The opposition in Australia led by Tony Abbott has a plan to replace the carbon pricing mechanism with planting a lot of trees. Climate scientists point out that emissions will not drop enough with this plan — Australia needs to cut its greenhouse gas emissions substantially. [Guardian]

Another look at the experimental Walgreens in Evanston, Illinois being constructed with “800 solar panels on the roof, two 35-foot wind turbines and a geothermal energy system.” [New York Times]

Solar energy use in Arizona is getting a hearing — literally. A judge began hearings that will ultimately determine how power companies comply with renewable energy benchmarks. [USA Today (video)]

An op-ed by three Representatives reviews the cost of extreme weather events, and asks, “Do we tackle the climate change problem now or continue to ignore the inevitable?” [The Hill]