UK Government proposes biggest energy reforms in 20 years
The biggest reforms to the UK energy sector in two decades were set out yesterday, prompting warnings from consumer groups and green campaigners that they would raise bills and penalise renewable energy while boosting nuclear power. The changes include a fixed price for low-carbon energy and a minimum price for carbon dioxide emissions. Green groups and some renewable energy companies attacked the draft bill, accusing ministers of breaking promises not to subsidise nuclear power, because the "contracts for difference" by which low-carbon power generators will be guaranteed a price for their electricity will favour the nuclear industry. Ed Davey, secretary of state for energy and climate change, denied the charge, and said the plans would encourage all forms of low-carbon generation, helping the UK to meet its climate-change targets.
The Guardian p11
China announces huge investment in green projects
China will invest more than 2 trillion yuan ($316 billion) in promoting energy-saving and low-carbon projects between 2011 and 2015, in order to meet its targets of reducing energy intensity of output by 16% and carbon intensity by 17% during the same period. An evaluation and surveillance system will be built and efforts in promoting energy conservation and emissions-reduction will be adopted as a crucial tool for assessing local government performance, said the vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission. Meanwhile, the country will step up efforts in eliminating outdated capacity in energy-guzzling industries, including electricity, steel and cement, while it will further boost the service industry and strategic emerging industries.
Investor calls for fracking changes
A top-10 investor in BP and Royal Dutch Shell has called for changes in the way oil companies produce shale gas, in a further sign of shareholder disquiet about the environmental impact of fracking. Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) called on the industry to take "rapid action" to eliminate emissions of climate-warming methane in gas production. Dr Craig Mackenzie, SWIP's head of sustainability, said technologies existed to deal with methane quickly and at low cost, but they were not widely used. "If the oil and gas industry really wants to tackle climate change, it needs to show it can eliminate fugitive methane emissions," he said.
Financial Times* p18
I don't deserve bonus, says Tesco chief
The boss of Tesco turned down a £372,000 bonus as he accepted responsibility for the group's "unsatisfactory" performance. The chief executive said in a statement: "I wasn't satisfied with the performance in the UK and I won't take the bonus. I'm confident that we're tackling the right issues and building a better Tesco for customers, colleagues and shareholders." The move also follows a series of bloody encounters between big companies and institutional shareholders over pay. Sly Bailey, of newspaper group Trinity Mirror, Andrew Moss, the Aviva boss, and David Brennan, of AstraZeneca, have all issued their resignations as investors seek action on remuneration.
The Times* p35