Japan eases regulation for new coal-fired power plants

By John Parnell

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Latest news: Wednesday 26 September

Last updated: 1640

Japan: The government in Tokyo is relaxing regulations on the construction of new coal-fired plants, according to the website Power Engineering International. It reports Environment Minister Goshi Hosono has indicated that the assessment period for power plants will be reduced to slightly more than a year from the current three years or so for upgrades to fossil-fuel power plants

US: Two Democrat Congressman are circulating a report linking climate change and aspects of recent extreme US weather events in an attempt to build momentum for action on climate change. (ThinkProgress)

UK: One of the company’s behind shale gas drilling tests in the UK has said it expects to have commercial operations up and running by 2015. Cuadrilla executives told a conference that it hoped to have groups of 10-12 wells in place spread over areas the size of a football pitch. (New Civil Engineer)

France: The CEO of French oil giant Total, Christophe de Margerie has told the Financial Times that there should be no drilling in the Arctic as the environmental risks are too high. Greenpeace is currently lobbying for the Arctic to receive the same protected status as Antarctica, in order to prevent oil and gas exploration. (Financial Times/Reuters)

New York: Five million people die every year as a result of climate change and the impacts of fossil-fuel exploitation, according to the latest edition of DARA’s Climate Vulnerability Monitor. It estimates 100 million people could die as a result of climate-carbon deaths by 2030.

The financial costs are also staggering. As BusinessGreen report, inaction on climate change already costs the world economy 1.6 per cent of global GDP – approximately $1tr a year – and cost are likely to double to 3.6 per cent of GDP by 2030 if governments and businesses fail to take urgent action.

EU: Officials are concerned at the effect that a Mitt Romney win in the US presidential election could have on global climate talks, according to a report in news agency Euractiv. Romney holds sceptical views over the causes of climate change. Speaking last October, Romney said: “My view is that we don’t know what is causing climate change on this planet and the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try and reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”

UK: Do wind turbines reduce carbon emissions? Statistical data obtained from National Grid and analysed by the Guardian for the first time suggest they do. On 14 September, wind turbines connected to the National Grid produced over 80 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity, just over 10% of total UK generation.

UN: Governments are failing to keep the promises made on finance during the Cancun and Copenhagen climate change summits, according to the new DARA Climate Vulnerability Report. Countries are currently committed to generating $30bn of climate finance between 2010-2012 in what is referred to as Fast Start Finance. DARA says $20bn of new and additional funds is required now to meet this target.

UN: The presidents of the Marshall Islands and Nauru have urged the United Nations to speed up legally binding agreements to curb global warming emissions. Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak called for an end to the endless North-South division and finger pointing: “I ask of the world if you will also meet us in ambition. Will it come soon enough?” He said his country is heavily dependent on international assistance and doesn’t have other means needed to mitigate the effects of rising oceans.


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