White House rules out plans for carbon tax

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USA: The White House has ruled out any plans to propose a tax on carbon emissions favored by many environmentalist groups, but a spokesman confirmed that Mr. Obama would pursue stricter carbon-pollution regulations through the Environmental Protection Agency (Washington Times)

USA: Car maker Volkswagen has opened a 9.5-megawatt photo-voltaic installation next to a plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which it says will provide 13.5% of energy during production hours (Bloomberg)

UK: Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, says it will be at least a decade before the UK saw any shale gas production and that, even then, it would not be “the game changer we’ve seen in North America” (Telegraph)

EU: A British exit from the European Union would hurt efforts to cut emissions – “it could be a victim of collateral damage if the UK were to pull out [of the EU],” said Graham Watson, a Liberal Democrat MEP. (Euractiv)

US: The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, which benefitted from a $50m donation from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has successfully forced the closure of seven coal generators and the clean up of two more in Iowa. A settlement with MidAmerican Energy, owned by influential investor Warren Buffet, means that 50GW of coal power (about half the total capacity of the UK) has now been phased out in the US or scheduled to, since 2010. (EcoWatch)

India: Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former governor of West Bengal has said the country must step out of its collective denial on climate change’s impacts on the poor. “We imagine that issues of survival are not understood by ‘simple folk’, but that is far from the truth,” he said. (The Hindu)

US: More than half of US senators have signed a letter urging President Obama to back the northern leg of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The project would bring Canadian tar sands to US refineries in Texas. Scientists have warned exploiting the carbon intensive tar sands would mean “game over for the climate”. (Reuters)

UK and Ireland: Plans to build 400 onshore wind turbines in Ireland to produce power for export to the UK have been criticised. The 180m tall structures would be placed in the rural Irish Midlands but critics say the proper approvals are being by-passed. Onshore wind is increasingly politically difficult in the UK and offshore wind farms are deemed too expensive at present. (BBC)

US: Senator John Kerry will sell his shares in Exxon Mobil and a number of other companies should he be selected to replace Hillary Clinton as the next Secretary of State. The State Department is responsible for international affairs, including climate change. Kerry will also sell off stakes in Microsoft, Coca-Cola, several banks and the drug firm Pfizer. (Reuters)





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