Shale gas sends US energy emissions down 4.6%

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USA: Greenhouse gas emissions from US power stations fell 4.6% in 2011 as the country continued to replace coal burning with natural gas. Oil and gas refineries increased their emissions by 0.5%. (Reuters)

China: Chinese New Year might not go with the usual bang this Sunday with some cities considering banning fireworks due to the serious air pollution problems being experienced already. (China Daily)

Poland: The strongest opponent to the EU 2030 climate and energy targets, Poland, has positioned itself as an energy efficiency front-runner  The country’s carbon intensity fell 3.6% a year between 1990 and 2009. A government official told the newswire EurActiv that it is “without a doubt…our favourite climate and energy policy tool”. (EurActiv)

Lithuania and Romania: Romania and Lithuania have followed Ukraine in giving high-level backing to shale gas exploration, in a sign the political tide may be turning as central and eastern Europe looks to break free from reliance on Russian energy. (Financial Times)

Antarctica: The British Antaractic Survey has opened its new research base on the Brunt Ice Shelf. The Halley VI base is made of eight prefabricated modules on giant skis that can shift with the moving ice. Researchers can now enjoy relative luxury compared to their predecessors with a gym, bar and dining room incorporated into the futuristic complex. (BBC)

India: Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan is under pressure to remove restrictions on forest clearances despite having already slashed red tape. The minister has removed the need for road and power line developers to get permission from local village leaders and now allows firms to complete unforested component of projects while they wait permission for clearances. Natarajan is being accused of stalling the country’s development. India’s forests make it one of the 12 “megadiverse” countries in the world. (Times of India)



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