Clean energy investments under attack from Australian government

A summary of today’s top climate and clean energy stories.
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(Pic: David Clarke)

Australia: After abolishing the Climate Change Commission, the newly elected Abbott government wants to scrap the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) set up by Labor to provide loans for renewable energy and efficiency. Treasurer Joe Hockey wrote to the CEFC, asking it to stop investments until its repeal. However, independent legal advice backed by one of the country’s top constitutional lawyers says the CEFC is legally obliged to ignore the minister’s request. (ABC)

US: Delegates to the 2013 International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative Summit, which took place this week sent a letter to President Barack Obama this week calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. They wrote that ignoring climate change is like sending “a child with a 105 fever” to school. (Think Progress)

Research: Genetic modification of animals so that they can deal with changing climate and habitats may be the only way to save some of the most endangered species from becoming extinct, according to biologists at Idaho State University in Pocatello, and his colleagues in a comment article for the journal Nature. (Guardian)

Germany: Angela Merkel’s experiment to wean Europe’s biggest economy off nuclear and fossil fuels and push it into renewables is at risk and her best hope of saving her bold energy revolution may lie in a coalition with the center-left Social Democrats, who could agree to modest cuts to costly incentives for green power which are, paradoxically, driving up energy prices. (Global Post)

ICAO: United Nations aviation chiefs said Tuesday that thorny issues still loom heading into two weeks of negotiations aimed at finalising a deal to address greenhouse gas emissions from the global aviation sector. The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization is attempting to iron out one of the worst aviation disputes in years, which has pitted the EU against its trade rivals. (Planet Ark)

Mexico: Latin America is likely to see more floods like those wreaking havoc in Mexico, as the effects of climate change make themselves felt. Already highly vulnerable to natural hazards, the region will be one of the most affected by increased flooding and droughts, reduced arable lands and the possible loss of low lying regions caused by climate change said Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, World Bank director for sustainable development. (Eco Business)

Research: There is a chance that the world can keep below dangerous levels of global warming, said co-chair of the UN’s climate science panel Thomas Stocker on Monday. Opening a weeklong conference in Stockholm, where the IPCC report will be scrutinised by governments and policymakers, Stocker said that the world still had a choice in whether to avoid climate-related catastrophe. (RTCC)

Research: Economists are partly to blame for the vacillations that have stopped climate policy from moving forward quickly enough, said Lord Stern at the Royal Society on Tuesday. (RTCC)

Research: Europe’s largest solar energy research centre Fraunhofer ISE, Soitec, which manufactures the cells, and research organisations CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin measured a new world record efficiency of 44.7%. (RTCC)


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