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News 2012

News 2011 and earlier


  • BL - border levelling.
  • CB - carbon budgets.
  • ETS - emissions trading systems.
  • IE - import emissions.


14 AP-GfK Poll: Belief in global warming rises with thermometers, even among US science doubters (Associated Press).

Anti-green talk will cost seats, PM warned (The Independent).

Swing voters want Tories to invest in green technology to save planet and boost economy (The Independent).

Lord Stern: developing countries must make deeper emissions cuts (The Guardian).

Four reasons for hope on climate change (Spiegel International, Ed Davey MP).

Africa's largest solar power plant to be built in Ghana (The Guardian).

Climate change compensation emerges as major issue at Doha talks (The Guardian).

America's carbon tax offers a lesson to the rest of the planet on fighting climate change (The Observer).

Energy firms call for clear carbon emissions targets (The Guardian).


29 Fight climate change like a German ( Global Cooling: Strategies for Climate Protection by Hans-Josef Fell.

28 Obama fails first climate test by rejecting EU aviation carbon regime (The Guardian).

27 Report: energy efficiency cutbacks to hit fuel poor (Business Green). The report was commissioned by a coalition of businesses and organisations dubbed the Energy Revolution, which argue that using revenues from the sale of carbon allowances could slash fuel poverty in the UK by up to 87 per cent. See also Report: carbon taxes should boost Green Deal (Business Green, 2012-11-09).

27 Flood warning: will it force UK government to act on climate change? (The Guardian, letter from Craig Bennett of FoE).

26 China's emissions expected to rise until 2030, despite ambitious green policies (The Guardian).

26 Doha climate talks: US defends 'enormous' efforts (The Guardian).

23 Doha climate talks: EU weakened over new emissions targets (The Guardian). European Union bargaining position at Qatar talks undermined by having reached 20% target early and lack of agreed plan.

22 Ed Miliband's speech on climate change and decarbonisation target (The Guardian).

22 US politicians urged to seize the moment on climate change after Sandy (The Guardian).

20 MP Peter Lilley has received more than $400,000 in oil company share options (The Guardian).

19 Nation watches as California opens cap-and-trade auction (

15 How cheap energy from shale will reshape America's role in the world (The Guardian).

14 Dutch government may face legal action over climate change (The Guardian).

14 Obama vows to take personal charge of climate change in second term (The Guardian).

12 EU suspends extension of plane emissions trading rules (BBC News).

12 Will Barack Obama seize the moment on climate change? (The Guardian).

US military warned to prepare for consequences of climate change (The Guardian).

9 Carbon tax could boost economy and combat fuel poverty, analysis shows (The Guardian).

Kyoto won't save us from climate change – but a carbon tax could (The Guardian, Dieter Helm).

Barack Obama stokes expectations of climate change action in second term (The Guardian).

Moody's: Renewables boom poses credit risk for coal and gas power plants (Business Green).

Emissions trading with Chinese and Korean characteristics (Sandbag). Each of the pilots are currently being set up as discrete markets with a unifying national scheme expected sometime before 2020. Their small size and city focus means they have adopted an interesting variant of the ETS pioneered in Europe that combines trade in both upstream (direct) and downstream (indirect) emissions from electricity use. Korea is also taking this approach. [Wrong use of 'upstream'?]

Obama and Romney remain silent on climate change, the biggest issue of all (The Guardian, George Monbiot).

2 A vote for a president to lead on climate change (The Guardian, Michael Bloomberg). See also Bloomberg brings climate change out of the closet in stunning snub to Romney (The Guardian, 2012-11-04).


31 Sandy puts climate change back on the US election agenda (The Guardian).

29 Coal resurgence threatens climate change targets (The Guardian).

26 Going green vital to combatting inequalities, says TUC (Ekklesia).

25 David Attenborough: US politicians duck climate change because of cost (The Guardian).

24 Climate scientist Michael Mann sues over sex offender comparison (The Guardian).

Raise the price of producing carbon dioxide, says Lib Dem minister (The Guardian).

A rightwing insurrection is usurping our democracy (The Guardian, George Monbiot).


12 Rising number of top firms believe climate change is threat to business (The Guardian).

11 Germany's clean-technology industry to more than double by 2025 (

10 Global carbon trading system has 'essentially collapsed' (The Guardian).

10 Money to burn? Lords to investigate EU energy decarbonisation and economic growth (Parliament).

Green bank ready to commit £3bn to environmental firms (The Independent).


31 Don't give climate change heretics an easy ride (The Guardian).

29 The day the world went mad (The Guardian, George Monbiot). See also Along with the Arctic ice, the rich world's smugness will melt (The Guardian, George Monbiot, 2012-08-27).

22 US court overturns coal pollution ruling (The Guardian).

15 China's coal expansion may spark water crisis, warns Greenpeace (The Guardian).

12 Climate change: how theatre delivered a dramatic warning about the planet's future (The Observer). See also Ten billion -- review (The Guadian, 2012-07-19). 

10 We must put a price on nature if we are going to save it (The Guardian, Tony Juniper).

America's drought of political will on climate change (The Guardian). See also In poll, many link weather extremes to climate change (New York Times, 2012-04-17).

The EU should stand firm on its scheme to limit aviation emissions (The Guardian).

2 Stop this culture of paying politicians for denying climate change (The Guardian, George Monbiot).

2 Countries opposed to EU carbon charge for airlines fail to find an alternative (The Guardian).

Climate change the cause of summer's extreme weather, Congress told (The Guardian).


31 Congress vote on EU carbon scheme may block US airlines from paying (The Guardian).

30 Coalition green policies are 'incoherent and failing to achieve objectives' (The Guardian). Firms were polled by the EEF on current green policies, including measures to monitor carbon dioxide emissions, rules on energy efficiency and reporting on companies' environmental performance. A large majority said they often went further than the government's stipulations, but said the bureaucracy involved in complying with the regulations was time-consuming and inefficient. In some cases, companies are covered by as many as five different regulatory regimes. This made complying with the regulations complex and costly, they said.

29 Climate change study forces sceptical scientists to change minds (The Guardian).

25 EU moves to shore up price of carbon emissions (The Guardian).

5 Choice between 'green or growth' is a false one, CBI chief says (The Guardian). See also The CBI: It’s the green economy, stupid (Business Green, 2012-07-12).

2 We were wrong on peak oil. There's enough to fry us all (The Guardian, George Monbiot). See also Monbiot says he was wrong on peak oil but the crisis is undeniable (The Guardian, Jeremy Leggett, 2012-07-04).


29 UK needs "fourfold increase" in emissions-cutting efforts (Business Green). Damning report from Climate Change Committee argues a fraction of UK emissions reductions are result of policy measures.

27 US court upholds EPA's greenhouse gas rules (The Guardian).

24 A catastrophe if global warming falls off the international agenda (The Guardian, Will Hutton). Climate change is already hurting and, unchecked, will turn into a catastrophe. Economists use what is called a discount rate to compare income and welfare in the future with income and welfare today. If we forgo just a little welfare today through burning less fossil fuel, even applying a modest discount rate, we can guarantee that there will be no catastrophic loss of welfare in 2050. This is exactly the same argument that Ferguson, Osborne et al use in reverse when asking us to accept austerity today for the joy of being free of public debt in decades to come. But it is not OK to use it for climate change.

22 Climate change envoy warns against cutting investment in green energy (The Guardian).

21 City investors are getting cold feet about Arctic oil prospecting (The Guardian).

21 Senior Tories urge Cameron to take green route (The Guardian). "In [Andrew] Mitchell's letter, seen by the Guardian, he "endorsed" the four key arguments for green growth put forward by Hague: improved productivity, an opportunity to export new technologies, protecting UK businesses from price shocks from oil and other declining commodities, and creating jobs. UK research and investment in such industries could also help spread them to help low- and middle-income countries, and would help UK "soft power", Mitchell said."

19 New emissions policy will force biggest UK firms to reveal CO2 figures (The Guardian).

19 Furious Greenpeace moves to 'war footing' at Rio+20 (The Guardian). See also Rio+20: Greenpeace declares war on the finance sector (The Guardian, 2012-06-19).

18 Campaigners demand an end to $1tn fossil fuel subsidies (The Guardian). "... one thing seems abundantly clear: the sooner we get the money out of politics, the sooner we can get the carbon out of our energy system." See also Report – low Hanging fruit: fossil fuel subsidies, climate finance, and sustainable development (Oil Change, 2012-06-14). Our latest report (Low Hanging Fruit, PDF) provides updated estimates of global fossil fuel subsidies and the result is staggering! The figure for production and consumption subsidies is at least $775 billion annually and could be as high as $1 trillion; Activists hail success of Twitter storm against fossil fuel subsidies (The Guardian, 2012-06-18).

15 Jonathon Porritt: Where's the energy to keep fighting for the planet? (The Independent). Regrettable though it may be, it's hard to imagine that this Government is going to be influenced by anything other than unremitting, full-on confrontation. And one can't help but think that the NGOs may have lost their appetite for that.

15 China considers ways of reducing emissions (China Daily). "A carbon tax would be easier to administer than a carbon cap-and-trade program, since it would focus on upstream producers of fossil fuels rather than downstream consumers," [Alvin Lin] said. "Monitoring coal, oil and natural gas production and sales is easier than monitoring power plants, factories, vendors and other consumers of fossil fuels."

13 The ‘green’ Kondratieff* – a new long-term cycle triggered by symbiotic economic growth (Allianz Global Investors news release). The need for action prompted by climate change and the crises surrounding energy supply security will likely trigger changes in virtually every area of the economy. A new study from the Allianz Global Investors Capital Market Analysis team argues that this could lead to a new phase of growth. The world economy may be at the beginning of a new long-term cycle of prosperity, or sixth Kondratieff cycle, characterised by a sustainable ‘green‘ path of growth. (See The ‘green’ Kondratieff – or why crises can be a good thing (PDF)).

13 Exclusive: Labour to launch green economic policy review (Business Green).

13 Coal's resurgence undermines fight against global warming (The Guardian).

12 ETS Emissions trading scheme could be oversupplied until 2024 (Business Green). "Analysts say a surfeit of the credits, used by around 12,000 installations to comply with EU ETS rules, has resulted in a dramatic fall in the price of carbon, which has lost about 60 per cent of its value over the last 12 months with prices dropping to below €7 a tonne. ... Brazil's first emissions trading scheme will be signed into law on Wednesday." See also EU must take 'decisive action' to shore up carbon price (Business Green, 2012-05-30).

12 IEA: Clean energy transformation "falling further behind" (Business Green).

12 IMF chief Christine Lagarde warns world risks triple crisis (The Guardian).

11 Why climate change needs higher energy bills (The Guardian).

7 New cars in Europe will have to cut carbon emissions by a third (The Guardian).

7 M&S becomes 'carbon neutral' (The Guardian).

4 The climate change deniers: influence out of all proportion to science (The Guardian, Bill McKibben).

4 Government giving firms mixed signals on carbon emissions, says thinktank (The Guardian). See also IPPR think tank urges clarity over green policies (BBC News, 2012-06-04).

3 Leaked documents reveal UK fight to dilute EU green energy targets (The Observer).


31 Fossil fuel subsidies must end, says Indian microfinance firm (The Guardian).

31 Switching to a green economy could mean millions of jobs, says UN (The Guardian).

30 EU greenhouse gas emissions rise despite climate change policies (The Guardian).

29 'Golden age of gas' threatens renewable energy, IEA warns (The Guardian). "Methane – a greenhouse gas more than 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide in terms of global warming – leaks from fracking sites, and is rarely captured by the gas companies because the technology to capture it costs money and they face no penalty for the leaks. A report by Scottish Widows found that these 'fugitive emissions' were enough to offset the global warming benefits of switching from coal to gas-fired power generation." See also Gas rebranded as green energy by EU (The Guardian, 2012-05-29); Cheap gas will overtake renewables, energy chief warns (The Guardian, 2012-05-30). "... a recent study showed that the most common form of unconventional gas, shale gas, which is released by fracturing dense rock formations, produces as much carbon as coal because of problems with its production." 

25 UK green economy grew £5.4bn in 2011 (The Guardian).

25 We shouldn't fret about the carbon footprint of's helicopter (The Guardian, Myles Allen). "So we need a global cap-and-trade regime …" – but beware what you wish for. Because carbon accumulates in the atmosphere, we aren't going to stop global warming until the net flow of fossil carbon out of the ground is virtually zero. Claiming you can do this with a global emission cap means you believe that someone, someday in the not-too-distant future, will have the power to regulate and ultimately ban every human activity that involves the burning of fossil fuels. "So are we doomed to let the world warm?" On the contrary, the solution is perfectly simple. Anyone who extracts fossil carbon out of the ground should be obliged to put a fraction of that carbon back underground in the form of "sequestered" (buried) CO2. If the sequestered fraction is tied to the accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere, we can ensure that it converges on 100% before we release too much, and everyone can carry on using fossil carbon to their hearts' content for as long as they can afford to do so. ... At Oxford, we suggested the idea of Safe carbon (Safe stands for sequestered adequate fraction of extracted carbon) in December 2009. At the time, everyone told us to shut up because it might distract attention from the UN climate process. But with that process looking more moribund by the year, surely it is time for some different ideas? See also The case for mandatory sequestration (PDF), Myles R. Allen, David J. Frame & Charles F. Mason, Nature Geoscience 2, 813 - 814 (2009), doi:10.1038/ngeo709.

24 Global carbon-dioxide emissions increase by 1.0 Gt in 2011 to record high (International Energy Agency).

23 Overseas investors join in criticism of UK energy bill (The Guardian). Speaking at a climate change symposium in Svalbard, Norway, E.ON's chief executive, Johannes Teyssen, said: "We started the ETS [emissions trading system] with a lot of noise but we never took care of it. National policies took over and the ETS is bust." ... Hans van Steen, head of renewable energy regulation at the European commission, said he did not accept the ETS was "bust", but admitted at the same symposium that "something needs to be done".

15 EU hails airline emissions tax success (The Guardian).

15 William Hague tells ministers to help green industries boost economy (The Guardian).

14 The Figueres family led Costa Rica's revolution, and now its green revolution (The Guardian).

10 Top scientists urge governments to solve environmental 'dilemmas' (The Guardian). The world's leading scientific institutions have urged governments to focus on three "global dilemmas": growing demands for water and energy, natural disasters and measuring carbon dioxide. See also Science academies call for action on global challenges (The Royal Society, 2012-05-10). This year, for the first time, the academies used the term G-Science to describe their statements because they are intended to inform not just leaders attending the G8 summit but also the G20, the Rio+20 environmental summit, and other important events. The statements:

10 Small island states in clean energy race (The Guardian).

9 ETS California and Quebec near an agreement for trading of carbon permits (New York Times). South Korea and Mexico have also passed laws creating similar markets.

8 Microsoft promises to go carbon neutral from July (BBC News).


30 “Exciting and hopeful time for renewable energy” as Mexican climate law passed (Renewable Energy Magazine). The Mexican House of Representatives recently passed a climate law, on approval by the Mexican Senate, will be only the second such law in the world after the UK enacted its Climate Change Act in 2008.

27 Is climate protest making a return to the UK? (The Guardian).

25 IEA urges governments to seize the opportunity to accelerate clean energy deployment (IEA news release). The report offers three over-arching policy recommendations for changing this status quo and moving clean-energy technologies to the mainstream market:

  • First, level the playing field for clean energy technologies. This means ensuring that energy prices reflect the “true cost” of energy – accounting for the positive and negative impacts of energy production and consumption;
  • Second, unlock the potential of energy efficiency, the “hidden fuel” of the future. Making sure that energy is not wasted and that it is used in the best possible way is the most cost-effective action and must be the first step of any policy aimed at building a sustainable energy mix’
  • Finally, accelerate energy innovation and public support for research, development and demonstration. This will help lay the groundwork for private sector innovation, and speed technologies to market.

24 ETS China’s emissions trading pilots are starting to take shape as the EU’s flagship climate policy looks increasingly fragile (Sandbag).

24 David Cameron downgrading of 'keynote green speech' to 'remarks' is an utter betrayal (The Guardian).

24 We can have safe, sustainable energy (The Guardian, Maria van der Hoeven, IEA). See also Governments failing to avert catastrophic climate change, IEA warns (The Guardian, 2012-04-25).

21 Feeling peaky: the economic impact of high oil prices (The Economist).

19 We need this key commitment to climate action (The Guardian, Nick Clegg and Ed Davey). See also Nick Clegg calls for tougher carbon penalties for businesses (The Guardian, 2012-04-19).

12 EU airlines emissions law is 'deal-breaker for climate talks' (The Guardian).

6 Nasa scientist: climate change is a moral issue on a par with slavery (The Guardian).


20 India may urge airlines to boycott EU carbon scheme (The Guardian).

19 Climate change: make industry pay for carbon emissions, US congressman says (The Guardian).


14 Introducing Britain's first amphibious house that rises with water to escape a flood (Mail Online).

13 Is protecting the environment incompatible with social justice? (The Guardian, George Monbiot).

10 Caroline Lucas: A three-point plan that would fit the bill (The Independent).

9 Solar subsidy cuts spark job fears (The Independent).

6 Carbon bubble: Bank of England's opportunity to tackle market failure (The Guardian).

1 Apple petitioners tell firm to protect Chinese workers (BBC News).

1 Clinging to economic growth suffocates the imagination (The Guardian, Andrew Simms).


26 Commentary in Nature: Can economy bear what oil prices have in store? (press release from Nature). See also Oil's tipping point has passed (James Murray and David King, Nature 481, 2012-01-26, 433-435).

24 Companies paid £1,800 to meet ministers at networking events (The Guardian).

19 Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies 'could provide half of global carbon target' (The Guardian).

18 David Attenborough urges business to protect nature from population boom (The Guardian).

18 Tougher 30% emissions cut would be cheaper than expected: report (The Guardian).

6 China increases target for wind power capacity to 1,000 GW by 2050 (

5 A good news year for climate campaigners (ABC, Australia).

4 Emissions trading is the right approach, despite what Civitas says (The Guardian).

4 Chinese airlines refuse to pay EU carbon tax (The Guardian).