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Triple Crunch Log                                                                                                            

30.7.10. Russia's heat wave is showing signs of ending Russian global-warming doubts, Time magazine reports. “As the worst heat wave on record spawns wildfires that are destroying entire villages, Russian officials have made what for them is a startling admission: global warming is very real. At a meeting of international sporting officials in Moscow on July 30, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev announced that in 14 regions of the country, "practically everything is burning." … Then, as TV cameras zoomed in on the perspiration shining on his forehead, Medvedev announced, "What's happening with the planet's climate right now needs to be a wake-up call to all of us, meaning all heads of state, all heads of social organizations, in order to take a more energetic approach to countering the global changes to the climate." For Medvedev, such sentiments mark a striking about-face. … "We will not cut our development potential," he said during the summer of 2009 (an unusually mild one), just a few months before attending the Copenhagen climate summit … Two months before Copenhagen, state-owned Channel One television aired a documentary called The History of a Deception: Global Warming, which argued that the notion of man-made climate change was the result of an international media conspiracy. A month later, hackers sparked the so-called Climategate scandal by stealing e-mails from European climate researchers. The hacked e-mails, which were then used to support the arguments of global-warming skeptics, appeared to have been distributed through a server in the Siberian oil town of Tomsk, raising suspicion among some environmental activists of Russia's involvement in the leak. …. in the outskirts of Moscow, burning fields of peat, a kind of fuel made of decayed vegetation, periodically covered the city in a cloud of noxious smoke, making it painful to breathe in parts of the Russian capital.656

Safety concerns delay approval of the first U.S. nuclear reactor in decades. 14 of the 26 new reactor applications inching through U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC)  scrutiny are for Westinghouse’s AP1000 PWR.  If The first is due to go online in 2016 in Georgia. But reactor is on its 18th design revision and key safety questions remain unresolved. The first involves the durability of the reactor's shield building. The second involves the separation of the concrete shield building from the steel containment vessel.657

EDF first-half net income tumbles 47% after prospects for US nuclear project dim. EDF also says building its Flamanville EPR model will cost more – the total is up to €5bn from €4bn now - and is two years behind schedule. Lessons are being applied to the EPR site at Taishan in China.658

Italy tries to halt BP deep water drilling off Libya. FT: “Plans by BP to start drilling for oil and gas off Libya within weeks have prompted growing calls for a moratorium on deepwater operations while Mediterranean states assess the environmental impact in light of the Gulf of Mexico disaster. Stefania Prestigiacomo, Italy’s environment minister, has become the first senior official within the European Union to suggest that a moratorium might be appropriate while the Mediterranean’s 21 littoral states find a “common voice”.”659

Expert points to window of opportunity for fossil fuel tax. Oxford economist Dieter Helm says voters’ resistance is being outweighed by the government’s urgent need to raise more revenue.660

Solar industry makes further progress on feed-in tariff proliferation, recycling of products etc. The European solar industry already has 45 module recycling points operational in Europe, and 85% of the industry has signed up. Photon now projects 22 GW 2010 supply including inventories, 18 GW of shipments, 17 GW of installations, at average installed price of $4.03 ….all lower than the previous month.661

2.8.10. UK 'value' falls by £94 billion in 2009, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS, which adds up the value of infrastructure such as buildings and roads as well as financial assets, says the worth of the UK fell by £94 billion to £6.67 trillion last year, a decline of 1.4%. It was the second successive year of falls after an unbroken sequence of growth stretching back to 1992. The fall in 2008 was 4.3%, or £303 billion. Housing remains the UK's most valuable asset - up £126 billion or 3.2% to £4.05 trillion over the year and accounting for 61% of the country's net worth.662

3.8.10. Global warming set to exceed 1.5°C, the Hadley Centre and other UK climate policy institutions find in a new report. The report suggests that efforts to hold to the 1.5°C target are likely to be futile and that, as many scientists and politicians have long argued, efforts should be focused on the 2 degree target. “Even if global emissions fall from 47bn tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent in 2010 to 40bn tonnes in 2020, and are then reduced to zero immediately afterwards, we estimate that there would be a maximum probability of less than 50 per cent of avoiding global warming of more than 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level.” But there is a big caveat: “more research is needed into the likelihood of triggering feedbacks or irreversible impacts, such as large rises in sea level, during temporary overshooting of a 1.5°C goal.”663

China overtakes US as world's biggest energy consumer. IEA figures show China's power consumption more than doubled in the past decade to reach the equivalent of 2.26bn tonnes of oil in 2009, creeping past the US total of 2.17bn tonnes. This was because China's GDP rose by 8.7%, putting it on course to soon overtake Japan as the world's second biggest economy, and its emissions – already the world’s highest - rose 9%. Guardian: “The government is trying to reduce the impact of this and similar expansions by promoting renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal power. Last week, the state media said China would spend about 5 trillion yuan on clean energy in the next decade and reduce its dependency on coal from 70% to 63% by 2015. … China's dependency on imported oil reached 50% for the first time last year and is forecast to rise to 75% by 2030. In recent years, it has also become a major importer of coal from Australia and its nuclear power plans have helped to push the price of uranium to unprecedented highs.”664

Fossil fuel subsidies are 10 times those of renewables, Bloomberg figures show. A Bloomberg New Energy Finance report shows government subsidisies to renewable energy and biofuel industries in 2009 of between $43bn (£27bn) and $46bn, including support provided through feed-in tariffs, renewable energy credits, tax credits, cash grants and other direct subsidies. In June, IEA figures showed that $557bn was spent by governments during 2008 to subsidise the fossil fuel industry.665

UK's largest coal-fired power plant could switch to biomass within 10 years. But 4 GW Drax will only go ahead if the government agrees to grant renewable subsidies to such converted coal plants. “The opportunity to turn it into a renewable power company is an exciting one and makes sense for the UK's carbon targets and for our shareholders,” says the finance director. Guardian “Drax hopes to convert the first unit – capable of generating 660MW of electricity – next year. It is thought that no coal plant of this size has been converted anywhere in the world. … Drax has biomass supply contracts in place but refuses to divulge where the material will come from, citing commercial confidentiality. Material such as wood chip pellets will be imported from North America and Africa, while UK-sourced biomass like tree stumps and corn stubble will also

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