Inside Climate News: Coal Use Would Drop Sharply and Quickly Under Clean Power Plan

Production of coal in the United States would drop by one-fifth in the next five years and almost one-third by 2025 under the Obama administration’s regulatory crackdown on carbon emissions from electric power plants, the Energy Department’s statistical branch said on Friday.

Retirements of coal-fired power plants would double, with about 50 gigawatts more in lost capacity compared with business as usual, the new analysis by the department’s Energy Information Administration found. At first, power plants would mainly switch to natural gas, but over time, solar and wind capacity would soar.

Council on Foreign Relations: The World Needs Post-Silicon Solar Technologies

Earlier this month, The Future of Solar report from the MIT Energy Institute presented an excellent rejoinder to advocacy of deployment at the expense of innovation in solar PV energy. Their that solar panels face a moving target for achieving cost-competitiveness with fossil-fuel-based power that becomes more difficult as more solar panels are installed.

As a result, even after the expected cost reductions that accompany increased experience with silicon technology, solar PV cannot seriously challenge and replace fossil-fuel generation without advancing beyond the economics of silicon.

Bloomberg: Iraq About to Flood Oil Market in New Front of OPEC Price War

Iraq is taking OPEC's strategy to defend its share of the global oil market to a new level.

The nation plans to boost crude exports by about 26 percent to a record 3.75 million barrels a day next month, according to shipping programs, signaling an escalation of OPEC strategy to undercut U.S. shale drillers in the current market rout. The additional Iraqi oil is equal to about 800,000 barrels a day, or more than comes from OPEC member Qatar.

Guardian: Shell Boss Endorses Warnings About Fossil Fuels and Climate Change

Ben van Beurden, the chief executive of Shell, has endorsed warnings that the world’s fossil-fuel reserves cannot be burned unless some way is found to capture their carbon emissions. The oil boss has also predicted that the global energy system will become “zero carbon” by the end of the century, with his group obtaining a “very, very large segment” of its earnings from renewable power.

And in an admission that the growing opposition to Shell’s controversial search for oil in the Arctic was putting increasing pressure on him, van Beurden admitted he had gone on a “personal journey” to justify the decision to drill.

Reuters: German CO2 Emissions Down 4.2 Percent in 2014

German carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions regulated under the European emissions trading scheme (ETS) in 2014 fell by 4.1 percent to 461.2 million tonnes, according to official national data released on Friday.

The number was published by Germany's carbon registry DEHSt and underscored the general trend of lower pollution in the EU last year.