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Morgan Stanley: Battery Storage To Grow Four Times Quicker Than Market Thinks

This is a guest post by Giles Parkinson, crossposted from RenewEconomy.

Leading investment bank Morgan Stanley believes the Australian energy market is seriously underestimating the grow of solar and battery storage, and says the technology will be installed at rates four times quicker than the incumbent energy industry expects.

In a new detailed report, Asia Insight: Solar and batteries, Morgan Stanley expects the market for battery storage to grow from about 2,000 Australian homes now to one million by 2020. But its “high case” suggests the take-up could be double that – up to two million homes by 2020.

We think most incumbent utilities downplay the earnings risks from solar and battery take-up, and the market has not yet priced in the retail and wholesale market effects,” the company analysts write in their report.

Emulate to Undermine: Utility Industry Propaganda in Action

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

Back in April, we talked about a DeSmog review of new book that examined How Propaganda Works. It’s a great book, but one steeped in jargon that in some ways disguises a relatively simple definition of propaganda: language that emulates some ideal, but in a context that undermines that very concept.

Since then, we’ve read the book, and started noticing when propaganda pops up. For example, back in March, the Edison Electric Institute hired a crisis communications expert to try to help utilities rebrand. By the sounds of a story in E&E, they’ve begun rolling out these new terms in order to, supposedly, help customers understand the services provided by utilities as part of what they’re calling the Lexicon Project.

Southern Company's 'Big Bets' on Kemper 'Clean Coal' Plant: A Rigged Game?

This is a guest post by Dan Zegart crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

From the very beginning, the story of utility giant Southern Company's Kemper clean coal plant is a long trail of broken promises, according to a New York Times investigation - and the project's numerous critics.

These include many of the 186,000 utility customers in 23 largely rural, mostly low-income counties in southeastern Mississippi that are now on the hook for a good part of the plant's estimated $6.6 billion cost - this after Southern promised them and state and federal officials in 2010 that the first-of-its-kind power station wouldn't cost more than $2.4 billion. 

That figure lasted only a few months, followed by a promise of $2.8 billion. 

Why Hasn't ExxonMobil Published 2015 Philanthropy Reports Yet? Might They Reveal Ongoing Climate Denial Funding?

This is a guest post by Cindy Baxter, originally published by Climate Investigations Center

For some reason, ExxonMobil has delayed publishing its corporate giving report this year, well beyond the normal timing.  Is the report undergoing new internal scrutiny due to the investigations launched by several states?

Description: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/climateinvestigations/pages/127/attachments/original/1467024723/Screen_Shot_2016-06-26_at_6.30.58_PM.png?1467024723Normally, by this time of year, Exxon has published what it calls its Worldwide Giving Report, as part of its Corporate Citizenship Report.  This report details to whom the ExxonMobil Foundation has given grants - everything from universities to health organizations to think tanks and corporate trade associations. 

This data has been the source of the running tally ExxonSecrets has kept since the late 1990’s on the company’s funding of climate denial.   The report (called “dimensions” in the early days) is a summary of the filings the ExxonMobil Foundation has to give to the IRS each year.  

ExxonSecrets looked carefully at the groups receiving Exxon funding under its “Public Policy and Information” section, selected those running climate denial campaigns, and tallied the funding, adding figures from “corporate” funding. 

The running total of ExxonMobil funding from 1997-2014 is $31,853,735.

Brexiters, Climate Deniers and Trump: A Small World

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup originally published at DailyKos

On Friday, we made a joking reference to how right-wing politics and climate denial operate within a single, metaphorical room. In light of the Brexit vote, it seems appropriate to remind everyone how climate denial in the UK is similarly closely tied to other politics, by operating out of literally the same building. 

Last January, Kyla Mandel at DeSmog UK made the initial connection, showing how many climate deniers are campaigning for England to leave the EU, including many names common to this column, like Matt Ridley and James Delingpole. Then the building where these two policy circles intersect was mentioned last February, when the Independent revealed that the Global Warming Policy Foundation/Forum is one of many groups that call a single townhouse at 55 Tufton Street home. 

Survey Shows Strength of Climate Science

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup crossposted from DailyKos

One of the first peer-reviewed surveys of scientists used to determine the level of consensus on human-made climate change was undertaken by Dennis Bran and Hans von Storch in 1996. They used a standard survey response format known as the “Likert Scale,” where respondents answer questions based on a scale of 1 to 7 to determine, for example, how confident they are that warming is happening or that it’s human-caused. 

They’ve repeated the survey a few times since 1996, and have recently released the 5th International Survey of Climate Scientists, for 2015/2016. Bart Verheggen helpfully goes over the key consensus findings as well as a couple of issues with the survey. 

Open Letter About WA Governor Inslee's Appeal of Youth Climate Victory

This is a guest post by Andrea Rogers and Julia Olson 

We are the attorneys who represent the eight courageous youths who presented [Washington Governor Jay] Inslee with an unprecedented climate protection opportunity to issue rules to protect their future from carbon pollution.  We write not just as their advocates, but as mothers of young children as well. We do not now, nor have we ever, questioned Gov. Inslee’s professed commitment to addressing climate change. 

But as kids know too well, actions speak louder than words and action based on solid science is sorely lacking at all levels of government, including within Gov. Inslee’s administration. What we have asked Gov. Inslee for is a Climate Recovery Rule for the state of Washington, detailing and describing how Washington will use its existing authority to cap and draw down GHG emissions in a manner consistent with the best current scientific understanding of what it will take to protect not just these eight brave youths, but all of us, present and future generations alike.

A Brief History of Fossil-Fuelled Climate Denial

Protester holding a banner: "You can't recycle wasted time"

By John Cook, The University of Queensland

The fossil fuel industry has spent many millions of dollars on confusing the public about climate change. But the role of vested interests in climate science denial is only half the picture.

Interest in this topic has spiked with the latest revelation regarding coalmining company Peabody Energy. After Peabody filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, documentation became available revealing the scope of Peabody’s funding to third parties. The list of funding recipients includes trade associations, lobby groups and climate-contrarian scientists.

This latest revelation is significant because in recent years, fossil fuel companies have become more careful to cover their tracks. An analysis by Robert Brulle found that from 2003 to 2010, organisations promoting climate misinformation received more than US$900 million of corporate funding per year.

Canadian Climate Denial Group, Friends of Science, Named as Creditor in Coal Giant's Bankruptcy Files

By Charles Mandel for the National Observer.

A Canadian climate change denial group has popped up in a U.S. coal giant's bankruptcy proceedings that have lifted the curtain on the funding of a sophisticated continent-wide marketing campaign designed to fool the public about how human activity is contributing to global warming.

document, nearly 1,000 pages long, lists the Calgary-based Friends of Science Society as one of the creditors expecting to get money from the once-mighty coal company, Peabody Energy.

Climate scientists and environmentalists have long suspected that the so-called “Friends” group was a front for fossil fuel companies trying to block government action to reduce carbon pollution, but Friends of Science members always declined to reveal their source of funding.

Green PR Firm EnviroIssues Secretly Working For Oil And Petrochemical Industry

This is a guest post by Eric de Place and Nick Abraham, originally published by The Sightline Institute as part of their series Look Who's Taking Oil and Coal Money

Consulting firm EnviroIssues is a longstanding fixture of the Northwest’s sustainability community. Known mostly for its work with local governments, the company is generally well respected and considered “a white hat” in a field liberally populated with unscrupulous characters. Of themselves, EnviroIssues says: “Our names says it all—we help make the natural and built communities where we live, work, and play better places by tackling some of the thorniest public policy and environmental issues of our day.”

Unfortunately, EnviroIssues’ green reputation is undeserved. The firm in fact works for several controversial oil and petrochemical companies, shepherding them through the environmental reviews that communities and decision makers depend on to assess projects’ local impacts. These include the highly controversial Tacoma methanol proposal and major oil-by-rail projects at Vancouver and Grays Harbor, Washington.

What’s more, Sightline’s research uncovered a troubling pattern of potential conflicts of interest. The firm’s unusual access to government agencies could allow it to grease the skids for some of the Northwest’s most controversial fossil fuel projects.

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