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Global fuel prices jump as Harvey's impact ripples beyond U.S. Gulf

reuters.com - Erwin Seba and Devika Krishna Kumar - August 31st 2017

Tropical Storm Harvey’s impact on the energy industry spread worldwide as flooded U.S. refiners and closed fuel pipelines threatened to squeeze national supply, roiling global fuel markets and rerouting millions of barrels of fuel to the Americas to avert shortages.

The storm, which lashed Louisiana with rain on Thursday, has pummeled the U.S. Gulf Coast, immersing Houston, Texas, and the surrounding area in several feet of water and forcing the closure of about a quarter of U.S. refining capacity.

Benchmark U.S. gasoline prices RBc1 and margins RBc1-Clc1 surged anew on Thursday.

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Harvey’s Toll on Energy Industry Shows a Texas Vulnerability

A vessel, the Signet Enterprise, sinking on Saturday near Port Aransas, Tex.; its crew was rescued. The narrow shipping channel near Port Aransas may be the most threatened choke point on the Gulf Coast. Credit U.S. Coast Guard, via Getty Images

Image: A vessel, the Signet Enterprise, sinking on Saturday near Port Aransas, Tex.; its crew was rescued. The narrow shipping channel near Port Aransas may be the most threatened choke point on the Gulf Coast. Credit U.S. Coast Guard, via Getty Images

nytimes.com - Clifford Krauss and Hiroko Tabuchi - August 29th 2017

For years, much of the nation’s refinery capacity and chemical production have been concentrated along the swamps and narrow inlets of the Gulf of Mexico, risking devastation in a monster storm.

The pounding being endured by coastal Texas will probably be the biggest test of that risk so far, and energy experts say it raises questions about the area’s role as a hub for such crucial and environmentally sensitive industries.

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Alaskan Towns at Risk from Rising Seas Sound Alarm as Trump Pulls Federal Help

           

Residents of Shishmaref voted to relocate to the mainland, but in common with other Alaskan towns, there is no clear source of funding to do this. Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Communities in danger of falling into the sea say assistance from Washington has dried up: ‘It feels like a complete abdication of responsibility on climate change’

theguardian.com - by Oliver Milman - August 10, 2017

The US government’s withdrawal from dealing with, or even acknowledging, climate change may have provoked widespread opprobrium, but for Alaskan communities at risk of toppling into the sea, the risks are rather more personal.

The Trump administration has moved to dismantle climate adaptation programs including the Denali Commission, an Anchorage-based agency that is crafting a plan to safeguard or relocate dozens of towns at risk from rising sea levels, storms and the winnowing away of sea ice.

Federal assistance for these towns has been ponderous but could now grind to a halt, with even those working on the issue seemingly targeted by the administration.

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Multi-Billion Dollar Electric Grid Risks Need Risk Transfer: Swiss Re

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Swiss Re - LIGHTS OUT: THE RISKS OF CLIMATE AND NATURAL DISASTER RELATED DISRUPTION TO THE ELECTRIC GRID - 25 July 2017

artemis.bm - July 25, 2017

Risks to the electric grid due to severe weather, natural catastrophes and climate change can cause losses in the billions of dollars, and while threats make our energy future more uncertain there is a role for risk transfer and potentially the capital markets in helping to stave off economic disruption.

A new report published by reinsurance firm Swiss Re but authored by students at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) explains that the electric grid is among the most important pieces of our critical infrastructure, but is also one of the most exposed to natural disasters, weather and climate related threats.

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Prospect of Trump Tariff Casts Pall Over U.S. Solar Industry

           

FILE PHOTO: An employee makes a final inspection on panels during a tour of an REC solar panel manufacturing plant in Singapore, May 5, 2017.  Edgar Su/File Photo

reuters.com - by Nichola Groom - July 25, 2017

U.S. solar companies are snapping up cheap imported solar panels ahead of a trade decision by the Trump administration that could drive up costs and cloud the fortunes of one of the economy's brightest stars.

Domestic consumers and businesses have been embracing solar energy at a furious pace - thanks to a big assist from China. Low-cost photovoltaic cells and panels made in China and other Asian countries have helped drive down costs by around 70% since 2010, enabling more Americans to go solar.

Installations in the United States last year hit a record. Jobs are mushrooming too.

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Why are Californian Solar Firms Paying to Give Away Power?

           

Getty Images

bbc.com - June 29, 2017

California companies are generating so much solar power that firms in other states are getting paid to take it.

The state has been forced into the arrangement to "avoid overloading its own power lines", according to the Los Angeles Times.

The situation doesn't necessarily mean we are "throwing money away", says economist Severin Borenstein, a professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

"But it probably is an indication that there are some serious problems in the way we're running the grid and the way we're making investment decisions."

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To Solve Climate Change, Solve Income Inequality

A new report says that the wider the gap between rich and poor, the more the environment suffers.

           

CREDIT: Pixabay

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Roosevelt Institute - Boiling Points: The Inextricable Links Between Inequality and Climate Change

thinkprogress.org - by Marlene Cimons - May 24, 2017

We often talk about how climate change exacerbates social and economic inequality, but rarely do we consider the opposite: that inequality itself can be a driver of climate change.

“What’s missing from the conversation is what our inequality crisis is doing to our planet,” said Susan Holmberg, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and author of a new report that shows how unequal societies inflict more environmental damage than more economically even societies. “One key topic that is still overlooked is how environmental degradation and climate change are themselves the toxic byproducts of our inequality problem,” Holmberg said.

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Watch Scientist Explain How Climate Change Might Damage U.S. Economy

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Estimating economic damage from climate change in the United States

nola.com - by Mark Schleifstein - June 29, 2017

New research concludes that the poorest one third of U.S. counties -- including many Louisiana parishes -- could sustain economic damages representing as much as 20 percent of their annual income by the end of this century if nothing is done to minimize climate change. The findings are explained by the lead author of the study in a video released with its publication Thursday (June 29) in Science magazine.

"Unmitigated climate change will be very expensive for huge regions of the United States," said Solomon Hsiang, an associate professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - Study: Climate change damages US economy, increases inequality

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'Spectacular' Drop in Renewable Energy Costs Leads to Record Global Boost

Falling solar and wind prices have led to new power deals across the world despite investment in renewables falling

           

Solar panels on sale at the Naran Tuul market in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photograph: Seong Joon Cho/Getty Images

CLICK HERE - Global Status Report - REN21 - Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century

theguardian.com - by Damian Carrington - June 6, 2017

Renewable energy capacity around the world was boosted by a record amount in 2016 and delivered at a markedly lower cost, according to new global data – although the total financial investment in renewables actually fell.

The greater “bang-for-buck” resulted from plummeting prices for solar and wind power and led to new power deals in countries including Denmark, Egypt, India, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates all being priced well below fossil fuel or nuclear options . . .

 . . . The new renewable energy capacity installed worldwide in 2016 was 161GW, a 10% rise on 2015 and a new record, according to REN21, a network of public and private sector groups covering 155 nations and 96% of the world’s population.

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‘Resilience Bonds’: A Secret Weapon Against Catastrophe

           

Resilience bonds could help places vulnerable to natural disasters, like Mexico, better prepare for catastrophe - not just help clean up after it. (Credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

The costs of natural disasters are becoming too much to bear – and it’s driving up premiums no matter where you live. The solution may be a transformative type of insurance never seen before.

bbc.com - by Amanda Ruggeri - May 16, 2017

 . . . People will have to shift their entire thinking about how disaster recovery is funded – and by whom, experts say. “There’s a perception that, following a disaster, the federal government’s role is to make you whole and rebuild homes and infrastructure and community at the federal taxpayer’s expense. And that is simply not true,” Medlock says. “There are limits to what the federal government can – and should – do.”

 . . . Enter a new idea that could transform not only the global economy, but how disasters affect us: a resilience bond. As well as guaranteeing help to communities after a catastrophe, it would help fund projects and strategies they need to become less vulnerable to begin with . . .

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