World leaders assembled in Doha, Qatar (above), for another look at the legacy of the Kyoto Protocol and the effort to deal with climate change. UN climate change expert Christiana Figueres pointed delegates to key reports and urged global action. Many delegates were pinning their hopes on President Obama to spur US leadership. Meanwhile the Canada Free Press noted that global temperatures have fallen for two straight years and Nick Rowley of the University of Sydney says the real decision-making will lie elsewhere.
Commentators contemplating the energy future see a variety of trends. The YumaSun feels the future looks bright while the Canada Free Press wonders if Washington will now regulate the fracking of natural gas. Energy Tribune says the time has come to lift restrictions on oil exports and the Toronto Globe and Mail notes that the recent IEA report confirms that the world needs Canadian tar sand oil. NewScientist reports that British consumers are losing their taste for green energy and William Tucker, writing on NuclearTownhall, notes that nuclear may have entered a new era with the introduction of small reactors. Meanwhile, the Saudis are assuring the world that they still have plenty of oil.
The Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council, two conservative think tanks, are teaming up to begin a campaign to repeal the renewable mandates in 26 states. The two institutes argue that the mandates distort the market and raise rates. Maine Governor Paul LePage agrees and is blaming his state’s mandate for raising energy prices. Ken Silverstein, writing on EnergyBiz, says the groups risk irrelevance and The Green Optimistic says they’re just being funded by the oil industry.
Nuclear may receive an unexpected boost as it appears the pro-nuclear party in Japan may be headed for victory in the December 16th election. Florid has OK’d a rate increase to allow Progress Energy to do repair work on Crystal River. The UK has granted France’s EDF a site license to build a new reactor at Hinckley Point and Russia is moving ahead rapidly with nuclear investment. Meanwhile, Idaho Statesman columnist Rocky Barker asks whether his state might become the next Yucca Mountain?
Finally, hydrogen fuel cells continue to make progress as Mercedes introduces a new hydrogen-powered SUV. Hyundai is also working on the Tucson, a model it plans to introduce in Europe by 2015. Plug Power has a contract to supply hydrogen generators to Federal Express and a Taiwan firm is introducing a hydrogen-powered scooter. Meanwhile, AFC Energy, a British company, has received an EU grant to begin construction on the world’s largest fuel-cell plant.