The Doha Conference ended with not much decided. The delegates extended the Kyoto Protocol but were unable to come up with a satisfactory agreement on who pays to reduce carbon emissions. Critics say the deal fell far short of what’s needed but the developed countries believe they will be fleeced by any deal that puts the entire burden on them. Michael Jacobs, writing in The Guardian, says the moment of truth will arrive in 2014 when a new comprehensive agreement must be reached.
Ottawa has surprised everyone by approving both CNOOC’s purchase of Nexen and Petronas’ bid for Progress Energy. The first was more or less anticipated but the latter comes as a big surprise. Industry Minister Christian Paradis says Canada won significant concessions in transparency on the deal. The approval undoubtedly heralds more Chinese mergers and acquisitions since the Chinese crave Canadian energy. But the Globe and Mail says PM Stephen Harper has drawn the line in the oil sands.
The US nuclear industry has responded to demands from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by drawing up plans for “airborne rescue wagons” in case of a nuclear disaster. Emergency equipment would be flown in from different parts of the country by helicopter. Following last week’s funding of a small reactor experiment at Oak Ridge, the UK also announced plans for pursuing what it calls “mini-reactors.” But geologists have discovered what they describe as a major fault beneath Japan’s Tsuruga reactor and it may have to close.
Following the news from Germany that the dash to renewables has actually increased the use of coal, California is also waking up to the realization that wind and solar need backups. “Renewable Energy Will Require More Use of Fossil Fuels” notes the Los Angeles Times. New Mexico renewable advocates are worried that a new plan that allows customers and utilities to choose their power source may undermine quotas for renewable energy. But the Department of Energy has announced plans to support a new "plug-and-play" system that would allow businesses and residences to install to install and operate photovoltaic panels in one day.
Finally, ExxonMobil (above) has surprised the world by supporting a carbon tax. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is astonished, saying the company can’t be serious. The Heritage Foundation is still opposed, calling the idea of taxing carbon “stale leftovers.” But David Frum, writing on CNN, says it’s “a tax we could learn to love.”