With parts of the country buried in snow (above), Britain is suffering through a gas crisis that has consumers and politicians up in arms. The unexpected cold weather has strained gas supplies, which run thin anyway because of low storage capacity. Christopher Booker in Mail Online is livid because the government is pursuing green energy policies in the midst of the crisis. But Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey says the government's policies will reduce utility bills by 11 percent. Meanwhile, Britain seems to have stolen a march on the rest of Europe by getting into fracking technology before everyone else.
Across the Channel, European Union leaders will begin a debate today on how to continue its efforts to cut carbon emissions and promote clean power. While the leaders believe they are making good progress in meeting 2020 goals, a blueprint is needed for the next decade. The EU's carbon trading system seems to have collapsed, however, and efforts to capture carbon have been a failure. Ironically, Asia seems to be making better progress in reducing carbon than the Europeans.
Shell has won a $1 billion contract to explore China's shale gas resources. It is the first indication that the Chinese are intent on exploring shale technology. Meanwhile, Russia continues to pursue the BRICS alliance by signing an energy deal with South Africa. Europe, on the other hand, is beginning to weigh the impact that its biofuels have been having on Africa, eating up 6 million hectares of farmland at a time when food supplies are under pressure.
Finally, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Administration have announced their Energy Star Partner awards for 2013. Just about everyone seems to have won. GM, Toyota, 3M, Kohl Department Stores, Food Lion, PG&E, Sears, Nissan, Habitat Denver and Energy Logic were among the recipients.