Friday, September 24, 2021

Biden administration takes aim at refrigeration gas

First they cut out CFCs on shoddy grounds. Now it is HFCs. What will be used next in refrigeration? Highly flammable Propane?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday finalized a rule that will slash the use of a potent climate-warming gas commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners by 85% over the next 15 years, a move that will help halve greenhouse gas emissions this decade.

The rule aims to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 85% in a range of common appliances and carries out legislation passed with bipartisan support in Congress last year. It would make the U.S. compliant with the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, a global treaty to reduce HFCs that the U.S. has not yet ratified.

"It really sends a signal to the rest of the world that we are all in on climate change," National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday evening.

The rule comes with under six weeks to go before the pivotal UN climate summit in Glasgow. President Joe Biden is rolling out several climate measures through executive actions, while other key climate proposals are dependent on Congress passing budget and infrastructure bills.

McCarthy said she does not know when Biden will send the amendment to the Senate for ratification.

The EPA said the rule is one of the most "consequential" in terms of its climate impact. Along with additional interagency measures, it can reduce 4.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent by 2050 — equal to nearly three years of U.S. power sector emissions at 2019 levels, according to a White House fact sheet.

The EPA rule creates an allowance allocation and trading system to reduce HFCs and is reviewing over a dozen petitions to restrict HFC use in other applications.

The EPA and White House also announced on Thursday that the administration will take an interagency approach to prevent the illegal trade, production, use, and sale of HFCs and prepare for enforcement actions to punish violations of the law.


UK Ministers backing plans for additional new nuclear power plant in Anglesey to help reach net zero

The government is reportedly backing plans for another large-scale nuclear power plant in the UK to help the country achieve its net zero targets.

It is in discussions with American nuclear reactor manufacturer Westinghouse amongst other groups, to develop the new plant in Anglesey, Wales, reports The Times.

If the plans were to go ahead, the new plant would be able to generate enough electricity to power more than six million homes from the mid-2030s.

It would come in addition to a nuclear plant under construction at Hinkley Point, Somerset, and a proposal for a new reactor at Sizewell, Suffolk, which is in advanced planning stages.

Ministers are reportedly concerned existing nuclear projects do not support the country’s ambition of reducing its carbon rates, with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng having reservations that by the early-2030s there will not be enough nuclear power to phase out gas power.

He is understood to back plans to build a new plant in Anglesey, and is lobbying the Treasury to seek private investment.

The government is also in “exploratory” talks with other consortiums about the development of new nuclear sites presenting a number of potential proposals for using the Anglesey site, according to the director of Nuclear Projects and Development at the government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department.

Giving evidence to the Welsh Affairs Committee, Declan Burke said his department had been in discussions with US engineering firm Bechtel, which proposes building a Westinghouse AP1000 reactor.

Conversations have also been had with Shearwater Energy to create small nuclear reactors and a wind farm.

There was a £20bn plan to develop a new plant at the site in January, however Horizon Nuclear Power withdrew its plans citing the funding options.

Its plans had reached "the point beyond which ministers were not willing to go, despite us all very much wanting that project to work”, Mr Burke explained.


Problems of electric vehicles in UK

THE CARS on Britain’s roads are altering. In keeping with the World Financial Discussion board, a worldwide think-tank, greater than a tenth of latest automobiles bought in 2020 have been powered by electrical energy. That’s under the degrees seen in another components of northern Europe, however 4 instances as excessive as in America. And the shift from fossil fuels to electrical energy seems to be set to speed up. Authorities plans to decarbonise the economic system would require the variety of battery-powered electrical automobiles (EVs) on Britain’s roads to rise from round 100,000 at the moment to 3m by 2025, 10m by 2030 and 25m by 2035.

This fast shift is critical if Britain is to fulfill worldwide obligations to scale back its carbon emissions. However an evaluation by the Tony Blair Institute for International Change, a think-tank, highlights three looming dangers: a fiscal gap, elevated inequality and extra visitors jams. All three outcome from the way in which driving is taxed in Britain, particularly largely via a levy on fuels.

This makes driving an EV far cheaper than options. The median British driver at the moment spends round £1,100 ($1,520) a 12 months in whole on gasoline and car excise responsibility (VED), a tax levied on most private automobiles, of which round £750 is tax. However the typical proprietor of a battery-powered EV, which is exempt from VED, spends solely £320 a 12 months, of which simply £20 is tax.

These a lot decrease operating prices encourage drivers to make the change. However as usually occurs with “sin taxes”, this one is falling sufferer to its personal success. A part of the purpose of sin taxes is to encourage folks to turn into extra virtuous, however the quicker this occurs, the quicker revenues dry up. By 2030 the annual loss in tax revenues from VED and gasoline responsibility is forecast to be round £8bn, or 0.3% of GDP. That’s round two-thirds as a lot as was raised by the politically contentious enhance in nationwide insurance coverage, a payroll tax, introduced on September seventh. The cumulative value to public coffers is because of zoom previous £50bn across the finish of the last decade (see chart).

The financial savings is not going to be distributed evenly. Since wealthier households are likely to have newer automobiles, it’s they who’re most probably to personal EVs. With no massive overhaul, the approaching years will see the burden of motoring taxes fall ever extra closely on less-well-off Britons.

The ultimate drawback predicted by the Institute for International Change is elevated congestion. Switching to an EV cuts the efficient value of gasoline for driving an extra mile by round 70%, that means that as EVs turn into extra widespread, motorists are prone to drive extra. The Division for Transport reckons that, except motoring taxes are reformed, the approaching twenty years will see a 30% enhance in passenger miles pushed, and a rise from 7% to 12% within the share spent caught in congestion.

The Treasury has lengthy plugged the fiscal hole ensuing from decrease smoking charges by aggressively climbing tobacco duties. However gasoline responsibility is way extra politically delicate. The Conservative Get together enjoys increased assist amongst automotive house owners and has frozen the speed for the previous decade.

The obvious answer can be to shift the bottom upon which driving is taxed, away from gasoline and in direction of highway utilization. A system of road-pricing would cost the heaviest customers essentially the most. It may additionally permit for variable pricing in congested areas, which might assist ease visitors jams. However such proposals are deeply unpopular with car-owning voters. With a common election on the horizon, maybe as early as 2023, the Conservative authorities is unlikely to danger upsetting its core voters. Public coverage, like Britain’s roads, faces gridlock.


Landmark climate pollution case launched in Australia

Victorian environmental campaigners are launching landmark legal action against the state's Environment Protection Authority and three coal power stations over claims they failed to limit climate pollution.

Led by conservation group Environment Victoria, the Supreme Court case will be the first to test Victoria's Climate Change Act, which was introduced in 2017.

It will also be the first challenge to the regulation of air pollution from the state's coal-burning power stations.

The owners of Loy Yang A, AGL Energy; Loy Yang B, Alinta Energy; and Yallourn, EnergyAustralia are cited in the legal action.

Environment Victoria will allege the EPA "failed to protect the health of the community and the environment" by not taking any action against these three coal power stations while reviewing their licences in March this year.

"The Andrews government passed nation-leading climate change legislation in 2017, but Victoria's environment watchdog chose to ignore it when making a crucial decision about coal power station licences this year," EV chief executive Jono La Nauze said.

"The EPA took more than 1200 days to review the licences of three coal power stations and then failed to take any action on the greenhouse gases they emit.

"Our case will argue that they failed to properly consider key sections of the Climate Change Act and the Environment Protection Act."

AAP contacted the EPA for a response, however it declined to comment due to the upcoming court case.

Coal power station owners Alinta Energy, EnergyAustralia and AGL also declined to comment on specifics of the case, while the matter is in court.

An AGL spokeswoman said it acknowledged its role in energy transition and is committed to ensuring this is done responsibly "balancing Australia's current and future energy needs with the commitment to decarbonise".

An EnergyAustralia spokesman said it had a strong record of environmental compliance and a commitment to improvement.

"EnergyAustralia is committed to being a leader in environmental stewardship and the responsible operation of our assets is paramount," the spokesman said.




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