Energy & Climate Notes 020716

2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook Bloomberg New Energy Finance issued its annual assessment of the state of sustainable energy in the United States.  The Factbook provides considerable detail and analysis of energy trends and documents the decoupling of energy consumption and economic growth –  the U.S. economy grew by 10% since 2007 while primary energy consumption has fallen by 2.4%. 


From the introduction:

“Two thousand fifteen will surely be remembered as a watershed year in the evolution of US energy, as the industry passed important milestones and the federal government finalized critical new policies. The already rapid de-carbonization of the US power sector accelerated with record numbers of coal plant closures and solar photovoltaic system commissionings, while natural gas production and consumption hit an all-time high. Concurrently, the US continued to enjoy greater benefits from energy efficiency efforts as economic growth outpaced the growth in electricity consumption. The net result on the planet: US power sector CO2 emissions fell to their lowest annual level since the mid-1990s. The net impact on consumers: negligible to positive as prices for electricity and fuel remained low by historic standards and customer choices expanded. Perhaps most importantly, many of the key changes seen in 2015 are likely permanent shifts, rather than temporary adjustments due to one-time events.”  You can link to the Factbook here.

Another political tipping point – bipartisan House action to form new climate caucus.  Two Florida congressmen — Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) and Rep. Theodore Deutch (D), have formed the Climate Solutions Caucus to “explore policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate.” Representative Curbelo is the leading republican climate activist in the House and last year co-sponsored H. Res 424, a resolution expressing “the commitment of the House of Representatives to work constructively on creating and supporting economically viable and broadly supported solutions to measured changes in global and regional climates.”

S&P Cuts Ratings of 10 U.S. Oil Companies With oil prices continuing to hover at $30 per barrel and with oil sector economists seeing no short term rebound, Standard & Poors lowered its rating of Chevon and nine other oil companies.  Chevon posted a 4th quarter loss and $9 billion in capital spending cuts while Exxon Mobil reported profits dropping by half and capital spending reductions of 19% in 2015 and 25% in 2016.