U.N. Security Council urged to tackle climate change – Germany, which will join the UN Security Council in January, believes the body should start dealing with climate change as a potential global threat, its UN ambassador said on Monday. Peter Wittig told an audience at a think tank in Berlin that Germany shared the view of the more than 40 island states represented at the United Nations that global warming was an urgent security issue. “We are of the opinion that it would be worth the effort to consider strategically — in the Security Council as well — which effects climate change could have on the security situation in the broadest sense including defence assistance, resource assistance, the disappearance of entire island states, the rising of sea levels,” he said.
Wind power for Boston made in China – Goldwind USA and A-Power Energy Generation Systems are not the only big Chinese-owned wind energy companies setting up shop in this country. Sinovel, a state-owned company based in Beijing that is China’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, has signed a contract with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority to provide a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine. The machine will provide electricity for a wastewater pumping station in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston. The turbine accounts for about half of the $4.7 million cost of the project, which is still in development and is being financed with money from the federal economic stimulus package. Sinovel, with a $6.5 billion line of credit from banks owned by the Chinese government, has said its goal was to become the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines by 2015. It also said it intended to eventually realize half of its sales beyond China’s borders.
Regulation is deficient in Canada’s oil sands – Reclamation in Canada’s oil sands is not keeping pace with rapid development and that could leave the public vulnerable to major financial burdens in years to come, a scientific panel said Wednesday. The study by Royal Society of Canada scientists, the latest report on the effects of the country’s multibillion-dollar oil sands sector, also concluded that governments and regulators are lagging world standards in their ability to oversee the industry and monitor its environmental impact. “Current government of Alberta policy on financial security for reclamation liability leaves Alberta vulnerable to major financial risks, which are exacerbated by the current state of reclamation, which is not keeping pace with the rate of land disturbance,” the panel said in its report. Alberta’s oil sands are the largest source of crude outside Saudi Arabia, and are the target of billions of dollars of spending by the world’s oil industry.
Senate approves biofuel and clean tech tax break extensions – The US renewable energy and biofuel industries were celebrating yesterday after the Senate overwhelming approved plans to extend crucial green tax breaks and grant programmes. Senators voted 81 to 19 in favor of the controversial bi-partisan tax bill, which extends the Bush-era tax cuts supported by Republicans, but in return extends federal unemployment benefits for 13 months and provides a raft of incentives to clean energy projects. In particular, the package includes extensions to the existing research and development tax credit, ethanol tax credit, biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credit, and energy efficient homes tax . Significantly, it also extends by one year the Treasury’s popular Section 1603 program, which offers large scale renewable energy projects and upfront cash grant to help cover construction costs in lieu of a 30 per cent tax break.
“Market concerns over stronger economic growth that, in the near term, could lead to an increase in inflation have sparked a rise in bond yields and mortgage rates have followed,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist of Freddie Mac, in a news release.
Merk Commentary: Fed – Inflation, Inflation, Inflation – In August, Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Bernanke stated inflation was too low; in October, the Fed’s Minutes lamented that the market appeared not to take Bernanke’s August statements seriously enough. In our assessment, today’s Fed statement of the Fed’s Open Market Committee (FOMC), with an almost verbatim repetition of the previous FOMC statement, screams: "markets: trust us, we mean what we say." When former Fed Chairman Volcker raised rates in the 80’s to root out inflation, initially, the markets didn’t take him seriously. But persistence eventually made the market price in lower inflation expectations. Similarly, as the markets appear slow to embrace the Fed’s at higher inflation target. We have little doubt, however, that the Fed will succeed in raising inflation expectations. The risk, in our view is, that the Fed will get more than it is bargaining for. Having said that, it’s a problem for tomorrow and the Fed has rarely been accused of being too far-sighted.