Archive | February 2014




The EU is still on course to meet its 2030 target.

California Knows How to Party


California Carbon Tax Would Be First at the Gas Pump

California would be the first U.S. state to impose a “carbon tax” directly on motorists at the fuel pump under a plan by a leading Democratic lawmaker to ease greenhouse-gas pollution.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg wants to shift responsibility for emissions on gasoline sold by companies such as Chevron Corp. (CVX), a cost that would otherwise be passed on to consumers in fuel prices. Instead, Steinberg wants to directly tax motorists 15 cents a gallon, rising to 24 cents in 2020.

California was the nation’s first state to set a limit for most carbon emissions, with regulations that aim to achieve a reduction of about 15 percent by 2020. The state auctions a limited number of pollution permits that industries can use to help meet the limit under a system called cap-and-trade.

“Under either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade applied to fuel, consumers will undoubtedly pay more at the pump,” Steinberg told the Sacramento Press Club on Feb. 20. “Higher prices discourage demand. If carbon pricing doesn’t sting, we won’t change our habits.”


The message is clear. Make the consumer pay in order to change his/her consumption habit. The party is over for “Gas Guzzlers”.

The California Senate President has already answered my survey question about who should pay for environmental protection.

Please download and complete the survey here.

“Iron Man” of Electric Vehicles Takes on the Utility Monopolists


Musk Says Renewable Energy Shift to Give Utilities Strife

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA)’s Elon Musk, already taking on the auto and aerospace industries, is going after utilities by seeking to drive down the cost of storing energy through building cheaper batteries.

The electric carmaker said in a Feb. 26 filing it’s developed a battery to store power for homes, commercial sites and utilities, the same day as announcing plans to invest as much as $5 billion in the world’s largest battery factory. The Palo Alto, California-based company is seeking to cut the cost of lithium-ion batteries by at least 30 percent.

Shifting to greater use of wind and solar power will bring “some amount of strife for the existing utilities, especially for those invested more heavily in fossil fuels,” Musk, who is also chairman of solar-power company SolarCity Corp. (SCTY), said yesterday at a California Public Utilities Commission event in San Francisco.

Tesla No DeLorean as 619% Jump Makes Hottest Auto Stock

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), propelled by praise from Consumer Reports and plans to build a better battery and expand in Asia, has cemented its place as the highest-flying automobile stock in at least two decades.

While further gains may become more challenging with Tesla now trading at 154 times estimated earnings, the youngest U.S. carmaker has already beaten odds that crushed startups such as DeLorean Motor Co., Tucker Car Corp. and Fisker Automotive Inc.


Elon Musk is a game changer, who understands that the rules of the game have changed in favour of clean affordable energy.


To keep the Tesla share price rising he has no choice except to find new economic growth opportunities that will bring new revenues.

“India’s Diesel Subsidy Spurs Pollution Worse Than Beijing”


While Beijing and Shanghai make the headlines for air pollution caused by factory smokestacks burning coal, Delhi residents get their smog right in the face from cars and trucks running on cheap diesel.

India subsidizes sales of the fuel to the equivalent of $15 billion a year, encouraging purchases of diesel vehicles that can pump out exhaust gases with 10 times the carcinogenic particles found in gasoline exhausts.

The result: Delhi’s air on average last year was laced with double the toxic particles per cubic meter being reported in Beijing, leading to respiratory diseases, lung cancer and heart attacks.


Emerging economies are responsible for 88% of global emissions so now global pressure is being applied on them to reduce them.

“Climate change and the UK floods”


There is no shortage of debate over whether the recent storms and floods can be blamed on climate change. In reality any answer will involve probabilities rather than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. So what do we know, what are the uncertainties, and can we say whether or not there is a clear link?

Despite the current lack of a precise answer, the recent heavy rainfall and coastal inundation is consistent with some basic physics of a warming world:

  • Firstly, sea levels are rising. During the last century the sea level in the English Channel has risen by around 12 cm and is continuing to rise at a rate of 1.3cm per decade. This is because land-based snow and ice is melting into the sea and because seawater expands as it warms. Higher seas mean a greater chance of storm surges breaching coastal defences.

  • Secondly, warmer air can hold more moisture. So, in a warmer world, a given storm has the capacity to drop more rain. While rainfall in the UK varies a lot from year to year there is some evidence to suggest that extreme rainfall is becoming more common – what was a 1-in-125 day event seems to be occurring on average every 85 days now.

Every Renewable Cloud Has a Silver Lining


The end is near – for national renewable energy subsidy schemes in the EU

The national renewable support schemes in the EU are on the verge of a major overhaul. National governments will soon not be allowed anymore to limit renewables subsidies to domestic producers: they will have to treat all EU-based producers alike. This at any rate is the very likely outcome of a court case now before the EU Court of Justice, says Peter Niermeijer, Secretary-General of RECS International, an organisation that promotes pan-European trade in renewable energy, in an interview with Energy Post. According to Niermeijer, the court decision, expected in a matter of months, will have far-reaching political consequences: it will force an end to the fragmentation of national energy policies in the EU and give a big push to the integration of the EU energy market. It will also radically undermine existing support schemes, including the laws which form the basis of the German Energiewende.


Every cloud has a silver lining. The loss of national renewable energy subsidies means the introduction of a common renewable energy policy at the EU level.

“Emerging Economies Lead Climate Action, Globe Study Finds”


Nations have passed almost 500 laws to tackle climate change, with emerging economies led by Mexico and China making the most progress last year, a study by Globe International found.

Progress in passing laws is important in the battle to cut polluting greenhouse gases because the nations studied cover 88 percent of world emissions.


With 88% of world emissions, Emerging Markets are the key to solving the global problem. Unfortunately many of these countries lack the financial resources, so financial help is needed.

“Team converts sugarcane to a cold-tolerant, oil-producing crop”


If the researchers achieve their goal, growers will be able to meet 147 percent of the U.S. mandate for renewable fuels by growing the modified sugarcane on abandoned land in the southeastern United States (about 20 percent of the green zone on the map)

A multi-institutional team reports that it can increase sugarcane’s geographic range, boost its photosynthetic rate by 30 percent and turn it into an oil-producing crop for biodiesel production.

These are only the first steps in a bigger initiative that will turn sugarcane and sorghum – two of the most productive crop plants known – into even more productive, oil-generating plants.

“Envisioning a Nation Run On Clean Energy”


Stanford Woods Institute fellow presents new roadmap to renewable energy for all 50 U.S. states
Stanford Woods Institute Senior Fellow Mark Jacobson and his colleagues recently developed detailed plans to transform the energy infrastructure of New York, California and Washington states from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable resources by 2050.

The roadmap includes an online interactive map tailored to maximize the resource potential of each state. Hovering a cursor over California, for example, reveals that the Golden State can meet virtually all of its power demands (transportation, electricity, heating, etc.) in 2050 by switching to a clean technology portfolio that is 55 percent solar, 35 percent wind (on- and offshore), 5 percent geothermal and 4 percent hydroelectric.


Having missed the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, then watching Europe target 40% emission cuts by 2030 and China move to number two in renewable energy in 2013, America is quietly making plans to go 100% renewable. If New York, California and Washington can achieve this by 2050 it would be amazing. Given the size of the economies of these three states, it would represent a major global impact.



What’s in the name Tesla?


“MORGAN STANLEY: Utopia Is Coming By 2026”

Earlier today, Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas cranked up his price target on Tesla to $320 from $153.

“Tesla’s quest to disrupt a trillion $ car industry offers an adjacent opportunity to disrupt a trillion $ electric utility industry,” he wrote in a new note to clients. “If it can be a leader in commercializing battery packs, investors may never look at Tesla the same way again.”

If Tesla figures out how to cheaply store green energy, that’s a game-changer.

But if Tesla masters the self-driving car, then here comes utopia.


Tesla’s Next Trillion-Dollar Industry

One of the big hurdles in the green energy space is the inability to store energy cheaply. Tesla could come out front here, which would be a total game changer.

“Tesla says it will team up with partners to build the world’s largest Li-ion battery pack facility in the US,” wrote Jonas. “We reflect the potential for lower battery costs through higher sales volume nearly doubling Tesla’s share of the global car market to 90bps by 2028, driving our target increase. If Tesla can become the world’s low-cost producer in energy storage, we see significant optionality for Tesla to disrupt adjacent industries.”

The name Tesla is an interesting choice.
niklai tesla
There was once a brilliant scientist named Tesla who also had a Utopian vision of transmitting electricity for free. Once Wall Street and Thomas Edison had finished with him he died penniless and the technology died with him.
His friend, the author Mark Twain, is famously quoted as saying that “history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme“.
One wonders if it is rhyming or repeating this time in the case of Tesla.