Issue 46, 2018
 The 'Trump Effect' is Slowing International Progress on Climate Change, Think Tank Warns
"The report from the Institute of International and European Affairs ("IIEA") considered the impact President Donald Trump was having on the objectives of the Paris Agreement."

Why this is important: The IIEA conflates the effectiveness of the Paris Agreement with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. There are few who disagree with the primary objective of the Agreement, which is to reduce global CO2 emissions. However, critics have pointed out signatories to the Agreement have no objective standard they must follow or any emissions reduction they must achieve. It is this lack of an enforcement provision that makes the Agreement ineffective. The fact the U.S. has withdrawn from the Agreement may be causing other countries to consider following suit. However, the U.S. was again the world leader in CO2 emissions reduction in 2017, which proves the U.S. need not be a signatory to the Paris Agreement in order to achieve the objective of the Agreement. --- Nicholas S. Preservati
 Qatar to Quit OPEC After More than 57 Years, Denies Decision Related to Saudi-Led Boycott
"While Qatar is one of OPEC's smallest oil producers, especially when compared to the likes of de facto leader Saudi Arabia, it is one of the world's largest producers of liquefied natural gas."

Why this is important: Qatar, a small country, understands its primary export and economic driver is LNG. Previously, Qatar was the primary player in the international gas market. Now, the U.S., Russia and Australia all are ramping up their exports of this valuable energy source. On both the governmental and private sectors, the U.S. needs to push natural gas exports without delay in order to establish its dominate share in the world market. Qatar understands the competition and wants to focus on its core export to our disadvantage. --- William M. Herlihy
 German Official Says Coal Deadline is Premature
"The governor of Germany's most populous state says it's premature to set a firm date for phasing out the use of coal-fired power plants, as environmental campaigners are demanding."

Why this is important: Germany has an ambitious program to increase use of renewables and shutter coal plants, but a German governor at a climate conference in Poland is urging a slowdown in that process. While it is popular to discuss getting rid of Germany's brown coal power production, eliminating such a huge source of steady baseline power is fraught with danger for the country's consumers and manufacturers. --- David L. Yaussy
 Thaw with China Could Boost Frozen U.S. Gas Projects  
"'We expect that some of the discussions with Chinese counterparts, which have been continuing but at a slower pace, will only become more concrete and focused to reaching binding agreements once there is confidence that U.S.-China trade tensions have eased over the long term,' said Vivek Chandra, chief executive of Texas LNG which is hoping to make a final investment decision by early 2020."

Why this is important: China is hungry for natural gas imports. That country has not been able to harness its own natural gas reserves due to geologic complications and a lack of existing infrastructure to effectively transport gas production to needed markets. This leaves a very positive market for U.S. exports of cheap shale gas. If we do not supply this market opportunity, then our competitors will. It's time for thoughtless federal tariffs to give way to very attractive opportunities for the U.S. natural gas market. This export opportunity has the additional advantage of giving a CO2 reduced energy source to China which could, in part, counter its appetite for the construction new coal-fired plants supplied by its domestic sources. --- William M. Herlihy
 Freight Rail Reforms Crucial to West Virginia Economy
"Freight rail reforms are needed now, more than ever, if West Virginia hopes to continue expanding its economy, attracting new businesses and creating a wealth of new jobs across our state."

Why this is important: West Virginia is served by a limited number of railroads, which reduces options for coal producers, manufacturers and others that want to ship bulk products and materials. Improving options, through competitive switching, rate benchmarking, and eliminating red tape in the process for unfair rate resolution, would go a long way in decreasing transportation expenses in the Mountain State. --- David L. Yaussy
 HOT AIR: U.S. and China Snub Climate Change Talks Despite Being BIGGEST Coal Producers
"A massive United Nations climate change conference has been rendered pointless after being snubbed by China and America - the world's biggest coal producers."

Why this is important: The U.S. and China are on divergent climate change paths and cannot be lumped together. The U.S. leads the world in CO2 emissions reduction, while China's emissions are on track to rise at their fastest pace in more than seven years. This is critically important considering China emits more CO2 than the U.S. and the EU combined. The U.S. has proven it can reduce emissions without being a member of the Paris Agreement. China has proven it has no intention of reducing emissions despite being a member of the Paris Agreement. --- Nicholas S. Preservati
 New Home Solar Laws Could Triple U.S. Solar Base by 2045
"If other states follow the California proposal to require solar on all new home builds, the United States could have three times as much solar power as it does now, reckon analysts at Environment America."

Why this is important: California may require all new houses to install solar panels after 2020, and other states may follow. They are likely to get some opposition from homebuilders, who may see reduced sales because of an increased upfront house cost. The energy benefit of the change is questionable, too. All that solar power will feed into, and drop off from, the system simultaneously. Managing that huge fluctuation in power could be difficult. Until batteries are improved, much of the resulting solar power will have to be throttled during peak sunshine, and extensive back-up provided at night. The costs of that are not insubstantial. --- David L. Yaussy
 Fracking's Next Boom? Petrochemical Plants Fuel Debate Over Jobs, Pollution
"The Marcellus and Utica shale formations are loaded not only with methane, the primary component of natural gas, but with more complex hydrocarbons like ethane, propane and butane."

Why this is important: A new PTTC cracker plant in Belmont County, Ohio would be a long-term boost to the economy of the Ohio Valley both in jobs and in enhancements to secondary companies and tax revenues. This is not the type of chemical operation that would leave the area in just a few years--it would be long-term. In addition, the emissions from this planned operation would be a fraction of the air or water emissions of steel and chemical operations in the Ohio Valley shuttered in the past 30 years. Criticisms about the production of plastics are understandable, but the use and disposal of plastics are separate issues the U.S. public needs to wrestle with on an independent basis. --- William M. Herlihy
 World's 'Most Powerful Tidal Generating Turbine' Set to be Demonstrated in Waters Off Wales
"The agreement with not-for-profit developers Menter Mon will result in the deployment of a 'commercial-scale tidal array' of Orbital Marine Power's 2 megawatt (MW) O2 tidal turbine."

Why this is important: Tidal power is renewable energy that is reliable and predictable. Its drawbacks include difficult maintenance in stormy, salty environs and hazards to navigation. Installation of this tidal infrastructure in Scotland will provide more data on whether tidal power is economical enough to move into the power generation mainstream, or will remain a curiosity. --- David L. Yaussy
 France Protests: PM Philippe Suspends Fuel Tax Rises
"Fuel tax rises which had led to weeks of violent protests in France have been suspended for six months."

Why this is important: There is a disconnect between the leaders of the EU member states and their respective citizens. President Macron made a political miscalculation by believing the French people would embrace significant taxes on diesel and gasoline in an attempt to fight climate change. This disconnect highlights the innate conundrum of climate change reform--how can governments convince private citizens to endure hardship now in order to avoid potential hardship of an uncertain nature in the future. --- Nicholas S. Preservati
 EIA Energy Statistics
Here is a round-up of the latest statistics concerning the energy industry.

Weekly Petroleum Status Report

Natural Gas Weekly Update

Natural Gas Futures Prices

Coal Markets

Weekly Coal Production

Monthly Biodiesel Production Report

Monthly Densified Biomass Fuel Report
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