Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Hard road on Japan’s nuclear policy

Photo
-

By Kevin Krolicki

Suddenly Taro Kono doesn’t look like quite the lonely maverick in Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party.

Kono, a member of the lower house of parliament, has been an unrelenting critic of Japan’s pursuit of nuclear power since he was first elected in 1996. That made him an odd fit with the LDP, which ruled Japan almost continuously from the mid-1950s to 2009 and put nuclear power at the center of Japan’s energy policy.

“For the past 15 years, it has felt like Taro Kono against the LDP,” he told the Reuters Rebuilding Japan Summit.

But since the Fukushima Daiichi accident triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Kono’s call to scrap nuclear in favour of renewable energy and conservation has moved from the fringe to something closer to the mainstream of political opinion.

from Environment Forum:

Could “putting the cow inside the plant” make a new biofuel?

SWITZERLAND/The Next Big Thing in biofuel might involve genetically engineered plants that digest themselves, making it cheaper to turn them into fuel. That's one of the new ideas that Arun Majumdar finds fascinating. As the head of the U.S. Energy Department's ARPA-E -- the path-breaking agency that aims come up with efficient, green energy solutions -- Majumdar said this concept is one of a few dozen that are in the development stage now.

Majumdar let his enthusiasm show as he described this project at the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit on Thursday. He was talking about a project in its early stages at Massachusetts-based Agrivida.

Economic security or environmental destruction?

-

OBAMA-CANADA/
The Oil Sands, the world’s second-largest proven reserves after Saudi Arabia, hold out the promise of energy security for the United States and economic security for Canada. But environmentalists fear the destructive, energy intensive process of extracting the oil will carry direct consequences for the planet. Despite the doubts, new oil sands projects are again springing up after the financial crisis halted development. How will oil companies balance the quest for more oil with environmental concerns? Mar. 22-23 we’ll put those questions to the oil companies, environmental groups and government officals at the first Reuters Canadian Oil Sands Summit in Calgary.

from Chris Wickham:

Climate change is off the agenda in Dubai

The headline in the Gulf News English language daily reads 'UAE tops world on per capita carbon footprint'.

For a place so reliably bathed in sunlight, the Dubai property explosion seems to have generated enough construction noise to drown out the environmental debate raging elsewhere in the world.

Washington divided, more trouble ahead for Obama?

Photo
-

Washington insiders say that not since the 1890′s have the people that represent the U.S. been so divided. From Gay rights to Afghanistan lawmakers are at polar opposites on issues that are on the Obama administration’s agenda. What’s next? And, what’s likely to get the green light or the stop sign?

Global warming: Economic opportunity or not?

Photo
-

Stephan Dolezalek, Managing Director of VantagePoint Venture Partners and Tom Werner, Chief Executive of solar power company SunPower, sat down at Reuters’ Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco and shared their views on global warming, investment and cleantech.

Dolezalek sees industrialization in developing countries as a more predictable impetus for investment than global warming.

Enviro-boxer Britain needs to spend more on climate cure

Photo
-

Scientists may face an uphill battle in trying to warn the world about the looming perils of global warming, but one of Britain’s top academics wouldn’t trade places with the politicians tasked with negotiating a new global treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“Although the science (of climate change) is difficult and still uncertain, it’s a doddle compared to the politics,” said Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, Britain’s science academy.

Silver Spring Networks shows grid smarts

Photo
-

Scott Lang, the Chief Executive of Silver Spring Networks, sat down at Reuters’ Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco to talk about building and expanding within green tech sector.

Here Lang discusses how his company’s technology for reporting power consumption to utilities also finds problems quickly.

BrightSource CEO talks about building carbon-free future

Photo
-

John Woolard, the chief executive of solar thermal energy company BrightSource, sat down at Reuters’ Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco to talk about energy efficiency, project financing and the future  of carbon-free power.

His advice: build fast!

(Editing/video by Courtney Hoffman)

Carbon fails to capture EU cash

Photo
-

alan_svoboda.jpgThe EU boasts of its global leadership in fighting climate change but some in the energy industry wonder whether the bloc will put money to work to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

EU governments have been reluctant to back clean technologies — such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) that could sharply reduce pollution from coal — with cash, potentially killing their future, Czech power utility CEZ told the Reuters Central European Investment Summit this week.

  •