Ratings firm looks at international climate change issues

Nations ranging from the United States to China are drafting policies meant to control the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG), according to a new report from Standard & Poor’s.

The ratings firm just released “Climate Risk: Rising Tides Raise the Stakes.” The 39-page report touches on everything from risks posed by sea levels changes to the various policies being drawn up by nations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its Clean Power Plan, which has states drafting plans to cut power sector CO2 emissions 32% by 2030.  

Canada has announced a goal for carbon reduction that is similar in magnitude to that proffered by the CPP, shooting for a 30% nationwide reduction off of 2005 levels by 2030.

“Like the U.S., Canada has also been slow to adopt environmentally progressive policies, and, indeed, while American carbon emissions have already dropped by about 13% since 2005, Canada’s have fallen less than 2% during the same period, albeit with more significant economic growth,” S&P said in the report.

As the 13th-leading emitter of carbon in the world, Mexico now seeks to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2050. “However, it may be the first of the parties to the convention to demonstrate serious resolve in achieving that goal—it has begun exploring options for a cap-and-trade program modeled on Quebec’s alliance with California,” according to the S&P report.

The report notes that coal provides 30% of the world’s primary energy, 40% of global electricity, and 68% of steel. However, coal has a big carbon footprint compared to other carbon sources, S&P said in the report.

Demand for coal in the future and its price “will rely on numerous factors and their timing, including: (1) a move by China to shale gas; (2) introduction of new regulations; (3) technological breakthroughs; and (4) global economic growth, S&P said.

S&P is part of McGraw-Hill.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.