Oil prices continue slide; EU strikes a climate deal; US emissions tick up [Recharge]

Oil prices are continuing their slide on big US crude inventories and Goldman Sachs forecasting oil prices at $75 a barrel. EU leaders have agreed to new climate targets, while in the US, last year's bitter winter pushed up energy emissions. Catch up on the latest in global energy with the Monitor's Recharge.

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/File
The US flag is displayed at Tesoro's Los Angeles oil refinery in Los Angeles, California. Booming US production continues to drag on oil prices.

From oil prices to Ukraine gas talks to climate change, Recharge delivers global energy's big ideas to your inbox each Saturday. Subscribe for free.

Stockpiles: Oil prices bounced back slightly late in the week, but a bearish report from Goldman Sachs and unexpectedly big US crude inventories continue to hold oil prices down. Eighty-dollar oil is starting to crimp US rig counts, but that just means drillers are finding ways to pump more for less. Meanwhile, fuel subsidy cuts in Asia promise to suppress demand growth in the very region that will drive the future of global oil consumption.

'Deal!': The EU agreed early Friday to new climate targets that would cut emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030. The pact is mostly a strong signal of European support for a global climate deal at next year's Paris climate talks. Still, fractures remain: Renewables and efficiency targets were lowered after coal-heavy Poland threatened a veto, and German industry warned of waning competitiveness.

Vortex: Across the pond, last year's bitter winter pushed US energy emissions up last year, according to new data. This winter is expected to be milder, which should help the world's second-largest emitter keep bringing its emissions down from 2007's peak. The question is whether US fuel stockpiles have recovered enough from last year's polar vortex to keep prices in check throughout the cold months ahead.

In the pipeline

Wednesday, Oct. 29: BRUSSELS – Ukraine, Russia, and the EU meet again for Ukraine gas talks after last week's promising deal fell apart over cash-flow issues. 

Monday, Oct. 27 to Friday, Oct. 31: COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meets to finalize the synthesis of its fifth assessment report. This document will integrate findings from the working group reports and other papers completed in five years of work by roughly 2,000 scientists. EU and US climate envoys are pushing for stronger language to bolster public support for a global climate agreement.

Drill deeper

Why environmental groups are backing Republicans this November
[The Christian Science Monitor]
To turn climate change into a bipartisan issue, environmental groups are backing Republicans and moderate Democrats in the midterm elections – politicians whose pro-fossil fuel stances they don't always agree with. It's part of a growing pragmatism among those environmental groups that argue they can't shift energy policy without reaching across the aisle.


The looming gas glut [Foreign Policy]
"Companies around the world are spending billions of dollars in a scramble to start exporting ever-greater amounts of natural gas with hopes of feeding a seemingly insatiable appetite for the clean-burning fuel," Keith Johnson writes in Foreign Policy. "There's just one problem, which could affect everybody from New Orleans to New South Wales: The world may already have more than it needs."

Why do people put solar on their roofs? Because other people put solar on their roofs. [The Washington Post Wonkblog]
Turns out proximity to residential solar is a better indicator of your chances of installing home solar than income or politics, according to a new study. Wonkblog chalks that up to peer pressure or green envy – which must certainly play a role – but one imagines it also has a great deal to do with the spread of localized knowledge and firsthand familiarity with an emerging technology.

Energy sources

NRDC: "[S]ince 2000, for the first time in modern history, the [US] growth rate for electricity consumption has dropped below that of the population for an extended period, thanks in large part to our increased energy efficiency (see chart). From 2000 to 2013, electricity consumption rose by a total of less than 7 percent, with a minuscule average annual growth rate of about 0.5 percent, even as the population grew by about twice that rate during the same period."

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing via BBC: "This [BP/GDF Suez Central North Sea oil] discovery is another great example of the huge potential the future holds for the North Sea."

Wood Mackenzie: "The US will achieve energy independence by 2025, which will mark the first time since 1952 that the US will export more energy than it imports ..."

From oil prices to Ukraine gas talks to climate change, Recharge delivers global energy's big ideas to your inbox each Saturday. Subscribe for free.

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