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New York City bans natural gas in new buildings

NYC bans natural gas in new buildingsThe New York City Council voted on Wednesday to ban the use of natural gas in new buildings, following in the footsteps of dozens of smaller U.S. cities seeking to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner forms of energy.

New buildings in the biggest U.S. city with 8.8 million residents will have to use electricity for heat and cooking, according to the council vote that was streamed on its website.

"The bill to ban the use of gas in new buildings will (help) us to transition to a greener future and (reach) carbon neutrality by the year 2050," said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, noting "We are in a climate crisis and must take all necessary steps to fight climate change and protect our city."

In the near-term, the new law will do little to reduce carbon emissions in the Big Apple, as numerous older buildings will not be affected, and the new structures would use electricity generated with fossil fuels anyway. Longer-term, however, carbon emissions will fall since the state plans to stop using fossil fuels to generate power.

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U.S. challenges OPEC+ with coordinated release of oil from reserves

US challenges OPEC with coordinated release of oil reservesThe United States said on Tuesday it will release millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves in coordination with China, India, South Korea, Japan and Britain, to try to cool prices after OPEC+ producers repeatedly ignored calls for more crude.

U.S. President Joe Biden, facing low approval ratings amid rising inflation ahead of next year's congressional elections, has grown frustrated at repeatedly asking the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, to pump more oil without getting any response.

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Reuters: U.S. asks Japan, China, others to consider tapping oil reserves - sources

Biden wants powers to release  oil reserves.The Biden administration has asked some of the world's largest oil consuming nations - including China, India and Japan - to consider releasing crude stockpiles in a coordinated effort to lower global energy prices, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The unusual request comes as U.S. President Joe Biden fends off political pressure over rising pump prices and other consumer costs driven by a rebound in economic activity from lows plumbed early in the coronavirus pandemic.

It also reflects U.S. frustration with members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies who have rebuffed repeated requests from Washington to speed up their production increases.

"We're talking about the symbolism of the largest consumers of the world sending a message to OPEC that 'you've got to change your behavior,’" one of the sources said.

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More than 40 countries agree to phase out coal-fired power

More than 40 countries to phase out coal

More than 40 countries have agreed to phase out their use of coal-fired power, the dirtiest fuel source, in a boost to UK hopes of a deal to “keep 1.5C alive”, from the Cop26 climate summit.

Major coal-using countries, including Canada, Poland, Ukraine and Vietnam, will phase out their use of coal for electricity generation, with the bigger economies doing so in the 2030s, and smaller economies doing so in the 2040s.

However, some of the world’s biggest coal-dependent economies, including Australia, China, India and the US were missing from the deal, and experts and campaigners told the Guardian the phase-out deadlines countries signed up to were much too late.

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U.S. House Democrats grill Big Oil in climate deception probe

Big Oil execs testifyExecutives from some of the world's biggest oil companies denied in U.S. congressional testimony on Thursday that they continue to misinform the public about the role of fossil fuels in climate change and resisted calls to ask lobbying groups they fund to stop obstructing climate-friendly policies.

It was the first time executives of the top oil majors - ExxonMobil (XOM.N), Shell Oil (RDSa.L), BP America (BP.L) and Chevron (CVX.N) - and the heads of the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Chamber of Commerce answered questions about climate change in Congress under oath.

Democratic Representative Ro Khanna said at the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing that oil companies have started to improve their talking points around climate change. But Khanna said their support of lobbying groups that either deny climate science or work to kill major climate policies contradicts their statements.

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Drone strikes knock out half of Saudi oil capacity, 5 million barrels a day

Saudis shut down half of oil output after attackDrone strikes on Saudi Arabian oil facilities have disrupted about half of the kingdom's oil capacity, or 5% of the daily global oil supply, people with knowledge of Saudi's oil operations told CNN Business.
Yemen's Houthi rebels on Saturday took responsibility for the attacks, saying 10 drones targeted state-owned Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, according to the Houthi-run Al-Masirah news agency.
Five million barrels per day of crude production have been impacted after fires raged at the sites, one of them the world's largest oil production facility, people with knowledge of the kingdom's operations said. The latest OPEC figures from August 2019 put the total Saudi production at 9.8 million barrels per day.

Wholesale energy prices dip below zero because of California’s solar power

Solar power in CaliforniaSolar power shines bright in California, and wholesale energy prices prove it. Last winter and early spring’s dependence on solar drove wholesale energy prices to negative prices, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Solar power in the California Independent System Operator accounted for nearly 40% of net grid power for three hours on March 11, 2017, the administration reports —a major first.

These figures don’t translate for the consumer into retail prices, which are based on averages. But the move will likely cause energy companies to pay more attention to green energy options.

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