Uk Aims To Become Hub For Arctic Oil Exploration
UK could face power blackouts in winter 2014/15 – engineers
The crew, two of whom scaled a Russian oil platform from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise on 18 September, said they were aiming to highlight what conservationists see as the peril of destroying one of the last pristine environments on Earth in the quest for fossil fuels . They could face 10 to 15 years in jail if convicted. William Hague, the foreign secretary, has been negotiating with Russian ministers over the fate of the six British nationals involved. Julia Marton-Lefevre, director general of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, told the Guardian: “Exploring the Arctic [for oil and gas] will have consequences that could be drastic. We are putting off the decisions we have to make about finding different [low-carbon] sources of energy . I think we should not be going into new areas like this.” The Foreign Office said the UK’s diplomatic role would be secondary to the states, including Russia and the US, that have Arctic territories. “The UK will continue to support and respect the sovereign rights of the Arctic states to exercise jurisdiction over their territory; the peoples who live and work in the Arctic; and the unique and fragile natural environment. At the same time, [the strategy] outlines the UK’s legitimate interests in the region, our priorities for practical action and our willingness to show leadership in appropriate areas.” Mark Simmonds, minister for the Arctic at the Foreign Office, said: “We are the Arctic’s nearest neighbour and we have long-standing environmental and commercial interest there. Our climate, migrating birds, fishing and shipping industry, and energy needs are all reasons why what happens in the Arctic is of vital interest to us.” Concern for the environmental impacts of any exploitation of the Arctic’s regions would be key, the government said. The framework document commits the government to “working towards an Arctic that is safe and secure; well governed in conjunction with indigenous peoples and in line with international law; where policies are developed on the basis of sound science with full regard to the environment; and where only responsible development takes place.” Areas where the UK can play a leading role, according to the framework, include taking leadership on global climate change, and engaging with UK-based scientists, industries and NGOs. This could imply a brokering role for the government in future dealings over environmental protests in the Arctic. The document also commits the government to “promote UK Arctic science and continue to fund top class climate research to increase understanding of the changes in the Arctic and their impacts on the global system”. The UK has for more than a century been a leader in exploration and scientific research in both the north and south polar regions, but last year the UK’s pre-eminent polar science operation, the British Antarctic Survey, was close to crisis when its funding was threatened, before a partial reprieve . The government would also support marine protected areas, where fishing would be restricted, in the Arctic, and push for “the highest environmental and drilling standards, and provide advice where this is sought”. Rod Downie, head of UK marine policy at WWF, said “The UK’s new Arctic policy is a welcome step towards the conservation of one of our largest wilderness regions, and could in time serve as a model for other nations with emerging interests in the Arctic.
Carbon Trust awards certification to all Savvis UK data centres
This should help boost market confidence if the stress scenarios are sufficiently robust and plausible, and encourage management to improve capital planning and governance standards. The consultation paper for the framework highlights the growing importance of qualitative risk assessment factors in the eyes of the regulator. Rather than being a pass-fail test, the exercise would involve the Prudential Regulatory Authority’s own models to identify weaknesses in banks’ stress testing, capital planning and governance. Remedial actions could include capital strengthening plans, procedural improvements, and even changing banks’ management. Improvements to reinforce risk management should be positive for banks’ credit profiles. While the proposals published this month are finalised and eventually implemented, a stress test exercise limited to just the eight largest lenders has been set for Q214. Unlike the recent capital shortfall exercise, more details on the methodologies and results will be published for the 2014 stress test, so that investors get some visibility into the regulator’s views of UK banks’ potential performance under a severely stressed economic scenario. This should reduce uncertainty during the process, especially as the results will only be announced in Q414. Nevertheless, there is a risk that two stress tests in 2014 – the Bank of England and the European Banking Authority’s exercises – could cause market confusion, especially if conflicting numbers are released at different times. This would be likely to be exacerbated by varying disclosure rules, submission requirements and stress scenarios set by each authority. The UK banks will not be subject to the ECB’s asset quality review, but an assessment of asset portfolios is already conducted as part of regulatory monitoring. When the UK framework is in place, an annual stress test applied to a broader range of lenders is likely to reduce the variation in UK banks’ regulatory risk-based capital and push the average higher as stronger banks build up safety margins. This is likely to be positive for banks’ credit profiles.
RPT-Fitch: Annual UK Banks Stress Test Should Improve Transparency
Credit: Reuters/Phil Noble LONDON | Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:53am BST LONDON (Reuters) – Britain could see widespread power blackouts during next year’s winter if a series of unforeseen events such as a cold snap or unplanned station outages occurs simultaneously, a report for an advisory body to the prime minister warned on Thursday. Britain’s power capacity margin, which is the production capacity available above demand levels, is expected to be dangerously low in the winter of 2014/15, an engineering report for the Council for Science and Technology said. Britain’s energy regulator Ofgem and network operator National Grid have also warned of shrinking margins and in response are creating tools aimed at reducing peak demand. “Although the electricity supply is expected to be sufficient to cover predicted levels of demand, it is likely to stretch the system close to its limits, notably during the winter of 2014-15, increasing the chances of power outages,” the Royal Academy of Engineering said in a statement accompanying its report. Over the coming year, Britain faces further closures of coal- and oil-fired power plants to comply with pollution laws. Additionally, several operators of gas-fired power stations have taken plants offline because high gas prices created losses for older facilities. The report said the government should speed up its electricity market reform (EMR) programme, which foresees paying generators of standby capacity to keep plants running. “Government will set the market conditions but it is private industry that will invest the necessary money,” said John Roberts, chair of the study’s working group. “Most of the energy companies operating in this country are international organisations that will invest in the UK only if it proves to be an attractive market.” The EMR is expected to be passed into law next year. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Dale Hudson)
(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090803/PH55929LOGO ) This award from the Carbon Trust recognises Savvis’ on-going efforts to reduce its carbon footprint within its UK data centres in London , Slough and Reading ; since 2010, Savvis has reduced its carbon footprint relative to IT load in the UK by 10 per cent. “This recognition is testament to Savvis’ commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of our data centre portfolio,” said Mike Bennett , vice president, global data centre acquisition and expansion, Savvis. “Our finance, facilities and engineering teams worked closely with the Carbon Trust to verify the carbon footprint associated with every aspect of running Savvis’ data centres at each point in the supply chain. This is a prime example of facility management best practice supporting good corporate social responsibility.” The Carbon Trust is a world-leading certifier of organisational carbon-footprint reduction. Savvis is one of only a few service providers to achieve this standard across all of its UK facilities. “As the world increasingly moves online, the emissions from powering and cooling a growing number of data centres have been increasing as well,” said Darran Messem , managing director of certification at the Carbon Trust. “This is why it is significant that companies like Savvis take a robust approach to cutting carbon intensity from their operations. By achieving independent certification from the Carbon Trust, Savvis is setting a positive example to its customers, stakeholders and the rest of the industry.” Savvis achieved the certification as part of its long-term commitment to reducing carbon and associated energy costs within its data centres. Savvis’ UK operations team undertook a thorough review of procedures, facilities and finances to demonstrate the yearly measurement, management and reduction of carbon emissions. This review included site visits and a qualitative evaluation of carbon management practices. The Carbon Trust will reassess Savvis’ UK operations again within the next two years to ensure continued reductions. Earlier this year, Savvis’ LO3 London Docklands data centre received a silver Certified Energy Efficient Datacentre Award (CEEDA), making Savvis the seventh organisation in the world to demonstrate its leadership in sustainability and data centre energy efficiency by earning this honour from BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.