4 energy policy highlights from the presidential debate
As the US election season barrels toward its 8 November finale, promises will no doubt come in thick and fast from both candidates. However, energy policy is one area which has been largely glossed over in the presidential debates — until now.
Last night’s Trump/Clinton face-off saw an audience member ask the candidates to detail their respective energy and climate change policies. Here is what we gathered from the segment:
Trump believes in “clean coal”
The controversial Republican nominee insisted "we need much more than wind and solar" before accusing his opponent of wanting to put “all the miners out of business”. However, the so-called “clean coal” generation that Trump touted as a solution has not yet been proven viable or cost-effective in the United States.
He wants to reinvigorate the mining sector
Trump claimed that the Environmental Protection Agency was “killing” energy companies with its regulations. There have been a string of coal company bankruptcies this year, and Trump used his moment with the microphone to make an appeal to those left hurting by industry losses.
“I will bring our companies back,” he vowed. “They will make money. They will pay off our tremendous budget deficits, which are tremendous.”
Clinton favours natural gas as a stop-gap
In her response, Hillary Clinton emphasised the use of natural gas as a “bridge” toward increased renewable capacity. The former Secretary of State also stressed the importance of an “energy-independent” US — that is, free from price fluctuations driven by Middle Eastern oil producers.
She envisions the US as a “clean energy superpower”
Clinton also reiterated her belief in anthropogenic climate change and said she supports “moving toward more clean, renewable energy as quickly as we can”. According to Clinton, the shift towards renewables would create millions of new jobs, though she also ceded that job losses have been felt keenly in mining communities. As she neared the end of the time allocated to the question, she assured the audience that she also had a plan to “revitalise” coal country.
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.
Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:
- The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
- Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
- Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.
There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.
Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.
Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.
Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.
It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.