This week, climate policy headlines from around the world include Australia’s decision to back the Kyoto Protocol’s second phase, companies like Shell and Unilever calling for a carbon price, and a report that puts a $527 billion price tag on the U.K.’s low-carbon energy sector needs.

Uday Varadarajan and Chiara Trabacchi contributed headlines to this edition of Policy Watch.

Shell, Unilever Lead 100 Companies Calling for CO2 Price
Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) joined Unilever NV (UNA) and more than 100 companies calling for lawmakers worldwide to put a “clear” price on carbon emissions in order to contain global warming.

Companies invest trillions of dollars in energy and infrastructure projects, and, in most cases, don’t consider goals to cut greenhouse gases, the companies said today in a statement that’s due to be presented to European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard in Brussels.

“A clear, stable, ambitious and cost-effective policy framework is essential to underpin the investment needed to deliver substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions by mid- century,” the companies said in the e-mailed statement. “Putting a clear, transparent and unambiguous price on carbon emissions must be a core policy objective.” Full article.

US can become world’s biggest oil producer in a decade, says IEA
The US will shed its long-standing dependence on Saudi Arabian oil within the next decade, redrawing the world’s political systems, heralding a new era of geopolitics – and potentially leading to runaway global warming.

In a report released last week, the world’s foremost energy watchdog, the International Energy Agency (IEA), said the US will benefit from so-called unconventional sources of oil and gas, including shale gas and shale oil, derived from blasting dense rocks apart to release the fossil fuels trapped within.

These sources could fuel the US’s energy independence, and make the country the world’s biggest oil producer by 2017. But if pursued with vigour, they would also lead to huge increases in greenhouse gas emissions that would put hopes of curbing dangerous climate change beyond reach. Full article.

Australia ready to back Kyoto 2, NZ drops out
Australia last Friday said it is ready to take on fresh greenhouse gas emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol if a number of conditions are met, while New Zealand confirmed it will not sign up to a new period of the U.N. treaty.

The first commitment period of Kyoto, the world’s only international legally binding treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions, ends next month. So far, only European nations have agreed to take on targets for a new period, while Canada and Japan have refused to sign up unless big emitters such as the U.S. and China also agree on emission limits. Full article.

UK needs 330 billion pounds energy investments by 2030
Britain will need to invest 330 billion pounds ($527 billion) in its energy sector, excluding networks, by 2030 and return its economy to growth to meet carbon emissions reduction targets, the London School of Economics said in a report last week.

Britain aims to cut carbon emissions by 34 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050, but does not have a binding target for 2030. The investments are needed to build new power plants, retrofit existing ones with carbon-reduction technology and to limit energy demand. Full article.

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