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International Update Volume 41, Issue 19

WORLDWIDE RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTMENT HITS RECORD HIGH

Chinese wind farms and European rooftop solar panels helped increase global renewable energy investment by 32 percent in 2010 to reach $211 billion, a UN study reported last week. Additionally, developing nations invested more in renewable power than developed nations for the first time, passing the total of developed nations at $70 billion by $2 billion. China topped the list with almost $49 billion in spending, while the Middle East and Africa increased spending by 104 percent to $5 billion.

AUSTRALIA TO SET CARBON PRICES

Australia

Australia is slated to tax carbon at a rate of A$23 per metric ton, but it has halved the number of companies liable for the tax to 500 companies. Though the price, reported by newspapers in advance of an official announcement, is roughly in line with expectations and the price of emissions in Europe, Prime Minister Julia Gillard refused to confirm reports, saying she would not "play any games" about the price in an interview with Sky TV.

FRANCE CONSIDERS NUCLEAR PULL OUT

France

Energy Minister Eric Besson announced last week that a nuclear exit was among the options being considered in a study on the share of France's energy mix by 2050. Public opinion in France, which is heavily dependent on nuclear power, has shifted according to recent polls. Last month, a poll showed that three quarters of French people interviewed supported a withdrawal from nuclear power, while 22 percent wanted a nuclear expansion program. "We will study all possible scenarios for what we call the energy mix . . .