Today is the day. The day President Obama makes his final State of the Union speech. Expect no sweeping proposals on climate, though Republicans might actually be willing to do something about climate change, while Tom Steyer urged him to focus on climate change. Also in today’s edition, Greens ask the EPA to take over pollution enforcement in Texas. 

Quote of the day

“This is a great opportunity to make that case and make sure that the moves we made are decisive and irrevocable. He is obviously not going to get specific climate legislation through by the end of his administration. This is a chance for him to really address Americans and explain to them what he has been doing, why it still needs to be done, and why it is so important.”

Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer, in the Guardian’s story Billionaire activist urges Obama to focus State of the Union on climate change 

Lead stories

Obama Looks to the Future on Climate Change 
By Evan Lehmann – ClimateWire
Don’t expect big proposals tonight. In past State of the Union addresses, President Obama floated a clean energy standard, pushed Congress unsuccessfully to act on climate change and signaled to the nation the start of an executive agenda to reduce carbon emissions.

Billionaire activist urges Obama to focus State of the Union on climate change 
By Suzanne Goldenberg – The Guardian 
Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer pressed Barack Obama on Monday to go out with a bang and make global warming central to the message of his last State of the Union address.

Republicans might actually be willing to do something about climate change 
By Justin Talbot-Zorn – The Washington Post 
If you’re an American environmentalist, it’s hard not to feel a little bit hopeless.  

Bernie Sanders’ climate plan would be awesome if he had a friendly Congress, but he won’t 
By Ben Adler – Grist 
In a move epitomizing his campaign’s often-questionable political strategy, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont released his climate change plan during the U.N. climate negotiations in Paris.

Air pollution at this level for 10 more years will put a generation at risk 
By Justine Thornton – The Guardian  
When I was eight years old, I used to hold my breath when I walked to school. My route was along a busy road, and I had been told that lead in petrol hurt children’s brains. 

Greens ask the EPA to take over pollution enforcement in Texas 
By Timothy Cama – The Hill 
Two environmental groups are asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take over the enforcement of federal air and water laws in Texas, arguing the state is no longer living up to its responsibilities.


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IMF: carbon pricing central to climate change challenge 
By Emma Rumney – Public Finance International  
In a paper titled After Paris: Fiscal, Macroeconomic and Financial Implications of Climate Change, IMF staff highlight that fiscal policies will be crucial to implementing the historic agreement between 195 world leaders signed at COP21 in Paris last December. 

Alberta’s Carbon Tax Collection Might Be Temporary: Environment Minister 
By Bill Graveland – The Canadian Press
Alberta’s environment minister told an oil and gas conference Monday that she hopes the government’s broad-based carbon tax won’t have to be collected forever.

Natural gas / coal

The California gas leak that prompted a state of emergency, explained 
By David Roberts – Vox 
On October 23, Southern California Gas Company discovered a leak at its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.

In Kentucky, The Coal Habit Is Hard To Break 
By Steve Inskeep – NPR (Audio)
Joe Moore stood near a sign reading: “Authorized Personnel Only.” 

U.S. taxpayer due to subsidize Koch-controlled coal mine 
By Patrick Rucker – Reuters  
The Obama administration is set to refund as much as $14 million in royalties to a coal company run by billionaire investor William Koch that says it is entitled to the money since the now-shut mine on federal land was costly to operate. 

This Big Coal Buyer Could Drive Coal Prices Even Lower 
By Dave Forest – Oil Price 
The coal market is in a dark place. With a 10 percent slide in prices during the last few months of 2015 having this week triggered the bankruptcy of America’s second-largest miner, Arch Coal.

The Source of China’s Coal Dependency 
By Haiyang Xingjan – The New York Times 
In 2010, I moved onto the 11th floor of a new Beijing apartment complex, lured into paying tens of thousands of extra renminbi by the promise of rare, unobstructed views.

America’s Coal Production Falls to Its Lowest Level Since 1986 
By Katherine Tweed – Green Tech Media  
The U.S. saw a 10 percent dip in coal production in 2015, part of a downward trend that continues to accelerate. It’s now at its lowest level since 1986.


U.S Solar Jobs Boom While Oil, Coal Struggle
By Katie Fehrenbacher – Fortune
More Americans are now installing solar panels on building rooftops than mining coal or extracting oil and gas, according to a report released Tuesday by the non-profit solar advocacy group The Solar Foundation.

The State of American Wind Power Grows Stronger in 2016 
By Tom Kiernan – Huffington Post (Blog) 
As Americans turn from their busy lives to watch President Obama’s final State of the Union address, I’ve been reflecting on the growing momentum in wind energy over the last seven years. 

Allianz enters Finnish market with 21MW wind power deal 
By Madeleine Cuff – BusinessGreen
German insurance company Allianz is to acquire a 21MW wind farm in Lapua, Finland from renewables producer OX2, the firm announced today.

Britain abandons onshore wind just as new technology makes it cheap 
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard – The Telegraph
The world’s biggest producer of wind turbines has accused Britain of obstructing use of new technology that can slash costs, preventing the wind industry from offering one of the cheapest forms of energy without subsidies.

Vodafone signs £75m deal with Scottish Power to connect cables to a ‘smart grid’ 
By Kate Palmer – The Telegraph  
Vodafone has been tasked with adding a hi-tech database to monitor energy supplied to 3.5m British households as part of a £75m deal with Scottish Power.  

CG to power offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea 
India Infoline News Service 
Avantha Group Company CG has been awarded a contract from Denmark’s national electricity transmission system operator to provide power transformers and Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) for the Kriegers Flak wind farm project in the Baltic Sea.

Investors are threatening to pull out of Nigeria’s fragile privatized power sector 
Despite recent strong economic growth Nigeria has struggled with chronic electricity supply problems.
***LB: Also in this story “In November 2013, major reforms in the power sector resulted in privatization of government-owned infrastructure in particular the power distribution companies.” 

Clean tech

Australian cleantech stocks continue to outperform main indices 
By John O’Brien – RE new economy 
Australian CleanTech Index again outperformed the ASX200 for both the month and the quarter.

Powerful Replacement in Works for Climate-Modeling Computer 
By Mead Gruver – Associated Press
One of the most powerful computers in the world dedicated to climate change, weather and other earth science research will be replaced in 2017 by an even faster machine, officials announced Monday. 

New development could lead to more effective lightbulbs 
By Matt McGrath – BBC News  
US researchers say they have developed a technique that can significantly improve the efficiency of the traditional incandescent lightbulb.


Pacific shellfish set for price hike as ocean acidity keeps rising
By Daisy Xiong – The Globe and Mail
B.C. shellfish producers and restaurant owners are bracing themselves for another price hike for the Pacific delicacies as ocean acidification makes it more difficult for oysters, mussels and scallops to survive.

The seven charts you need to fathom California’s water prospects 
By Nathanael Johnson – Grist  
It’s finally raining in California — just when we’d begun to think that it would never rain again. But the state is deep in water debt.

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