In this edition, leading magazines take on climate change or the people that can shape its potential remedies, including Paying for It by Elizabeth Kolbert  – The New Yorker and Welcome to Saudi Albany? in The New York Times Magazine. Business Green’s leading blog gives us 2012: The best of times and the worst of times for the green economy. The New York Times Dot Earth blog has Exploring a Proposed Carbon Diet for American Power Plants.

Quote of the Day:

“[O]n an issue like climate change, for example, I think for this country and the world to ask some very tough questions about what are we leaving behind, that weighs on you. And not to mention the fact I think that generation is much more environmentally aware than previous generations.”

–U.S. President Barack Obama in interview for TIME’s Person of the Year.

Lead Stories

ICE, NYSE Euronext in Talks
IntercontinentalExchange is in talks with NYSE Euronext about a possible combination, more than a year after ICE jointly pushed for control of the Big Board with its rival Nasdaq OMX Group.The talks include a possible takeover of NYSE Euronext. An announcement could come as early as Thursday.

Paying for It
Elizabeth Kolbert  – The New Yorker
Not long ago, the Congressional Research Service reported that, over the next decade, a relatively modest carbon tax could cut the projected federal deficit in half. Such a tax would be imposed not just on gasoline but on all fossil fuels—from the coal used to generate electricity to the diesel used to run tractors—so it would affect the price of nearly everything, including food and manufactured goods.

Welcome to Saudi Albany?
The New York Times Magazine
The people who run U.S. Steel have not had much reason to celebrate in a long time. Once the icon of American manufacturing, the company became shorthand for the country’s industrial decline. For decades, it ignored innovation and was undercut by cheaper Asian producers and outflanked by U.S. start-ups.

2012: The best of times and the worst of times for the green economy
Business Green
As someone who knew a thing or two about festive stories once wrote, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. The full quote from the start of Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities is actually even more apposite for BusinessGreen readers: “It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.”

Obama: Climate change among top three priorities for second term
The Hill’s E2 Wire
President Obama has identified climate change as one of his top three priorities in his second term after coming under fire from environmentalists for giving the issue short shrift during the campaign.
**RKB — The Time Person of the Year interview follows below.

Setting the Stage for a Second Term
Time Magazine
On Dec. 12, President Barack Obama spoke with TIME managing editor Richard Stengel, White House correspondent Michael Scherer and executive editor Radhika Jones about Lincoln, marijuana, the Middle East and Hawaii moments. The full conversation follows.

Dems seek climate vote on post-Sandy aid bill
The Hill’s E2 Wire
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) want to use debate over post-Hurricane Sandy aid to put lawmakers on the record on climate change.

Green California to Vie With Texas as U.S. Oil Heartland: Energy
California, even as it seeks to be the greenest U.S. state, stands a good chance of emerging as the nation’s top oil producer in the next decade, helping America toward what once seemed an unlikely goal of energy independence.

Exploring a Proposed Carbon Diet for American Power Plants
The New York Times Dot Earth blog
Earlier this week, Daniel Lashof of the Natural Resources Defense Council blogged about the group’s new proposal for cutting carbon dioxide emissions from American power plants — not just at the plant itself but by creating incentives for end users to conserve electricity. That means you, me and the businesses that we rely on. Here’s the opener, a link to the rest and a short Q&A I did with Dan to dig in on a couple of questions:

Australia Should Stick With Renewable Energy Goal, Adviser Says
Australia’s climate change adviser recommended sticking with the government’s 2020 renewable energy target to give investors confidence in the industry.

Norway to bolster ‘climate first aid’
The Age
Norway, which has led developed nations by investing billions of dollars to slow tropical deforestation, announced plans on Wednesday to step up its efforts as part of “first aid” to slow climate change.

Ontario Clean-Energy Subsidies Break Rules, WTO Says
Ontario’s subsidies for clean-energy producers that use local technology were ruled in breach of World Trade Organization regulations, supporting complaints by the European Union and Japan against Canada.


Aviation Carbon 2013
February 19-20, 2012

2013 Climate Leadership Conference
Washington D.C.
February 27-March 1, 2013


U.S. Oil Fields Could Store Decades of Carbon Emissions
Depleted North American oil fields could hold billions more tons of carbon dioxide than previously estimated, providing a way to both curb greenhouse gas emissions and boost production of domestic fuels.

U.K. Delays Decision on Curbing Aviation, Shipping Emissions
The U.K. said it’s delaying for as many as four years a decision on whether to include greenhouse gases from international aviation and shipping in its five-year carbon budgets, which set a ceiling on national emissions.

U.K. Labour, Green Parties Call for Power Sector Carbon Goal
Britain’s opposition Labour and Green parties joined a push for the government to impose a carbon target on the power industry, setting the stage for a battle over the energy bill in Parliament.

Natural Gas/Coal

Coal industry in last-minute push against renewable energy goal
The Age
Coal miners have launched a last-minute lobbying bid against the extension of the Renewable Energy Target (RET), releasing a study challenging the policy’s effectiveness.

Power Company Loses Some of Its Appetite for Coal
The New York Times
Coal took another serious hit Wednesday — in the heart of coal country.


Merkel Cabinet Backs Power-Line Plan to Absorb Renewables Growth
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet backed a plan to build three “power autobahns” stretching north to south to move growing supplies of renewable energy across the country.

German cabinet agrees to expand power grid faster
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed on Wednesday to accelerate the construction of 2,800 km of new high-voltage power lines to push forward the country’s shift to renewable energy.

Dutch Fund Raises $614 Million for Clean Energy, Infrastructure
Dutch Infrastructure Fund BV, a Schiphol-based fund management company, raised 463 million euros ($614 million) from investors for renewable-energy and other infrastructure projects.

Oil refiner ERG to focus on renewables instead
Italy’s ERG said it planned to invest 500 million euros ($661 million) to end-2015 as it presses ahead with a transformation from refiner to renewable energy company.

Wind power surge predicted
The Age
THE battle over large-scale wind farms may now switch from the national level to the states, particularly New South Wales, after a federal authority recommended leaving the overall industry target unchanged.


EIA: Threat of losing tax credit drives wind installations
The Hill’s E2 Wire
Developers are rushing to get wind turbines online before a wind power incentive expires, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).


Power Forward: Why the World’s Largest Companies are Investing in Renewable Energy (Posted Dec. 11, 2012)

Stock Exchange Benchmark On Non-Financial Reporting Rules (Posted Dec. 6, 2012)

Regional Investment of RGGI CO2 Allowance Proceeds, 2011 (Posted Nov. 27, 2012)

2012 Report on Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the US (Posted Nov. 27, 2012)
The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

Climate Change Report Warns of Dramatically Warmer World This Century (Posted Nov. 19, 2012)
World Bank

Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in September 2012 (Posted Oct. 21, 2012)
Yale Project on Climate Change Communication

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