Quote of the Day

“[Fracking] obviously calls to mind other less socially polite terms, and folks have been able to take advantage of that.”

Kate Sinding, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council who works on drilling issues in the AP’s No energy industry backing for the word ‘fracking’

Lead Stories

California and Quebec to link emissions trading systems
California plans to link its emerging cap-and-trade system with that of Quebec this year under the auspices of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), but challenges remain as allowances trade at record lows.

Obama Unveils Energy Plans
Working to advance his “all of the above” energy strategy, President Barack Obama on Thursday embraced natural gas as a transportation fuel, saying it is cleaner and cheaper than oil, and much more abundant inside the U.S.
**JK – Dusting off the Pickens Plan.

No energy industry backing for the word ‘fracking’
A different kind of F-word is stirring a linguistic and political debate as controversial as what it defines.

‘Carbon floor price’ plans dealt a blow by MPs
Government plans to prop up the price of emitting carbon dioxide for businesses have been dealt a blow by MPs, who have blasted the proposals as a handicap to British companies.

EU carbon too cheap, no mention of intervention: draft
European Union carbon allowances are far too cheap to encourage increased environmental investment, a leaked EU draft seen by Reuters said, but it stopped short of calling for the market intervention politicians and energy companies argue is urgently needed.

World Bank sees carbon finance role for years
The World Bank’s carbon finance initiatives will likely be needed for at least five years, as the United Nations struggles to create a self-sufficient, international carbon market, the manager of the bank’s carbon finance unit told Reuters.

No chance for climate deal unless firms join push: UN

The world has no chance of sealing an emissions cut deal unless companies lobby their governments for an accord, the UN climate chief told the global business elite in Davos on Thursday.

South Korea To Establish Think Tank On Green Technology
South Korea will establish a research institute devoted to developing environmental technology as part of its efforts to spur the “green growth” drive at home, Xinhua news agency reported quoting a Presidential committee on Green Growth.
The Green Technology Center will be founded in March to support research and development efforts in green growth and help promote global cooperation in developing environmental technology.

EEX launches Incentive Scheme on the Natural Gas Spot Market
European Energy Exchange: Press Release
The European Energy Exchange (EEX) consistently pursues its growth strategy and reinforces the expansion of its Natural Gas Spot Market with a new incentive scheme. This model creates volume incentives for trading participants and aims at further increasing liquidity on the exchange. In 2011, the trading volume on the EEX natural gas market increased by 25 precent year-on-year, the Spot Market volume increased by 54 percent.

EEX opens Office in Brussels
European Energy Exchange: Press Release
Yesterday, the European Energy Exchange (EEX) officially opened its political representation in Brussels with a New Year reception. This presence in the heart of the European Quarter is intended, in particular, to expand contacts with the European institutions and intensify the exchange of opinions. Thus, the Brussels offices takes account of the high significance which political decisions of the EU have for the further integration of the European energy markets.

CME Group Announces Trading Volume Record in Henry Hub Natural Gas Futures
Press release
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced a record in daily trading volume for its benchmark Henry Hub Natural Gas futures contract. These contracts are listed by and subject to the rules of NYMEX.
Henry Hub Natural Gas trading volumes surged yesterday to 824,316 contracts, a 48 percent increase over the previous record of 557,179 set on January 17, 2012, and a 170 percent increase over the average daily volume of 305,017 contracts in 2011.

In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad

The New York Times
The explosion ripped through Building A5 on a Friday evening last May, an eruption of fire and noise that twisted metal pipes as if they were discarded straws.

Apple, Electronics and Environmental Ills

The New York Times
In an article in Thursday’s Times, my colleague Charles Duhigg and I detail the human cost of producing some of the world’s most popular gadgets in an investigation into labor conditions at the plants of some of Apple’s suppliers in China.

Solar CEOs Predict Boom in China Will Ease Glut in 2012: Energy

China may double its installations of solar panels this year, absorbing excess production that depressed prices and margins in 2011, chief executive officers from two of the industry’s top five manufactures said.

Renewables From Vestas to Suntech Plan Profit Without Subsidy

Renewable energy companies are approaching the point where they can generate electricity at a price competitive with fossil-fuels without subsidies, the biggest wind and solar manufacturers said.


Chevrolet to buy VERs to meet 8 MT CO2 reduction goal

Point Carbon
Four offset projects selected by U.S. automaker Chevrolet to help it meet its voluntary emission reduction goal to slash 8 million tonnes of CO2e within five years have completed the validation stage and can now issue credits.

U.S. Wind-Turbine Installations Rose 31% in 2011, AWEA Says

Developers installed wind turbines with capacity of 6,810 megawatts in the U.S. last year, 31 percent more than in 2010, as they rushed to qualify for a federal-tax grant that expired last month, according to an industry group.

In Colorado, Obama goes from gas to green

The Hill’s E2 Wire
Just hours after calling for expanded oil and natural gas production in Nevada, President Obama traveled to Colorado to extend an olive branch of sorts to his environmentalist base.

Waxman: GOP ‘so stupid’ to include Keystone pipeline in payroll tax package

The Hill’s E2 Wire
A senior Democrat on the payroll tax conference panel had some strong words Thursday for Republicans hoping to attach Keystone pipeline language to the package.

New Forest Planning Rule Seeks to Restore the Nation’s Forests
Ecosystem Marketplace
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today signaled the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s intent to issue a new planning rule for America’s 193-million acre National Forest System that seeks to deliver stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of our rural communities, by releasing online a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. Today’s action honors the commitment made by Secretary Vilsack in his 2009 speech on forest management, and by the President in the America’s Great Outdoors Report.


Canada’s Harper Vows to Speed Up Energy Projects

Wall Street Journal
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday said the country’s capacity to export energy is a national priority and pledged to speed regulatory approval of energy projects—a move that comes as Ottawa struggles with delays over an oil pipeline.

Oilsands ‘allies’ and ‘adversaries’ named in federal documents

The federal government considers the media, the biodiesel industry and environmental and aboriginal groups “adversaries” in its attempt to advocate for Alberta’s oilsands, according to documents obtained under access to information legislation.

Canada plays down embarrassing oil sands document
Canada disassociated itself on Thursday from an embarrassing official policy paper that said the country’s independent energy regulator, now studying a controversial oil pipeline, is in fact a government ally.

Chilly Reception Awaits U.S. Energy Companies in Canada

Former CIBC Chief Economist Jeffrey Rubin on Huffington Post
On the same day the Obama Administration put the kibosh on the Keystone XL pipeline, two engineering contracts totaling $12.2 billion were awarded to two U.S. companies for work in the Alberta oil sands. One included a $750 million contract to a Chicago-based company for work on Exxon’s huge Kearl Oil Sands project, one of the largest it has anywhere in the world.


EEX executes second Lithuanian EUA Auction
European Energy Exchange: Press Release
Today, the second primary market auction of EU Emission Allowances (EUA) on behalf of Lithuania took place on the Spot Market of the European Energy Exchange in accordance with the agreement signed by the Ministry of the Environment of the Republic of Lithuania and EEX on 28 November 2011.

Broker CarbonDesk raises cash, cuts staff to stay afloat

Point Carbon
Troubled London-based CO2 brokerage CarbonDesk has shed staff and raised 368,000 pounds in a bid to help it emerge from administration by the end of February, the firm’s co-founder said on Thursday.

German Solar Rush Is Predicted by Breil as Lawmakers Put Off Subsidy Cuts

Germany may see a rush of solar panel installations in the coming weeks after lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition failed to agree on an overhaul of the country’s clean-energy subsidy system.

U.K. Lawmakers Threaten to Ground Non-Carbon Compliant Planes

Airlines using U.K. airspace should be grounded if they refuse to comply with the European Union’s greenhouse-gas emissions-trading system, according to a panel of lawmakers.

UK ranks top risks posed by climate change

The Age
Coastlines, working patterns and even the country’s most famous meal are under threat from climate change, Britain says in its first-ever national assessment of the likely risks.


Nuclear Reactors in Japan Examined
Wall Street Journal
OI, Japan—Japan on Thursday welcomed an International Atomic Energy Agency delegation it invited to check safety procedures at its third-largest nuclear-power plant, a move designed to pave the way for the restart of dozens of idled reactors around the country.

Japanese sell more solar power back to utilities

Japanese small solar panel owners – householders and small businesses – sold 50 percent more power to utilities last year than in 2010, Reuters calculations based on an official data showed on Wednesday.

Africa/Middle East

Jordan to Name Red Sea Water Project Winner in March, Times Says

Jordan will name the company chosen to carry out a water desalination project from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea in March, the Jordan Times reported.

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