In today’s edition, many contradictions. Southwestern Energy will continue fracking to produce natural gas – despite the glut. China, which joined the Lima’s efforts to curb emissions, keeps focusing on carbon-intensive sectors such as mining and fossil fuels in Latin America. The recent slump in oil prices will only have a ‘modest’ impact on renewables development in many key markets, analysts say. Unrelated, a summary of the bribery case involving the French power company Alstom.

Quote of the day

“I’d rather have the gas to myself with no one following.”

Steven Mueller, Southwestern’s chief executive, in The New York Times’ story Natural Gas Glut Isn’t Deterring Southwestern Energy

Lead stories 

How Alstom Executives Made Bribery Their Business for Over a Decade
By Tom Schoenberg and David McLaughlin – Bloomberg News
Alstom SA executives won several billions of dollars worth of business in Saudi Arabia a decade ago by making at least $49 million in illegal payments in part through middlemen the company called “Mr. Paris” and “Quiet Man.”

A Single Word in the Peru Climate Negotiations Undermines the Entire Thing
By Eric Holthaus – Slate 
Since 1992, the world’s leaders have been meeting annually to talk about what to do about climate change. Despite these efforts, the planet is still on pace for a worst-case scenario—actually, it’s tracking a bit above it. 
***LB: Also in this story “One key word related to international oversight of the emissions reductions plans was changed from “shall” to “may” at the request of China.”

China must switch to low-carbon investment in Latin America
By Guy Edwards and Sophie Purdom (contribution) – Thomson Reuters Foundation 
The U.N. climate negotiations in Lima ran over by two days before governments finally reached an agreement. 
***LB: Also in this story “Current relations between Latin America and China – which are primarily focused on carbon-intensive sectors such as mining and fossil fuels – could undermine Latin American countries’ efforts to put forward ambitious national contributions.”

Analysts: Oil price slump will have ‘modest’ impact on renewables prospects
By James Murray – BusinessGreen
The recent slump in oil prices will only have a ‘modest’ impact on renewables development in many key markets, although the implications of a 45 per cent in oil prices will vary significantly by geography and technology.

Natural Gas Glut Isn’t Deterring Southwestern Energy
By Clifford Krauss – The New York Times 
Across the giant Fayetteville shale gas field here, country roads that were clogged by truck traffic just a few years ago are empty again.

2014: Riding a Rocket, Divestment Movement Gains Momentum
By Elizabeth Douglass – InsideClimate News  
This was the year Big Oil and its fossil-fuel brethren began to look a lot less invincible. 
***LB: Also in this story “The latest acknowledgement of the conflict between fossil fuel company interests and the necessity of climate action came from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who recently told Parliament that the bank is reviewing the potential risks for investors of “unburnable carbon.”

US energy policy review reveals US doesn’t have an energy policy
By Jared Gilmour – Christian Science Monitor
As oil prices plummet, some question whether the US – with its piecemeal, disjointed federal energy policy – is ready for a new era of fossil-fuel abundance and renewable-energy innovation.


Defense, National Security & Climate Change Symposium
January 7-8, 2015
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington DC

2015 Climate Leadership Conference
ACCO, EPA, The Climate Registry, C2ES
February 23-25, 2015
Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City (Arlington, VA)


As More Resorts Make Snow, Climate Change Spells Trouble
By Marci Krivonen – Aspen Public Radio (audio) 
It’s that time of year when ski resorts crank up snowmaking machines to bolster Mother Nature’s delivery. Some resorts depend on man-made snow more than others and it’s possible  the practice may be used more in the future.

Natural gas / coal

Vantage Energy fined nearly $1 million for environmental violations 
Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection(DEP) on Monday said it imposed a $999,900 fine on U.S. oil and natural gas company Vantage Energy Inc, one of the largest given to a driller by DEP this year, for several environmental regulations violations.

NY farmers lament lost opportunity for gas riches
By Mary Esch – AP
While environmental groups are doing a victory dance over New York’s decision to ban fracking, farmers such as apple grower David Johnson are grieving for dashed hopes and dreams.

US coal mines nearing record low in worker deaths
By Dylan Lovan – AP 
Less than five years after an explosion fueled by excess coal dust killed 29 men deep inside a West Virginia underground mine, the nation’s coal mines are on pace for an all-time low in work-related deaths.


Power Crisis Leaves South Africans Despondent in the Dark
By Kevin Crowley – Bloomberg News 
Neal Froneman, who runs some of the world’s deepest gold mines, would like to drill even deeper. He’s being prevented from doing so by an electricity crisis that’s strangling Africa’s second-biggest economy.

Energy-Storage Plans Gain Ground in California
By Matthew L. Wald – The New York Times  
In an unusual competition in California, proposals for energy storage systems beat out hundreds of bids to construct new power plants as a way to meet peak power needs.

Atlantis tidal energy schemes power forward in Scotland and Canada
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen
Plans by Atlantis Resources to deploy tidal power devices off the coasts of Scotland and Canada have taken two significant leaps forward in the past few days. 
***LB: Also in this story “The company announced yesterday that it had secured a feed-in tariff agreement with the Nova Scotian government to deploy three of its AR-1500 turbines at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE).”

DONG Energy confirms Burbo Bank offshore wind farm extension
DONG Energy’s decision to push ahead with a 258MW extension to its Burbo Bank offshore wind farm shows how attractive the UK is to clean energy investors, Ed Davey has said.

UK’s biggest solar farm connects to national grid
By Adam Vaughan – the Guardian 
The biggest solar farm in the UK, capable of powering 14,000 homes a year, has been connected to the national grid in Oxfordshire.

EEX: New monthly record on Power Derivatives Market
Press Release
On 19 December, the volume traded in December 2014 so far has already exceeded the previous record volume on the EEX Power Derivatives Market. As of Friday, the total volume amounted to 181.4 TWh. 
***LB: Also in this story “New daily records were registered in French (2.5 TWh) and Italian Power Futures (2.6 TWh) on 18 December.”

Clean tech

‘World’s first’ hybrid aircraft take flight
By Will Nichols – BusinessGreen
Hybrid cars and trucks are now a common sight on UK streets, but researchers are now taking the technology to greater heights than ever before. 
***LB: Also in this story “The scientists say the single-seater aircraft uses 30 per cent less fuel than a similar plane with a petrol engine and that it can recharge its batteries mid-flight – the first time this has been achieved.”


Most U.S. Coastal Areas Will Experience Nuisance Floods By 2050
Circle of Blue 
Small, but costly, floods are expected to affect most U.S. coastal areas by 2050 due to sea level rise.


Scrapping carbon tax helped women, says Tony Abbott
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has caused controversy after claiming that scrapping the carbon tax was his biggest achievement for women this year, because they are more likely to be focused on the household budget.



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