In today’s edition, the good, the bad and the ugly: After announcing that it was cutting off its financing for coal extraction projects last week, Bank of America has issued a $600m green bond to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency projects this week, while the oil lobby launches a multimedia advertising campaign tomorrow in opposition to the Obama administration’s attempt to restrict allowable concentrations of ozone pollution. And finally, in the Natural gas / coal section, an assessment of the damage caused by the coal industry in Australia. 

Quote of the day

“We believe green bonds will play an important role in closing the financing gap for renewable energy, energy efficiency and other lower-carbon projects. The market for green bonds is expanding rapidly and issuing our own green bonds is one way we are helping to meet that growing demand.”

Bank of America chief operating officer Thomas Montag, in the BusinessGreen’s story Bank of America issues $600m green bond 

Lead stories

Bank of America issues $600m green bond 
By Will Nichols – BusinessGreen 
Bank of America has issued a $600m green bond to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, adding further impetus to the rapidly expanding market. 
***LB: Also in this story “The bond will help to support projects under the company’s $70bn multi-year environmental business commitment, Bank of America said in a statement.” 

Oil lobby launches ads against EPA ozone rule 
By Timothy Cama – The Hill 
The oil industry is launching a multimedia advertising campaign tomorrow in opposition to the Obama administration’s attempt to restrict allowable concentrations of ozone pollution. 
***LB: Also in this story “The campaign from the American Petroleum Institute (API) reinforces the industry’s belief that the current ozone standards, set in 2008, are sufficient to protect public health.” 

(UK) Tapping the hidden benefits of green buildings 
By Will Nichols – BusinessGreen 
The building sector is rapidly becoming more energy efficient in response to legislation and corporate demands for better performing offices. 

Mapping and assessing ecosystems and their services for policy and decision making 
Humankind benefits in multitude ways from biodiversity, ecosystems and the services they provide. Such services include for example the provisioning of drinking water, food security, air quality regulation or recreation. 
***LB: Also in this story “The new collaborative EU Horizon 2020 funded project “ESMERALDA – Enhancing ecosystem services mapping for policy and decision making” looks into the needs of policy and decision-makers in EU member states for flexible methodologies, tools and data for sustainable management of ecosystems and their services.”

Solar-powered ATMs to deliver clean drinking water in Pakistan
By Aamir Saeed – Thomson Reuters Foundation
Punjab province is set to launch an innovation for water-short Pakistan: Solar-powered ATMs that dispense clean water when a smart card is scanned.


Northeast RECs Regional Thought Leader Round Table
May 19, 2015; 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. EST
Dentons: 1221 Avenue of the Americas, NY

EMA Annual Meeting
October 28-30, 2015
Omni Parker House Hotel
Boston, MA


Historical land use important factor for carbon cycling in northern lakes
The historical past is important when we seek to understand environmental conditions as they are today and predict how these might change in the future. 
***LB: Also in this story “According to researchers from Umeå University, analyses of lake-sediment records show how lake-water carbon concentrations have varied depending on long-term natural dynamics over thousands of years, but also in response to human impacts over the past several hundred years. The study has been published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).  

Richmond Carbon Marketplace may be around the corner 
By Graeme Wood – Richmond News  
After dipping into its carbon credits for 2014, the City of Richmond will likely need to purchase even more credits by 2017, in order to remain “carbon neutral,” according to a report from city energy manager Levi Higgs.

China sheds emissions equivalent to entire UK output over first four months of 2015 
China’s emissions are plummeting as the country famed for being the world’s biggest coal consumer starts to cut its use of the polluting fossil fuel faster than any other nation. 

Indonesia Comes Up Short in $1 Billion Bid to Save Forests 
By Sara Schonhardt – The Wall Street Journal 
Indonesian President Joko Widodo agreed to renew a ban on new licenses to log primary forest and peat land, in response to pressure to do more to help combat deforestation and reduce carbon emissions.

Natural gas / coal  

Continental Resources’ chief vows shale will bounce back 
By Ed Crooks and Barney Jopson – Financial Times 
One of the leading figures of the US shale revolution insisted the slowdown in US shale was a temporary phenomenon, rejecting claims by Saudi Arabia that it is succeeding in squeezing American oil producers.

China’s coal use declining 
By Timothy Cama – The Hill 
Consumption of coal is dropping in China, continuing a decline that started last year, an environmental group said. 
***LB: Also in this story “In an analysis of government data released Thursday, Greenpeace said China’s use of coal dropped by 7.7 percent in the first four months of 2015 when compared with the same period last year.”

Government refuses to rule out funding coal projects across northern Australia 
By Oliver Milman – The Guardian
The federal government has refused to rule out financing huge coal projects in central Queensland as part of its $5bn package to develop infrastructure across northern Australia.  

The financial case against Australia’s largest coal mine 
By Jennifer Rankin – The Guardian  
The case against building Australia’s largest coal mine has focused on the threats of runaway climate change and ruin of the Great Barrier Reef. But finances may yet prove the key. 

(Australia) Mega mines, mega emissions 
The Guardian
Around 27bn tonnes of coal are thought to be locked under the ground of the Galilee Basin in the outback of Queensland. A huge proposed complex of coal mines is planned here, including the world’s largest thermal coal project.


Duke Energy Agrees to Pay $102 Million for Breaches
By Richard Fausset – The New York Times
Duke Energy, the nation’s largest utility corporation, pleaded guilty on Thursday to criminal violations of the federal Clean Water Act for the discharge of coal ash, a potentially toxic waste product, and for a failure to properly maintain equipment at a number of power plants in its home state of North Carolina. 
***LB: Also in this story “The company also agreed to pay $102 million in fines and environmental fees.”   

Utility company to expand solar power production in SC 
By Devin Henry – The Hill 
Duke Energy has announced a plan to begin building new solar power projects in South Carolina, the Charlotte Business Journal reports.

Energy regulators move to protect electric grid from solar storms 
By Timothy Cama – The Hill 
Regulators overseeing the country’s electric grid want to set new rules to better protect it from disturbances caused by solar storms. 

Colombia judicial body suspends sale of Isagen power generator 
May 14 A high-level judiciary authority in Colombia intervened on Thursday to suspend the government’s sale of its majority stake in power generator Isagen pending a verdict on appeals against its disposal, just days before it was to be auctioned.

Clean tech

With Gas Prices Less of a Worry, Buyers Pass Hybrid Cars By
By Lawrence Ulrich – The New York Times  
Affordable gasoline is making hybrid car owners rethink their loyalty.


Santa Fe Cuts Water Consumption By Imposing Tiered Pricing Model 
By Melissa Block – NPR (Audio)
NPR’s Melissa Block interviews Santa Fe, N.M., Mayor Javier Gonzales about how the city managed to cut water usage by one-fifth while its population grew by 10 percent.   

California environmentalists ask court to halt oil industry water rules 
By Rory Carroll – Reuters 
California environmentalists on Thursday asked a Superior Court judge to vacate new regulations governing the disposal of water produced by oil drilling, saying they do not move quickly enough to protect water supplies in the drought-ravaged state. 


Pope’s Adviser Says U.S. Critics Wrong on Climate Change
By John Follain – Bloomberg News
Pope Francis’s closest adviser said U.S. critics are wrong to try to shut the pontiff out of the debate over climate change because the church has a role to play in shaping the ethical considerations of emissions.

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