In today’s edition, the divestment movement has a new ally: the UN, officially backing the fossil fuel divestment campaign. Also, as Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu emerges from a very violent cyclone, the UN urges better safeguards for climate disasters, while a study states that rich countries would not need to spend more than two per cent of their GDP by 2050 to help developing nations cut their carbon emissions. In the meantime, companies, from Nike to HP and Starbucks, are also trying to adapt to climate change, a disruptive factor for their business.

Quote of the day

“We support divestment as it sends a signal to companies, especially coal companies, that the age of ‘burn what you like, when you like’ cannot continue.”

Nick Nuttall, the spokesman for the UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC), in the Guardian’s story Climate change: UN backs fossil fuel divestment campaign

Lead stories

UN Head Urges Better Safeguards for Climate Disasters
By Elaine Kurtenbach – Associated Press
The president of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu appealed to a U.N. disaster conference Saturday for help as a powerful cyclone swept across his archipelago, driving painfully home the rising risks from extreme weather and climate change.

Insurers demand urgent action to reduce risk from natural disasters
By Will Nichols – BusinessGreen
Leading insurers have called on governments to step up efforts to build resilience against natural disasters, after facing average economic losses from disasters in the last decade of $190bn a year.

Climate change: UN backs fossil fuel divestment campaign
By Damian Carrington – The Guardian
The UN organisation in charge of global climate change negotiations is backing the fast-growing campaign persuading investors to sell off their fossil fuel assets.

The argument for divesting from fossil fuels is becoming overwhelming
Op-Ed – The Guardian 
The world has much more coal, oil and gas in the ground than it can safely burn. That much is physics. 
***LB: Also in this story “if we and our children are to have a reasonable chance of living stable and secure lives 30 or so years from now, according to one recent study 80% of the known coal reserves will have to stay underground, along with half the gas and a third of the oil reserves.”

What is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?
By Karl Mathiesen – The Guardian
The genesis of the world’s largest private foundation begins with a couple reading a news article about suffering in the developing world.

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund drops over 50 coal companies
By Damian Carrington – The Guardian
The world’s richest sovereign wealth fund divested from over 50 coal companies in 2014, new analysis has revealed.

The Top 10 Energy Storage Countries Are:
By Sandy Dechert – Clean Technica
As renewable technologies begin to mature, more and more attention is focusing on energy storage, which has tremendous implications for the current makeup and economics of energy grids. 
***LB: Also in this story “China, Japan, and the US are way ahead of the other top nations.”     

How Climate Adaptation Experts Help Companies Prepare For Disaster  
By Amy Westervelt – Ensia
In 2008, floods in Thailand forced the temporary closure of four Nike factories, costing the company millions of dollars. 
***LB: Also in this story “HP, Levi’s, The Gap, Starbucks, Green Mountain Coffee — all got big efforts underway, and then Swiss RE and the insurance industry in general is really focused on this. Oil and gas companies are paradoxically interested in looking at these issues as well, and utilities definitely are as well, especially with respect to water.”

Helping poor countries tackle climate change is affordable, says study
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen
Rich countries would not need to spend more than two per cent of their GDP by 2050 to help developing nations cut their carbon emissions, new analysis from London’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change has suggested.

Unilever reveals plan to slash supply chain waste to landfill
By James Murray – BusinessGreen
One of the world’s largest companies is to step up pressure on its suppliers to curb the amount of waste they send to landfill, in a bid to slash its global waste footprint. 

Climate change could damage quality and raise cost of produce, study finds
Australian Associated Press
Future generations may have to make do with more expensive and poorer quality produce, including meat and dairy, because of the impact of climate change, according to new research.

A Reagan approach to climate change
By George P. Shultz  (Opinion) – The Washington Post 
The trend of disappearing summer sea ice in the Arctic is clear even though there is always some variability from year to year. Severe winter weather underscores the importance of keeping track of significant trends.

Intercontinental Exchange Announces Launch of 44 New Contracts; Including Energy and Euro Cocoa Futures and Options 
Business Wire
Intercontinental Exchange, the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses, today announced the introduction of 44 new contracts, including Euro Cocoa and energy futures and options contracts, on March 30, 2015, subject to the satisfactory completion of applicable regulatory processes. 


Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) 2015
North America’s premier conference on climate policy and carbon markets
Presented by the Climate Action Reserve
April 28-30, 2015
Los Angeles, California 


Chinese Premier Vows Tougher Regulation on Air Pollution
By Edward Wong and Chris Buckley – The New York Times
Premier Li Keqiang of China said on Sunday that the government was failing to satisfy public demands to stanch pollution and would impose heavier punishments to cut the toxic smog that was the subject of a popular documentary belatedly banned by censors. 

Natural gas / coal

Figuring Out Fracking Wastewater
By Celia Henry Arnaud – Chemical & Engineering News
Almost 3 million gallons of concentrated salt water leaked in early January from a ruptured pipeline at a natural gas drilling site near Williston, N.D.

US shale industry shows remarkable resilience
By Ed Crooks – Financial Times
For the US shale industry, competing against Saudi Arabia and the other low-cost oil producers in the Middle East is like stepping into the boxing ring with the heavyweight champion.

A shift under way in Gazprom’s relations with Europe
By Alex Barker, Christian Oliver and Jack Farchy – Financial Times
For all its reputation as a monolith, Gazprom has not sat still in the three and a half years since the EU investigation started. 
***LB: Also in this story “The Russian company has renegotiated many of its major European contracts — in some cases after protracted court battles — to lower prices and give greater weighting to spot pricing.”

Total puts North Sea gas stake on block
By Christopher Adams – Financial Times
French oil major Total is auctioning a stake in one of the UK’s most promising natural gasfields, sounding out possible buyers in what could be the first of a wave of deals in the North Sea.

Is the global coal boom fizzling out?
The coal boom of the last decade appears to be petering out, according to new research that finds more coal-fired power plants are now being retired than built.

Energy Companies Pledge $46.5 Billion In Egypt Energy Investments 
Jewish Business News
A two-day investment conference at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, with Egyptian officials and international companies, has come up with plans for billions of dollars that would boost the local economy and utilize Egypt’s offshore gas reserves.

(India’s) Government to issue ownership rights of 15 coal mines on March 23
Government will begin issuing ownership rights on March 23 for the coal blocks that have been auctioned so far, starting with successful bidders for 15 mines in the first tranche.


SolarCity, a Vocal Critic of the Utility Industry, Joins It
By Diane Cardwell – The New York Times
As SolarCity, the rooftop solar system provider, has rapidly expanded its reach over the last few years, its executives have pushed hard against the utility industry, criticizing it as a hidebound monopoly standing in the way of change.

Areva’s new boss promises shift in strategy
By Michael Stothard – Financial Times
The new chief executive of struggling French nuclear group Areva is abandoning the company’s strategy of leading high profile new-build projects as he battles to overcome record losses. 

Clean tech

Tesla to unveil update on Model  
By Mike Ramsey – Reuters  
The Tesla Model S may be getting a range booster. Tesla Motors Inc. will unveil on Thursday an update to its Model S that will address its all-electric range in some form, the company’s chief executive said Sunday in a tweet.

How one Scottish company plans to power cars on whisky waste
By Jessica Shankleman  – BusinessGreen
A Scottish university spin-out that makes biofuel from the leftovers of whisky production has secured a £500,000 investment, marking a major step towards its commercialisation.


California has about one year of water left. Will you ration now?
Op-Ed – Los Angeles Times 
Given the historic low temperatures and snowfalls that pummeled the eastern U.S. this winter, it might be easy to overlook how devastating California’s winter was as well.


Will Oxford University divest from fossil fuels?
By Jessica Shankleman  – BusinessGreen
The University of Oxford will today become the latest educational establishment to decide whether to divest its £3.8bn endowment from fossil fuels, in a move that could follow the lead of high-profile investors such as the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and influential organisations such as the British Medical Council.


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