Today’s edition is a mixed bag, with good and bad news. On the bright side: Carbon trading in China could almost double in 2015, analysts say, while Beijing’s authorities encourage environmental groups to sue polluters. And there are 5 GOP science ‘believers’ in the new Congress, opposing ‘deniers’! On the dark side, Brazil picks a climate-change skeptic for Minister of Science and trading volumes for the new South Korean carbon market are expected to be low amid resistance from businesses and industry. 

Quote of the day

“Old-line Communist Rebelo is on exactly the same page on climate science as the hardest of the hard-core Tea Partiers.”

Stephan Schwartzman, director of tropical forest policy at the United States-based Environmental Defense Fund, quoted in the New York Times’ story Climatologists Balk as Brazil Picks Skeptic for Key Post

Lead stories

Emissions trading scheme faces industry skepticism in South Korea 
By Ned Stafford – Chemistry World
South Korea’s new carbon emissions trading scheme is scheduled to officially begin operation on 12 January on the Korea Exchange in Busan.

China carbon trading to almost double in 2015 
By Megan Darby – RTCC 
Carbon trading in China could almost double in 2015, analysts say, as more companies come up against curbs on climate pollution.  
***LB: Also in this story “It is the first year all seven regional carbon market pilots, designed to make polluters pay, are up and running.”

China encourages environmental groups to sue polluters
Agence France-Presse
China on Wednesday granted public interest groups more power to sue those that flout environmental protection laws, the country’s highest court said, as Beijing steps up efforts to curb pollution that regularly chokes major cities.

5 GOP science ‘believers’ in the new Congress 
By Marianne Lavelle – The Daily Climate 
A handful of Republicans make a conservative case for climate change concern in the new Congress being sworn in today. But nobody expects them to break with the denier-dominated majority on the most important fossil fuel issues in the months ahead. 
***LB: Also in this story “These Republicans advocate “clean energy.” But they also support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.”

Senate sets up showdown with Obama over Keystone pipeline 
By Laura Barron-Lopez – The Hill 
The Senate and President Obama launched down a collision course Tuesday over the Keystone XL oil pipeline, with 60 lawmakers introducing a new bill to approve the controversial project and the White House promising to veto it.

White House: President Obama would veto Keystone XL pipeline bill
The Guardian
Barack Obama would veto a bill aimed at forcing construction of the contentious Keystone XL pipeline, the White House has said, setting up an immediate confrontation with the new Republican-controlled Congress. 

Climatologists Balk as Brazil Picks Skeptic for Key Post
By Simon Romero – The New York Times 
Calling Aldo Rebelo a climate-change skeptic would be putting it mildly.


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) 


Tropical forests hidden role in sucking up CO2 revealed 
By Alex Kirby – RTCC 
A new study − led by the space agency NASA and the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences − suggests that the forests are absorbing far more carbon dioxide from human sources than they are given credit for.

Low Gas Prices Smooth Path for Carbon Add-On in California 
By Anne C. Mulkern and Debra Kahn – ClimateWire 
California’s landmark cap-and-trade program to limit carbon emissions just got bigger. Effective Jan. 1 it expanded to wrap in gasoline and diesel, a move oil companies have warned would trigger higher pump prices.

Former Obama adviser calls for tax on carbon emissions
By Timothy Cama – The Hill
A former top economic adviser to President Obama said the historically low oil prices of recent months make a compelling case for a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.

Natural gas / coal 

Fracking caused Ohio earthquake in 2014, say researchers 
By Sophie Yeo – RTCC 
Fracking was responsible for an earthquake felt by Ohio residents in March 2014, a study has found. 
***LB: Also in this story “Hydaulic fracturing near the Poland Township activated a previously unknown fault in the earth, say scientists, who identified 77 earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 1.0 to 3.0 between March 4 and 12.” 

Fracking’s future in doubt as oil price plummets 
By Kieran Cooke – Climate News Network 
There’s no doubt that U.S.-based fracking – the process through which oil and gas deposits are blasted from shale deposits deep underground – has caused a revolution in worldwide energy supplies.


Sir Ben Ainslie enlists solar power in America’s Cup push 
By Will Nichols – BusinessGreen 
Sir Ben Ainslie’s bid to bring sailing’s America’s Cup to the UK will be solar powered thanks to plans to install panels on the multiple Olympic gold medallist’s Portsmouth HQ.

Denmark delivers ‘one-of-a-kind’ wind power record
Hot on the heels of confirmation the UK’s wind energy industry enjoyed a record 2014, Denmark has similarly revealed that it set new wind power records last year as wind energy’s share of the electricity mix rose to 39 per cent. 

Pakistan to pull solar energy into national power grid 
By Aamir Saeed – Thomson Reuters Foundation
Amid a worsening energy crisis, Pakistan has approved the use of grid-connected solar energy, rooftop solar installations and mortgage financing for home solar panels to boost uptake of clean energy in the country.

Clean tech

Toyota Offers Fuel-Cell Patents to Other Car Makers
By Mike Ramsey – The Wall Street Journal
Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday that it will share its 5,700 patents related to hydrogen fuel cells with other auto companies without charging a royalty fee, hoping to speed the introduction of technologies that the Japanese auto maker has put its weight behind.


US coastal cities face daily flooding by mid-century – NOAA 
By Tim Radford – RTCC 
Oceanographers have just identified the US coastal regions likely to experience 30 days or more of “nuisance” flooding every year. 
***LB: Also in this story “Boston, New York and Baltimore are among the cities threatened by rising sea levels, warn scientists.” 


Women Key to Scaling Adoption Of Clean Cooking Solutions
By Kelley Hamrick – Ecosystem Marketplace 
When EcoZoom began designing its first cookstove, it wanted to include women from the start.

California breaks ground on bullet train as climate solution
By Scott Smith – Associated Press 
California broke ground Tuesday on its $68 billion high-speed rail system, promising to combat global warming while whisking travelers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in less than three hours.

Land of the Midnight Sun Warms Fastest in World 
By Niina Heikkinen – ClimateWire 
Finland’s temperatures have risen at roughly double the rate of the planet as a whole, a new study suggests.

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