In today’s edition, in case you didn’t expect it, some info on presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and climate change issues. And also, in case you didn’t know, data proving that fossil fuel-free portfolios posted better performance than undiscerning funds. Finally, a lament from the head of one of the bloc’s biggest green power groups: The EU’s dysfunctional political system is turning clean energy companies into a “zombie industry”, he says.  

Quote of the day

“It takes so long to approve and to agree anything and to send clear messages to industry, that people are investing elsewhere instead of investing in Europe. It’s a pity because from a technological point of view European companies are leading the race for clean energy.” 

Manuel Sánchez Ortega, chief executive of Spain’s Abengoa, in the Financial Times’ story Politics, red tape ‘turning EU clean energy into zombie industry’  

Lead stories

Fossil fuel-free portfolios have proved better than undiscerning funds
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen 
Companies and individuals who have divested their stocks and bonds in fossil fuel companies have outperformed those which remain wedded to coal, oil and gas markets in the past five years, according to new analysis by stock market index company MSCI.

8 things you need to know about Hillary Clinton and climate change 
By Ben Adler – grist 
It’s strange to remember how bitterly divisive the 2008 Democratic presidential primary battle was. Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s platforms and ideological positioning were awfully similar.

Why Environmentalists Are Anxious About a Hillary Clinton 2016 Run 
By Clare Foran – National Journal
Environmental groups are going to fight like hell against Republicans in the 2016 presidential election, but they have no intention of going easy on Hillary Clinton either.  

Greens press Clinton to oppose fracking  
By Timothy Cama – The Hill
More than 100 environmental groups are pressuring former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to oppose hydraulic fracturing, days before her expected presidential campaign announcement. 
***LB: Also in this story “The coalition of mostly local anti-fracking groups noted that New York, the likely host to her campaign and the state she represented in the Senate for eight years, banned fracking in December.”

Politics, red tape ‘turning EU clean energy into zombie industry’ 
By Pilita Clark – Financial Times  
The EU’s dysfunctional political system is turning clean energy companies into a “zombie industry” of the living dead, the head of one of the bloc’s biggest green power groups has warned.  

Agriculture poses immense threat to environment, German study says 
Conventional agriculture is causing enormous environmental damage in Germany, warns a study by the country’s Federal Environment Agency, saying a transition to organic farming and stricter regulation is urgently needed. 
***LB: Also in this story “Spanning over 50% of the country, agriculture takes up by far the biggest amount of land in the country, and is one of its most important economic sectors.”

China’s environment ministry blocks hydro project 
By David Stanway – Reuters 
China’s environment ministry has refused approval for a hydropower dam on an ecologically vulnerable river already damaged by construction, a rare setback for the country’s extensive dam-building program. 

Canadian Provinces lead but Ottawa must act 
Montreal Gazette (Editorial)  
When provincial premiers meet in Quebec City next week to discuss plans for combating climate change, they will be filling a leadership vacuum in Canada on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.


World Green Economy Summit 2015 
22 April 2015 – 23 April 2015
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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  

The National Fuel Cell Symposium 2015
Industry, government, and academia will convene to discuss the current state of the Stationary Fuel Cell development and deployment in the U.S.
May 7, 2015 
Sacramento, California 

Nearing the Finish Line: Perspectives and Updates on EPA’s Clean Power Plan (webinar)
April 23, 2015; 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT

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


County-by-county maps of levels of climate denial in U.S. 
Yale Project on Climate Change Communication
This site provides estimates of U.S. climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and policy preferences at the state and local levels – a new source of high-resolution data on public opinion that can inform national, state and local decision-making, policy, and education initiatives. 

EPA settles lawsuit over ethanol mandate 
By Timothy Cama – The Hill
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has settled an oil industry lawsuit and agreed to set the ethanol blending mandates for this year and last year by Nov. 30.

Where Chocolate Meets Carbon: One Peruvian Project Finds The Sweet Spot 
By Allie Goldstein – Ecosystem Marketplace
Last November, a group of Dutch business leaders found themselves far away from their desks, standing damp but happy in the Peruvian rainforest.

Natural gas / coal 

China’s first quarter coal imports fall 42 percent year-on-year – customs
China’s coal imports in the first quarter fell 42 percent on a year earlier amid tepid demand and tighter quality checks, customs data showed on Monday.

Coal ash at S.C. site greater than first reported 
By Sammy Fretwell – The Herald
Evidence that a Duke Energy power plant site near Hartsville is more contaminated than previously suspected continues to grow as state regulators, environmentalists and company officials learn more about the property. 

Maryland Senate, House Pass Two-Year Fracking Ban 
By Zahra Hirji – InsideClimate News 
The bill, passed with veto-proof majorities in both chambers, will head to Gov. Hogan.


To slash electricity use, both utilities and their customers must play their part 
The Economist 
Power consumption used to march in lockstep with economic growth. As the world recovers from financial crisis, that link is weakening.

FBI joins state probe into tax credits for university solar projects 
By Ted Sickinger – The Oregonian 
The FBI has joined state investigators probing the award of $ 12 million in state tax credits to SolarCity Corp. and its investors last year after the company completed six solar arrays for the Oregon University System. 

How Solar Power Has Gotten So Cheap, So Fast 
By Jacob Goldstein – NPR (Audio)  
Solar power has long been seen as something that’s coming in the future — a promising technology that’s just too expensive for widespread use. In the past few years, that has started to change.

U.S. Power Sector in 2015: More Renewable Energy, Less Carbon Emissions
By Natasha Geiling – Climate Progress 
A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has some good news for anyone who supports a greener American energy sector: 2015 will be a “transformative year” for U.S. power, as more natural gas and renewable energy will combine with fewer coal plants to create a 20-year low in U.S. power sector emissions.

Clean tech

Hanergy and Aston Martin accelerate solar power car project
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen 
The world’s biggest solar power company Hanergy has renewed its partnership with Aston Martin Racing in a bid to develop the world’s first mass market solar powered car.


Beyond Almonds: A Rogue’s Gallery of Guzzlers in California’s Drought
By Dan Charles – NPR (Audio)
California is parched. Wells are running dry. Vegetable fields have been left fallow and lawns are dying. There must be some villain behind all this, right? 

For Drinking Water in Drought, California Looks Warily to Sea 
By Justin Gillis – The New York Times 
Every time drought strikes California, the people of this state cannot help noticing the substantial reservoir of untapped water lapping at their shores — 187 quintillion gallons of it, more or less, shimmering so invitingly in the sun.


(UK’s) Green consumer spending grew in 2013, despite solar drop-off  
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen
Consumer spending on green and ethical goods rose by nine per cent in 2013, despite a sharp fall in the number of people installing solar panels after the government slashed feed-in tariff payments, new research reveals today. 

The Power and Limits of Pope Francis’s Climate Change Campaign 
By Andrew C. Revkin – The New York Times  
I encourage you to read “The pope as messenger: making climate change a moral issue,” an essay on The Conversation website by Andy Hoffman, director of the Erb Institute at the University of Michigan, and Jenna White, a graduate student studying the role of religious institutions in shaping humanity’s response to global warming.

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