2015 is the year of the COP21 in Paris, but the UN conference on climate will take place in December. In the meantime, today’s edition, the first of the year, focuses on what is in store for environmental energy watchers. What may happen: a proper price set on carbon and India reconsidering its climate strategy. And what is for sure: global carbon emissions will rise 2.5% while the GOP prepares a blitz campaign to promote the Keystone pipeline.

Quote of the day

“It is not certain how the US will deliver the 2025 targets – one year after Paris, Obama will be out of office.”

EU’s former climate chief Connie Hedegaard, in the RTCC’s story Connie Hedegaard: India should ‘reconsider’ climate strategy 

Lead stories

Will 2015 Be The Year of the Climate? 
By Brian Palmer – onEarth
Some years are linked inextricably to landmark events. 1215: The Magna Carta. 1492: Columbus sails the ocean blue. 1776: the Declaration of Independence. 1964: The Civil Rights Act.

Global carbon emissions to rise 2.5% in 2015 – PwC
By Sophie Yeo – RTCC
Global greenhouse gas emissions could rise by around 2.5% in 2015, an increase on 2013 levels but lower than the average over the past decade, according to analysts at consultancy firm PwC.

Let this be the year when we put a proper price on carbon
By Lawrence Summers (op-ed) – Financial Times
The case for carbon taxes has long been compelling.

Connie Hedegaard: India should ‘reconsider’ climate strategy
By Ed King – RTCC
Over 190 countries are scheduled to sign a pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the end of 2015, aimed at limiting global warming to below 2C, a level deemed safe by scientists and politicians.

GOP prepares Keystone blitz
By Laura Barron-Lopez -The Hill
Republicans are putting the Keystone XL pipeline at the top of the agenda as they seek to move a stack of legislation to President Obama’s desk in 2015.

Heat is on (Australia’s) Abbott government over climate change as world turns
By Peter Hannam – The Sydney Morning Herald
When the Baird government unveiled the first high-resolution mapping of how global warming is expected to shift the climate for NSW, Victoria and the ACT by 2070, officials were quizzed why they weren’t using “climate variability”, a term favoured by federal Coalition counterparts, to describe the outlook. 
***LB: Also in this story “This could be the year of extinction for the climate-change deniers.”

Bolivia to Host People’s Climate Change Summit Ahead of COP 21
Bolivia will host a climate change meeting conference for Latin American social movements next year to set out environmental proposals for the world’s most important global warming summit, President Evo Morales has announced. 
***LB: Also in this story “The Global Climate Change Meeting of Social Movements of the countries of ALBA-TCP will take place in September or October, ahead of the critical COP 21 summit in Paris.”

Global campaign aims to inspire British cities to choose 100 per cent clean energy
By Jamie Doward – The Guardian
Environmental campaigners are hoping that 2015 will be the year when the UK’s cities go green.
***LB: Also in this story “Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Munich, Seattle, Sydney and Lima have all committed to switching to using 100 per cent clean energy by 2050, and now grassroots campaigns calling on civic leaders to endorse the initiative have been launched in 123 towns and cities across the UK. It is hoped that as many as 20 will pledge their commitment before the end of this year.”


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)


Aviation Industry Set to Triple Its Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050
By Valerie Brown – Climate News Network
The aviation industry is growing so quickly that its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are expected on present trends to triple globally by 2050.
***LB: Also in this story “If commercial aviation were a country, it would rank seventh in global greenhouse gas emissions according to a recent report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).”

Natural gas / coal

China rethinking plans to develop coal-to-gas plants
By Hal Bernton – The Sydney Morning Herald
China’s coal-to-gas industry has struggled through a difficult year that has spurred doubts among government officials about keeping this technology on a fast-track for development.

Glencore says restarting Australia coal mines shut to fight glut
Glencore Plc on Monday said it was restarting coal mining operations in Australia, following a three-week suspension aimed at combating a global supply glut made worse by protectionist trade measures introduced in China.

Interior secretary criticizes fracking bans
By Timothy Cama – The Hill
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell criticized local and state bans on hydraulic fracturing, saying they create confusion for the oil and natural gas industries.


Utilities face new state renewable energy mandates
By Timothy Cama – The Hill
Electric utilities in multiple states faced mandates to use more renewable energy when the new year started.

Report: Scotland’s power grid could be fossil fuel free by 2030
By Will Nichols – BusinessGreen
A fossil fuel free Scotland is not only technically achievable but could prove a cheaper and safer option than pursuing fossil fuel-based development, according to a new WWF-backed report.

Clean tech

Industry ‘can’t give up on EVs’
By Lindsay Chappell – Automotive News
With gasoline selling for less than $2 a gallon in some states, it’s fair to ask whether the industry’s investment in electric vehicles has been an expensive blunder.


2015 Preview: States React to New Era of Water Scarcity
By Brett Walton – Circle of Blue
California, its hand forced in 2014 by a nasty drought, brought its groundwater laws out of the Gold Rush era and into line with nearly every other state in the Union. New York’s Democratic governor banned fracking for natural gas, in large part because of concerns about water pollution.

Ethiopia, Egypt Reach Agreement on Nile Dam Study
Circle of Blue
Work will resume on a three-country study of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam.


A Young Generation Sees Greener Pastures In Agriculture
By Jennifer Mitchell – NPR (Audio)
America’s heartland is graying. The average age of a farmer in the U.S. is 58.3 — and that number has been steadily ticking upward for more than 30 years.


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