As the March 31 deadline for pledges to curb emissions approaches, Mexico has become the first developing nation to submit pollutant reduction goals (- 25%) for next fall’s Paris climate change talks, while Norway will cut its greenhouse gas emissions to at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Also in today’s edition, less heartening news, as we learn that the UN fund to help developing countries fight climate change can be spent on coal-fired power plants. 

Quote of the day

“It’s like a torture convention that doesn’t forbid torture. Honestly it should be a no-brainer at this point.”

Karen Orenstein, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth US who was at last week’s UN South Korea meeting, in the Guardian’s story UN green climate fund can be spent on coal-fired power generation 

Lead stories

Australia’s climate change policy on course for ‘disastrous’ 4C warming
By Lenore Taylor – The Guardian
The government’s just-released discussion paper on emissions reductions has no mention of the global goal to limit warming to 2C.

Miners are undermining your wealth 
By Claude Walker – Motley Fool
It’s been a tough few years for investors in Australian natural resource companies. The price of coal has halved in a few short years, as has the price of iron ore. Even the price of “black gold” — crude oil — is down by roughly half in under a year.

Mexico sets 25 pct pollution cut by 2030 for climate talks
By Mark Stevenson – Associated Press  
Mexico has become the first developing nation to submit pollutant reduction goals for next fall’s Paris climate change talks, pledging Friday to cut greenhouse gas and short-lived climate pollutants 25 percent by 2030.

Norway pledges minimum 40% carbon cut to UN 
Carbon Pulse
Norway has submitted its INDC to the UN ahead of the December Paris talks, pledging to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

UN green climate fund can be spent on coal-fired power generation
By Suzanne Goldenberg – The Guardian
The UN fund to help developing countries fight climate change can be spent on coal-fired power plants – the most polluting form of electricity generation – under rules agreed at a board meeting. 
***LB: Also in this story “The green climate fund (GCF) refused an explicit ban on fossil fuel projects at the contentious meeting in Songdo, South Korea, last week.”

Use financial levers to fight climate change
Dhaka Tribune (Editorial)
The government needs to harmonise national policies to work better with international efforts to cut greenhouse emissions and increase investment in renewable energy.

Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal
By David E. Sanger and Michael R. Gordon – The New York Times
With a negotiating deadline just two days away, Iranian officials on Sunday backed away from a critical element of a proposed nuclear agreement, saying they are no longer willing to ship their atomic fuel out of the country.

We don’t have a Ted Cruz problem on climate change. We have a GOP problem on climate change.
By Stephen Stromberg – Washington Post
Ted Cruz has earned infamy for the self-regarding analogy he drew between his attacks on climate science and the work of Galileo — both, apparently, opposed the authoritarian non-science of their respective days.

Rockefeller Brothers Fund: it is our moral duty to divest from fossil fuels 
By Suzanne Goldenberg – The Guardian
On a perfect summer day in June 2014, on the grounds of a stately home overlooking the Hudson river, a handful of the descendants of America’s most enduring business dynasty made a fateful decision: they would cut their ties to fossil fuels in order to fight climate change.

Rockefeller family tried and failed to get ExxonMobil to accept climate change
By Suzanne Goldenberg – The Guardian
Members of the Rockefeller family tried to get ExxonMobil to acknowledge the dangers of climate change a decade ago – but failed in their efforts to reform the oil giant.

Earth Hour 2015: World cities go dark for climate change
The Telegraph
The lights went out at some of the world’s most famous landmarks on Saturday evening in aid of the Earth Hour environmental awareness campaign. 


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  


Carbon Capture: Has climate change made it harder for people to care about conservation?
By Jonathan Franzen – The New Yorker
Last September, as someone who cares more about birds than the next man, I was following the story of the new stadium that the Twin Cities are building for their football Vikings. 

EU Carbon Fluctuates After Nations Agree to Seek 2021 Fix Start
By Ewa Krukowska and Mathew Carr – Bloomberg
European Union carbon permits fluctuated after governments agreed to seek a market fix starting in 2021, enabling the start of talks with the European Parliament next week.

Guangdong sells fewer than half of offered permits in auction 
Carbon Pulse
Guangdong on Friday sold 422,000 CO2 permits at the minimum price of 35 yuan ($5.63) each, less than half of the 1 million permits on offer, the China Emissions Exchange in Guangzhou announced. 
***LB: Also in this story “The auction was the third of four planned government permit sales for the 2014 emissions year in China’s biggest carbon market.”

University of St Andrews graduates to biomass power in carbon neutral push
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen
Plans for a £25m biomass plant and heat network at the University of St Andrews have received a major boost after the scheme secured the final £11m financing required to start construction. 

A provincial problem: Putting a price on carbon
By Shawn McCarthy – The Globe and Mail
Montreal’s Biothermica Technologies Inc. clinched a deal earlier this month to sell $860,000 worth of carbon credits – generated by reducing methane emissions at a coal mine in Alabama – to an unnamed California buyer who needed them to meet the state’s climate regulations.

Natural gas/ coal

China’s Cnooc shelves shale project
By Lucy Hornby – Financial Times
China National Offshore Oil Corp (Cnooc) has decided to shelve its shale gas project in Anhui province in the latest sign that the shale gas revolution that transformed the US energy industry is unlikely to replicate itself in China.

Geothermal firm looks to recycle fracking wells
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen
Cornwall-based Geothermal Engineering has pushed forward with plans to deliver geothermal heat from exhausted oil and gas wells drilled by fracking firm Cuadrilla.

Canada’s New Brunswick Bans Fracking 
Maritime Executive  
Lawmakers in New Brunswick voted on Thursday to prohibit fracking in the eastern Canadian province, committing to study the controversial method of extracting oil and gas for one year before reconsidering the ban in 2016.

EPA: Nearly 700 chemicals used in fracking 
By Timothy Cama – The Hill
The Environment Protection Agency on Friday released a new analysis that concludes almost 700 chemical additives are used in hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas.

China sees through its coal-fired haze what Alabama cannot
By John Archibald –
In China, where coal is indeed king, they’re cracking down on coal-fired power plants.

Federal grant program announced to help regions where coal jobs disappeared
By Bill Estep –
Communities in Kentucky hit by a downturn in coal or power-plant jobs could get help with economic development under a program announced Friday.


Solar energy emerging as cheapest power source in many parts of the world  
By Edgar Meza – PV Magazine
By 2025, solar power in sunny regions of the world will be cheaper than power from coal or gas, according to a new Fraunhofer report for German think tank Agora Energiewende, which stresses that success depends on stable regulatory conditions.

Achieving California’s goal of sustainable energy future
By V. John White – Sacramento Bee  
Not so long ago, the idea that renewable energy could be relied upon to power our electric grid was considered far-fetched and too expensive.

Texas city opts for 100% renewable energy – to save cash, not the planet
By Tom Dart – The Guardian
News that a Texas city is to be powered by 100% renewable energy sparked surprise in an oil-obsessed, Republican-dominated state where fossil fuels are king and climate change activists were described as “the equivalent of the flat-earthers” by US senator and GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz.

Clean tech

Musk Reboots Tesla’s China Strategy
Bloomberg News
After rushing to get a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S, Shanghai resident Sunny Zhang is suffering from buyer’s remorse.


California drought: Sierra Nevada snowpack hits historic low
By Peter Fimrite – SFGate
The abominable snowpack in the Sierra Nevada reached an unprecedented low this week, dipping below the historic lows in 1977 and 2014 for the driest winter in 65 years of record-keeping.

California: Governor Signs $1 Billion Water Package
Associated Press 
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Friday that speeds up $1 billion in water infrastructure spending amid the worst drought in a generation.


Energy deregulation threatens to break up Japanese monopolies
By Hirofumi Matsuo – Financial Times
Four years have passed since the earthquake and tsunami ravaged much of northeast Japan and started meltdowns at a nuclear power station in Fukushima prefecture. About 7,000 workers still struggle through a clean-up operation that has no end in sight.

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