Food for thought in today’s edition, with various debates, such as (in the Carbon Section): Will cutting trees cut carbon? Or: What role for carbon markets in the 2015 agreement? And also a story on the geo-engineering argument: It shouldn’t be used so fast to cure climate change woes, scientists say.

Quote of the day

“That scientists are even considering technological interventions should be a wake-up call that we need to do more now to reduce emissions, which is the most effective, least risky way to combat climate change.”

Marcia McNutt, the committee chair and former director of the US Geological Survey, in The Guardian’s story Geo-engineering should not be used as a climate fix yet, says US science academy

Lead stories 

Climate change a greater threat than terrorism?
By Laura Barron-Lopez and Timothy Cama – The Hill
A clear and present danger: The White House stood by comments President Obama made that climate change poses a graver threat day-in and day-out to Americans than terrorism.

Geo-engineering should not be used as a climate fix yet, says US science academy
By Suzanne Goldenberg – The Guardian
Climate change has advanced so rapidly that the time has come to look at options for a planetary-scale intervention, the National Academy of Science said on Tuesday. But it was categorical that such ‘geo-engineering’ should not currently be deployed at scale or considered as an alternative to cutting emissions now.

What role for carbon markets in the 2015 climate agreement?
By Anthony Mansell – Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Will the current UN climate talks do enough to create common standards for international emissions trading in the future or should interested parties look outside the multilateral process?

EEX designs the Energy Market 2.0
Press Release
The European Energy Exchange (EEX) announced plans for the introduction of so-called “energy turnaround products” and published a concept document on these today at the E-world energy & water trade fair in Essen.

UK spent 300 times more on fossil fuels than clean energy despite green pledge
By Adam Vaughan – The Guardian
The UK government has broken a key pledge to support green energy abroad over “dirty” energy projects by spending more than three hundred times as much backing fossil fuel energy compared with clean energy projects via the government’s export credit agency.

Boris Johnson advised his London air pollution plans are too little, too late
By John Vidal – The Guardian
Boris Johnson’s plan for an “ultra low emission zone” (ULEZ) to reduce London’s air pollution from dirty vehicles should not be delayed for five years and must be widened to cover a much larger area of the capital, the London assembly has told the mayor.

Climate change efforts backfire in Brazil’s steel industry 
New research shows that climate change mitigation efforts in Brazil’s steel industry have failed.


2015 Climate Leadership Conference
ACCO, EPA, The Climate Registry, C2ES
February 23-25, 2015
Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City (Arlington, VA)

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 Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change? Trees
By Robinson Meyer – The Atlantic 
When people talk about technologies that might offset climate change, they often evoke not-yet-invented marvels, like planes spraying chemicals into the atmosphere or enormous skyscrapers gulping carbon dioxide from the clouds. 
***LB: Also in this story “In fact, they are two things we already know how to do: plant trees and improve the soil.”

A Biofuel Debate: Will Cutting Trees Cut Carbon? 
By Eduardo Porter – The New York Times  
Does combating climate change require burning the world’s forests and crops for fuel? 
***LB: Also in this story “”Dedicating land to bioenergy always comes at a cost because that land cannot produce plants for other purposes,” said Timothy Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton and the World Resources Institute and a co-writer of a recent report  that calls for a rollback of crops dedicated to biofuels.”

A new report just shot down a key argument against President Obama’s climate plans 
By Chris Mooney – Washington Post
For a while now, those decrying the Obama administration’s plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants — under EPA’s  Clean Power Plan — have levied a pretty serious practical criticism. 
***LB: Also in this story “In the report, a  “simple, illustrative national carbon policy applied to the electric power sector” was considered: the nation’s natural gas infrastructure would only require “modest incremental additions” of pipeline capacity.”

Natural gas/coal

China Shenhua Energy coal sales down 12.4 pct in 2014 
China Shenhua Energy Co. Ltd’s coal sales in 2014 fell 12.4 percent from a year earlier to 451.1 million tonnes because of slowing demand and production cuts, the company said on Tuesday.

Cameron’s Bid to Tap Shale-Gas Boom Founders Amid Fracking Bans
By Nidaa Bakhsh and Alex Morales – Bloomberg
The drive by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to spur a shale-gas revolution is floundering before it’s even started.


Wind farm study finds ‘no direct evidence’ they affect health
By Calla Wahlquist – The Guardian
There is “no direct evidence” that windfarms affect health in humans, a report by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has found.

Electricity from biomass with carbon capture could make western U.S. carbon-negative
By Robert Sanders – UC Berkeley News
Generating electricity from biomass, such as urban waste and sustainably-sourced forest and crop residues, is one strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, because it is carbon-neutral: it produces as much carbon as the plants suck out of the atmosphere.

Are Solar Companies Ripping You Off?
By Tim McDonnell – Mother Jones
Back in December, a group of Republican members of Congress from Arizona and Texas sent a worried letter to the Federal Trade Commission.  
***LB: Also in this story “Solar panel companies, the letter claimed, might be using deceptive marketing practices to lease their rooftop systems to homeowners without fully disclosing the financial risks.”

Solar Panels Get Dirty, Now They Have A Force Field To Protect Them From Dust
Fast Company
Dry, arid places are obvious locations for large-scale solar plants because there’s plenty of space and plenty of sun. But there’s a problem: Dust and sand that clings to equipment, reducing its efficiency.

Has Michigan’s ‘wind capital’ reached its saturation point? 
By  Andy Balaskovitz – Midwest Energy News
Officials in Michigan’s “wind capital” in the eastern Lower Peninsula are struggling to tighten planning rules and are considering halting further wind development to stop an industry that critics say has faced lax regulation there.

How trackside solar arrays could save Network Rail £150m
By James Murray – BusinessGreen
Network Rail could cut operating costs by £150m between 2019 and 2024 by inviting investors to fund trackside solar arrays.

Clean tech

Exclusive: Tesla CEO threatens firings after dismal China sales – sources
By Laurence Frost and Paul Lienert –  Reuters
Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk is prepared to fire overseas executives, people with knowledge of the matter said, after weak Chinese sales of the company’s luxury electric cars cast doubt on his ambitious global expansion plans. 
***LB: Also in this story “Tesla sold about 120 cars in China last month, one of the sources told Reuters, well below the company’s aggressive targets.”

Tweaking Bacteria, Scientists Turn Sunlight Into Liquid Fuel 
By Christina Nunez – National Geographic
Daniel Nocera pioneered an “artificial leaf” that mimics the real thing, using only the sun and water to produce energy.  
***LB: Also in this story “The Harvard researchers are aiming to solve a problem known to any electric utility: Capturing energy from the sun has come a long way, but how can it be stored for times when there’s no sunlight? Going a step further, how can that stored energy be used for purposes other than electricity?”


Calif. proposes changes in protecting drinking water from oil wells
By Laura Barron-Lopez – The Hill
California is proposing to shutter up to 140 oil wells that had been allowed to inject into federally protected drinking water aquifers by October, according to state officials.

This Glowing Disco Ball Could Be Your Next Clean Water Source 
Fast Company 
In a few months, Andres Jaque will build a towering labyrinth of water pipes in the courtyard of the contemporary art museum, MoMA PS1: a building-sized water filter on wheels filled with glowing microorganisms that will cool and shade sweaty summer visitors while purifying thousands of gallons of polluted water.

How Copenhagen Is Preparing For The Next Monster Storm
Fast Company
Like many cities, Copenhagen has to think about managing increasing volumes of water. Over the long-term, it faces the threat of rising sea levels (especially because the city is a harbor).

Use water better or face rising bills, Green Alliance warns
By Will Nichols – BusinessGreen
Water shortages could lead to soaring bills unless the UK becomes better at using water more efficiently, the influential Green Alliance think tank will say today.


Can Grains of the Past Help us Weather Storms of the Future?
By Shreya Dasgupta – Ensia
In May 2009, Cyclone Aila wreaked havoc in eastern India. Clocking in at speeds of over 120 kilometers per hour, Aila hit the Sundarbans, the largest continuous block of mangrove forest in the world, located in the Ganga-Brahmaputra tidal delta on the Bay of Bengal.

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