Today’s edition sets the stage for a showdown, as the Senate passed a bill to force approval of the Keystone pipeline, while the Washington Post’s editorial board is not impressed with President Obama’s trip to India and the results it yielded. Finally, in the Power section, an action for offshore wind farm leases drew fewer bids than expected. 

Quote of the day

“This issue is ready for a decision.”

Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, urging President Obama to reject the Keystone project, in the New York Times’ story Testing Obama, Senate Approves Keystone Bill

Lead stories

Testing Obama, Senate Approves Keystone Bill
By Coral Davenport – The New York Times  
The Senate passed a bill on Thursday to force approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which President Obama is certain to veto in his first official clash with the new Republican-majority Congress. 
***LB: Also in this story “The White House promptly said that Mr. Obama would veto the measure, which would force the approval of a proposed 1,179-mile oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. It would be just the third veto of Mr. Obama’s presidency, but the opening shot in a fight over Republican-sponsored measures.”

Mr. Obama’s trip to India leaves a clear deal on curbing emissions up in the air
The Washington Post (Editorial) 
THE U.S.-India relationship has often seemed more attractive in theory than in practice. The world’s two largest democracies share concerns about Chinese expansionism; throw in big economic potential and an active Indian immigrant population in the United States, and success seems guaranteed. Yet both sides have often felt disappointed in the results.

Expert energy council to advise policy-makers on 100% renewables 
By Sophie Vorrath – RenewEconomy
A new expert body has been formed to advise governments and organisations around the world on how best to ditch fossil fuels and make the switch to 100 per cent renewables. 
***LB: Also in this story “Made up of a dozen world renowned energy experts, analysts and consultants, the International Energy Advisory Council (IEAC) was launched this week to assist with the design and implementation of forward-looking, sustainable energy policy, as part of the global effort to mitigate climate change.”  

Japan looks at 2030 energy targets in shadow of Fukushima cleanup 
Japan began deliberating its 2030 targets for power generation on Friday, a process likely to turn contentious when nuclear restarts are considered even as the much delayed cleanup at Fukushima continues four years after the meltdowns there.


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


With Sweeping Plastics Ban, New York Village Joins Environmental Vanguard
By Lisa W. Foderaro – The New York Times
When New York City recently announced that it was banning plastic foam food containers, the move was hailed by environmentalists as historic.

Natural gas / coal

Methane Leaks From Gas Pipelines Far Exceed Official Estimates, Harvard Study Finds
By Lisa Song, InsideClimate News
Methane is leaking from natural gas infrastructure in Boston and the surrounding region at rates two to three times higher than government estimates, scientists at Harvard University and other institutions found.

Obama administration ‘can comply’ with natural gas export bill
By Timothy Cama – The Hill
A Department of Energy (DOE) official told lawmakers Thursday that his agency would be able to comply with the Senate’s bill to speed up liquefied natural gas (LNG) export application reviews.


Offshore Wind Farm Leases Draw Few Bids From Wary Industry
By Diane Cardwell – The New York Times  
Not too long ago, in 2013, the Obama administration began auctioning off leases for offshore wind farms up and down the Eastern Seaboard, hoping to spur a nascent industry. 
***LB: Also in this story “Of the 12 companies qualified to bid, only two — OffshoreMW and RES America Developments — took part, snatching up the parcels for around $1.50 an acre or less, below the overall average paid in earlier auctions and far less than the roughly $109 an acre that US Wind, a division of an Italian company, pledged last year for almost 80,000 acres off the Maryland coast.”

World’s second largest wind farm edges towards finish line
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen
RWE Innogy and Siemens are on the brink of switching on the final turbines at the giant Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm off the North Wales coast, after a setback last month caused by stormy weather.

Utilities want flexibility under renewable portfolio standards 
By John Herrick – VT Digger  
Lawmakers are working on a bill that would change the way utilities buy and sell renewable energy credits.

UK solar poised to cruise past 5GW milestone
By Jessica Shankleman – BusinessGreen
The UK’s installed solar power capacity is set to break through the 5GW milestone this month, according to new government figures which show generation capacity almost doubled in 2014.

Energy efficient businesses bid for £10m to help keep the lights on
Businesses were yesterday invited to bid for a share of £10m in government funding to fit energy saving measures, as part of a trial to find out how they could be incentivised to reduce energy use at times of peak demand.


‘Blue Carbon Credits’ May Be New Way To Fund Coastal Restoration 
By Laine Kaplan-Levenson – WWNO
A New Orleans organization is trying to help fund coastal restoration by quantifying Louisiana wetlands, using hard numbers as a way to offset global carbon emissions.

California Drought: A Dry January Closes and Dread Mounts 
By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue
It’s not a worst-case scenario — at least not yet. But the optimism that sprouted in California after a drenching December is wilting at winter’s midpoint.

Brazil Cities Consider Major Water Rationing
Circle of Blue
Sao Paulo could have its water supply cut to just two days per week as a severe drought continues, while state legislators in the United States are considering cutting water to the National Security Agency.

Pace of U.S. Dam Removals Accelerates 
By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue
When the last chunks of concrete from Glines Canyon Dam were ripped from bedrock in August and the Elwha River again touched its old course, the moment marked an engineering and environmental milestone: the completion of the largest dam removal in U.S. history.

UK supermarkets failing to stock enough sustainable fish, says report 
By Rebecca Smithers – The Guardian
Some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets are not offering enough sustainably caught fish, despite soaring demand from consumers, according to new research published on Friday.


Putting A Price On Nature Can Benefit The Poor If Done Right
By Simon Roach – Ecosystem Marketplace
You don’t have to go far in Bolivia to find treasure. It’s everywhere: in the vast Amazonian forests; in Lake Titicaca, which lies nearly four kilometres above sea level in the Andes; in the peaks and rain-gathering waterways of the Andes mountains; or in Bolivia’s 2,000 animal species.


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