In today’s edition, earlier optimism over a climate pact in Lima is dwindling as the end of talks nears. Some good news, still: the Green Climate Fund reached $10 billion thanks to a surprise donation from Australia. And also, the UN provides the initial funding for two new exchange-traded funds from BlackRock Inc and State Street Corp that invest in companies with low carbon emissions.

Quote of the day

“The negotiations under the ADP (Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform) are still on track, but progress is much slower than we want and need.”

European Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, in the Climate Central’s story Climate pact gridlock sets in at Lima talks

Lead stories

United Nations backs BlackRock, State Street low carbon funds
By Ashley Lau – Reuters
The United Nations said Thursday it provided the initial funding for two new exchange-traded funds from BlackRock Inc and State Street Corp that invest in companies with low carbon emissions.

‘Berlin Wall’ climate divide looms over Lima
By Valerie Volcovici and Alister Doyle – Reuters
As UN climate talks enter their final days, the “Berlin Wall” that has for years divided rich and poor countries once again looms large as negotiators race to write a draft of a global deal that is meant to tear it down.

Climate pact gridlock sets in at Lima talks
By John Upton – Climate Central
For a sense of the frustrating tenor of climate negotiations underway here, which aim to agree on a clear outline of a new international climate-protecting agreement, consider this: One of the two draft documents being thrashed out had, by Wednesday morning, with just three days of a fortnight of talks remaining, ballooned into an unworkable 52-page opus.

Green Climate Fund hits $10 bln goal, after Australia surprise
By Alister Doyle and Megan Rowling – Reuters
A new Green Climate Fund that aims to help poor nations cope with global warming reached a U.N. goal of $10 billion on Tuesday at global climate talks in Lima, helped by a surprise donation from Australia. 

Australia still ‘constructive’ in climate talks, despite Julie Bishop’s rhetoric 
By Lenore Taylor – The Guardian
The Australian government’s rhetoric to its domestic audience about international climate talks is “harder line” than the positions it is taking in the actual negotiations, according to long-term observers of the process.

Julie Bishop’s speech to Lima climate talks – annotated
By Graham Readfearn – The Guardian
Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has just delivered a speech to the United Nations climate talks here in Lima. On a day when more than 10,000 people took to the city’s streets calling for rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, Bishop moved to defend Australia’s reputation as a “good international citizen” on climate change.

At Lima climate talks, UN launches new coalition to promote renewable energy
UN News Center
The launch of a new coalition spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and focused on boosting renewable energy usage around the world was announced today as Member States head into the final three-day stretch of a major UN climate conference in Lima, Peru aimed at tackling the imminent threat of climate change.

SolarAid kicks off crowd-funding push in bid to boost ‘five per cent club’
SolarAid has become the latest organisation to turn to crowd-funding to help accelerate the rollout of clean technologies, launching a £250,000 fund-raising drive through the Indie-GoGo platform.

Alberta premier to lobby for Keystone during Washington visit
By Laura Barron-Lopez – The Hill
Alberta Premier Jim Prentice will visit Washington in January and the first thing on his list is to rally support for the Keystone XL pipeline.


U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference
The U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference presents data, analysis and expert forecasting on the state of the solar market in the U.S.
Dec. 8 – 10, 2014
San Diego, CA

The Importance and Impact of Including Fuels and Natural Gas in California’s Cap-and-Trade Program
Climate Action Reserve
December 11, 2014 – 10:00am – 11:00am PST
Type of Event: Webinar

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)


Fossil-Fuel Exposure May Need to Be Disclosed in U.K.
By Alex Morales – Bloomberg News
U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Davey called for a debate on forcing companies to disclose their exposure to fossil fuels so that investors know the risks they face as cleaner forms of energy are required.

Natural gas / coal

Russian gas flows to Ukraine stable – Ukrtransgaz 
Russian natural gas flows to Ukraine have been stable since Dec. 9, when Gazprom resumed supplies after a six-month gap caused by a price dispute and unpaid debts, Ukraine’s gas transport monopoly said on Thursday.

New Studies Close in on Methane Leaks and Bolster Calls for Strong E.P.A. Rules
By Andrew C. Revkin – The New York Times  
A new peer-reviewed analysis of sources of leaks in natural gas drilling and well operations strongly bolsters growing calls for the Environmental Protection Agency to settle on regulations cutting wasteful, harmful emissions of methane from both new and existing oil and natural gas wells.

Petronas signs Argentina shale deal
By Benedict Mander – Financial Times
Petronas signed a $550m deal with Argentina’s YPF to develop the South American country’s vast shale resources on Wednesday, despite fears that falling oil prices could undermine the profitability of unconventional energy projects.

Warming Ocean May Be Triggering Mega Methane Leaks Off Northwest Coast
By Ashley Ahearn – KUOW
As the waters of the Pacific warm, methane that was trapped in crystalline form beneath the seabed is being released. And fast. 

Poll: Majority of voters back regulating methane emissions
By Laura Barron-Lopez – The Hill
A majority of voters in the U.S. support administration action to regulate methane emissions, according to a new poll.

Coal Provocateur Sees Profits in Coal’s Long, Slow Death
By Tim Loh  – Bloomberg News
Robert Murray is pumped — as though coal-fired steam might be coursing through his veins. Striding purposefully, he ascends a lectern in a conference room at Pittsburgh’s Wyndham Grand Downtown hotel toting a cardboard box with hundreds of copies of his keynote speech to give out later lest anyone miss a word.


Eon-Batista tie-up Eneva files for bankruptcy
By Samantha Pearson – Financial Times
The Brazilian power company controlled by Eon and Eike Batista has filed for bankruptcy, marking a new low in the ill-fated partnership between Germany’s biggest utility and Brazil’s one-time richest man.

National Grid joins 200 Other Companies to Support Carbon Emission Regulations by EPA 
By Chris Bolt – WAER
Hundreds of national companies are supporting stronger federal regulations regarding greenhouse gases.

Government green lights wave of three North Sea offshore wind farms
By James Murray – BusinessGreen
The government today granted planning consent for one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, approving plans for the 1.2GW Hornsea offshore wind farm off the coast of Yorkshire.

Clean tech

Achtung, Tesla! Volkswagen is looking to leapfrog you 
By  Geoffrey Smith – Fortune
Volkswagen has opened a new front in its campaign to close the gap on rivals Tesla Motors Inc.  and Nissan Motor Co. in the field of electric vehicles, buying a stake in battery developer QuantumScape Corp.


Full scale of plastic in the world’s oceans revealed for first time
By Oliver Milman – The Guardian 
More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes, are floating in the world’s oceans, causing damage throughout the food chain, new research has found.

Water Supply at Risk, Las Vegas Considers $650 Million Insurance Policy 
By Brett Walton – Circle of Blue
The price of reliable water in the American desert – and the residual costs of steady demand under drying conditions – keeps rising.

False victories for sustainability – Amazonian Hydropower
By Jose Hong – Mongabay
Study criticises Brazil’s dam construction, saying that more economically and ecologically viable alternatives already exist.


Green economy faces sustainability skills gap
Too few businesses are equipped with the skills needed to compete in a sustainable economy, a leading business body has warned.

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