In this edition, a look at the impact of climate change on the citizenry, including in Air pollution in Beijing goes off the index and Report says warming is changing US daily life from the AP, plus Australia wrestles with climate change in The Financial Times. And more on the big debate waging over natural gas exports, in Would Exporting the Natural Gas Surplus Help The Economy, or Hurt? from The New York Times and Natural-Gas Export Fight Heats Up in The Wall Street Journal.

Quote of the Day:

“By putting a price on carbon, we can break our unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels.”

–Mary D. Nichols, the chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, in The International Herald Tribune’s Carbon Taxes Provoke Debate on Economic Impact.

Lead Stories

Carbon market looks to Germany for price boost plan
The future of the European Union’s emissions trading scheme, meant to be a cornerstone of the bloc’s climate policy, is in the balance this year as traders look to Germany to back a plan to boost low prices.

Carbon Taxes Provoke Debate on Economic Impact
NY Times/International Herald Tribune
Since the beginning of the year, California, the most populous of the United States, has a price on carbon emissions.

Shrewd forecasters win in a volatile commodities world
Drought, recession and political upheaval rocked commodity markets and confounded price forecasters last year, but at least some got it right, even if guess-work sometimes overtook mathematical calculations.

Pioneering waste plant a step closer
Financial Times
A pioneering waste-fuelled power plant will come a step closer to fruition on Monday with the announcement of the award of a site preparation contract to Tolent Construction, a company headquartered in the northeast of England.

Air pollution in Beijing goes off the index
People refused to venture outdoors and buildings disappeared into Beijing’s murky skyline on Sunday as the air quality in China’s notoriously polluted capital went off the index.

Report says warming is changing US daily life
Global warming is already changing America from sea to rising sea and is affecting how Americans live, a massive new federally commissioned report says.

Australia wrestles with climate change
Financial Times
Rob Torenius had seen bush fires come close to his family’s timber mill in the southeast Tasmanian town of Forcett – but not since 1967. His son, Matthew, had never encountered them.

What Will It Take to Solve Climate Change?
Scientific American
Australia had to add a new color to its weather maps this week. Meteorologists used royal purple to denote an off-the-charts high temperature of 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), part of an unprecedented heat wave and ongoing wildfires occurring down under this month. On the other side of the globe, 2012 proved the hottest year on record in the contiguous U.S., surpassing the previous record-holder by a full degree F (0.6 deg C). In short, global warming is continuing to turn up the heat–so what are we going to do about it?

EPA Cites Shell Arctic Rig for Air-Permit Violations
The Wall Street Journal
Royal Dutch Shell RDSB.LN +0.57% PLC’s Kulluk oil rig violated nine conditions of its air-quality permit while drilling in Arctic waters off northern Alaska last year, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a letter issued late Thursday.


Aviation Carbon 2013
February 19-20, 2012

2013 Climate Leadership Conference
Washington D.C.
February 27-March 1, 2013


Big REDD Week For Two Brazilian States
Ecosystem Marketplace
The Brazilian state of Mato Grosso has become the second Brazilian state  after Acre to create a regulatory framework for rewarding those who combat climate change by saving endangered rainforest.  Acre, meanwhile, will receive 50 million Real ($24.2 million) for REDD+ from KfW, the German development bank, with up to that 70% of that going to providers of environmental services, including rubber-tappers and indigenous groups, according to Brazilian media.

New Oil Sands Pipeline Plan Would Dramatically Increase Carbon Emissions
Energy Collective blog
The Vancouver Sun reports that Kinder Morgan, operator of the Trans Mountain pipeline that transports oil from Alberta to the Port of Vancouver, hopes to increase the capacity of the proposed pipeline “twinning” project. Here, I’ve updated previous estimates of embedded carbon emissions in proposed pipeline to the British Columbia (BC) coast.

Natural Gas/Coal

Would Exporting the Natural Gas Surplus Help The Economy, or Hurt?
The New York Times
Natural gas exports are turning into Washington’s hottest energy question.

Natural-Gas Export Fight Heats Up
The Wall Street Journal
A Democratic senator lambasted the Energy Department Thursday for a recent analysis that concluded exports of liquefied natural gas would benefit the U.S. His comments came on the same day a group of industrial users of gas banded together to fight against unfettered exports.

Sen. Murkowski heads for Japan to talk gas exports, nuclear power
The Hill’s E2 Wire
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the Senate’s top Republican lawmaker on energy policy, will shortly travel to Japan for meetings about nuclear power and exporting natural gas from her state.

‘Fracking’ sparks talk of oil shale boom
The Hill’s E2 Wire
An oil boom launched by “fracking” has led energy leaders to take a second look at harnessing the potential of oil shale, a fossil fuel that energy firms largely abandoned the hope of harnessing in the 1980s.

Rockefeller to retire, giving GOP a prime pickup opportunity
The Hill’s E2 Wire
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) announced Friday that he will not run for reelection in 2014, giving Republicans a prime pickup opportunity in a state that’s grown increasingly red in recent years.


Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund Buys Stake in Utility ACWA Power
Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund Sanabil and the nation’s pension agency acquired 19 percent of ACWA Power International, a company that invests in power and water projects in the kingdom and regionally.

SunPower Restructuring Cost May More Than Double to $40 Million
SunPower Corp. (SPWR), the solar manufacturer that’s majority-owned by Total SA (FP), expects to record a charge of $33 million to $40 million for a restructuring announced in October.

Scottish Offshore Renewable Projects Face Risks From Grid Delays
Scotland’s planned offshore tidal, wave and wind power plants face risks from delays in building links to transfer electricity between the nation’s islands and the mainland, according to renewable energy developers.

EDF Energy Nuclear Reactors to Power U.K. Electric Rail Network
EDF Energy Plc, the U.K. unit of Electricite de France SA, won a contract from Network Rail Ltd. to supply power from its nuclear plants to railroads as Britain increases the use of electric trains to cut emissions.

EnBW’s Offshore Wind Farm Gains $664 Million Loan From the EIB
An EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG-developed offshore wind farm, the largest being built in the German Baltic Sea, won a 500 million-euro ($664 million) loan from the European Investment Bank.

European biomass demand to more than treble by 2020-report
European demand for wood pellets to produce electricity is seen rising more than three-fold by 2020, as governments offer subsidies for greener energy sources, a report said on Friday.


Greece Backs Second Renewable-Energy Tax Increase in Five Months
Greece’s energy regulator approved higher renewable-power taxes for consumers, backing a second increase in five months to bolster funds at market operator Lagie SA.


UAE’s TAQA buys stake in India hydro plant
Abu Dhabi National Energy Company TAQA.AD on Sunday said it has acquired a minority interest in the developer of a 100 megawatt hydroelectric plant in northern India, with plans to fully acquire the firm at a later date.

Institutional Analysis and Landscape Level Planning Guidelines for Watershed Development in India
Improved watershed management will be crucial to meet growing food demand in India, for example by recharging local aquifers and improving downstream water flows; decreasing soil erosion; increasing agricultural productivity; and helping farmers adapt to climate change.Experts believe that an additional 102 million tons of food grains need to be produced annually by 2020 to meet national nutritional needs under moderate forecasts of population growth, of which 38 million tons will need to come from either rainfed lands or imports.

As Texas Bakes in a Long Drought, Water Becomes a Focus for Legislators
The New York Times
There is usually no shortage of controversial and politically divisive issues for lawmakers to address in the opening days of a state legislative session, from abortion to immigration to gun rights.


New York Times Dismantles Its Environment Desk
Inside Climate News
On Dec. 3, the Times announced that it was offering buyouts to 30 newsroom managers. The decision to dismantle the environment desk wasn’t linked to budgetary concerns and no one is expected to lose his or her job. The New York Times will close its environment desk in the next few weeks and assign its seven reporters and two editors to other departments. The positions of environment editor and deputy environment editor are being eliminated. No decision has been made about the fate of the Green Blog, which is edited from the environment desk.

With NYTimes environmental desk gone, Green Blog becomes essential
Scientific American
A few days ago we woke up to the news that the New York Times is eliminating their environment desk. Predictably, the immediate reaction of many was “oh, noooo!”.


Power Forward: Why the World’s Largest Companies are Investing in Renewable Energy (Posted Dec. 11, 2012)

Stock Exchange Benchmark On Non-Financial Reporting Rules (Posted Dec. 6, 2012)

Regional Investment of RGGI CO2 Allowance Proceeds, 2011 (Posted Nov. 27, 2012)

2012 Report on Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the US (Posted Nov. 27, 2012)
The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

Climate Change Report Warns of Dramatically Warmer World This Century (Posted Nov. 19, 2012)
World Bank

Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in September 2012 (Posted Oct. 21, 2012)
Yale Project on Climate Change Communication

View all reports >

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