In today’s edition, an endeavor of epic proportions: Solar Impulse-2 – a solar-powered plane – took off this morning from Abu Dhabi to attempt to fly around the world. And a less lofty story on pledges at this year’s climate summit to cut carbon emissions. They are likely to fall far short of the targets needed to avoid heating the planet by more than 2C, a report says. 

Quote of the day

“The period following the summit in Paris in December 2015 will be crucial, not just to bridge the gap between aggregate intentions and the goal by 2030, but also to lay foundations for even greater action after 2030.”

Authors of a report by a team led by British economist Nicholas Stern, in The Guardian’s story Climate summit’s pledges on carbon cuts ‘won’t avert global disaster’

Lead stories

What if states just say ‘no’ to climate rule? 
By Timothy Cama – The Hill
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is counseling states to defy a key pillar of President Obama’s climate change initiative.

Solar Impulse plane begins epic global flight
By Jonathan Amos – BBC News 
A record-breaking attempt to fly around the world in a solar-powered plane has got under way from Abu Dhabi. The aircraft – called Solar Impulse-2 – took off from the Emirate, heading east to Muscat in Oman.

Climate summit’s pledges on carbon cuts ‘won’t avert global disaster’
By Robin McKie – The Guardian
Pledges at this year’s climate summit to cut carbon emissions are likely to fall far short of the targets needed to avoid heating the planet by more than 2C. That is the stark conclusion of a report by a team led by British economist Nicholas Stern. 
***LB: Also in this story “The group, based at the Grantham Research Institute on climate Change at the London School of Economics, concludes that action planned by countries – in particular the European Union, the US and China – will still leave the world emitting 10bn tonnes of carbon a year in excess of levels needed to prevent global warming from having devastating consequences.”

Europe submits UN climate pledge, urges US, China to follow 
Sydney Morning Herald
The European Union on Friday submitted its formal promise on how much it will cut greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations ahead of climate change talks starting in November and called on the United States and China to follow its lead.

EDF slips as minister Ségolène Royal flags possible Areva merger
By Michael Stothard – Financial Times
Shares in nuclear group EDF fell on Monday after the French energy minister suggested that a merger between the state controlled company and its struggling supplier Areva was one option being discussed by the government.

US green economy adds 47,000 new clean energy jobs
By James Murray – BusinessGreen
Clean energy and transport projects across the US created 47,000 new jobs last year, according to a new study from business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

GOP senators, including Jeff Sessions, oppose probe of scientists who question climate change
By Paul Gattis –
A group of Republican senators have voiced opposition to an investigation by a Democratic congressman into funding sources of scientists skeptical of the impact of climate change.

Man-made’ climate change a major woman’s problem
By Marianne Barriaux – AFP
Men and women may not always be on the same footing but you would think both sexes would be equal in the face of gigantic floods, typhoons or droughts. Think again.  


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 


China Blocks Web Access to ‘Under the Dome’ Documentary on Pollution
By Edward Wong – The New York Times
“Under the Dome,” a searing documentary about China’s catastrophic air pollution, had hundreds of millions of views on Chinese websites within days of its release one week ago.

National Australia Bank considers rewarding eco-friendly farmers with lower interest rates
By Gabrielle Chan – The Guardian
Farmers who undertake good environmental management could be rewarded with lower interest rates under a policy being considered by Australia’s biggest rural lender, the National Australia Bank.

Natural gas / coal

China and Russia set to finalise gas deal
Financial Times 
China and Russia will seal an agreement later this year on piped gas from Western Siberia, China’s foreign minister said on Sunday, a deal that will continue Russia’s economic shift towards Asia and away from Western Europe.

BP Signs $12 Billion Deal to Develop Natural Gas in Egypt
By Stanley Reed – The New York Times
In a sign that Egypt’s strained relations with the international oil industry may be improving, BP said on Friday that it had reached an agreement to invest with a partner about $12 billion to develop natural gas resources in the country.

Duke pollution could continue under proposed permits
By Michael Biesecker and Mitch Weiss – Associated Press
Duke Energy could legally leak pollutants from some of its coal ash dumps under new wastewater permits proposed Friday by North Carolina regulators.


Utilities wage campaign against rooftop solar
By Joby Warrick – The Washington Post
Three years ago, the nation’s top utility executives gathered at a Colorado resort to hear warnings about a grave new threat to operators of America’s electric grid: not superstorms or cyberattacks, but rooftop solar panels.

Can solar transform the energy market ?
By Nick Butler (blog) – Financial Times
I have never given much credence to the idea that an international agreement on climate change capable of establishing a global carbon price was likely to be reached – either in Paris this December or anywhere else – anytime soon.

EON Wants More Compensation to Keep Gas-Fired Plants Open
By Tino Andresen – Bloomberg News
EON SE, Germany’s biggest utility, said it needs to receive more compensation to keep open two unprofitable gas-fired plants used to guarantee electricity supply in the country.

Ofgem could drop plans for Ireland green energy link
By Will Nichols  – BusinessGreen
Ofgem is considering approving proposals for undersea links to the grid in France and Denmark, but may drop a planned connection to Ireland designed to provide the UK with access to Irish wind farms.

Clean tech

Nissan Leaf review: a clean set of wheels
By Richard Saker – The Observer
It’s 20 years since a car I was driving turned heads (a fire-engine red, turbo-charged Audi Quattro à la Gene Hunt in Ashes to Ashes).


Why fresh water shortages will cause the next great global crisis
By Robin McKie – The Guardian
Water is the driving force of all nature, Leonardo de Vinci claimed. Unfortunately for our planet, supplies are now running dry – at an alarming rate.

Arctic sea ice near its all-time minimum low and could break previous record 
By Steve Connor – The Independent
Sea ice in the Arctic is near its all-time minimum for the end of winter and could break the previous record within the next two weeks if it fails to grow, according to the latest satellite data.


How everything will change under climate change?
The Guardian
The second in a major series of articles on the climate crisis and how humanity can solve it. In this extract taken from the Introduction to This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein, the author calls the climate crisis a civilisational wake-up call to alter our economy, our lifestyles, now – before they get changed for us.

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