In today’s edition, a European business lobby argues that the amount of free carbon permits the European Union hands out to factories should be adjusted at the end of each year to match industrial output. In the U.S., two Democratic Senators form a climate change task force to initially advance small bills aimed at renewables and sustainability, with no mention, so far, of an attempt to revive failed plans to create a national cap-and-trade system.

Quote of the Day:

“The purpose is to use the bully pulpit of our Senate offices to achieve that wakeup call. We believe that climate change is a catastrophe that’s unfolding before our eyes and we want Congress to take off the blindfolds.”

–U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in Reuters’ “Senators look to revive climate debate in U.S. Congress”

Lead Stories

EU Should Adjust Carbon Handout at Year End, BusinessEurope Says
The amount of free carbon permits the European Union hands out to factories should be adjusted at the end of each year to match industrial output, according to BusinessEurope, the Brussels-based employers’ federation.
**RKB — Granting emission rights based on historical activity would be one way to prevent a build-up of unused permits and help maintain Europe’s competitiveness, said Alexandre Affre, who oversees industrial policy at the lobby group, in the article.

EU beefs up carbon trading system to make pollution more expensive
The Canadian Press
It will become more expensive for businesses in the European Union to burn fossil fuels this year after the 28-country bloc decided Wednesday to beef up its carbon trading system.

China mulls national pollution permit trading system
China will look into establishing a nation-wide trading system for pollution permits as part of efforts to use market mechanisms to help clean up its environment, the country’s top environment official said.
**RKB — Five cities and regions set up new pilot carbon trading platforms last year to encourage local enterprises to address soaring greenhouse gas emissions and two more will be launched in 2014. China aims to have a nationwide carbon emissions trading system later in the decade.

Senators look to revive climate debate in U.S. Congress
Two of the U.S. Senate’s biggest environmental boosters have launched a drive to revive the issue of climate change in Congress and defend President Barack Obama’s climate action plan against opposition from Republicans.

DEUTSCHE BANK: We’re About To Witness The ‘Second Gold Rush’ In Global Solar
Rob Wile
Ground zero for the first global solar boom, which took off in the middle part of the last decade, was probably somewhere in the German countryside. That’s where massive European spending on renewable energy subsidies most intensively took hold. But the broader continental boom produced worldwide ripple effect, creating a supply glut in China that helped send solar panel prices worldwide to unseen lows.

Abengoa to Build South America’s Biggest Solar-Thermal Plant
Abengoa SA (ABG), the biggest developer of solar-thermal plants, won a contract to build a $1 billion project in Chile’s Atacama desert that will be the largest of its kind in South America.

India Plans Offshore Wind Energy Agency, Minister Says
India plans an agency to oversee the development of offshore wind farms as the country’s best sites on land fill up, prompting it to promote projects at sea.

China says illegal rare earth production still rife
Illegal mining, pollution and smuggling remain rife in China’s rare earth industry despite a two-year campaign to straighten out the sector, a government official said in remarks published on Thursday.


RGGI Auction 23 Bidder Information Session
January 15, 2014
The webinar is open to the public, but pre-registration is required for participation instructions.

Climate Leadership Conference
Association of Climate Change Officers
February 24-26, 2014
San Diego, CA

Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) 2014
March 26-28, 2014
San Francisco, California

GLOBE 2014
13th Biennial Conference and Trade Fair on Business and Sustainability
March 26-28, 2014
Vancouver, British Columbia


European Carbon Prices to Double by End of 2015 Following Back-loading Implementation
Press Release – ICIS and Reed Business Information
Today’s positive vote in the Climate Change Committee (CCC) on the EU Commission´s proposal to change the Auction Regulation constitutes the final legislative step to implement back-loading.

Talk Among Yourselves: A Washington State Carbon Tax Outlook
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee got Republicans and Democrats to talk in 2013 about proposals to meet the state’s carbon emissions reduction goals. Expect more talk, but little action in 2014.

Natural Gas/Coal/Alternative Fuels

EPA to require S. Calif. offshore fracking reports
Oil and gas companies that are fracking off the Southern California coast must report chemicals discharged into the ocean under a new rule released Thursday by federal environmental regulators.

Keystone Pipeline Approval Snag Spurs Oil to Rail Tankers
As the year rolled to a close, Russ Girling, chief executive officer of TransCanada Corp., repeated on television what he has often said: he’s “very confident” that President Barack Obama will approve the Keystone XL pipeline.


As Winter Takes Hold, Plunging Temperatures Test Utilities
The New York Times
The short-term price of natural gas in the Northeast eased on Wednesday after surging during the cold snap this week, but many consumers face the prospect of higher bills as utilities seek to pass along the added costs.

Cash Buffer Lures Risk Averse to India Solar Auction
India’s first national auction of solar permits since 2011 offers improved revenue security to investors seeking a foothold in a market where the cost of sun power may equal that of other sources within three years.

Sandler O’Neill to Provide $100 Million for Wiser Solar Projects
Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP, a New York-based investment bank, agreed to arrange at least $100 million in financing for Wiser Capital LLC to develop commercial solar systems.


Alstom Moves Into Israel Hydro Market With Pumped-Storage Order
Alstom SA (ALO), a French power-equipment maker, won 120 million euros ($163 million) of contracts to build and operate Israel’s first hydroelectric pumped-storage plant near the Sea of Galilee.


California Carbon Market Watch: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Golden State’s Cap-and-Trade Program,Year One (January 8, 2014)

Assessing Corporate Emissions Performance Through the Lens of Climate Science (December 2013)
Climate Counts and Center for Sustainable Organizations

Use of internal carbon price by companies as incentive and strategic planning tool (Posted December 11, 2013)

OECD: Effective carbon prices (November 4, 2013)

Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013 (Posted September 12, 2013)

The Future of China’s Power Sector (posted August 27, 2013)
Bloomberg New Energy Finance

U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather (Posted July 14, 2013)
U.S. Dept. of Energy

Turn down the heat: climate extremes, regional impacts, and the case for resilience (Posted June 19, 2013)
World Bank

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