In this edition, European carbon market developments, including dispatches from Davos where Connie Hedegaard says the 40% emissions reduction target can be partly offset with international credits. Plus, Matthias Groote, head of the European Parliament’s environment committee, will seek a faster approval of the European Union carbon-market fix in a plenary decision that may be taken in the second half of next month. And, Germany is set to become the first nation in Europe to charge owners of renewable energy plants for their own use of electricity, part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s effort to contain rising power bills.

Quote of the Day:

“Don’t underestimate what is in the 40 percent. We had 20 percent in 2020 with offsetting. Now it’s 40 percent 10 years after without offsetting. Can we get that through? I very much hope we can. That should be a good chance but of course it also takes leadership from those member states who we know agree with us on this ambition level. We should avoid dilution. Can it be even higher? I have to admit I have not heard one single member state at this stage arguing in favor of something beyond 40 percent. Great Britain has said 50 percent but that’s with offsetting. If that goes through and then we can do offsetting as part of good international agreement that’s substantial progress.”

–EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Lead Stories

Europe Carbon Goal Mustn’t Be Underestimated, EU’s Hedegaard
The European Union’s proposal to accelerate greenhouse-gas reductions to 40 percent by 2030 is an ambitious move from this decade’s 20 percent target, which can be partly offset with international credits, according to Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard.

EU’s Groote to Seek Parliament’s Carbon-Fix Approval Next Month
Matthias Groote, head of the European Parliament’s environment committee, will seek a faster approval of the European Union carbon-market fix in a plenary decision that may be taken in the second half of next month.

China’s carbon market may remain a solo one as companies get rights to offset pollution with non-CO2 credits
The Sydney Morning Herald
China will allow big emitters to use offset credits from nitrous dioxide (N2O) destruction to meet domestic climate targets, giving its nod to a type of project that has been banned in other carbon markets.

Major trading powers pledge to free up trade in green products
The Sydney Morning Herald
The world’s biggest trading powers committed on Friday to achieving global free trade in environmental goods, though they gave no timeline for a deal they said would boost the fight against climate change.

More global warming will be worse for the economy, says the Copenhagen Consensus Center
The Guardian
The Copenhagen Consensus Center (oddly, located in Massachusetts) is a think tank headed by Bjorn Lomborg that advocates for what they consider “the best ways for governments and philanthropists to spend aid and development money.” The group recently released a report that attempts to quantify the economic damage caused by various global problems, including climate change. Regarding climate change and its costs, the group states.

Aim for carbon-neutral 2050, ‘Elders’ group says
A panel of senior statesmen known as the Elders on Friday called for renewed efforts to conclude a world climate pact by the end of 2015 and appealed for a “carbon-neutral” planet by 2050. “Given the compelling weight of evidence, it can be hard to understand why anyone is still dragging his or her feet on the coordinated action needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the group said in a statement.

Gore Joins UN Backing EU’s 2030 Climate Plan
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said the European Union has been unfairly criticized for dropping nationally-binding renewable energy targets.

Germany Tax on Own Use of Renewables Is First in Europe
Germany is set to become the first nation in Europe to charge owners of renewable energy plants for their own use of electricity, part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s effort to contain rising power bills.

This New World Order Conspiracy Theorist Is Advising Republicans on Environmental Policy
Mother Jones
When state Sen. Jennifer Fielder, vice chairwoman of the Montana Republican Party, needed an expert on natural resources to testify before the state’s Environmental Quality Council earlier this year, she turned to Doyel Shamley.

Fissures in G.O.P. as Some Conservatives Embrace Renewable Energy
The New York Times
In conservative politics, solar power is often dismissed as an affectation, part of a liberal agenda to funnel money to “solar cronies” of the Obama administration and further the “global warming hoax.”

An insider’s story of the global attack on climate science
Climate Spectator
A recent headline – ‘Failed doubters trust leaves taxpayers six-figure loss’ – marked the end of a four-year epic saga of secretly-funded climate denial, harassment of scientists and tying-up of valuable government resources in New Zealand.


Webinar: Prospects for a New Carbon Market: Cap-and-Trade Under Clean Air Act Section 111(d)
January 29, 2014
Click here for more information and to register.

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

The Microgrid, Distributed Energy, and Renewables: How They Work Together
February 25, 2014
New York

Round Table: California Clean Energy Markets and Policy Strategies
February 28, 2014
San Francisco,CA
Click here for more information and to register.

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


Greece seeks special treatment to cope with carbon emission cost
Greece is proposing recession-hit countries receive concessions under European Union environmental rules, hoping that it can curb the rising energy costs of its firms and improve their competitiveness.

Natural Gas/Coal

New figures revise upwards expected tar sands flow to Europe
New pipelines mean around 30 times more tar sands oil is likely to make its way to Europe than previously thought unless the European Union revives rules that would limit its use, figures showed on Friday.

Japan’s 2013 LNG imports hit record high on nuclear woes
Japan’s imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) rose to another record in 2013 as the country’s second complete shutdown of its nuclear stations since the Fukushima disaster in 2011 forced utilities to burn more fossil fuels to generate power.

Cameron aims to woo businesses back to UK with ‘cheap’ shale gas
Business Green
David Cameron is expected to use the promise of cheap shale gas to lure big manufacturers to the UK, despite his own ministers and advisors suggesting the controversial energy source will not lower bills in Europe.

Why trains may switch to natural gas instead of diesel
The Christian Science Monitor
Railroad companies figure using natural gas could cut fuel costs by as much as 50 percent. They are starting to redesign locomotive engines to be capable of burning both diesel and liquefied natural gas.


Solar Mergers Likely to Accelerate, Trina Founder Says
The pace of consolidation in the solar manufacturing industry will accelerate in the next three years as the cost of the technology declines and installations surge, the founder of the fourth-biggest solar-panel maker said.

Scotland Gives Approval for 390 Million Pounds of Clean Power
Scotland gave the go-ahead for a wind farm and a biomass plant that will represent a combined investment of 390 million pounds ($648 million).

China has ‘serious concern’ about US solar PV trade probe
The Sydney Morning Herald
China’s commerce ministry called on the United States on Sunday to stop anti-dumping investigations into imports of solar power products from China, expressing “serious concern” and vowing to defend its producers.

Middle East Renewable Energy: Q+A With the IFC’s Dimitris Tsitsiragos
The Wall Street Journal
Renewable energy remains the fastest growing sector in the energy industry. Some observers expect it to account for 70% of the new power generation capacity added globally between now and 2030. And as part of a wider program to help mitigate climate change, the International Finance Corporation, the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank, is looking actively in the Middle East for potential investments to boost its renewable energy portfolio.


Fracking Water-to-Cup Technology Plugged by Oasys Pilot
Shale-gas wells aren’t yet synonymous with a fresh glass of water. Former U.S. fighter pilot Jim Matheson thinks he can change that.

Startup Thinks Its Battery Will Solve Renewable Energy’s Big Flaw
MIT Technology Review
A former Sony TV factory near Pittsburgh is coming to life again after lying idle for four years. Whirring robotic arms have started to assemble a new kind of battery that could make the grid more efficient and let villages run on solar power around the clock.


Asia at ‘epicentre’ of investments in protecting watersheds
China is leading the region in terms of the number of investments that protects watersheds – the basic and most natural landscape for clean water, according to latest data


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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