A group of European ministers favors a 2030 renewable energy target even if at the expense of an emissions target championed by Britain’s Ed Davey. They made their case in a late-December letter to the European Union. Reuters has the coverage, below. E/E intentionally sticks with market stories, and draws on science articles only occasionally, like when they speak to potential big-picture policy changes. But, as much of the U.S. shivers, weather and climate and science are front of mind. Our leads section features: Editorial: It’s a cloudy forecast for our climate change; Climate Change Might Just Be Driving the Historic Cold Snap; The quiet failure of climate denial in 2013.

Quote of the Day:

“When a government changes the terms of existing contracts, that’s a bad move,” said, who believes that the government will have trouble when it wants to develop public-private partnerships to fund water treatment plants, highways or pipelines, for instance.
“There are reasons we live by contract rules,” he said. “If you keep changing the rules of the game, then, after a while, your friends don’t want to play. The government has lost credibility.”

–Toby Couture, a solar energy consultant with E3 Analytics in Berlin, in The New York Times’ Spain’s Solar Pullback Threatens Pocketbooks”

Lead Stories

Group of ministers urges EU to set 2030 goal for renewable energy
Ministers from Germany, France and six other countries have called for the European Union to set a 2030 goal for renewable energy use, in opposition to their British counterpart who advocates a sole greenhouse gas emissions target.
**RKB — The letter is dated Dec. 23 and signed by ministers from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal.

China to Boost Spending on Water Conservation Projects in 2014
China’s central government will boost spending on projects to conserve water this year as the world’s most-populous nation grapples with ways to ensure adequate supply of the vital resource, an official said.

Dirtiest Coal’s Rebirth in Europe Flattens Medieval Towns
Europe’s appetite for cheaper electricity is reviving mines that produce the dirtiest type of coal, threatening to boost pollution and raze villages that have survived since medieval times.

Editorial: It’s a cloudy forecast for our climate change
The Washington Post
Just how much will the Earth heat up over the next 100 or 200 years? Climate scientists are not able to predict with high certainty. They have estimated that average global temperatures will increase by 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius — 2.7 to 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit — given a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That range of estimates for “climate sensitivity” would mean the difference between relatively small effects and significant consequences for human welfare.

Climate Change Might Just Be Driving the Historic Cold Snap
Unsurprisingly, the extreme cold has brought out the climate change skeptics, who point to the freeze and the recent snowstorms and say, essentially, “nyah-nyah.” Now this is where I would usually point to the fact that the occasional cold snap—even one as extreme as much of the U.S. is experiencing now—doesn’t change the overall trajectory of a warming planet. Weather is what happens in the atmosphere day to day; climate is how the atmosphere behaves over long periods of time. Winters in the U.S. have been warming steadily over the past century, and even faster in recent decades, so it would take more than a few sub-zero days to cancel that out.

The quiet failure of climate denial in 2013
Law Professor Dan Farber on the UC Berkeley blog
The latest IPCC report proves that scientists are unwavering in their view that human carbon emissions are causing dangerous climate change. In the scientific world, climate denial has no traction. It isn’t gaining traction in the judicial or congressional worlds either.

How a green tariff could save the carbon price
Worried the carbon price is hurting industry and costing jobs? There’s a neat solution no one’s talking about – and it doesn’t involve axing the tax.

Jerry Brown wants to use pollution funds for bullet train
Los Angeles Times
Gov. Jerry Brown will ask state lawmakers to use funds raised from the sale of pollution credits to help pay for the state’s beleaguered high-speed rail program, according to sources familiar with the proposal who were not authorized to speak publicly about the plan.


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

Natural Gas/Coal/Alternative Fuels

Tohoku to Buy More U.S., Canada Coal to Cut Australia Reliance
Tohoku Electric Power Co., Japan’s third-biggest user of thermal coal, plans to increase imports from the U.S. and Canada to cut costs and reduce its reliance on Australian supplies.

Chevron wins conditional EPA approval in WA
Energy giant Chevron has received conditional approval to clear an additional 32 hectares of land on Barrow Island for the construction of Australia’s largest gas project.


Spain’s Solar Pullback Threatens Pocketbooks
The New York Times
Six years ago, Justo Cruz Rodríguez, who runs a small business here designing signs, was looking for a way to generate a steady, if modest, pension for himself and his father.

India Delays Solar Auction Bid Deadline for Second Time
India delayed the deadline for companies to submit bids in its next national solar auction for a second time after developers raised concerns about the ability of cash-strapped state utilities to pay for power.

China WindPower to Get $942 Million in Loans for Solar Farms
China WindPower Group Ltd. (182), an operator of renewable-energy projects with a market value of HK$5.62 billion ($725 million), said it will get as much as 5.7 billion yuan ($942 million) in loans from the China Development Bank Corp.’s Qinghai Branch for solar farms.

Cuomo Said Set to Push Speedy New York Power-Line Approval
Governor Andrew Cuomo will propose cutting the approval process for some new power transmission lines to 10 months from about four years to speed expansion of the grid to meet growing demand in the New York City area.

Morgan Stanley’s Atlantis Plans London Share Sale for Tidal Farm
Atlantis Resources Corp., a Morgan Stanley-backed maker of tidal turbines, appointed a former Bank of England and Royal Mail Plc director as it plans an initial share sale on London’s Alternative Investment Market.


Assessing Corporate Emissions Performance Through the Lens of Climate Science (December 2013)
Climate Counts.org and Cdnter 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

Maneuvering the Mosaic: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013 (Posted June 10, 2013)
Ecosystem Marketplace

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