In this edition, reports from Australia indicate a global cap-and-trade link could be one step closer. Carbon tax-focused Australia may become the first developed nation to test the idea that a link with the European Emissions Trading System would lead to a functioning global cap-and-trade CO2 market. Meanwhile, the U.K. faces an embarrassing fine as the European Commission threatens to file a lawsuit for failing to meet air pollution limits on nitrogen dioxide. It’s against that backdrop that U.K. Chancellor George Osborne makes headlines, urging a move past the “ideological” opposition to nuclear power and shale gas. As for U.S. environmental politics, the Nebraska Keystone ruling could just allow the White House to put off the pipeline decision until well clear of the mid-term elections.

Quote of the Day:

“Externality must have a price and once that price is identified and determined, then it has to be dealt with either by way of incentives, or by way of taxation, or by way of cap-and-trades, or by way of auctions. There are multiple ways of dealing with it, but it has to be dealt with.”

–International Monetary Fund Head Christine Lagarde, speaking to the ABC in Sydney.

Lead Stories

Nebraska ruling could grant Obama breathing space on Keystone
A Nebraska judge’s ruling on the Keystone XL pipeline could let President Barack Obama delay his final decision on the project until after mid-term elections and avoid political damage, analysts say.

TransCanada Confident of Keystone Pipeline Plan
The Wall Street Journal
TransCanada Corp.CEO Russ Girling said Thursday a potential setback dealt by a Nebraska court to its proposed Keystone XL pipeline is disappointing, but he called the ruling a “solvable problem” that won’t deter the company from pursuing the controversial project.

North America summit: Can ‘Three Amigos’ be friends on energy?
The Christian Science Monitor
The ‘Three Amigos’ at Wednesday’s North American Leaders Summit Meeting will have a lot to talk about when it comes to energy. The region is in the middle of an oil and gas boom, and analysts say better cooperation between the three NAFTA countries on energy could help grow their economies.

Australia prepares reverse auction approach to replace carbon tax
After imposing the highest carbon tax in the world, Australia was primed to become the first developed nation to test the idea that a link with the European Emissions Trading System would lead to a functioning global cap-and-trade CO2 market and more efficient carbon abatement.

IMF keen to see Aust climate plan
ABC/AAP/Climate Spectator
The head of the International Monetary Fund looks forward to hearing the Abbott government’s plans to combat climate change and hopes the nation remains a pioneer on the issue. Christine Lagarde appreciates there are different approaches to handle “environmental degradation”, which she said is classified by economists as an external cost.

EU Threatens U.K. With Lawsuit for Air Pollution Breach
The European Commission threatened to file a lawsuit against the U.K. for failing to meet air pollution limits on nitrogen dioxide, a gas that can cause respiratory problems.

Air pollution: European commission launches legal action against the UK
The Guardian
The UK faces fines of up to £300m a year and embarrassing court appearances after the European commission launched legal proceedings against it for failing to reduce “excessive” levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air pollution from traffic, despite 15 years of warnings and several extensions and postponements granted to the government.

Enemies Of The Forest Beware: The Whole World Is Watching
Ecosystem Marketplace
There are plenty of satellites keeping electronic eyes on forests, but the high-resolution ones don’t fly that often and the ones that fly often can’t see so good. But a new platform combines sophisticated algorithms and high-speed computing with the power of crowdsourcing to provide near real-time monitoring of all the world’s forests.

Latin American Katoomba Meetings Aim To Turbocharge Climate Talks
Ecosystem Marketplace
This is the 20th year that climate negotiators meeting under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are meeting to try and end global warming, and Peru will host this year’s talks. As a run-up, it’s also hosting the 20th Katoomba Meeting in April – one of two Katoombas taking place in Latin America this year. Here’s a preview of these two meetings and how we’ll be covering them.

Natural capital takes center stage at GreenBiz Forum 2014
Whether or not you really like the phrase, the issue of “natural capital” is one weighing far more heavily on the minds of sustainability executives as more businesses consider the elusive task of valuing vital resources such as water, soil, forests, biodiversity and even clean air.

George Osborne wants climate change tackled as cheaply as possible
The Guardian
Climate change should be tackled in “as cheap a possible way”, George Osborne said on Thursday as he called on environmentalists to drop their “ideological” opposition to nuclear power and shale gas.

Bulgarian Environment Minister Praises Controversial Green Policies
Bulgaria’s Environment Minister says Azerbaijan can learn from the rich Bulgarian experience in waste management.
Minister Iskra Mihaylova’s comment came during an official visit of the Prime Minister’s delegation to Baku, where the two countries are seeking closer ties.


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


California senate leader: Carbon tax would return revenue to poor, transit
A carbon tax proposal outlined on Thursday by California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg would raise an estimated $3.6 billion in its first year, revenue he said would go into the pocketbooks of the state’s poorest residents as well as public transportation.

Natural Gas/Coal/Alternative Fuels

Veresen gets license to export Canadian gas for U.S. LNG project
Veresen Inc said on Thursday that Canada’s National Energy Board had approved its request for a license to export natural gas for a U.S. liquefied natural gas project.

Exxon CEO Joins Suit Citing Fracking Concerns
The Wall Street Journal
One evening last November, a tall, white-haired man turned up at a Town Council meeting to protest construction of a water tower near his home in this wealthy community outside Dallas.

In parched states, fracking’s thirst grows
Los Angeles Times
In this parched farming region, where the land flattens out and every drop of water is precious, another player has lined up at the spigot.

Op-Ed: Don’t Sell Cheap U.S. Coal to Asia
The New York Times
FROM where I live on Orcas Island in Puget Sound, north of Seattle, I can see Cherry Point across the wind-whipped waters of the Salish Sea. This sandy promontory jutting into Georgia Strait has become the focus of heated debate here in the Pacific Northwest.

The Coal Plant an Illinois Town Couldn’t Give Away
How much is an old coal power plant worth? With natural gas production booming and environmental rules looming, in Illinois the answer is clear: It can be hard to even give one away.


Japan May Cut Solar Tariff by 14% as Operating Costs Decline
Japan may cut its tariff on purchases of solar power by 14 percent to reflect the lower costs of operations and maintenance, according to estimates by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Suzlon Considers Foreclosure on Illinois Wind Farm
Suzlon Energy Ltd. (SUEL), the Indian wind-turbine maker in default on $209 million of bonds, may take over one of Illinois’ biggest wind farms if it’s unable to collect a loan it made for the project. That would stymie two years of efforts by the cash-strapped manufacturer to recover money it needs to pay its own creditors.

CLP’s India Wind Unit Seeks Private Equity Funding: ET
CLP Wind Farms (India) Pvt., a unit of Hong Kong billionaire Michael Kadoorie’s CLP Holdings Ltd. (2), seeks to raise as much as $200 million to fund expansion, the Economic Times reported, citing two people it didn’t identify.

Brazil power firm Cemig mulls bid for stake in Colombia’s Isagen
Brazilian electricity company Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais Cemig is considering buying a stake in Colombia’s third-biggest power generator Isagen SA, the latest step by Brazil’s second-biggest power utility to expand in fast-growing markets and segments.


China to spend $330 billion to fight water pollution -paper
China plans to spend 2 trillion yuan, or $330 billion, on an action plan to tackle pollution of its scarce water resources, state media said.

Dry Fields, Dirty Water
Circle of
America’s 20th century experience with water and food perfectly reflected a growing nation and its productive agricultural economy. Citizens agreed on national goals. Legislation was approved. Mammoth public investments were made. The result was that from one end of the country to the other water flowed free and clean from elaborate water works — great western dams, reservoirs, and transport canals, deep Great Plains wells and giant spider-like sprinklers, and from thousands of pumps and miles of pipes.

Governor Jerry Brown’s Response to California Drought Follows Two Paths
Circle of Blue
Governor Jerry Brown, joined by state water and emergency managers and Democratic leaders, proposed yesterday to spend $US 687 million this year to help California communities endure the state’s worst drought in the last half millennium. Roughly 80 percent of the money will complete unfinished water projects and build new facilities that treat and reuse water.


Cities support more native biodiversity than previously thought
The rapid conversion of natural lands to cement-dominated urban centres is causing great losses in biodiversity. Yet, according to a new study involving 147 cities worldwide, surprisingly high numbers of plant and animal species persist and even flourish in urban environments — to the tune of hundreds of bird species and thousands of plant species in a single city.


State of Green Business 2014

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

View all reports >


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