Interior Nominee Zinke Disputes Trump on Climate Change

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Donald Trump’s choice to head the Interior Department on Tuesday rejected the president-elect’s claim that climate change is a hoax, saying it is indisputable that environmental changes are affecting the world’s temperature and human activity is a major reason. “I don’t believe it’s a hoax,” Rep. Ryan Zinke told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee at his confirmation hearing. “The climate is changing; man is an influence,” the Montana Republican said. “I think where there’s debate is what that influence is and what can we do about it.”

Utility plans vote on New York offshore wind project

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

A New York utility is set to vote later this month on a plan to construct an offshore wind farm off eastern Long Island. The Long Island Power Authority says the 90-megawatt, 15-turbine wind farm 30 miles east of Montauk would be the largest offshore wind project built to date.

On Climate Change, Even States in Forefront Are Falling Short

Source: By Eduardo Porter, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

State policies were always bound to play a central role in the decarbonization of the American economy. But with a president-elect who has asserted that climate changes a Chinese hoax, promised a bright future for fossil fuels and vowed to undoPresident Obama’s climate strategy, their choices have become more important than ever. And yet for all the pluck of the Golden State’s politicians, California is far from providing the leadership needed in the battle against climate change. Distracted by the competing objective of shuttering nuclear plants that still produce over a fifth of its zero-carbon power, the state risks failing the main environmental challenge of our time.

A Big Test for Big Batteries

Source: By DIANE CALDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Utilities have been studying batteries nationwide. But none have moved ahead with the gusto of those in Southern California. This idea has far-reaching potential. But the challenge of storing electricity has vexed engineers, researchers, policy makers and entrepreneurs for centuries. Even as countless technologies have raced ahead, batteries haven’t yet fulfilled their promise.

China cementing global dominance of renewable energy and technology

Source: By Michael Slezak, The Guardian • Posted: Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

“At the moment China is leaving everyone behind and has a real first-mover and scale advantage, which will be exacerbated if countries such as the US, UK and Australia continue to apply the brakes to clean energy,” he said. “The US is already slipping well behind China in the race to secure a larger share of the booming clean energy market. With the incoming administration talking up coal and gas, prospective domestic policy changes don’t bode well,” Buckley said.

Obama puts offshore North Carolina on wind energy map

Source: By Daniel J. Grabber, UPI • Posted: Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Thousands of acres offshore North Carolina are set aside for potential wind energy in one of the final moves under the Obama presidency, the government said. “This is a significant milestone for North Carolina and our country as we continue to make progress on diversifying our nation’s energy portfolio,” Walter Cruickshank, the acting director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said in a statement. Acting under a climate action plan adopted by President Barack Obama, the BOEM said it was setting aside 122,405 acres offshore North Carolina for a March 16 lease for wind energy developers. The lease area in question begins about 24 nautical miles off the coast of Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Climate Won’t Be the Only Priority for Democrats in Pruitt Hearing

Source: By Jack Fitzpatrick, Morning Consult • Posted: Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator nominee Scott Pruitt will face more scrutiny over air toxicity and possible conflicts of interest than over the polarizing topic of climate change during his confirmation hearing next week, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told reporters Thursday. Questions about Pruitt’s opposition to the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards could come from embers of both parties more than the topic of climate change, Whitehouse said after a press conference on Pruitt’s nomination.

Not even Trump can easily reverse our progress on climate change

Source: By David Ignatius, Washington Post • Posted: Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

“There’s no question that we are moving to a lower-carbon economy,” Moniz said in an interview in his Washington office. “What’s happening is largely a market-driven phenomenon. . . . There is no status quo ante.” Moniz is an example of the brainpower and expertise that will walk out the door when the Obama administration leaves office Friday. He’s a nuclear physicist for MIT who has been involved in government energy projects for two decades.

Trump’s Tax Reform Will Threaten Wind-Financing Deals, Spur M&A

Source: By Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Lower taxes would drive down businesses liabilities. The aggregate U.S. corporate tax liability would plunge as much as 57 percent, if the rate falls to 15 percent, or by 28 percent if the rate is reduced to 25 percent rate, according to the Marathon report. That could significantly curb businesses’ need for tax credits. It would also drag down wind developers’ after-tax internal rates of returns, by 80 basis point to 240 basis points, Marathon determined.

Scientists have a new way to calculate what global warming costs. Trump’s team isn’t going to like it.

Source: By Chelsea Harvey, Washington Post • Posted: Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

How we view the costs of future climate change, and more importantly how we quantify them, may soon be changing. A much-anticipated new report, just released by the National Academy of Sciences, recommends major updates to a federal metric known as the “social cost of carbon” — and its suggestions could help address a growing scientific concern that we’re underestimating the damages global warming will cause.