US Treasury ends international funding for coal-fired power plants

A summary of today’s top climate and clean energy stories.
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Source: Flickr/Greg Goebel

Source: Flickr/Greg Goebel

US: In an aggressive move to impose President Obama’s environmental policies overseas, the Treasury Department on Tuesday largely declared an end to United States support for new coal-fired power plants around the world. The decision means that Mr. Obama’s administration will no longer contribute to coal projects financed by the World Bank and other international development banks. (NY Times)

US: Saying that the West Coast must lead the way in battling climate change, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington, along with a representative of the premier of British Columbia, signed an agreement Monday committing the Canadian province and the three states to coordinate global-warming policies. (Mercury News)

Australia: Australia’s 5% emissions reduction target is “not a credible option” and must be increased, possibly to 15% or 25%, the independent Climate Change Authority has found in recommendations posing a huge challenge for the Coalition’s Direct Action policy. (Guardian)

UK: The anti-fracking movement could potentially stop drilling in the UK, according to Gaslands film director Josh Fox, who cited protests in the US that have brought fracking developments to a standstill. (Guardian)

Research: Nearly a third of the world’s economic output will come from countries facing “high” to “extreme” risks from the impacts of climate change within 12 years, according to a new report. The Climate Change Vulnerability Index, an annual report produced by UK-based risk analysis firm Maplecroft, found that climate change “may pose a serious obstacle to sustainable economic growth in the world’s most commercially important cities.” (CNN)

France: French energy giants Total and EDF said they were joining forces with French research institutes and schools to create a solar energy research institute south of Paris, with a 150 million euro ($206.5 million) budget. (Reuters)

US: The debate over the Keystone XL pipeline has gotten pretty heated and Kinder Baumgardner has an idea to cool the emotions: a really long bike path. The creative director for the SWA Group, an Houston-based architectural firm that designed Google Inc.’s corporate campus, says building the lane along Keystone’s path through the country’s mid-section could turn what is now a source of rancor into a tourist attraction. (Bloomberg)

EU: Lithuania, holder of the EU presidency, has made a new proposal to weaken rules on how much carbon new cars can emit from 2020, in line with demands from Germany and its luxury manufacturers, EU diplomats said. (Reuters)

Iceland: The UK has failed to adopt a leading role in the Arctic, claims the President of Iceland. Speaking yesterday in London at the Poles Apart conference hosted by the Royal United Services Institute, President Olafur Grimmson said that the UK had fallen behind the other major economies in the extent of its Arctic engagement. (RTCC)

China: A chronic shortage of natural gas is hurting China’s plan to move away from burning coal to heat homes and offices, raising the prospect of more choking air pollution this winter and beyond. (Reuters)

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