Annual Badwater Ultra Marathon Held In Death Valley's Extreme Heat

Top stories

1) 2015 to be warmest year on record, say climate scientists. Do something, top British institutions tell governments

It’s been the hottest June and the hottest first half year since records began, say scientists from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Not only have temperatures been rising to unprecedented heights, but they have been rising at unprecedented rates. “We are on an escalator and there is no sign of it slowing down” a spokesman for NOAA said.

Meanwhile a coalition of the UK’s most eminent scientific, medical and engineering bodies say immediate action must be taken by governments to avert the worst impacts of climate change. Lord Nicholas Stern said the UK had a special responsibility to lead the fight against climate change:  “The UK led the world with both the modern scientific revolution and the industrial revolution, and must lead again now on the creation of a safer, cleaner and more prosperous world,” he said.

And Sir David King – the UK climate envoy – has said that fourth-largest emitter India should peak its emissions “this side of 2035″.

2) Solar and wind: India’s targets, UK solar survival, US wind inefficient, SunEdison “supermajors” itself by buying Vivint

A UN official has said India could lead the world in clean energy judging from its targets – which are way ahead of others. And investors are looking optimistic – they are expected to pour $15 billion into India’s wind energy sector by 2020.  A letter in the Wall Street Journal hits back at wind energy efficiency – saying wind is just not a reliable energy source despite 100% accurate forecasting.

In the UK, the big question is all about the survival of solar as subsidies are set to be cut before the burgeoning industry is able to stand on its own. Solar is second in line for the chopping block – after onshore wind (which is still the cheapest renewable energy in the country).

The news comes as SunEdison – currently the best energy bet in the world (said a bunch of hedgefunds via Forbes the other week) is about to reinforce its position as one of the “supermajors” of the solar industry with the $2.2. billion purchase of rooftop solar panel installer Vivint Solar.

3) Shale revolutionaries: pay us back, say Wall St lenders. Refracking funds for Halliburton; methane concern in FT letter

Wall Street lenders are growing impatient with the US shale revolution, threatening a cash crunch in an industry that’s more dependent than ever on other people’s money. The $50/barrel oil price is clearly starting to bite.

Meanwhile oil services provider Halliburton is cutting costs, has bought its competitor Baker Hughes Inc to cope with a fall in demand – and has secured $500 million from BlackRock for “refracking” old wells.

And a letter in today’s FT revives the old question of unmonitored methane emissions from shale gas wells. Because the Bush administration exempted fracking from the Clean Air Act, meaning no proper monitoring has taken place – and methane is worse for the climate than CO2 when unburned.

In other news:

Batteries: Boeing warns on air freight of lithium batteries in passenger jets due to fire hazards

Solar lights: Woman brings solar lamps to rural India

Stockholm car ban: One day car ban for Swedish capital

Arctic ice: Grew by a third” after cool summer of 2013

Fossil fuels: Are making carbon dating impossible