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Coal & oil: Australia approves Abbott Point expansion, 11-year oil low, US gets export ready

The Australian government’s approval of the expansion of an existing coal port at Abbot Point in north Queensland will make it one of the world’s biggest coal ports. The expansion is key to the success of Indian firm Adani’s Carmichael project.

Meanwhile oil producers are trying to pump each other into extinction as the oil price crashes to an 11 -year low. The weakness in commodity prices has also been partly due to the US Federal Reserve rising interest rates for the first time in nine years, and the US decision to end a four-decade ban on crude oil exports.

Congress also approved a five-year extension of tax credits which support solar, wind and other renewables.

Renewables: US boom expected, Musk writes to VW, China FiT for distributed solar

Experts predict the tax credit extension in the US will create a renewables boom, with solar and wind expected to benefit the most.

Elon Musk and a host of Silicon Valley leaders have written to Volkswagen to suggest that they work on becoming a zero- emissions car company, instead of trying to “fix cars that cannot all be fixed”.

And in China, feed-in-tariff reforms will place fresh emphasis on distributed solar – to make use of the many thousands of square kilometres of industrial rooftop space.

Nuclear: £3bn losses for Toshiba, China secures Canada uranium, India site for Russia

Toshiba, whose operations extend from desktop printers to nuclear power stations, said it will cut 6,800 jobs in the company’s unit focusing on consumer products, such as personal computers and televisions, as it attempts to focus on nuclear energy.

Meanwhile China’s getting hold of a Canadian uranium supply and India is expected to offer a site in Andhra Pradesh for a Russian nuclear power plant.

Climate change: Water, dams and data

California, which has suffered a drought over the last four years, is bracing for storms and floods over the winter. How to store the water that comes for farmers is their next big challenge.

Climate change is affecting the world’s lakes – from Bolivia’s Lake Titicaca to Russia’s Lake Baikal, says a new study. Each decade they warm by about 0.34C, generating potentially toxic algal blooms.

And data is being used by scientists to not only monitor climate change, but to help provide solutions. Here’s a look at climate change as “the ultimate data challenge”.