US: Keystone returns as TransCanada sues over White House rejection
TransCanada, the corporation behind the recently rejected Keystone XL pipeline project, has launched twin lawsuits against the US government, reports The New York Times.
In one action, taken via the notorious corporate courts associated with trade agreements such as NAFTA and TTIP, TransCanada is after $15bn in damages.
In the other, filed in Houston, Texas, it is hoping to see President Obama’s decision – which it says was ‘arbitrary and unjustified’ – overturned.
Meanwhile the massive methane leak in suburban Los Angeles has prompted California Governor Jerry Brown to declare a ‘state of emergency,’ reports the BBC.
More than 2,000 families have been moved from their homes because of the leak which began in October, and looks likely to continue for months still.
Onto the election. Inside Climate has done an analysis wherein it outlines the probable role of energy and climate change in the race to the White House.
Climate Home reports on the oil lobby’s intention to get involved in the election, in particular a ‘voter education campaign’ to be run by the American Petroleum Institute.
And, according to a new study, conservative US think tanks have increased their attacks on climate science in recent years.
Finally, on the Democrats side, Bloomberg takes note of Obama’s comprehensive energy efficiency push, referring to 43 rules that will deliver the biggest energy savings of any administration ever.
China: Stock market in trouble as oil price plummets
At just 30 minutes, today was the shortest trading day in the 25 year history of the Chinese stock exchange, reports the BBC.
The 7% fall, which triggered a trading shutdown just as it did on Monday, suggests another financial crisis brewing in Asia, which will likely have a knock-on affect on commodity markets.
The US is already feeling the fear over China, with oil futures falling to new lows,reports Bloomberg.
Elsewhere the Chinese government has published its latest load of pollution data, with Beijing reportedly 6.2% better off in 2015 than it was in 2014. Expect the latest edition of the Energydesk city rankings soon.
Fortune magazine have written up an interesting piece on the significance of the smog ‘red alert’ system.
And Reuters reveals that China is building underground caverns to hold its expanded strategic oil reserves.
UK: Govt defends flood defences
Environment Agency bosses have responded to criticism for their handling of the flooding crisis that hit the UK this winter, reports the BBC.
And David Cameron, challenged on the floods during Prime Minister’s Questions, insisted that no flood defence scheme has been cut since 2010, reports Business Green.
That isn’t true by the way. As Labour MPs tweeted, the Leeds flood defence scheme was scrapped in 2011.
Onto energy. The FT reports that seven UK coal plants have signed up for EU emissions limits, meaning that the government will probably have to step in to shut them down if it is to fulfil the ‘coal phaseout by 2025′ promised by Amber Rudd late last year.
And as The Times points out, the UK generated more power in 2015 from solar panels than it did from hydro-electric stations – and wind turbines generated more than both of them combined.
In other news
Climate: Droughts and heatwaves cause 10% drop in annual crop harvests, reports Carbon Brief.
US: Last year’s wildfire season was the worst on record, reports Climate Central.