President Obama delivers his final State of the Union address to joint session of congress
President Obama delivers his final State of the Union address to joint session of congress

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Oil price: Bear predicts $10 oil; BP cuts 4,000 jobs 

Standard Chartered became the latest major bank to downgrade its oil outlook to $10, joining Goldman Sachs, RBS and Morgan Stanley who made oil crash predictions over the last year.

Brent crude sank to $30.34 a barrel on Tuesday, nearing 12-year lows – leading to a “savage” new year sell-off as BP axed thousands of jobs and Brazil’s Petrobras cut tens of billions of dollars in spending.

The BP job cut count is at 4,000 – including 600 in its North Sea operations, a fifth of its 3000-strong workforce.

US: Solar employs more than oil and gas; Obama’s State of the Union attacks “dirty energy”

US solar now employs more workers than the oil and gas business, says a new report from the Solar Foundation. Last year, the US solar industry grew by 20% for a third year in a row, according to the foundation’s National Solar Job Census.

Obama gave his final State of the Union address yesterday, in which he urges an acceleration int he transition away from “dirty energy”. He derided climate deniers, acknowledged “entrenched interests”, and commended progress made in the last seven years on clean energy.

Carbon Brief have done a State of the Union address timeline, showing how climate and energy have featured since 1989. And David Roberts from Vox outlines how the renewable portfolio standard – state mandates that mandate a certain amount of renewables in the electricity mix – has fared over the years since it was implemented.

UK: Cameron defends climate policy against critics; no compensation for power cuts during floods, anti-fracking camp evicted

Prime minister David Cameron faced criticism over UK climate policy yesterday in a heated meeting of Parliamentary Liaison Committee – which he dismissed as “total, utter nonsense”.

Meanwhile an energy firm serving customers who lost power in the floods from Storm Desmond says they will not be compensated, despite receiving 22,000 applications for goodwill payments.

And Swedish energy giant Vattenfall has started work on its first UK solar project - at a wind site that has already been in operation for 14 years. They say co-locating wind and solar makes “technical sense”, as the wind and sun tend to generate clean power at different times.

WWF Scotland reports that 97% of Scottish electricity demand last year was provided by wind.

And a long-standing anti-fracking camp in Upton, near Chester, has been evicted, with nine arrests made.

China: Coal imports slump; authorities to battle Beijing stoves

China’s coal imports fell 30% last year – the most on record – to the lowest in four years as a slowing economy and government efforts to curb pollution hit demand. The contraction was the largest since 2004, when Bloomberg started tracking the data.

And Beijing will launch a battle against small coal stoves in family homes and businesses this year, as officials blame consumption of low-quality coal for contributing to winter smog. Haiyang Xing writes a first-person account in the New York Times of the impacts of coal stoves burning in the outskirts of the city.

In other news

IMF: Calls for carbon levy on ships and planes

Murdoch: Climate misinformer Rupert to marry climate hawk Jerry Hall

Carbon sink: UK tree-planting push could offset farming footprint – study

Gas: Indonesian energy company plans to resume drilling near mud volcano