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Coal: Nobody wants to buy it anymore

News that China and India’s coal imports are falling rapidly couldn’t have come at a worse time for the global industry.

In an article on Energydesk, we examine why this signals yet another annus horribilis for the sector, and for coal exporting countries like Australia and Indonesia in particular.

This follows another analysis of the crisis coal find itself in, with Joe Smyth detailing the myriad of consequences and causes of Arch Coal’s bankruptcy earlier this week: Why it decided to double its CEO’s pay despite facing ruin, and whether it will clean up the mess its mines have left.

As Grist writes: ‘It sucks to be the coal industry right now’.

Meanwhile Obama’s State of the Union pledge to improve management of fossil fuel developments on federal land will be put to the test as his government is set to decide by January 27 whether it will lease two coal mine sites in Wyoming, reports Reuters.

Reuters also reports that global mercury emissions fell 30% from 1990 to 2010, in part because of falling coal use.

Renewables: Everyone is investing in it now

2015 was a record breaking year for renewable energy investment, new data from Bloomberg shows, with nearly $330bn going towards wind and solar projects around the world.

The study from the financial firm’s New Energy Finance division has China dominating clean energy investment and the UK out in front in Europe.

Bloomberg has written up another piece explaining just how this happened in what could have been a terrible year for renewables.

And in the US, it looks like wind and solar will get even more investment in the year ahead following the renewal of tax credits in the omnibus spending bill a month ago.

Meanwhile the Nevada government has savaged its flourishing solar sector, in a decision that may play a pivotal role in the presidential election, reports Think Progress.

Actorvist Mark Ruffalo even turned out to testify in support of challenging the government’s plan to raise the rates of rooftop solar, reports The Reno Gazette-Journal.

Oil: New projects are getting shelved

$400 billion worth of new oil and gas projects have been put on hold since the price crisis broke out around 18 months ago, reports The FT.

But Premier remains un-deterred, and will North Sea oil assets held by EON, reports the Wall Street Journal.

And if you want to read a pretty excellent data-driven explainer of the oil price crisis then try this from Bloomberg Gadfly.

In other news

Nuclear: The US congress has passed a bipartisan bill promoting research and development and funding for advanced nuclear reactor technology, reports The Hill.

Meanwhile EDF is set to make the final decision for Hinkley nuclear power plant on January 27, according to Le Figaro.

Utilities: The falling price of wholesale energy has driven down costs for UK energycompanies to a five-year low, writes the BBC.

The Mirror points out that the savings were largely not passed on to British households, and criticises energy bosses for their obscene pay.

Climate: Carbon emissions may delay the next ice age by 50,000 years, Carbon Brief explains.