Huge Snow Storm Slams Into Mid Atlantic States

Oil: Ups and downs

All that freezing weather in the northern hemisphere had oil men feeling hopeful over the weekend as prices rose to $32 a barrel – but it was short-lived. At the risk of sounding repetitive, the price of oil has slipped again, by 4% on Monday.

The value of debt issued by junk-rated US energy companies has plummeted, which means investors are bracing for a wave of bankruptcies. (paywall)

And it’s a similar picture across the pond as energy company insolvencies in the UK have jumped. A recent study shows at least 28 companies declared insolvency in 2015, up from 18 the previous year and just six in 2013. (paywall)

Elsewhere in the UK, North Sea drilling has slowed to a level unseen for at least 16 years, and experts say the oil price crash means Wales will likely be fracking free for at least a decade.

Meanwhile in Russia, tanking oil prices and pesky US-led sanctions might be scuppering Putin’s oil-fuelled global ambitions, as production increases but prospects look increasingly unpromising. In Soviet Russia, oil burns you. (paywall)

Finally the Economist asks, ‘Who’s afraid of cheap oil?’, unpicking exactly what the oil price drop is doing to the global economy and why this time is different to any dip we’ve seen before.

In other news

Super solar: The International Solar Alliance (which sadly isn’t a team of caped superhero vigilantes, but a much more mundane group of 121 solar rich countries headquartered in India) will apparently raise $1trn for the advancement of solar. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the man who pioneered a solar-powered attempt to fly around the Earth has come out in favour of the UK government’s 65% cuts to domestic solar subsidies. The solar industry aren’t impressed.

How’s my supplying? UK energy companies have been getting an earful from their customers, with complaints up 500% since 2012. Scottish Power was the biggest target for consumer ire.

Dieselgate: Volkswagen probe finds that emissions cheating was an ‘open secret’ in the engine development department, dating back as far as 2006.

Vietnam: The Vietnamese PM has announced a halt to all new coal power development, citing the need to meet international commitments on reducing emissions.

Green London: The Green Party has called for the London Mayor to set up its own energy company as part of TfL (Transport for London), generating and buying clean energy to power London travel and provide affordable energy to fuel-poor Londoners.

‘Inflammatory rhetoric’: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau takes Leonardo DiCaprio to task for his diatribe against corporate greed as the cause of climate change. Apparently Leo needs to tone it down.