Annual Badwater Ultra Marathon Held In Death Valley's Extreme Heat

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Climate: February breaks global temperature records

Happy monday folks. It’s a new climate record. Here’s The Guardian’s take “The result was “a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases”, wrote Jeff Masters and Bob Henson in a blog on the Weather Underground, which analysed the data released on Saturday.”

Our friends over at Climate Progress have all the climate charts you could ever need to make your twitter feed look clever on this whilst The Guardian (and others) keep the happy Monday spirit going with a piece explaining how global warming is leading to severe coral bleaching across the great barrier reef. Isn’t it great to be alive?

UK Nuclear: French state owned firm calls on French state to save UK energy policy by March 30

French nuclear firm EDF has called on the French state to provide the struggling utility with (even) more financial support – if it wants it to go ahead with plans to build the UK’s first new nuclear plant in a generation (Reuters). The firm has a new date of March 30th for a likely decision.

The move comes as the firm’s managerial union holds a ballot on the plans in the wake of the decision by EDF’s finance director to resign over the scheme. The press – however – is broadly coming to the same conclusion – the plan is a disaster, but will happen anyway.

The FT reports that EDF is at breaking point, the reactor design it plans to build mired in technical and safety problems and it’s finances stretched but politics will mean it pushes ahead regardless.

The Guardian notes that UK chancellor George Osborne has staked so much on this one project that his entire political carear now arguably hangs on a decision by the French government on whether or not to bail out a French company.

All of this fuss has led to a revival of interest in so-called “mini-nukes” with The Timesreporting on a group of “experts” calling on the chancellor to back this technology, instead of Hinkley.

China coal: Miners protest about lack of pay as over-capacity bites 

Thousands of Chinese coal miners marched through the streets of a mining town in northeastern China over the weekend protesting against unpaid wages, as China grapples with rising unemployment due to overcapacity in heavy industries – reports Reuters. 

Writing in CNBC the FT’s Lucy Hornby argues the protests amount to the first challenge for Beijing’s plans of an orderly downsizing of it’s coal sector.

Oil price: It’s stabilised, no really, honestly, as Eni Arctic production starts 

So. The oil price has gone up to around $40 and seems to be staying there, most media report. A detailed analysis in Bloomberg suggests the change in direction is down to a change in focus on behalf of oil buyers away from stocks and inventories and to (falling) production.  Indeed here is the latest data on supply and demand from the IEA.

Another factor may be the rise in demand from India. Whilst the flat-lining of demand from China has done much to calm the oil price (or indeed send it to reverse) evidence that India is set to accelerate it’s oil consumption could do the reverse. All of which may provide some justification for the otherwise odd decision by Italian oil giant ENI to start pumping oil from arctic waters.

Still calling the oil price is a mugs game. As this short history of unsuccessfully calling a bottom in the oil price shows.

In other happenings:

UK Budget: Chancellor urged to invest public money in renewable energy

Air Pollution: Coal fired plants no longer need proof of pollution standards for permits

And finally: How a big battery could cut your energy bills by 70%