The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.

Clean energy defies fossil fuel price crash to attract record $329bn global investment in 2015

Clean energy investment surged in China, Africa, the US, Latin America and India in 2015, driving the world total to its highest ever figure, of $328.9bn, up 4% from 2014’s revised $315.9bn and beating the previous record, set in 2011 by 3%.

The latest figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance show dollar investment globally growing in 2015 to nearly six times its 2004 total and a new record of one third of a trillion dollars (see chart on page 3), despite four influences that might have been expected to restrain it.

These were: further declines in the cost of solar photovoltaics, meaning that more capacity could be installed for the same price; the strength of the US currency, reducing the dollar value of non-dollar investment; the continued weakness of the European economy, formerly the powerhouse of renewable energy investment; and perhaps most significantly, the plunge in fossil fuel commodity prices.

SoCal Gas Knew Aliso Canyon Wells Were Deteriorating a Year Before Leak

Southern California Gas Co. knew of deteriorating wells at its underground methane storage facilities and warned state regulators of the risks almost a year before a massive, uncontrolled leak was discovered at its Aliso Canyon unit on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

The gas company disclosed the risk as part of a state regulatory filing and requested a rate increase to pass along the cost of more inspections and well repairs to customers. The regulators and the gas company failed to act.

Paris Treaty Could Broaden EPA’s Authority Over Greenhouse Gases

A decades-old and little-used provision of the Clean Air Act intended to make the United States a good environmental neighbor could now be employed to comprehensively control the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new analysis.

Authored by a team of professors, attorneys and environmental scholars specializing in climate change, the study analyzes a section of the Clean Air Act intended to safeguard international borders from air pollution. Their prescription could provide the most potent approach for achieving the targets of the Paris climate agreement, the analysts say.

New Mexico’s Biggest Power Plant Sticks with Coal. Partly. For Now.

When New Mexico utility regulators decided to partially close the state’s largest coal-fired power plant in December, they punted the controversial discussion of how long the state should rely on coal.

The San Juan Generating Station provides about a third of the state’s power. During more than two years of caustic debate, the plant became a battleground over the state’s long-term energy future. Coal formed the center of the controversy.

“This is probably the landmark case for New Mexico,” Commissioner Karen Montoya of the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission told InsideClimate News last spring. “It could determine generation in New Mexico for years to come.” Montoya was part of the majority of commissioners who voted 4-1 for the deal on Dec. 16.

Study finds toxic pollutants in fish across the world’s oceans

A new global analysis of seafood found that fish populations throughout the world’s oceans are contaminated with industrial and agricultural pollutants, collectively known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The study from researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego also uncovered some good news: concentrations of these pollutants have been consistently dropping over the last 30 years. The findings, reported in the Jan. 28, 2016 issue of the journal PeerJ, were based on an analysis by Scripps researchers Lindsay Bonito, Amro Hamdoun, and Stuart Sandin of hundreds of peer-reviewed articles from 1969-2012. The pollutants studied included older ‘legacy’ chemicals, such as DDT and mercury, as well as newer industrial chemicals, such as flame retardants and coolants.

Model explains huge recurring rainstorms in tropical Indian and Pacific oceans

El Niño is fairly well understood, and by now it’s a household word. But another huge system in the tropical Indian and Pacific oceans, which wreaks similar havoc in world weather, is relatively unknown and is just beginning to be explained. University of Washington scientists have published a mathematical model that could help explain and forecast the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a massive cluster of thunderstorms that plays a role in global weather.

Human impact has created a ‘plastic planet,’ research shows

Evidence suggests Earth is entering an ‘Age of Plastic’ Plastics can travel thousands of miles and get caught up in ‘oceanic garbage patches’ If all the plastic made in the last few decades was clingfilm there would be enough to put a layer around the whole Earth Plastics are so durable and widespread that they will form fossils to persist into the Earth’s far future Planet Earth’s oceans and lands will be buried by increasing layers of plastic waste by the mid-century due to human activity, according to research led by the University of Leicester.

At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.

 

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