Valerie's Feed
May 12, 2015

U.S. offers over $35 mln for hard-hit coal communities

PIKEVILLE, Kentucky, May 12 (Reuters) – The United States
has released $35.5 million to help communities hit hard by the
decline in coal mining to diversify their economies and retrain
displaced miners, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said on
Monday.

Perez announced the move at the Shaping our Appalachian
Region (SOAR) summit in eastern Kentucky, a region hard hit by
the downturn in the U.S. coal industry. He said funds would be
available to “communities that have laid the groundwork” by
launching initiatives to jumpstart new industries and
opportunities to branch out from coal mining.

May 7, 2015

Midwest states eye carbon trading to meet EPA targets

By Valerie Volcovici

(Reuters) – Even as some of them fight Washington’s new
clean air regulations in court, coal-reliant Midwestern states
are asking the Obama administration to provide rules for an
emissions trading platform that would help them meet the federal
greenhouse gas standards.

Late last month, a coalition of power companies, regulators
and green groups known as the Midwestern Power Sector
Collaborative (MPSC) asked the Environmental Protection Agency
to create ground rules for states that want to trade carbon
emissions permits with other states, an option it feels would
offer one of the cheapest options to meet the agency’s proposed
Clean Power Plan.

May 6, 2015

Bank of America’s new policy to limit credit exposure to coal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Bank of America announced Wednesday it will reduce its financial exposure to coal companies, acknowledging the risk that future regulation and competition from natural gas pose on the industry.

The bank announced its new coal policy at its annual meeting, saying it would cut back its lending to coal extraction companies and coal divisions of broader mining companies.

May 4, 2015

Exclusive: World Bank’s pension investments clash with principles

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank indirectly invests part of its $18.8 billion staff pension fund in companies in industries such as coal and tobacco, holdings that clash with the development institution’s own calls for ethical and low-carbon investing.

In an internal post to staff seen by Reuters, the World Bank’s treasurer said around 40 percent of the fund’s equity holdings are actively or passively invested against equity index funds, which include companies in industries associated with environmental and health problems.Two World Bank sources, who asked not to be identified, showed Reuters discussions between staff and managers on an internal site and a research note produced by employees. The note expressed concern about the pension and gave details of the holdings, questioning why the bank does not use socially responsible alternatives.

May 4, 2015

World Bank’s pension investments clash with principles

WASHINGTON, May 4 (Reuters) – The World Bank indirectly
invests part of its $18.8 billion staff pension fund in
companies in industries such as coal and tobacco, holdings that
clash with the development institution’s own calls for ethical
and low-carbon investing.

In an internal post to staff seen by Reuters, the World
Bank’s treasurer said around 40 percent of the fund’s equity
holdings are actively or passively invested against
equity index funds, which include companies in industries
associated with environmental and health problems.

Apr 17, 2015

India takes “significant step” in HFC decision: US envoy

WASHINGTON, April 17 (Reuters) – India’s surprise decision
to agree to phase-down the use of a potent greenhouse gas after
years of opposition is a “significant step” toward global action
to address climate change, the U.S. State Department’s climate
change envoy said Friday.

India on Thursday proposed an amendment to the United
Nations’ Montreal Protocol, which calls on countries to phase
out their use of HFCs, gases used in refrigerators, air
conditioners and insulating foams that are a highly potent form
of greenhouse gas emissions.

Apr 9, 2015

Washington blackout highlighted aging electrical grid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The fact that a severed transmission line in Maryland could cut power to much of the nation’s capital became the latest warning sign that the country’s aging electrical grid can’t meet modern demands.

Tuesday’s widespread power outage came just weeks before the Department of Energy (DOE)is expected to release recommendations for modernizing the country’s electricity infrastructure. The department recently spearheaded a 15-month review that examined the country’s energy transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure.

Apr 8, 2015

Bloomberg charity donates $30 million to shutter U.S. coal plants

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) – Former New York Mayor
Michael Bloomberg’s charity has injected another $30 million
into an environmental campaign to halve the number of U.S.
coal-fired power plants by 2017, it said on Wednesday.

The donation by Bloomberg Philanthropies to the Sierra
Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign adds to a $50 million pledge it
made in 2011. The campaign has contributed to the closure of 187
coal plants to date.

Apr 6, 2015

‘Green’ political donor vows climate agenda push in 2016 U.S. race

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Environmental activist and billionaire Tom Steyer served notice on Monday that he will use his wealth to try to bring climate change into the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, vowing to target Republican hopefuls who deny the connection between burning fossil fuels and rising global temperatures.

Steyer’s NextGen Climate political action committee launched what it calls the Hot Seat campaign aimed at calling out Republican candidates for taking money from the billionaire Koch brothers. The group will target Senator Rand Paul, who is expected to launch his presidential campaign on Tuesday.

Apr 2, 2015

Canada passed on U.S.-Mexico climate announcement: sources

WASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada declined a U.S. invitation last week to jointly announce climate policy cooperation with Mexico, with Ottawa saying it has not yet finalized its own domestic strategy, sources from both countries familiar with the discussions said on Thursday.

On March 24, three days before the United States and Mexico announced they would partner on a high-level bilateral clean energy and climate policy task force, U.S. officials approached Canadian counterparts asking them to join the effort, three sources said.