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Energy

World's Biggest Investment Fund Considers Divesting From Fossil Fuels

By Julia Conley

Environmental advocates on Thursday applauded the latest organization to shift away from continued support of the fossil fuel industry—Norway's national bank.

In a move 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben called "astonishing," Norges Bank, which oversees the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, advised the Norwegian government to dump all of its shares in oil and gas companies, leaving those entities out of its $1 trillion fund.

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Jennifer Woodard Maderazo / Flickr

Oregon and Washington Join 20 Countries to Phase Out Coal by 2030

Even though the Trump administration used its only public forum at the COP23 climate talks in Bonn to promote coal, it's clear that many individual U.S. businesses, cities and entire states would rather keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Oregon and Washington state have joined a new global alliance to phase out coal and switch to cleaner power sources to avoid dangerous climate change and to stay below the 2°C target set by the landmark Paris climate agreement two years ago.

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Renewable Energy
Solar home designed by University of Maryland students for the Department of Energy's 2017 Solar Decathlon. DOE Solar Decathlon

Subsidizing Coal and Nuclear Power Could Drive Customers Off the Grid

By Joshua M. Pearce

Within the next month, energy watchers expect the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to act on an order from Energy Sec. Rick Perry that would create new pricing rules for certain power plants that can store fuel on site to support grid resilience. This initiative seeks to protect coal-fired and nuclear power plants that are struggling to compete with cheaper energy sources.

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Trump Watch
Thuli Makama

Protestors Halt Trump’s 'Clean Fossil Fuels' Panel at COP23, Dismissed as 'Promoting Tobacco at a Cancer Summit'

By Andy Rowell

Donald Trump's attempts to promote so called "false solutions" at the UN climate conference in Bonn backfired badly Monday.

The U.S. delegation had organized the event, "The Role of Cleaner and More Efficient Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power in Climate Mitigation," to promote what many see as "false solutions" to climate change, such as nuclear, the misnomer of "clean coal" and carbon capture and storage or CCS.

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Climate
Bloomberg Philanthropies / YouTube

Shadow U.S. Climate Delegation Promises World #WeAreStillIn Paris Agreement

A group of U.S. leaders, including California Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, reaffirmed the country's commitment to its Paris agreement targets this weekend at the COP23 talks in Bonn, Germany. U.S. senators, governors, mayors, state senators and business leaders reiterated at the U.S. Climate Action Center that the U.S. is "still in" the Paris agreement.

Some senators also met with international officials to assure them that they, along with state elected leaders, will not only challenge Trump's agenda, but that cities and states are making progress on their own. On Saturday, Bloomberg and Brown presented "America's Pledge," which will capture and quantify emissions reductions by cities, states, universities and businesses.

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Analysis: Global CO2 Emissions Set to Rise 2% in 2017 After Three-Year ‘Plateau’

By Zeke Hausfather

Over the past three years, global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have remained relatively flat. However, early estimates from the Global Carbon Project (GCP) using preliminary data suggest that this is likely to change in 2017 with global emissions set to grow by around two percent, albeit with some uncertainties.

Hopes that global emissions had peaked during the past three years were likely premature. However, GCP researchers say that global emissions are unlikely to return to the high growth rates seen during the 2000s. They argue that it is more likely that emissions over the next few years will plateau or only grow slightly, as countries implement their commitments under the Paris agreement.

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Insights
Sierra Club / Beyond Coal Campaign

People Power Will Move Europe Beyond Coal

By Mary Anne Hitt and Bruce Nilles

As leaders of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, we've experienced first-hand the power of grassroots movements and civil society to profoundly change the world for the better. We celebrate the news that allies from across Europe are joining together to launch Europe Beyond Coal, a coalition that will advance the work of NGOs across Europe to move beyond coal to clean energy. The U.S. Beyond Coal Campaign has been instrumental in retiring half the coal fired power plants in the U.S. and ushering in the clean energy revolution, and we welcome the progress that will undoubtedly be matched by our colleagues across the pond.

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Picking Losers: Why Coal and Nuclear Interests Are Desperate for a Ratepayer Bailout

Without Energy Sec. Rick Perry's scheme to make utility customers buy more expensive electricity from aging, dirty and dangerous coal and nuclear plants, utilities plan to close 75 coal and nuclear units in the next three years, according to federal data compiled by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

A new EWG report, Picking Losers, analyzes data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing that since 2009, solar power capacity has grown by a factor of 89 and wind power capacity has increased sixfold. But coal and nuclear capacity have declined or stagnated, as the rapidly declining cost of solar and wind power—among other factors, including the glut of natural gas and increased energy efficiency—are driving coal and nuclear plants out of the competitive wholesale market for electricity.

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Trump Watch
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt visited the USS Lead Superfund in East Chicago, Indiana. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency / YouTube

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Scott Pruitt's Dysfunctional EPA

By Rachel Leven

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt doesn't hide his contempt for how the agency has been run, but does profess to care about one of its key programs: Superfund, which oversees the cleanup of the nation's worst toxic-waste sites. In April, he toured a site in East Chicago, Indiana, contaminated with lead and arsenic, and told residents, "We are going to get this right."

The following month, Pruitt—Oklahoma's attorney general before he joined the EPA—tapped one of his former donors, banker Albert "Kell" Kelly, to find ways to accelerate and improve Superfund cleanups. Kelly started by consulting career staff members —often-knowledgeable officials who work at the agency regardless of who holds the White House. But then Kelly closed off the process, conferring with Pruitt to produce a final plan that altered or excluded many of the staffers' suggestions. Gone, for example, was the idea that EPA officials be identified early on to lead discussions with communities on how contaminated land should be used after cleanup.

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