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Deforestation in Indonesia

These must be rough days for climate change fatalists. Solar and wind power costs have plunged. Companies compete for climate bragging rights. The United States is increasingly arguing about disputable policy approaches instead of indisputable scientific facts. There's just a lot going right.

More than 20 years after diplomats and environmentalists started getting together every year to generate fat United Nations documents and bad geopolitical vibes, smaller-scale climate policies are taking hold in places like China, the U.S., Mexico.

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Plastic Rocks: Today's Top Reads

Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:

  • China wants to feed UN projects to its new CO2 market (Bloomberg)
  • Tom Steyer’s slow, and ongoing, conversion from fossil-fuels investor to climate activist (Washington Post)
  • Researchers race to save coral in Miami (NY Times)
  • Shark Park, DNA seen as best chance of conservation (Bloomberg)
  • As forests are cleared and species vanish, there’s one other loss: a world of languages (Guardian)
  • I just want to say one word to you: Plastiglomerate (Scientific American)
  • Could changing waterways make world trade dry up? (GreenBiz)
  • Dust in the wind could speed Greenland’s ice melt (Climate Central)
  • The rise of private ‘luxury’ mass transit buses (CityLab)
  • Japan to press for resumption of annual whale hunt (BBC)

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G-7 Nations Vow to Produce Climate Pledges by March

Bloomberg BNA — Seven of the world's top economies pledged they will “lead by example” to produce an ambitious international climate accord by putting their pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions on the table by March 2015, well ahead of talks later that year where the deal is to become final.

The statement, offered by Group of Seven leaders at the conclusion of their June 4-5 summit in Brussels, also acknowledged the increasing challenge of energy security in Europe following Russia's annexation of Crimea in March. Russia's move led to the cancellation of the previously scheduled meeting of top economic powers in Russia.

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From Carbon to Cash: Today's Top Reads

Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:

  • Texas cash-from-carbon program lures climate skeptics (Bloomberg)
  • Putting a price tag on nature’s defenses (NY Times)
  • The collateral damage of NYC’s bike share program: Bike shops (Bloomberg)
  • First tar sands oil shipment arrives in Europe amid protests (Guardian)
  • Global renewables report card, map highlight China (Climate Central)
  • New York's table scraps belch methane in De Blasio plan for green power (Bloomberg)
  • Inside San Francisco’s quest to recycle all trash by 2020 (GreenBiz)
  • Could this gigantic ocean plastic clean-up machine actually pick up our ocean trash? (Fast Company)
  • Fish can help slow down global warming – but not if we keep eating them (City Lab)

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Citi Bike Stations

Charlie McCorkell supported New York’s Citi Bike program from the beginning, as one of the bicycle-sharing network’s founding members. But he’s also the owner of several local bike shops. This presents a problem.

While he still supports Citi Bike “philosophically,” on a more practical level, he says, the year-old program is hurting his business.

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Green Drones: Today's Top Reads

Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:

  • Hydrogen fuel finally graduating from lab to city streets (Bloomberg)
  • China coal spending of $21 billion seen risked by climate rules (Bloomberg)
  • Climate treaties like Kyoto aren't coming back: Ex-UN Climate Chief (Bloomberg)
  • Ship operators propose drones to hunt sulfur scofflaws (Bloomberg)
  • Yes, drones really can help the planet (GreenBiz)
  • Great Barrier Reef authority approves dredge spoil dumping from Hay Point (Guardian)
  • After summer fires, El Nino could bring severe flooding to the West (ClimateWire)
  • Americans who mistrust climate scientists take cues from global temperatures (Scientific American)
  • Risk posed by china mountain removal (BBC)
  • In a first, test of DNA finds root of illness (NY Times)

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Republicans Plan to Attack Over EPA Rules In Fall Elections

Republicans Intend to Focus on EPA Rules In Fall Elections

Bloomberg BNA —House and Senate Republicans tell Bloomberg BNA they intend to make the Environmental Protection Agency's newly proposed power plant carbon dioxide standards a key issue in the fall 2014 midterm elections.

Many Senate Democrats, meanwhile, say their party can fight “misleading” attacks on the regulations, touting the public health benefits of the proposal and allowing candidates from coal-reliant regions space to push back against the regulation in their campaigns.

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Bloomberg BNA — China is reportedly studying a timeline for an absolute cap on carbon dioxide emissions, as it prepares climate change policies to include in its forthcoming 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), although an announcement of such a policy is premature, analysts told Bloomberg BNA June 4.

The policies are expected to include measures to meet a previous carbon intensity target, as well as expansion of pilot plans on capping coal-consumption and moving toward a national carbon emissions trading system (ETS) as part of the country's overall climate change policy.

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Climate Treaty Like the One Gore Signed Isn't Coming Back

President Barack Obama's newly proposed power plant CO2 rules ignited coal-fired rage in some parts of the U.S. this week. From abroad comes muted applause and relief.

The U.S. announcement could tilt the goal of UN climate change negotiations, away from an "international, legally binding" treaty, to a patchwork of national commitments. Pacts like the Kyoto Protocol, which the U.S. Senate blocked by a 95-0 vote in 1997, are probably a thing of the past, said former UN climate chief Yvo De Boer. He is now director-general of the Global Green Growth Institute in Seoul.

De Boer and I spoke last week about the Obama administration's plans and the highly anticipated UN negotiations in Paris at the end of 2015. Preliminary talks are being held in Bonn, beginning today.

Q: Is it still realistic for climate negotiators to want an "international, legally binding" treaty? Was it ever realistic if the U.S. always opposed one?
A: If a country enters into a legally-binding commitment and they back away from it, what do you do? Arrest the prime minister? "Nationally legally-binding" is much stronger. I think we've moved beyond Kyoto-style agreements. Hopefully in Paris we will see countries make ambitious pledges to limit or reduce emissions.
Q: What's the significance of the prosed U.S. power plant rules for the UN negotiations?
A: They're very significant because they can potentially demonstrate how the United States will give meaning to its ambitions. If the U.S. feels that ``internationally legally binding'' has little value, and that the real value lies in legally-binding national commitments, then these regulations can be the way for the U.S. to show leadership.
Q: What's the deal with American Republicans and climate change?
A: I remember George W. Bush at the beginning of his first term being extremely critical of climate change as an issue. I remember Condoleezza Rice joyfully calling the EU ambassadors into her office and saying Kyoto was dead. And by the end of the second term, Bush was saying that climate change was a global issue that requires a global response. So we all have our learning curves and conservatives are not immune to learning.
Q: Do you think people are getting UN climate talks fatigue? The wrangling seems endless.
A: I think they are. I often have the feeling that the climate talks are a lot like those terrible American soap operas where every episode is incredibly exciting but if you don’t watch for 2 years, you don’t miss anything. That's why I think political leaders engaging in the UN Secretary-General's [September] summit, and political leadership in Paris, is so critical.
Q: How important are the U.S. and China to an agreement?
A: Everything revolves around China and the United States. Much of what is agreed in Paris will flow from a U.S.-Sino willingness to engage.
Q: How can organisations like your own, the Global Green Growth Institute, add to the global effort to fight climate change?
A: What the GGGI does is help countries to assess where climate policy makes sense, and where it doesn't, and how they can turn that understanding into real policies and programs, that they can then go out and look for financing for.
Q: What ways do you see for countries to increase ambition to tackle climate change pre-2020?
A: Increasing pre-2020 ambition is incredibly difficult. Most countries are just beginning to emerge from the economic crisis. Money is tight in many parts of the world and often environmental policy is seen as making money tighter.

Morales covers climate change and renewable energy for Bloomberg News in London.

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Souring the Climate Rule: Today's Top Reads

Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:

  • Coal will survive as efficient power plants boost demand (Bloomberg)
  • China pledges to limit carbon emissions for first time (Guardian)
  • What would happen if the rest of the world had a diet like the U.S.? (Fast Company)
  • Can California rule in energy storage? (EnergyWire)
  • Texas needs biggest cut to comply with climate plan (Bloomberg)
  • Why clean tech will win big from carbon rules (GreenBiz)
  • Hurricane season's start brings new storm surge maps (Climate Central)
  • Politics may sour cap-and-trade sweeteners in climate rule (Bloomberg)
  • The centuries-old technology behind the solar roadways campaign (Forbes)
  • Summer flounder stirs North-South climate change battle (Daily Climate)

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About The Grid

Nations and companies face rising competition for strategic resources — energy, food, water, materials — and the technologies that make best use of them. That's sustainability. It's about the 21st-century race for wealth, health and long-term security, across the global grid.

Analyses or commentary in this blog are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloomberg News.

Eric Roston, Editor
eroston@bloomberg.net

Tom Randall, Deputy Editor
trandall6@bloomberg.net

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