By Tom Randall

Good morning, and welcome back to the Griddle, a menu of fortified items for the busy person's media diet. Today's Sustainability indicator is $40 billion. That's the amount that international oil and gas producers and state-owned companies will pay in 2013 to get at increasingly difficult-to-reach deposits in the Middle East. The number is rising, up 18 percent from last year, Bloomberg News reports. The story of renewable energy is often framed by how low the price of wind and solar will fall. Today's indicator reminds us of the competing dynamic: how high will the price of oil climb as rising nations compete for harder-to-reach supplies?

And now the news:

U.S. Climate Stance is `Blowing Negotiations Apart' in Durban (Bloomberg)
Two-Degree Global Warming Limit: ‘Prescription for Disaster’ (Scientific American)
Coal-Powered Plants Losing Race for American Power Generation (Politico)
The Big Challenge for a New Egypt: Water (Guardian) 
Patagonia Takes Out Ad Against Itself: Microplastics in the Ocean (Grist)
Unilever, AstraZeneca, Nike, Siemens Win Top Climate Ratings (GreenBiz)
Weather Extremes Skewing U.S. Crop Forecasts (Bloomberg) 
Extreme Weather Disasters in U.S. Reach Record Number in 2011 (Bloomberg)
GM Said to Near Possible Volt Fix (Reuters)
U.K. Biomass Push Sought by Government Advisors (Guardian)
Outrage Grows Over Air Pollution in China (NY Times) 
Half of Boston Fish are Mislabeled at Restaurants, Grocery Stores (Boston Globe)
Berkshire Buys $2 Billion Power Project in Solar Bet (Bloomberg)

-0- Dec/09/2011 16:48 GMT
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