Synergy in Energy: Learn more about topics ranging from the future of solar energy to the politics of US energy today at Columbia University’s annual energy symposium. Learn more about the event, including schedule, panelists, and how to participate here.
Exxon Feels the Heat for Possible Climate Change Lies: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he is launching a legal probe into Exxon’s climate denial. The inquiry will look into both consumer and investor protection laws, covering the oil giant’s activity dating back to the 1970s. Schneiderman’s investigation could open “a sweeping new legal front in the battle over climate change,” says the New York Times, which broke the story. Two separate reports by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times uncovered that Exxon has known about the dangers of climate change since the 1970s but sowed doubt by funding climate change skeptics to preserve its business. Exxon has been compared extensively to the tobacco industry, which was convicted of racketeering in 2000 for deliberately deceiving the public about the dangers of its products. (NewsNew York Times $, Washington Post $, PoliticoInsideClimate NewsMother JonesFinancial Times $, The HillTIMEDallas Morning News, PRIReutersThink ProgressMSNBC, Houston ChronicleWall Street JournalForbes, Bloomberg, NPRMashableNew York MagazineDallas Business JournalSan Antonio Express NewsPhys.orgIB Times $, Buzzfeed, AFPChristian Science MonitorSlateLos Angeles Times $, Fortune, VICE NewsQuartz, Climate HomeUS News & World ReportThe GuardianUSA TodayHuffington PostE&E News $. CommentaryNew York Times, Timothy Egan column $, Gizmodo, Alissa Walker columnDaily Beast, Mark Hertsgaard op-ed)

Global Majority Wants Limit on Emissions: The vast majority of the global population supports putting a limit on greenhouse gas emissions, although the level of concern about climate change varies, a new poll from Pew shows. The survey sampled people in 40 countries, and in every one except for Pakistan, the majority want to curb emissions. In some of the world’s biggest emitters, including the US, Brazil, and China, the majority was overwhelming, with up to 88 percent of respondents in favor. Fears about climate change were the strongest in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, two regions expected to be highly impacted by rising global temperatures. Drought and extreme weather were the most common concerns linked to climate change worldwide. (New York Times $, The GuardianNewsweekVOA News, Washington Post $, AP)

Countries Agree to HFC Phaseout Deal: Nations meeting about the Montreal Protocol this week agreed to seek an amendment to the protocol that would significantly reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons - a common refrigerant and powerful greenhouse gas. The use of HFCs is currently increasing 10-15 percent per year, making them the fastest growing greenhouse gas in much of the world. The amendment, the details of which will be flushed out next year, could avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming by mitigating as much as 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050. The Montreal Protocol is the only UN treaty that all 197 countries are party to. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said she thinks the progress made on HFCs will be a catalyst for the Paris climate talks next month. (News: Reuters, Climate Home, Carbon Pulse. Commentary: Huffington Post, Durwood Zaelke op-ed, Business Spectator, Greg Picker op-ed)

Climate Change and Extreme Weather Collide: Climate change influenced at least 14 specific extreme weather events in 2014, a  new study shows. The report, featuring the research of 32 groups of scientists, found that temperature extremes are most attributable to human-caused climate change. Specific 2014 extremes linked to climate change include devastating floods, increased frequency and severity of heat waves, the drought in East Africa, and an extreme snowstorm in the Himalayas, which killed 43 people. (News: APNew York Times $, Climate CentralThe HillMashableSydney Morning Herald $, AFPUSA TodayCarbon BriefPhys.org. CommentaryMother Jones, Tim McDonnell column)

Action Abroad, Windfalls at Home: The US has already benefited by more than $200 billion from other nations’ existing climate policies, and that number could rise to $10 trillion by 2050, according to a new report from New York University. Opponents of climate action often cite economic costs, but the report notes, “the United States already stands to gain more from global efforts on climate change than proposed US regulations would cost.” The report uses the “social cost of carbon,” which is the estimated economic cost of every additional ton of CO2 emitted, for its calculations. (Think ProgressMother JonesHuffington PostWashington Post $)
US News
  • Warming is increasing wildfire risks in California (Climate Central)
  • Berkeley assesses greenhouse emission reduction efforts (San Jose Mercury News)
  • Bernie Sanders: Climate change is a ‘major planetary crisis’ and the US must act now (Think Progress)
  • Utah’s Bishop would restrict feds from buying more land in the West (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • US review of banks could spell trouble for energy companies (Reuters)
  • Apache posts multibillion-dollar loss as oil production slips (Fuel Fix)
  • Biofuel needs $70 oil to compete, says DuPont (Financial Times $)
  • Nuclear power plants warn of closure crisis (The Hill)
  • Climate change to transform Arizona into coastal state (Phoenix New Times)
  • Hillary Clinton: Climate change has contributed to refugee crises, including Syria (CNN)
  • Iowa activists demand war on climate change (Des Moines Register, Motherboard)
  • Bitterly cold winters less likely for East Coast (Climate Central)
  • Texas cattle, land, forests also part of Paris conference climate agenda (Texas Climate News)
  • Climate change made Arctic Alaska hospitable to snowshoe hares, study says (Alaska Dispatch News)
  • ‘Big ideas’: Jim Justice on climate change (Charleston Gazette Mail)
  • Lobsters thriving as ocean warm because of climate change (Dispatch Tribunal)
  • Bringing the climate fight to the courtroom, permission slips in hand (Seattle Weekly)
  • McKibben sees political shift on climate (E&E News $)
  • Biologist: Climate change clouds trail ahead (Coeur d’Alene Press)
  • Cardinal: Climate change affects all, regardless of wealth or privilege (Catholic News Service)
  • Poll: `Francis Effect' influences US Catholics on global warming (Commonweal)
  • Rubio proposes cutting 'outdated' gas tax by 80 percent (The Hill)
  • Regulators say banks and investors still hold too much in problematic loans (Wall Street Journal $)

World News
  • Look beyond emissions gap to see full force of climate pledges, says UNEP report (Carbon Brief, The Guardian)
  • Exxon CEO denies misleading public about climate change (InsideClimate News)
  • Saudi forum seeks to scale up carbon capture and storage (Climate Home)
  • Treasury tax plans will 'decimate' UK's community energy projects (The Guardian)
  • Canada's tar sands pipelines navigate a tougher political landscape (InsideClimate News)
  • How the world is saving itself from coal even without a UN prod (Bloomberg)
  • Green Climate Fund approves first 8 projects (Carbon PulseReuters, Climate Home)
  • A controversial NASA study says Antarctica is gaining ice. Here’s why you should stay skeptical (Washington Post $)
  • El Nino hits dinner table as food costs soar most in 3 years (Bloomberg)
  • "Peak demand" means world may never see oil at $100 a barrel again (Reuters)
  • Trudeau signals climate policy a priority with selection of ‘strong’ new minister, cabinet committee (National Post)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership Text: Climate change not addressed, trade deal confirms 'worst nightmares' for environment, environmental groups say (IB Times $, Washington Post $, Financial Times $)
  • Renewable energy supply to double in major economies by 2030 (Reuters)
  • Manitoba, Ottawa, to talk GHG emissions prior to Paris climate-change conference (Winnipeg Sun)
  • Brazil has battled for decades to halt the Amazon's destruction (Reuters)
  • Hundreds attend Vancouver climate change rally (Vancouver Sun)
  • Sweden looks to tax airlines over climate change (Xinhua)
  • Insects should be part of a sustainable diet in future, says report (The Guardian)
  • Russia lays foundations for carbon regulation amid calls for action (Reuters)
  • Legendary Belgian brewery Cantillon faces problems as climate change ruins traditional brewing methods (Independent $)
  • Climate change warning labels may be coming to gas pumps (Vancouver Sun)
  • Oil slump forces deep cuts by service providers (Wall Street Journal $)
  • All electricity in Austria's largest state now produced from renewables (AFP)
  • The man who would be the first climate change refugee (BBC)
  • Decarbonisation risks sidetracking Paris pact, says ex-UN climate chief (Climate Home)
  • China should stop adding new coal-fired power plants - state researchers (Reuters)
Koonin's Misplaced Adaptation Advocacy
 
The New York Times recently featured an op-ed by former Energy Department Undersecretary for Science and former Chief Scientist for BP, Steven Koonin. In it, Koonin makes some well-known points about climate science, mentioning that emissions remain in the atmosphere for a while after they're released and that emissions reductions get less effective as CO2 concentrations increase in the atmosphere. It's worth noting, though, that the experts at And Then There’s Physics take issue with the more technical aspects of Koonin's science.
 
After making these basic points, Koonin then makes a swift jump to some unsupported conclusions. He argues that—because of those two facts—mitigation will be difficult and that adaptation is critical. 
 
On a basic level, this idea should come as a surprise to no one. No one thinks this challenge will be met easily. But to focus on adaptation over mitigation means we would constantly be adapting to continually worsening conditions. For example, as sea levels continue to rise, we would have to keep building sea walls higher and higher. 
 
This is summarized perfectly by Eli Rabett, who ends his response post with his four laws of climate change: 
 
1. Adaptation responds to current losses
2. Mitigation responds to future losses
3. Adaptation plus future costs is more expensive than mitigation,
4. Adaptation without mitigation drives procrastination penalties to infinity
 
If we follow Koonin's advice, we may save money on mitigation in the short-term, but eventually we'll be spending big just to keep our heads above water. 

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