Wonkblog: The Hummer is back. Thank falling oil prices.
Over the last month, auto analysts say, consumers have shown a fresh interest in the kind of SUVs -- Hummers, Lincoln Navigators, Ford Explorers -- that typified America’s bigger-is-better mindset of twenty years ago. The new mindset among some car buyers is one of the most unexpected consequences of a domestic oil boom that has helped cause global crude prices to plummet in recent months, with the cost of a gallon of gas now below $3 in many areas of the U.S.
Bloomberg: KiOR Files Bankruptcy, Plans Sale
Biofuel producer KiOR Inc. (KIOR) filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware, with a plan to sell its assets to affiliates of billionaire backer Vinod Khosla if no better offer emerges.
The company listed consolidated assets of $58.3 million and debt of $261.3 million as of June 30 in Chapter 11 documents filed yesterday. It owes about $77 million to Alberta Investment Management Corp. and about $159 million to senior lenders owned and controlled by Khosla, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems Inc.
Guardian: What Plummeting Oil Prices Mean for Renewable Energy
Will solar, wind and biomass buckle under the pressure of the low-priced petroleum glut?
Historically, lower fossil-fuel prices have impacted renewable energy resources in a manner akin to kryptonite, as in the 1980s and 1990s when nascent solar, wind and geothermal markets in California keeled over as North America suddenly became awash in cheap oil and natural gas. But energy markets' dynamics have changed in the 21st century.
Politico: The Democrats' Favorite Denier
Jim Inhofe isn’t a scientist -- and when it comes to climate change, he doesn’t give a damn.
The longtime Oklahoma senator is the Hill’s most flamboyant critic of climate research, denouncing the concept of human-caused global warming as a “hoax” and a “conspiracy.” Now that he’s about to take charge of the committee that oversees environmental policy, Democrats aspire to make Inhofe the face of GOP know-nothingism, while at least one Republican consultant says his style of skepticism could create headaches for candidates up and down the ticket in 2016.
Guardian: The Real Story of U.S. Coal: Inside the World's Biggest Coal Mine
In the world’s biggest coal mine, even a 400-tonne truck looks like a toy. Everything about the scale of Peabody Energy’s operations in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming is big, and the mines are only going to get bigger -- despite new warnings from the United Nations on the dangerous burning of fossil fuels, despite Barack Obama’s promises to fight climate change, and despite reports that coal is in its death throes.
Boston Globe: NStar Seeks 29 Percent Hike in Electric Rates
NStar on Friday became the second utility in recent weeks to deliver a winter shock to Massachusetts energy consumers, asking state regulators for an average 29 percent increase in electric bills starting in January.
The price increase for electricity comes at a time when other energy costs are dropping, and the country is experiencing a boom in natural gas production. Gasoline prices are at their lowest levels in almost four years, and home heating oil prices are about 40 cents a gallon below last year’s prices.