New York Times: China Cancels 103 Coal Plants, Mindful of Smog and Wasted Capacity

China is canceling plans to build more than 100 coal-fired power plants, seeking to rein in runaway, wasteful investment in the sector while moving the country away from one of the dirtiest forms of electricity generation, the government announced in a directive made public this week.

The announcement, made by China’s National Energy Administration, cancels 103 projects that were planned or under construction, eliminating 120 gigawatts of future coal-fired capacity. That includes dozens of projects in 13 provinces, mostly in China’s coal-rich north and west, on which construction had already begun. Those projects alone would have had a combined output of 54 gigawatts, more than the entire coal-fired capacity of Germany, according to figures compiled by Greenpeace.

Christian Science Monitor: Why the EPA Nominee Could Be a Political Wrecking Ball

When new presidents come to the White House, the pendulum of federal environmental action tends to swing, and under Donald Trump it may take an unusually wide shift -- seen especially in passing responsibility to the states.

State empowerment stands out like no other theme as a guiding light for Scott Pruitt, who faces a confirmation hearing today as President-elect Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mr. Pruitt’s strict interpretation of the United States Constitution, and of the limits of federal authority, undergirds his track record of challenging major EPA regulations as unconstitutional power grabs, while serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general.

PV Magazine: Renewable Energy Advocates Slam Utilities for Slow Progress Under REV

With its multiple proceedings covering arcane aspects of the electric grid and theoretical discussions of compensation mechanisms, New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) process has been notoriously lacking in concrete developments.

Even when such developments occur, they may not bring all that has been promised in terms of support to transform the distribution grid. Last week both SolarCity and Advanced Energy Economy Institute (AEEI), which is representing several trade groups, filed comments on utility plans to move toward transformation of the distribution grid under the Supplemental Distribution System Implementation Plan (DSIP).

Huffington Post: White House Puts in $500 Million More to Help Poor Countries Fight Climate Change

The Obama administration on Tuesday delivered a second payment of $500 million to the Green Climate Fund, an international effort meant to help the world’s poorest countries combat the effects of climate change.

The move, announced just three days before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, brings the total support from the United States to the fund to $1 billion and solidifies Obama’s efforts to combat the phenomenon during his administration, which he has called the greatest long-term threat facing the world.

Obama pledged in 2014 to contribute $3 billion in total funding by the end of the decade, despite deep opposition from Republicans in Congress. But the president was able to circumvent congressional approval, and both this payment and last year’s were funded through the State Department.

Stratfor: Elections Loom in Ireland as Political Crisis Over Renewables Intensifies

Northern Ireland will hold snap elections March 2, following the collapse of power-sharing negotiations on Jan. 16 between the coalition government's two parties, the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein and the pro-U.K. Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The two parties have been at odds over a botched green energy scheme, introduced by DUP leader and Northern Irish First Minister Arlene Foster when she was enterprise minister in 2012. The scheme, which was intended to encourage Northern Irish businesses to rely more on renewable energy, instead incentivized companies to waste fuel -- at a cost to taxpayers of nearly 500 million pounds (or at least $650 million).