Climate Central: 2015 Begins With CO2 Above 400-PPM Mark

The new year has only just begun, but we’ve already recorded our first days with average carbon dioxide levels above 400 parts per million, potentially leading to many months in a row above this threshold, experts say.

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography records of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels show that Jan. 1 was the first day of the new year above that concentration, followed by Jan. 3 and Jan. 7. Daily averages have continued at this level or higher through Jan. 9, though they could continue to dance up and down around that mark due to day-to-day variations caused by weather systems. But even with those fluctuations, 2015 will likely see many months above 400 ppm, possibly starting with the very first month of the year.

LA Times: Obama's Move to Cut Methane Emissions May Hinge on the Economy

As President Obama tries to build an enduring legacy on climate change, he is finding that the biggest obstacle in his path may not be his many critics in Congress or lawsuits from oil companies but the precarious state of the economy.

That much was clear in the White House announcement Wednesday of what it framed as an audacious effort to cut by nearly half the greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas production. Although the plan provoked predictable angry reactions from energy firms, it ultimately reflected an administration that is treading cautiously on its signature environmental cause, wary of disrupting -- or even being perceived of disrupting -- the boom in domestic energy extraction driving the economic recovery.

IBT: Tesla Motors Stock Sheds $18 Overnight After CEO Elon Musk’s Detroit Visit

Tesla Motors Inc.’s share price dropped 9 percent to $185.60 in pre-market trading Wednesday, after CEO Elon Musk said China sales were down in the fourth quarter and that the maker of the Tesla Model S luxury electric car isn't likely to turn a profit for years. The stock rebounded to around $190 after the opening bell.

“I expect we’ll achieve profitability in 2020,” Musk said Tuesday at the Automotive News World Congress event during the 2015 North American International Auto Show’s press days, adding that he expects to build “a few million cars” a year by 2025, up from less than 40,000 last year. By comparison, Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, took 77 years to reach annual production of about 10 million vehicles, achieved in 2014.

IEEE Spectrum: Can Methane Act as a Storage Medium for Renewable Energy?

Researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany have demonstrated a novel method of converting the outputs of biogas facilities into methane. The new type of methanation plant can fit inside a standard shipping container, and could be combined with renewable energy production as a means of storing the excess and intermittent supply that is inherent to wind and solar power.

“As conventional methanation processes reach their limits at this point, we have developed a new reactor concept,” said Siegfried Bajohr, the leader of the new project.

Financial Times: Off the Grid

At 255-257 Pearl Street in lower Manhattan, there is only a discreet bronze plaque to honor one of the world’s most historic sites: the first commercial centralized power station. Thomas Edison opened his first plant here in 1882 to serve New York’s financial district, and the global spread of electrification, with all the enormous changes that has brought, has mostly followed his model. Until now.

Spurred by falling costs and government incentives, U.S. homes and businesses are producing more of their own power, a trend that threatens the business model of centralized generation that has dominated the industry, in the U.S. and the world, for 130 years.