Time: Fossil Fuel Divestment Has Kicked into Overdrive
A movement that began on college campuses to reverse investments in fossil-fuel companies is now measuring its impact in the trillions.
More than 400 organizations and 2,000 individuals across the world with $2.6 trillion in assets have pledged to divest from fossil-fuel companies, according to a new report from Arabella Advisors, a consultancy firm for philanthropies. A year ago, the total amount of assets being divested from fossil-fuel companies was just $50 billion.
Climate Central: Number of U.S. Coal Mines Falls to Lowest on Record
Reports of coal-mining companies going bankrupt -- at least 26 have done so since 2009 -- come frequently these days as natural gas use rises at electric power plants and climate policy puts coal mine investors on notice for the future.
So it may come as no surprise that the number of new coal mines opening each year in the U.S. has fallen to its lowest point in at least a decade, and the total number of operating coal mines has hit its lowest point on record, according to a report released Wednesday from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Records date back to at least 1923.
Vox: The New Senate Democratic Energy Bill Is a Wonk’s Dream
In anticipation of the pope's visit to Washington, and to signal their support of Obama's agenda at climate talks in Paris this December, Senate Democrats have released a new bill: the American Energy Innovation Act of 2015.
There are subtitles on upgrading the grid, protecting customer energy information, boosting basic research, and increasing efficiency in buildings, to cite just a few. It creates a national Energy Efficiency Resource Standard! It puts the Federal Trade Commission in charge of prosecuting unfair trade barriers to distributed energy! It creates a program to study recycling of carbon fiber! (Wait, what?)
LA Times: U.S. Taxpayers Duped Into Shelling Out $51 Million in Green Subsidies for 'Clean' VW Vehicles
The federal government paid out as much as $51 million in green car subsidies for Volkswagen diesel vehicles based on falsified pollution test results, according to a Times analysis of the federal incentives.
On Friday, federal and state regulators said the German automaker used software in 482,000 of its diesel vehicles since the 2009 model year to cheat on U.S. emissions tests. Environmental Protection Agency officials said Monday that the U.S. Department of Justice is also investigating.
The Times analysis matched Internal Revenue Service data with Volkswagen sales figures to determine the value of subsidies VW diesel buyers were eligible to collect in 2009, the first and only year the vehicles qualified. The $1,300 tax credit would have been available to buyers of about 39,500 Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen models that sold that year, according to Motor Intelligence, an industry research firm.
New York Times: Pope Francis, in Washington, Addresses Poverty and Climate
Pope Francis quietly but forcefully made his priorities clear during his first full day in the United States on Wednesday, urging in a pair of speeches a renewed emphasis on tackling global poverty, confronting climate change, caring for migrants and providing a welcoming church that is pastoral rather than doctrinaire.
President Obama welcomed the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics with the fanfare of trumpets and a show of solidarity, escorting him onto a red-carpeted stage at the South Portico of the White House and praising his moral authority that “comes not just through words but also through deeds.”