New York Times: 2015 Was Hottest Year in Recorded History, Scientists Say

Scientists reported Wednesday that 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history by far, breaking a record set only the year before -- a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world.

In the contiguous United States, the year was the second-warmest on record, punctuated by a December that was both the hottest and the wettest since record-keeping began. One result has been a wave of unusual winter floods coursing down the Mississippi River watershed.

Bloomberg: Gulf Countries' Savings Put at $87 Billion With Renewable Energy

Gulf countries stand to save as much as $87 billion from lower oil and natural gas consumption if they achieve goals for renewables use by 2030, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Meeting Gulf Cooperation Council targets for solar and other renewable energy could also create an average of 140,000 jobs a year, with 207,000 people employed in 2030, the Abu Dhabi-based Irena said in a 96-page report released Wednesday. The goals may already be pushed back, with Saudi Arabia, the largest of the GCC’s six member countries, delaying its target completion date for renewables by eight years to 2040.

Utility Dive: 2016 Is the Year That Could Transform Utility Business Models in NY

If 2015 was the year that New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative captured the imagination of the utility sector, 2016 could be the year some of its dreams start to materialize.

In April 2014, the New York Public Service Commission kicked off the REV initiative with a groundbreaking straw proposal. In it, the staff of the regulatory body laid out a vision for the regulated utility as a “Distribution System Platform (DSP) Provider” -- akin to an air traffic controller that coordinates and facilitates the deployment of various distributed energy resources (DERs) on the grid.

Reuters: Wall Street in Relentless Selloff as Oil Prices Sink

Wall Street moved deep into the red on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 hitting its lowest since February 2014 and extending this year's selloff as oil prices continued to plummet unabated.

The rout was across the board: all 30 Dow components and all 10 major S&P sectors were in the red, with nine down more than 2 percent. The small-cap Russell's 2000 index .RUT fell 3.6 percent.

The New York Stock Exchange recorded 1,387 stocks hitting new 52-week lows, while 866 sank to new lows on the Nasdaq, the most on a single day since Aug. 24 for both exchanges.

Guardian: How Cities Are Getting People to Ditch Their Cars

Home to more than half of the planet’s 7 billion people and a large portion of its 1.2B cars, cities face a huge challenge as the world strives to meet the Paris climate goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Cutting emissions in cities is critical: they make up only 2% of the world’s total land area, but produce up to 70% of its climate emissions from human activity, according to a 2011 United Nations report.

As they work to reduce emissions, governments and public agencies -- which often lack the resources to tackle the weighty global warming problem alone -- are increasingly looking to the private sector for help, says Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program think tank.