Fortune: The Other Side of the Solar Firestorm in Nevada

Earlier this year, celebrity actor Mark Ruffalo riled up a crowd of hundreds of protestors outside of an office building in sunny Las Vegas by shouting, “Let’s make life uncomfortable for them...because they’re wrong!” The “them” who Ruffalo was referring to included Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission and its chairman, Paul Thomsen, who joined the energy regulator in October.

Nevada could be a potential bellwether for how states across the country deal with maturing solar net-metering incentives. Many states and utilities offer such programs.

Forbes

sat down with Chairman Thomsen, to get his take on everything that happened. This is an edited and condensed version of our conversation.

Washington Post: Why Companies Like Google and Wal-Mart Are Buying So Much Wind Power

The U.S. wind energy industry had a memorable 2015, from installing thousands of new turbines across the country to supporting a growing number of jobs.

But perhaps one of the most noteworthy bright spots of the past year, according to an annual report released Tuesday by the American Wind Energy Association, was the growing demand for wind energy from major corporations. High-tech firms such as Google Energy, Facebook and Amazon Web Services, as well as more traditional companies such as Procter & Gamble, General Motors, Wal-Mart and Dow Chemical, have signed contracts to purchase increasing amounts of wind energy in coming years.

U.S. News & World Report: Is a Coal Tax the Best Thing for Coal Country?

The best way to shore up West Virginia's coal country -- anemic for years, but now positively swooning from plummeting demand -- might be, of all things, a new federal tax on coal.

Strictly speaking, the fee wouldn't be on coal but on the heat-trapping carbon emissions generated by burning coal and other fossil fuels. And it's an idea that isn't new. Environmentalists like a carbon price because it would encourage electric utilities to switch from coal to cleaner sources of energy, like natural gas, solar and wind. Some conservatives and many economists like it because it would fix a distortion in the market, accounting for costs not included in coal's market price -- such as health problems from emissions like soot or the broader consequences of global warming.

But the latest analysis from the World Resources Institute -- a research organization that’s advocated for action on climate change -- calls for directing some of the revenue from a carbon tax back into coal communities, which have struggled to adapt as mines have closed.

Climate Central: Greenland’s Melt Season Started Nearly Two Months Early

To say the 2016 Greenland melt season is off to the races is an understatement.

Warm, wet conditions rapidly kicked off the melt season this weekend, more than 1.5 months ahead of schedule. It has easily set a record for earliest melt season onset and marks the first time it’s begun in April.

Little to no melt through winter is the norm as sub-zero temperatures keep Greenland’s massive ice sheet, well, on ice. Warm weather usually kicks off the melt season in late May or early June, but this year is a bit different.

New York Times: Rural Water, Not City Smog, May Be China’s Pollution Nightmare

More than 80 percent of the water from underground wells used by farms, factories and households across the heavily populated plains of China is unfit for drinking or bathing because of contamination from industry and farming, according to new statistics that were reported by Chinese media on Monday, raising new alarm about pollution in the world’s most populous country.

After years of focus on China’s hazy skies as a measure of environmental blight, the new data from 2,103 underground wells struck a nerve among Chinese citizens who have become increasingly sensitive about health threats from pollution. Most Chinese cities draw on deep reservoirs that were not part of this study, but many villages and small towns in the countryside depend on the shallower wells of the kind that were tested for the report.