Los Angeles Times: Off the (Failing) Grid in North Korea, Where Solar Energy Is a Hot Commodity

Think of it as a North Korean Best Buy -- a shop stuffed with refrigerators, karaoke machines, laptop computers and flat-screen TVs. But with a square footage closer to a typical American 7-Eleven than a big-box store, the Pothonggang Information Technology Center has to be selective about what products it puts on its shelves.

So it’s telling that nearly one whole wall of the shop was crammed last week with solar panels, inverters and battery packs designed to store up the sun’s energy. The cheapest panel, a 50-watt Chinese import, was selling for about $35 at the official exchange rate -- about a typical month’s wage for a factory worker -- while a 200-watt, 24-volt version was going for about $160.

New York Times: Exxon Investors Seek Assurance as Climate Shifts, Along With Attitudes

ExxonMobil has been under pressure for over a year to explain its handling of climate change issues in the past. Now the company faces new pressure to explain its future, particularly how it will change in response to a warming world.

At the company’s planned annual meeting on Wednesday in Dallas, shareholders will vote on a resolution to prod ExxonMobil to disclose the risks of climate change to its business.

Such resolutions have been floated before, and they typically do not pass. But there is a growing chorus of investors, many of them large institutional shareholders, who say they are worried that ExxonMobil, the largest publicly traded energy company in the world, is not adequately preparing for tighter times if countries start acting on the pledges they made last December as part of the Paris climate change accord.

Smart Energy Decisions: Moving Beyond RECs, Microsoft Seeks More Renewables for Data Centers

Though its data centers are already 100% "carbon-neutral," Microsoft Corp. recently announced plans to increase their direct use of renewable energy in the years ahead.

Microsoft, similar to other technology companies, uses a mix of energy efficiency, on-site renewable energy and renewable energy certificates to power its massive, and growing, number of data centers that power cloud-based services. While purchasing renewable energy certificates technically offsets the carbon emissions used by the data centers, Microsoft said in a May 17 blog post that it plans to increase the percentage of wind, solar and hydropower generation directly used to power them.

Climate Central: U.S. Leads Globe in Oil Production for Third Year

The U.S. led the world last year in producing both oil and gas, federal government estimates published Monday show, even as the country committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.S. was the globe’s leading producer of crude oil for the third year in a row in 2015. Government estimates show that crude oil production has continued to grow across the country, from nearly 8 million barrels of oil per day in 2008 to about 15 million in 2015. The U.S. produced about 14 million barrels per day in 2014.

Thanks to the fracking boom, which unlocked previously hard-to-reach shale oil and gas, the U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s leading producer of oil in 2013. The U.S. became the top natural gas producer in 2011, and has led the world in both oil and gas production together for four years in a row.