Forbes: U.S. Electric Vehicle Sales Soared in 2016

Final numbers for electric vehicle (EV) sales in the U.S. were recently released for January. The 70% year-over-year increase in sales continued the strong momentum from 2016.  Following a 5% decline in sales from 2014 to 2015, U.S. EV sales jumped by 37% in 2016.

By year-end there were about 30 different EV offerings, with total sales of 159,139 vehicles. Five different models sold at least 10,000 units in 2016: Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Ford Fusion Energi.

More than half of all EV sales took place in California, driven by the state's zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate, which requires that a certain percentage of an automaker's sales must be ZEVs. California's goal is to put 1.5 million ZEVs on the state's roads by 2025.

Guardian: U.K. Electric-Vehicle Boom Drives New Car Sales to 12-Year High

The number of new cars registered in the U.K. hit a 12-year high in January, with electric vehicles taking a record share of the market, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The industry body had warned of a slowdown in the motor trade in 2017 because of the impact of the weak pound, but there was no sign of deceleration in the first monthly numbers of the year.

Drivers registered 174,564 cars in January, up 2.9% on last year, to reach the highest monthly level since 2005, the trade body said.

Utility Dive: With FERC Shorthanded, Insiders Worry Energy Sector Permitting Will 'Grind to a Halt'

To an observer of politics, the anemic slate of commissioners at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may be another indication of government upheaval. But for the energy sector, the impending departure of Commissioner Norman Bay means FERC will be unable to field a quorum -- bringing a chunk of the agency's work to a halt, putting gas and power projects in limbo, and potentially leading to legal challenges down the line.

"I'm afraid stuff is going to grind to a halt," said Kenneth Irvin, co-leader of Sidley Austin LLP's global energy practice.

That appears to be the wide-ranging consensus. Some work will continue at the commission, but until a new commissioner is confirmed the agency will be unable to issue significant orders.

InsideClimate News: Climate Scientists Challenge Conservatives' NOAA Suit, Fearing More to Come Under Trump

Three scientific advocacy groups have filed a legal brief in support of federal climate scientists who are being sued by the conservative organization Judicial Watch.

Judicial Watch has sought to force the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to release 8,000 pages of researchers' communications regarding a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Science in June 2015.

The study debunked the notion of a global warming "hiatus" between 1998-2012, an argument used by those who dispute the scientific consensus on climate change. A recent paper by a different group of researchers affirmed NOAA's findings, one of several confirmations.

New York Times: Scott Pruitt Is Seen Cutting the EPA With a Scalpel, Not a Cleaver

Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency, is drawing up plans to move forward on the president’s campaign promise to “get rid of” the agency he hopes to head. He has a blueprint to repeal climate change rules, cut staffing levels, close regional offices and permanently weaken the agency’s regulatory authority.

But Mr. Pruitt, a lawyer who made a career suing the EPA, is not likely to start with the kind of shock and awe that Mr. Trump has used to disorient Washington. Instead, he will use the legal tools at his disposal to pare back the agency’s reach and power, and trim its budget selectively.

“Here’s my impression about Pruitt: I don’t think he’s going in there to blow up the agency,” said Jeffrey Holmstead, a senior EPA official during the George W. Bush administration who has been mentioned as a possible deputy to Mr. Pruitt, and who has joined forces with him on lawsuits against the agency. “I think he’ll be very careful to make sure they’ve done everything legally to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s.”