Las Vegas Review-Journal: SolarCity Cuts 550 Nevada Jobs

The rooftopsolarcompany SolarCity said Wednesday it has been forced to eliminate more than 550 jobs in Nevada because of the new net metering rate approved by the state Public Utilities Commission on Dec. 22.

Where possible, the company said it will relocate affected employees to "business-friendly" states.

The PUC's decision to change the net metering rules "to punish existing solar customers after the state encouraged them to go solar with rebates is particularly callous" and leaves Nevadans to question whether the state would ever place the financial security of regular citizens above the financial interests of NV Energy, the company said in a news release.

Climate Central: Earth Is Experiencing a Global Warming Spurt

Cyclical changes in the Pacific Ocean have thrown Earth’s surface into what may be an unprecedented warming spurt, following a global warming slowdown that lasted about 15 years.

While El Niño is being blamed for an outbreak of floods, storms and unseasonable temperatures across the planet, a much slower-moving cycle of the Pacific Ocean has also been playing a role in record-breaking warmth. The recent effects of both ocean cycles are being amplified by climate change.

A 2014 flip was detected in the sluggish and elusive ocean cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO, which also goes by other names, including the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. Despite uncertainty about the fundamental nature of the PDO, leading scientists link its 2014 phase change to a rapid rise in global surface temperatures.

InsideClimate News: Politics of Climate Unlikely to Change in 2016

In 2016, Americans will go to the polls to elect a new president, 34 senators, 435 representatives and 12 governors, not to mention countless state and local leaders. And despite this happening during what many scientists believe will be the hottest year on record and the stakes for the planet growing ever higher, climate change won't crack the list of top political issues.

"Climate change, barring some enormous visible catastrophe on U.S. soil, is unlikely to be a major issue in the election," said Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College. "But many people will be working to raise its profile, and there will be more discussion than there was before."

Mail and Guardian: South Africa's Developing Solar Landscape

Until a few years ago, solar panels were a rare sight in South Africa, largely limited to the roofs of a few affluent households. This is changing rapidly, driven by three factors: the worldwide drive toward renewable energy, a highly strained local electricity supply, and a steady drop in solar panel prices.

Taking the lead from other countries, South Africa committed to an energy generation infrastructure development plan for 2010 to 2030, known as the Integrated Resource Plan.

Under the plan, the country aims to achieve 9,600 MW of solar power capacity by 2030. When the plan was drawn up in 2010, solar was limited to a few isolated panels on domestic rooftops, and until recently contributed nothing to the national power grid operated by the state-owned utility Eskom.

The Hill: EPA Looks to Build on Big Wins This Year

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Monday that the Obama administration is preparing to roll out and implement new climate rules this year after pushing an aggressive agenda in 2015.

In a blog post on the EPA website, administrator Gina McCarthy said the agency will look in 2016 to help implement the goals of the landmark international climate agreement reached in Paris last month.

The agency will finalize rules this year to cut carbon pollution from heavy-duty vehicles, she wrote, as well as a rule to limit methane leaks from oil and gas operations. The methane rule -- which targets a pollutant with 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide -- is seen as a major step President Obama can take to address climate change in his final year in office.