A catch all category for government, politics and initiatives to influence either.

Farmers Insurance Drops Climate Change Lawsuits Against Chicago-Area Cities

Who should pay for the impacts of climate change? This conundrum was at the center of nine class action lawsuits filed by Farmers Insurance in April against dozens of cities in the Chicago area for failing to prepare for the floods that hit Illinois last spring. The insurance company had argued that local governments should have known that rising global temperatures would result in heavier rains and did not do enough to secure sewers and storm drains. But, in a surprising turn of events, Farmers withdrew the suits last week, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Add Some Spice to GDP with Sex and Drugs

Why not include sex and drugs in the GDP mix, as Italy and the United Kingdom have done? After all, those are economic activities, right?

Climate Change Liability: Holding the Perpetrators Responsible

Can the primary culprits of global warming be held liable for undermining efforts to combat climate change? That may sound like something a heavier, bearded Al Gore might have scribbled on a napkin in the middle of the night, but there’s reason to believe that it may not be so far-fetched. At least, that’s what a trio of high-profile environmental groups are suggesting.

Funding the Future: Innovative Ways Cities Are Paying for Infrastructure

Cities across the globe need to construct new transit systems, roads and utilities – or modernize their aging infrastructure – to adapt to the changing climate, reduce carbon emissions and support growing populations. But an important question remains: How will cities pay for such projects? A new report, “Investor Ready Cities,” compiled by engineering company Siemens, professional services network PwC and law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, aims to help cities think about new ways to fund their infrastructure projects – by taking a fresh look at traditional funding models like taxes and user fees and by attracting private investors.

Report Charts Renewable Energy’s Rapid Advance Into the Mainstream Mix

Global renewable energy capacity rose 8.3 percent in 2013, fueled by technological advances, cost reductions and supportive government policies, particularly among developing countries, according to REN21’s sixth annual review. Solar power capacity has grown an average of over 54 percent over the past five years.

Renewable Energy Can Lead to Economic Boom, Report Finds

If we implement the right policies and frameworks, we can achieve large-scale deployment of renewable energy that creates jobs, increases incomes, improves trade balances and contributes to industrial development, according to a new report by the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group.

The report, econValue – The Socio-economic Benefits of Solar and Wind Energy, analyzes the circumstances under which renewable energy can boost economies and benefit communities by studying the effects of solar and wind energy on the environment, economy, and society. Produced by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the report provides a framework to help policy makers analyse the various economic opportunities that may be offered by solar and wind sector development and the potential of various policy instruments to best realise those opportunities.

Brookings Delves Into Low and No-Carbon Electricity Technologies

Absent a high-enough price on carbon, a carbon tax, or direct levies on fossil fuel suppliers, “nuclear, hydro and natural gas combined cycle have far more net benefits than either wind or solar,” according to Brookings’ Charles R. Frank, Jr. The assumptions underlying and supporting the analysis highlight the shortcomings of economic models and thinking, however.

Crowdsourcing and CSP Energy Storage Headline DOE Push to Achieve SunShot Goals

Last week was a busy and eventful one for the solar energy industry as market participants from across the U.S., and around the world, gathered in Anaheim, Calif. for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) “SunShot Grand Challenge Summit 2014.” Among the highlights: The Energy Department launched a $1 million solar “soft costs” innovation crowdsourcing contest and $10 million in R&D funding for six thermochemical energy storage projects.

ARPA Bridge Fund to Conserve 15 Percent of Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest

The $215 million bridge fund aims to usher in conservation financing-in-perpetuity for 215 million acres of Brazilian Amazon rain forest–an area twice the size of California. That will go a long way toward enabling Brazil to live up to its commitment to protect at least 10 percent of its Amazonian rain forest.

Department of Energy: 2014 Is the ‘Year of Concentrating Solar Power’

Concentrating solar power is poised on the cusp of a major advance as the goal of integrating grid-scale thermal energy storage appears within reach. Aiming to keep the momentum going, the DOE released a new CSP industry report and announced $10 million in new R&D funding to develop cheaper and more efficient thermal energy storage technology.