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China’s coal use falling faster than expected

Reuters, 26 March 2015

China is reducing coal use for power generation faster than expected as the use of cleaner-burning fuels and slowing economic growth drags thermal utilisation rates to a potential record low, implying imports and prices will fall further. Beijing said this month it will go all out to curb its addiction to coal to reduce pollution, raising fresh doubts about demand from the world's top consumer of the fuel just after imports slumped a third in February from a year ago.

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Could the Germanwings Crash Have Been Avoided?

The Atlantic, 26 March 2015

As I write I am listening to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's announcement that the Germanwings crash in France this week was apparently a deliberate act of suicide/murder. The ramifications: 1) Has anything like this ever happened before? Yes it has. For instance, back in 1999, EgyptAir flight 990, shortly after taking off from Kennedy airport in New York en route to Cairo, disappeared into the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Cod.

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Abbottӳ climate policy farce deepens as big polluters get free kick

Renew Economy, 27 March 2015

The climate and clean energy policy of the Abbott government has descended further in pure farce with the release of critical details of the Direct Action scheme that reveals there will be no requirement on major energy polluters to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Environment Minister Greg Hunt on Thursday released proposals for what are known as “safeguard” mechanisms of the emissions reduction fund, which will set a benchmark for polluters. If they move beyond the line, and increase emissions, they may face penalties.

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Abbottӳ climate policy farce deepens as big polluters get free kick

Renew Economy, 27 March 2015

The climate and clean energy policy of the Abbott government has descended further in pure farce with the release of critical details of the Direct Action scheme that reveals there will be no requirement on major energy polluters to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Environment Minister Greg Hunt on Thursday released proposals for what are known as “safeguard” mechanisms of the emissions reduction fund, which will set a benchmark for polluters. If they move beyond the line, and increase emissions, they may face penalties.

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How Mayors Became America’s Infrastructure Mavens

The Atlantic, 24 March 2015

Governors have long been among the nation's loudest advocates for pouring concrete. Interstate highways? New bridges? Major development projects? They love it. When a huge pot of federal money opened up as part of the 2009 stimulus package, states were eager to get their share of the cash and push it toward pet projects, shovel-ready or not.

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The Worldӳ Taxi Unions May Have Just Convinced the U.N. to Stop Working With Uber

MoneyBox, 23 March 2015

Between March 10 and 11, Uber published at least 30 posts on its various city and country blogs trumpeting its “vision for equality”—a plan to create 1 million jobs for women globally on the Uber platform by the year 2020. “We are proud to share with The Uber Community that we are embarking on a new global partnership with UN Women with the goal of accelerating economic opportunity for women,” the company wrote. (Here’s one of those posts that went up in Seattle, but the first three paragraphs were basically the same everywhere.)

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Is the U.S. Running Out of Crude Oil Storage?

Energy Trends Insider, 11 March 2015

No, despite the popular narrative that we keep hearing, the U.S is not running out of crude oil storage. Yet there are those who are predicting that oil prices are going to fall to $20 or $30 a barrel, pointing to the crude oil storage numbers and suggesting that we are near maximum capacity and therefore a price collapse is imminent. (Although Goldman Sachs did some backpedaling on their forecast this week).

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As Oil Prices Fall, Airfares Still Stay High

New York Times, 23 March 2015

Just over two years ago, one of the nation’s airline trade organizations called the industry “hypercompetitive” and declared “airfare remains a bargain.” At the time, the Justice Department was weighing the competitive implications of a merger between American Airlines and US Airways, around two years after the merger of United and Continental. Fast-forward to the present.

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Paris emergency measures to combat smog hailed as a success

The Guardian, 23 March 2015

Emergency measures introduced in Paris to halve the number of vehicles on the roads after a noxious smog descended on the French capital have been hailed as a success. Police said the measures had reduced traffic jams in and around Paris by up to 40% and that 2,800 drivers had been stopped and given on-the-spot fines of €22 (£16) for flouting the regulation by midday on Monday.

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The airline nobody wants to work for?

16 March 2015

IT’S one of the biggest airlines in India, so when it opened its doors for a
series of job interviews last week it expected a flood of applicants. H
owever, the recruitment drive ended in “deep embarrassment” for Air India
when nobody showed up, according to the local news website Hindustan Times.

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