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In inaugural address, Obama pledges U.S. climate leadership

CLIMATE: In his inaugural address yesterday, President Obama said the U.S. “will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Congress will remain a major obstacle to that response. (Greenwire, Politico)

EFFICIENCY: The Midwest has emerged as a national leader in energy efficiency, but advocates at a recent conference in Chicago warn that innovative thinking will be required if the trend is to continue; sales of LED bulbs are soaring, expected to surpass incandescents in North America by 2014; and energy efficiency is a hot topic at a Missouri home show. (Midwest Energy News, New York Times, Springfield News-Leader)

***SPONSORED LINK: Early Bird pricing ends today at midnight for CERTs 2013 Conference: Community-Driven Clean Energy on Feb. 20-21 in St. Cloud. Join hundreds of Minnesotans working to create a clean energy future! ***

FRACKING: Drilling operations are increasingly powered by natural gas, and a Minnesota man is killed in an accident at a natural gas drilling site in North Dakota. (Associated Press, Fargo Forum)

OIL: The oil industry objects to a North Dakota bill to close a tax loophole estimated to cost the state $50 million a year, and a Minnesota company cashes in on shipping oil by rail. (Associated Press, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

SOLAR: A recent FERC decision could make it easier to connect solar projects to the grid. (CleanTechnica)

COAL: Exelon faces a potential $870 million tax liability from the sale of its coal plants, and developers of an Indiana coal-to-gas plant say lawmakers’ efforts to shield ratepayers from the plant’s costs could kill the project. (Crain’s Chicago Business, Evansville Courier & Press)

WIND: Why companies with no connection to the wind industry were lobbying for extension of the production tax credit. (InsideClimate News)

*** SPONSORED LINK: Dr. James Hansen will keynote the Sustainability Summit & Exposition, March 6-8, 2013 in Milwaukee. Register today! ***

COMMENTARY: Critics of wind power misunderstand how the grid works, and how would Minnesotans heat their homes during an extended power outage? (The Energy Collective, MinnPost)

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