CLIMATE: In an escalating back-and-forth series of diplomatic barbs, China criticizes the United States as a “consensus-breaker and a troublemaker” that is undermining global climate action. (Washington Post)

While California hit its 2020 climate target four years early, a new report finds emissions increased slightly in 2018, highlighting the challenge of deeper reductions in the future. (Los Angeles Times)
Scientists predicted that megafires like the ones hitting California this year would be a consequence of climate change, but they arrived decades earlier than expected. (E&E News, subscription required)
A Michigan pilot program to sell carbon offsets based on state forest conservation faces skepticism from environmental justice advocates who worry the credits will be used to prolong pollution from fossil fuel power plants. (Energy News Network)

***SPONSORED LINK: The University of Minnesota Law, Policy, and Business Conference on Equity and Electrification of Transportation, Friday, October 23, from 10 am – 2:30 pm, will discuss broader reforms to our transportation systems through the lens of law, policy, and business. Register here. ***

Experts say a recent University of Rhode Island study finding a decline in home values near suburban solar arrays has more to do with the loss of green space than solar itself, and did not account for whether projects had landscaping or other aesthetic treatments. (Energy News Network)
Minnesota solar companies have filed 120 complaints with state regulators against Xcel Energy related to delays for grid connections, but businesses continue to pursue solar. (Star Tribune)

OIL & GAS: ConocoPhillips announces a deal to acquire a Permian Basin producer for $9.7 billion, but many investors are unsure if such mergers and acquisitions will be enough to protect the oil and gas industry from a severe decline. (Forbes, New York Times)

COAL: Robert Murray announces his retirement as chairman of American Consolidated Natural Resources Holdings, concluding a 63-year career in the coal industry. (Wheeling News-Register)

UTILITIES: The fired consultant who helped launch a federal investigation into FirstEnergy accused the utility of retaliating against him as a whistleblower. (

ELECTRIFICATION: All-electric, single-family homes are more cost-efficient and have smaller carbon footprints than those powered by a mix of electricity and natural gas, according to an updated study by the Rocky Mountain Institute. (E&E News, subscription)

PUBLIC LANDS: Public land plans in Wyoming and Montana could be in jeopardy after a federal court’s decision to invalidate several land-use plans approved by the Bureau of Land Management. (Casper Star-Tribune, The Hill)

• General Motors is expected to announce today that it will build electric Cadillac SUVs at a Tennessee factory. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
• An international group led by Honda and General Motors is developing a blockchain for electric vehicle grid integration that could serve as a foundation for decentralized EV charging. (Utility Dive)

HYDROPOWER: Canada is an outlier globally in its efforts to export hydropower to Massachusetts and New York as the 20-year movement to remove dams continues. (The Revelator)

POLITICS: As Democrats distance themselves from the Green New Deal, many young voters express frustration that neither party is taking climate change seriously enough. (E&E News, subscription required; New Mexico Political Report)

• Executives from the financial firm Lazard say emerging growth in hydrogen “greatly adds to the stunning prospects for clean energy.” (Bloomberg)
• An energy researcher notes that the International Energy Agency’s annual projections have consistently underestimated clean energy while being overly optimistic about fossil fuels. (Reuters)
• Sustainability leaders say that major banks are understating the financial risks they face from climate change. (CNBC)

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.