A (non-comprehensive) list of interesting and relevant climate change, climate policy, and environmental justice stories.

‘Literally off the charts’: global coral reef heat stress monitor forced to add new alerts as temperatures rise. Three new levels added by US Coral Reef Watch after ‘extreme’ unprecedented heat, with highest alert warning of ‘near complete mortality.’ (read the full story here)

John Podesta replaces Kerry as top US climate diplomat. Podesta will lead US international climate diplomacy alongside his current job overseeing the rollout of domestic clean energy subsidies. (read the full story here)

For Cop29 to succeed, rich nations must get their parliaments to agree more finance now. Rich nations always say they need their parliaments’ approval for climate finance at Cops – now is the time to start (read the full story here)

How does a desert turn green? In the parched deserts of the Middle East, countries such as the United Arab Emirates are spearheading new technologies to combat desertification and water scarcity, making significant and transformative investments. The Emirates is one of the region’s 12 “water-stressed countries.” CNBC looks at the country’s achievements, setbacks and the journey towards a greener country. (read the full story here)

Norway defends deep-sea mining, says it may help to break China and Russia’s rare earths stronghold. In a vote earlier this month that attracted cross-party support, Norway’s parliament voted 80-20 to approve a government proposal to open a vast ocean area for commercial-scale deep-sea mining. (read the full story here)

Senate confirms head of EPA’s air office, key to Biden climate rules. Joseph Goffman, whose nomination was held up by senators opposed to U.S. climate policies, has overseen work on new standards for power plants and vehicles (read the full story here)

Australia ‘on track’ with climate targets needed to protect Great Barrier Reef, Labor tells Unesco. Federal and Queensland governments are trying to convince UN body not to add the reef to list of world heritage sites in danger. (read the full story here)

One activist investor is taking on BP, urging the oil giant to scale back green pledges. Giuseppe Bivona, partner and co-chief investment officer at Bluebell, on Tuesday said that the FTSE 100 energy company’s depressed share price relative to its U.S. and European peers had been “totally underwhelming” in recent years, and that it should now consider deploying capital in a “rational way.” (read the full story here)

John Kerry, President Biden’s special envoy for climate, plans to step down by spring, ending a three-year run in a major diplomatic role that was created especially for him and which will face an uncertain future with his departure. (read the full story here)

Top Senate Democrats believe the Biden administration will tweak a controversial Treasury Department proposed rule on hydrogen tax credits to make it friendlier to producers. The draft guidance, released in late December, outlined how companies can obtain benefits for clean hydrogen production established in the Inflation Reduction Act. Environmentalists cheered the Treasury Department guidance with strict qualification rules. The win for greens, however, may be in jeopardy. (read the full story here)

U.S. Carbon Emissions Fell in 2023 as Coal Use Tumbled to New Lows. The drop was big, but emissions will need to fall three times as fast for the rest of the decade if the country wants to meet its climate goals. (read the full story here)

ExxonMobil blocks green activists’ attempt to seek strategy vote. Climate group drops petition for shareholder vote on targets following oil company’s court complaint. (read the full story here)