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With John Kerry now installed as Secretary of State, the decision on whether or not to permit the Keystone Pipeline is rapidly headed for a climax. Kerry met with Canadian Energy Secretary John Baird on Friday but nothing was disclosed. As things stand now, the State Department is supposed to decide in June. Opponents aren’t waiting, however, and are planning a big demonstration in front of the White House next Monday. North of the border, Canadians are beginning to get the sense that the pipeline might not be approved. This will drive them further into the arms of China. But before that happens, the Canadians will have to build a pipeline to the Pacific as well.

Reuters says MIT Professor Ernst Moniz (above) is about to be nominated as Secretary of Energy to replace Steven Chu. MIT is well qualified, having served as an undersecretary during the Clinton Administration. He is head of MIT’s Energy Initiative and has been the principal author of many energy studies. A nuclear physicist by training, Moniz has been a qualified supporter of nuclear energy. But it’s his position on fracking that may get him in trouble. Moniz supports fracking as a “bridge fuel” to a lower-carbon future. That may sound good to some but is likely to be challenged by President Obama’s extreme environmental supporters – who are also opposing Keystone, coal, nuclear, wind farms in California and just about everything else.

Europe is getting a little shaky on its support for renewables and the low-carbon future. The European Union will devote 20 percent of its budget this year to climate issues but cuts will hurt the low-carbon effort. Germany is about to extend its subsidies to PV energy storage but reports from Greece say that clean energy subsidies are aggravating the country’s yawning deficit. Der Spiegel reports that the era of fast growth is over for wind and very quietly Europe is starting to burn more coal.

Finally, a professor at the University of Chicago is calling into question just how long production from the Bakken Shale is going to last. Myra Saefong, of MarketWatch, explains why gas prices are soaring again. John Roach of NBC News asks if new technology can clean fracking water and Kenneth Rapoza of Forbes asks whether Mexico’s Petrobras is worth a dime? All on today’s RealClearEnergy.

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