As it happens, the first item to report relates right back to Copenhagen. As postmortems of what went wrong at the conference have continued to crop up, much of the attention has centered on China. Now an official at the country's National Development and Reform Commission has gone on record that China entered negotiations intending to reject external checks on its emissions: "Developing countries, especially China, would surely never accept this request," he said.
For some, stonewalling of this sort means that China intentionally wrecked the Copenhagen talks. The alternate explanation is that China has a very different view of the negotiations -- it holds that developed countries should be responsible for making cuts.
If that's the truth (and not just a negotiating angle), then progress is sure to remain slow: the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has said that it's unlikely the United States will pass a cap and trade bill, a problem which Copenhagen's lack of progress surely plays into, making the entire process a chicken-and-egg problem.
Even worse, environmental issues don't even make it into a lengthy list of the most-reported stories of 2009. That's a demand issue; editors have been telling me for some time that stories on cleantech are unpopular and draw little traffic.
In England, offshore wind power could be in for an even bigger boost. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has awarded Siemens, Vestas and other companies grants to begin building 32 gigawatts of offshore turbines starting in 2014.
Developing technology has also made some notable gains. Silicon microwire solar cells have made strong gains in efficiency; they may prove to be a promising technology in the decade ahead. Separately, a company called EnviroMission is hoping to build the world's first solar updraft plants in Arizona, where their 2,400 foot chimneys would pipe hot air up to power turbines.