Two stories we are reading:

Houston Chronicle: At State, Kerry could push climate change action

President Barack Obama nominated Kerry to be secretary of State on Dec. 21. The post would make Kerry the United States’ chief foreign ambassador and the face of the nation’s foreign policy. It also would thrust him into big environmental policy debates over climate change as well as the controversial Keystone XL pipeline proposed to carry oil sands crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Gasoline prices will increase before the New Year’s holiday if Washington can avoid the fiscal cliff

A deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” will be seen as good for the economy, probably helping to increase gasoline demand and therefore prices across the nation, the auto club figures. Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with the Oil Price Information Serivce, agrees but believes Midwestern motorists could still see periodic price cuts even if Washington straightens out the mess. OPIS provides the AAA with average local, state and national prices calculated every morning from credit card sales the day before at 120,000 filling stations.