Today’s Climate: February 28-March 1, 2009

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New Outlook in US Raises Hopes on Climate Treaty (Intl Herald Tribune)

President Obama has put the U.S. at the forefront of the international climate effort, setting off a flurry of diplomacy and raising hopes that an effective global treaty might actually be possible.

Capitol Power Plant Dims Clean Energy Hopes (AP)

The Capitol Power Plant, a 99-year-old facility that heats and cools the halls of Congress, still burns coal and accounts for a third of the legislative branch’s emissions. For a decade, lawmakers have attempted to clean it up, but they’re running out of options.

House Is Abandoning Carbon Neutral Plan (Washington Post)

The U.S. House has abandoned a plan to make its offices "carbon neutral," after dumping an essential though controversial part of the program: the purchase of carbon offsets, which was supposed to cancel out emissions from its buildings.

Alaska Senator Offers So-Called Compromise Bill on ANWR Oil (Reuters)

A bill introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and criticized by green groups would permit oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but only from directional wells that are drilled outside the refuge’s borders.

Europe Mulls Running Aging Coal Plants Until 2020 (Reuters)

Dozens of aging European coal-fired plants could win life extensions to 2020 if they agree to scale back their operating hours, according to a proposal to be tabled by the EU’s Czech presidency.

Wind-Power Industry Seeks Trained Workforce (Los Angeles Times)

Interest in green-collar jobs is surging among workers from struggling industries. Programs like the Wind Technology Boot Camp at Cerro Coso College are scrambling to help fill the lack of technical education for the field.

NY Wind Power Reaches Milestone (Albany Business Review)

New York hit a major milestone recently when the state’s wind power plants hit a total output of 1,000 megawatts. A year ago, the total wind output reached 375 megawatts.

California Declares Drought Emergency (Reuters)

California Gov. Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency due to drought and said he would consider mandatory water rationing in the face of nearly $3 billion in economic losses from below-normal rainfall this year.

SAGE Plans Global Expansion of Nanotech Windows (Cleantech Group)

Minnesota-based SAGE Electrochromics has embarked on a $120 million expansion of its production line in order to satisfy demand for its smart windows and skylights that slash energy use in buildings.

Suburban Job Growth Imperils Emission Goals (San Francisco Chronicle)

San Francisco lagged the region’s suburbs in job growth over the last 30 years, forcing increasing numbers of commuters to pack highways instead of public transportation even as the dangers of CO2 emissions become increasingly evident.

Bolivia Pins Hopes on Lithium, Electric Vehicles (AP)

Lithium, the planet’s lightest metal, is expected to power the world’s hybrid and electric cars in the years to come. Mining the metal could also turn around the Bolivian economy, as the poor nation holds half of the world’s proven lithium reserves.

Coen Brothers’ TV Ad Ridicules ‘Clean Coal’ (Los Angeles Times)

The Oscar-winning Coen brothers have directed a new TV spot for the Reality Coalition that’s trying to demolish the notion that there’s anything clean about so-called "clean coal."