Today’s Climate: April 1, 2009

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Back to Petroleum: BP Axing Quarter of Solar Workforce (Guardian)

BP plans to cut 620 jobs from its solar power business in Spain and Maryland in a move it said was part of the long-term strategy to "reduce the cost of solar power to that of conventional electricity." BP blamed the cutbacks on the credit crunch and lower-cost competition.

Sen. Boxer Takes on GOP in Budget Battle (San Francisco Chronicle)

A verbal wrestling match between California Sen. Barbara Boxer and a bevy of Republicans presages a battle over President Obama’s $3.5 trillion budget that promises to rival the historic showdowns of the Reagan and Clinton presidencies.

UN Climate Talks: Save the Forests, but How? (AFP)

Which makes the better incentive for saving the carbon-absorbing tropical woodlands: market mechanisms or public funding? The question has split nations, divided green groups and bedeviled efforts to agree on a climate change pact.

NextEra Purchase Program Solely for Wind, Solar (USA Today)

The nation’s largest developer of renewable energy today plans to unveil a green power purchase program that could shake up the market by channeling all of the money into new wind and solar projects.

Judge Orders More Careful Review of Mountain Mine Permits (NPR)

A federal judge in West Virginia dealt another blow to mountaintop mining, blocking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from issuing so-called "nationwide" permits, which streamline the process of getting permission to mine.

Green Buildings Pull in Premium Rents (Business Green)

A new study shows a clear correlation between high Energy Star-rated buildings and the ability to command rental premiums. The findings confirm a strong commercial case for landlords to invest in improving the energy efficiency of their properties.

GE Energy Sees Rapid Asia Pacific Business Growth (Dow Jones)

GE Energy expects its Asia-Pacific business to continue growing rapidly this year, supported by governments’ carbon reduction efforts and stimulus packages.

Republicans Say ‘Yes’ to Energy Fight (Roll Call)

GOP leaders tapped Mike Pence to lead an energy task force, saying they will create a comprehensive GOP alternative to the Democratic energy strategy. They also intend to focus their criticism on a carbon cap-and-trade.

Tar Sands Nervous about U.S. Climate Plan (Calgary Herald)

The proposed House bill would impose low-carbon standards for gasoline and other transportation fuels, rules that could make it more difficult for U.S. refineries to sell fuel produced from Alberta’s carbon-intensive tar sands.

Bishop Backs Rudd on Climate Change (Australian)

An Anglican Bishop used a memorial service for victims of February’s Victorian bushfires to lavish praise on Kevin Rudd for acting on climate change.

Controversial Ex-EPA Official to Head Arizona DEQ (Nogales International)

An EPA official accused of misleading Congress regarding Clean Water Act enforcement efforts during the Bush administration has been tapped by Gov. Jan Brewer to head the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

German Cabinet Passes Draft CCS Law (Reuters)

Germany’s cabinet today approved a draft carbon capture and storage law to regulate utilities that are testing the technology. It hopes to be able to begin large-scale commercial use of the technology after 2020.

Greenpeace: PC Makers Failing the Environment (Guardian)

The group criticized leading manufacturers HP, Dell and Lenovo for not cutting down on toxic components – but praised Apple, Nokia and Acer.

Rio Building Walls around Slums to Limit Deforestation (Guardian)

The government blames the expansion of Rio’s slum areas for a sharp loss of Brazilian rainforest over the past three years so it is building walls to stop the slums’ growth.

China Turns to the Wind for Power (Xinhua)

Once confined to small, three-blade turbines that produced tiny volumes, wind power is again spreading across China’s countryside. The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Government expects its installed capacity of 3 million kilowatts to rise 50 percent this year.