Today’s Climate: April 2, 2010

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Canada Mirrors US Crackdown on Vehicle Emissions (Reuters)

The U.S. finalized its first greenhouse gas emissions rules on autos and significantly boosted fuel efficiency standards for the first time since the 1970s, moves Canada jointly imposed on its industry.

US Issues New Efficiency Standards for Water Heaters (New York Times)

The Obama administration released new energy efficiency standards for water heaters and other appliances that it said would save consumers $10 billion over 30 years while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Virginia AG Challenges Federal Fuel Standards (Washington Post)

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will challenge new standards for fuel efficiency for autos finalized by the EPA. Cuccinelli has already filed suit against the agency’s determination that it can regulate CO2 as a pollutant.

Virginia Governor Quits Wind Energy Coalition (The Hill)

Virginia’s new governor, Rupublican Bob McDonnell, is removing his state from the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition after the group sent a letter supporting a national renewable electricity mandate he opposes.

South Africa Won’t Accept Conditions on World Bank Loan for Coal Plant (Bloomberg)

South Africa won’t agree to any conditions to obtain a $3.75 billion World Bank loan to fund the construction of a coal plant by the state-owned utility Eskom Holdings Ltd., Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said.

Tokyo Launches Asia’s First Mandatory Carbon Trade Scheme (AFP)

The city of Tokyo launched Asia’s first non-voluntary scheme to trade carbon credits, mandating that 1,400 polluting factories and office buildings reduce emissions, with the aim of slashing total CO2 output by 25% from 2000 levels by 2020.

Two Wind Turbines Join the Paris Skyline (Reuters)

Paris city authorities have installed two small wind turbines at the top of one of the capital’s hills to test the technology before installing more in one of the world’s most famous skylines.

Shell Receives Air Permits for Chukchi Drilling (AP)

The EPA has approved clean air permits for Shell Oil to drill exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich announced.

Solar VC Funding Wanes in 1Q 2010 (PV Tech)

Having been the major beneficiary of VC investments over recent years, solar funding could be on the wane if the fall in funding for the first quarter of 2010 develops into a trend going forward.

In Montana, Governor Stirs Ire Over Coal (Green Inc.)

Controversy is swirling in Montana after Gov. Schweitzer requested in a letter sent to local officials that they voice support for "coal money" from a proposed new mine in exchange for receiving funds to build roads and other infrastructure projects.

Ford Intends to Use Microsoft Software to Schedule Charging (The Detroit News)

The CEOs of Ford and Microsoft have announced that the companies would work together on software to manage how electric vehicles charge, aiming to shift any extra demand away from peak hours.

Northern Sea Ice Growth a Fluke, Not End of Climate Change: Researcher (CBC)

The growth of North Sea Ice at a time when it is normally melting has triggered a blizzard of ‘I-told-you-sos’ among climate skeptics. But the man whose data is behind the furor says a few weeks of cold weather in one part of the Arctic has skewed the numbers.

Desert Spreading Like ‘Cancer,’ Egypt Conference Told (AFP)

The desert is making a comeback in the Middle East, with fertile lands turning into barren wastes that could further destabilize the region, experts said at a water conference.