Today’s Climate: April 3, 2009

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Environmental Groups See Snub at G20 (Reuters)

Environmental groups wanted a strong message from the G20 that it would re-build a leaner economy run on renewable energy to avoid a future climate crisis worse then the financial one. They didn’t get it.

House, Senate Approve Obama Budget (Los Angeles Times)

Congressional Democrats endorsed Obama $3.5 trillion spending plan, which sets the stage for major legislation this year on healthcare, energy, the environment and education. The blueprints would permit work to begin on cap-and-trade.

Pelosi Promises Caution on Climate Change Legislation (CQ)

Faced with a GOP assault on proposed climate change legislation and restiveness within her own ranks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged that any measure the House passes this year won’t overly burden utility ratepayers or businesses.

Student Charged with Felonies for Obstructing Utah Land Auction (AP)

Student activist Tim DeChristopher has been charged with two federal felonies for what he contends were acts of civil disobedience — making false bids to run up auction prices on oil and gas parcels on public land near Utah’s national parks.

Study: Arctic Sea Ice Melting Faster than Expected (AP)

Arctic sea ice is melting so fast most of it could be gone in 30 years. A new analysis of changing conditions in the region, using complex computer models of weather and climate, says conditions that had been forecast by the end of the century could occur much sooner.

Energy Giants Lose Interest in Alberta CCS Fund (Calgary Herald)

Citing high costs, eight companies, including giants Suncor, Syncrude and ConocoPhillips, are no longer interested in joining the tar sands province’s carbon capture and storage projects. "CCS is not a slam-dunk," said Bob Skinner of StatoilHydro.

Suncor Slapped with Tar Sands Fine (Reuters)

A Canadian court slapped No. 2 tar sands producer Suncor Energy with C$675,000 in fines for failing to install pollution control equipment at its Firebag tar sands operations.

Salazar: Offshore Wind Rules Final in Months (Reuters)

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he hopes the department will soon be able to move forward with offshore wind development in the Atlantic Ocean, where wind power can be more easily harnessed.

Lawsuit Says New Fuel Economy Standards Too Weak (San Francisco Chronicle)

New fuel economy standards for 2011 vehicles, the first industrywide increase in miles-per-gallon requirements since the mid-1980s, were challenged in court by the Center for Biological Diversity, which said the rules don’t address global warming.

TVA to Pursue Renewable Energy Purchases (AP)

In the face of legislative pressures for cleaner energy, the nation’s largest public utility has agreed to buy up to 2,000 megawatts of renewable and clean energy by 2011, with some of the power entering TVA’s system next year.

Groups Debate Supreme Court’s Power Plant Ruling (Greenwire)

Environmental groups are downplaying the significance of a Supreme Court ruling that held U.S. EPA may weigh the costs and benefits of new water regulations on power plants.

Italy to Double Solar Capacity in ’09 (Reuters)

Sunny Italy expects to more than double its installed photovoltaic capacity used to turn sunlight into power to 900 megawatt by the end of 2009 on the back of government incentives, state officials announced today.

Climate Change: Farming Could be Friend or Foe (ISP)

Agriculture has been missing in the run-up talks to Copenhagen. Yet not only is farming most at risk in an increasingly variable and tempestuous climate, it is also a major emitter of greenhouse gases.

Who Will Profit from Climate Change? (Scientific American)

In the midst of a worldwide economic crisis, city officials and Wall Street executives are talking about turning the battered U.S. financial center into a global hub of green finance and environmental commodities trading.