Today’s Climate: February 4, 2009

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Chu Interview: Calif. Vineyards, farms in Peril from Warming (Los Angeles Times)

California’s farms and vineyards could vanish by the end of the century and its major cities could be in jeopardy if we don’t slow global warming, Energy Secretary Steven Chu says in his first interview since taking office.

Credit Squeeze Taking a Toll on Green Energy (Business Week)

The financial specialists who convert tax credits into capital that developers use to build new wind turbines and solar farms have all but disappeared—just when they’re most needed.

Michigan Gov. Puts New Coal Plants on Hold (Reuters)

In her State of the State Address, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm called for a 45 percent reduction in the use of fossil fuels for generating electricity by 2020. She also put seven coal-fired power plants on hold.

Obama Administration Pulls Plug on Wyoming Oil Leases (CQ Politics)

The Obama administration continued rolling back Bush administration policies by withdrawing thousands of acres slated to go on the auction block for oil and gas exploration — in the home state of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

EPA May Seek New Comment on Calif. Waiver this week (Reuters)

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency hopes to reopen the public comment period this week on California’s request for authority to cut tailpipe emissions.

Hedegaard: China Won’t Deliver in Copenhagen Unless U.S. Acts (Time)

The Danish Minister for Climate and Energy, who will preside over the Copenhagen summit, believes Beijing is ready to take on some responsibility for carbon emissions, but adds: "China is not going to deliver unless the U.S. delivers. That will be the key to how far we can go in Copenhagen."

Beijing Offers $140M to get High-Emission Vehicles Off The Roads (Xinhua)

Beijing says it has set aside 1 billion Yuan to pay subsidies to owners of standards-failing gas- and diesel-fueled vehicles who take them off roads this year. Such vehicles account for about 10 percent of the 3.5 million vehicles in the capital and about half their emissions.

India’s Speaker Urges Government Action on Global Warming (The Hindu)

Speaker Somnath Chatterjee asked scientists to help reverse the trends of global warming and urged the Indian government to promote economic development without compromising the climate.

Fight Revs Up Over Pennsylvania’s Clean Energy Legislation (Post-Gazette)

Four environmental groups are fighting legislation that would require 20 percent of the state’s energy to come from cleaner sources by 2026. The reason: The bill also mandates 3 percent of Pennsylvania’s power comes from coal-fired power plants.

Kentucky Utilities Settles Clean Air Act Lawsuit; Cost: $139M (Herald-Leader)

Kentucky Utilities ageed to pay a $1.4 million fine, spend $3 million on environmental projects and install $135 million worth of pollution controls at a Kentucky power plant, however, it did not admit in the settlement that it did anything wrong.

More Evidence of Environmental Damage from TVA Ash Spill (Southern Studies)

A new analysis of downstream water samples taken in the weeks following the massive coal ash spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston power plant shows levels of heavy-metal contamination that exceed safety standards.