Today’s Climate: March 4, 2009

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U.S. Climate Envoy: EU’s 2020 Reductions Unrealistic (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern urged Congress to pass greenhouse gas reductions before the Copenhagen summit, but he said it would be unrealistic to expect the U.S. to slash its greenhouse gas emissions as much by 2020 as European officials and the Bali road map suggest.

Outlines of a U.S. Smart Grid Framework Possible by Summer (Earth2Tech)

The deputy director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology says initial drafts of a comprehensive framework for a national smart grid could be ready by summer. The news came as U.S. senators grilled Google and regulators about smart grid plans.

Miss. Legislature Kills Net Metering Plan (Hattiesburg American)

Harnessing the sun, wind and soil might be the new slogan in the nation’s capital, but the legislative quashing of five net metering bills indicates that it hasn’t quite caught on in Mississippi.

EU Slaps Duties on US Biofuels (Reuters)

A European Union trade panel approved temporary anti-subsidy duties on imports of biodiesel from the United States, sources says. Starting March 13, U.S. firms exporting biodiesel into the EU will have to pay additional tariffs.

5 Huge Green-Tech Projects in the Developing World (Wired)

Any solution to global climate change will eventually have to involve the whole globe, not just the richest countries. Here are five of the largest green tech projects that have broken ground, or plan to, in 2009.

GM Begs Europe for Help (Financial Times)

General Motors says its European arm could run out of money as early as next month, putting up to 300,000 jobs at risk. It is asking European governments for help. If emergency funds don’t materialize, “there’s no guarantee we could stay alive,” COO Fritz Henderson says.

Toyota: Hybrid Sales to Rise 15% This Year (Guardian)

Toyota expects to sell 15% more hybrid vehicles in Europe this year despite the savage downturn in the car market, according to company executives who were speaking ahead of the International Motor Show in Geneva.

UK Could Seize Planes when Airlines Break Emission Rules (Guardian)

The UK’s Environment Agency will be given powers to seize planes from airlines which break the rules of a new scheme to limit flights’ carbon emissions, climate change secretary Ed Miliband is expected to announce today.

EU Split over Carbon Capture Intensifies (Financial Times)

The European Commission’s backing for carbon capture and storage technology in a €5 billion stimulus package has sparked fresh division in a process already riven with infighting among member states. CCS snared €1.25 billion for five test projects.

Turkey Becoming Key Carbon Market for Kicking CO2 Habit (Zaman)

Voluntary carbon trading projects in Turkey have increased rapidly, resulting in a greenhouse gas reduction of about 5 million tons and about €20 million in gains.

Obama Reverses Bush on Species Protection Measure (Washington Post)

President Obama is restoring a requirement that U.S. agencies consult with independent federal experts to determine whether their actions might harm threatened and endangered species.

Chu’s Challenges (Washington Times)

Welcome to Washington, Mr. Chu. Your DOE budget and responsibilities just doubled, and you have a lot to accomplish – fast. Unfortunately, getting it all done will be a lot harder than the rhetoric suggests. A former DOE chief of staff explains.

Indonesia Gets Creative with Reforestation Financing (Reuters)

A cash-strapped district in West Java has ordered couples planning to get married to provide 10 trees to local authorities for a reforestation program. To divorce, pay for at least one tree.

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