Weekly Climate: June 27-July 3, 2009

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This week on SolveClimate we highlighted some important climate roles and progress made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In a decision that will reverberate nationwide, the agency granted California and 13 other states permission to set vehicle standards that are tougher than the federal government’s and based on greenhouse gas emissions for the first time.

We learned that Obama’s EPA is requiring Sunflower Electric to restart the permit process if it wants to build a controversial Kansas coal plant. Former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius had fought Sunflower’s efforts, but her successor approved the coal plant in a back room deal six days after taking office.

The EPA was firm: The proposed coal plant must meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

Also on the topic of coal, the EPA released a once-secret list of 44 coal ash ponds that pose the highest danger to human life if they were to break.

President Obama hinted this week that the ACES climate bill that squeaked through the House last week could get watered down further in the Senate – and that he probably won’t stop that from happening.

We asked the burning question of what will happen with the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline: Will the gas be used to fuel Canada’s dirty tar sands, or for clean energy in the lower 48 states? Most probable outcome: some combination of both.

New studies show that the thawing Arctic permafrost has the potential to release massive amounts of planet-warming greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Greenpeace is all aboard its Arctic Sunrise ship to document the disintegrating Petermann Glacier in Greenland.

In technology, a new report found that eight ready-to-deploy clean energy technologies could meet 60 percent of new energy demand in 10 years.

Version 3 of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program is out, and it’s now requiring building owners to prove ongoing energy efficiency for the first time. High-tech green building materials are changing construction practices. And a young startup named Metrus Energy is hoping to usher in a wave of energy efficiency projects with a new form of financing.

We spotlighted one sure-fire way to chill the electric bill: paint your roof white.

We took a "toxic tour" of Wilmington, Calif., home to 53,000 people and the third largest oil field in the United States, which is wreaking havoc with the air quality and the residents’ health.

In China, 1,000 youth ambassadors have been recruited to educate 1 million citizens on what they can do to stop climate change.

Finally, Kevin Parker of Deutsche Bank and Mindy Lubber, president of the Ceres, explained how the bank’s 67-by-32-foot electronic Carbon Counter in New York is finally putting human-caused climate pollution in plain view.