Today’s Climate: August 4, 2009

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Scandal Surrounding Fake Climate Bill Letters Mushrooms (Politico)

The coal front group ACCCE, caught up in a fraudulent grassroots lobbying scandal, tried to contain the damage only to see it mushroom, dragging in two more lawmakers and prompting a congressman to call for an official investigation.

South Korea Pledges 2020 Emissions Target (Reuters)

South Korea pledged for the first time today to set a 2020 emissions reduction target, as the OECD’s fastest-growing carbon polluter voluntarily joined richer nations in setting hard goals to roll back climate change.

UK to Power Up ‘Smart Cities’ with £6.5B Fund (Business Green)

UK energy regulator Ofgem plans to invest £6.5 billion in Britain’s electricity networks over the next five years, including a fund to encourage operators to connect renewables to their networks and plans for several large-scale "smart grid city" pilot projects.

US House Will Get Another Shot at Feed-In Tariffs (Greenwire)

With the Senate girding for a debate over sweeping legislation that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and spur development of renewable electricity, two House Democrats are preparing a more limited bill with goals including feed-in tariffs.

Beijing’s Smog Is Back a Year After Olympics (AFP)

One year after staging a mostly pollution-free Olympics, Beijing has seen its skies shrouded in haze again, highlighting what observers call a mixed environmental legacy.

Global Warming Suspected in Midwest Tick Surge (AP)

The range of deer ticks is expanding in the Upper Midwest and Canada, with new ticks moving in and existing ticks picking up new diseases. Minnesota health officials reported the state’s first death from tick-borne Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

New Wrinkle in Sunflower Coal Story: We ‘Own’ the Loan (EarthJustice)

Sunflower Electric could be forced to do an environmental review for its proposed Kansas coal plant. That’s because the company defaulted on its debt service payments to the federal government, meaning the federal government has effective oversight.

Egypt to Allocate More Land for Wind Farms (Reuters)

Egypt’s Electricity Ministry will allocate 2,400 square miles of government land in Upper Egypt for wind farms, a ministry official says.

Joint Venture Revives Italy’s Nuclear Hopes (Financial Times)

The revival of Italy’s nuclear power industry after more than 20 years moved forward as Enel, Italy’s chief power utility, and EDF launched a joint venture to study building new nuclear plants. Italians rejected nuclear power in a referendum shortly after Chernobyl.

Is There a Place for Nuclear Waste? (Scientific American)

Yucca Mountain was supposed to be the answer to the U.S.’s nuclear waste problem, but after 22 years and $9 billion, that vision is dead. Now, some say that doing nothing in the near term may be the smartest solution.

For Senate, a Climate of Competing Interests (Washington Post)

Democratic leaders in the Senate say they would like to write a climate bill that sets the bar higher than the House version, which proved fertile ground for Washington’s lobby corps. But the Senate’s political math makes that look doubtful.

Is the Nobel Halo Fading for the IPCC? (New York Times)

Some climate experts worry that the IPCC, charged with assessing fast-evolving science, has failed to keep pace with an explosion of climate research, in part due to a requirement that sponsoring governments approve its summaries line by line.

How Good Is Algae Fuel At Fighting Climate Change? (Earth2Tech)

The idea of using algae to produce fuel for vehicles has been the blockbuster topic of the summer, but how good is it really at fighting climate change? That depends.