Today’s Climate: February 5, 2010

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GOP Lawmakers Seek to Suspend Calif. Climate Law (AP)

Republican lawmakers in California are circulating a ballot initiative backed by business interests that would suspend California’s landmark global warming law, a signature policy of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s tenure.

Senators Seek Sulfur Dioxide Pollution Cuts (Reuters)

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators have introduced legislation aimed at slashing emissions of sulfur dioxide, mercury and nitrogen oxide from smokestacks including coal-fired power plants.

Sen. Rockefeller Criticizes Obama Over Coal Policy (Greenwire)

West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) lashed out at President Obama on Thursday for sending inconsistent messages about the future of coal.

Gov. Manchin Says Coal Talk Was a Start (Charleston Daily Mail)

West Virginia Gov. Manchin on Thursday told the state’s coal industry that his recent meeting with Pres. Obama on energy "was an absolutely wonderful start" to a dialogue about the future of coal and "I know we moved the ball forward."

RWE, Seeking Lower Emissions, Plans to Sell Stake in Coal Plant (Bloomberg)

RWE AG plans to sell a stake in a coal-fired power plant valued at as much as $110 million as Germany’s second-largest utility seeks to lower carbon emissions.

Planned Calif. Power Plant Would Be Nation’s First With GHG Emissions Limits (Greenwire)

Calpine Corp. is poised to build the first U.S. power plant with federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions in California after the Bay Area Air Quality Management District granted the Houston utility its final air quality permit on Thursday.

Wind Beating Down Nuclear and Coal in Europe (Cleantech Group)

In Europe, more nuclear and coal capacity were decommissioned than installed in 2009, while wind installations were up dramatically despite the recession.

Germany’s Solar-Energy Industry Predicts 44% Cut in Power Price (Bloomberg)

Germany’s solar industry said the government’s proposed price cuts for electricity generated from the sun may reach 44% when combined with reductions already written into law.

Scant Arctic Ice Could Mean Summer "Double Whammy" (Reuters)

Scant ice over the Arctic Sea this winter could mean a "double whammy" of powerful ice-melt next summer, a top U.S. climate scientist said.

Indian Prime Minister Weighs into Climate Row (Financial Times)

Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, on Friday launched a staunch defense of Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the UN IPCC, who is at the center of a storm over the credibility of climate change science.

Green Groups Split Over Calls for IPCC Boss to Resign (Guardian)

Friends of the Earth has defended IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri, while Greenpeace has said a new leader may restore faith in the UN panel.

Tibet Temperatures Hit Record High in 2009 (Reuters)

Temperatures in Tibet rose last year to the highest level since records began for the remote Himalayan region, which scientists say is particularly vulnerable to global warming, state media reported on Friday.

Prius Problems Put Spotlight on Car Electronics (AP)

The recalls and other technical problems besetting Toyota in the last few weeks highlight the risks of relying on electronics instead of the mechanical rods and cables that controlled vehicles for most of the 20th century.

Southern Calif Panel Rejects Funds for Ethanol Fueling Stations (Los Angeles Times)

A regional panel has turned down nearly $11 million in federal stimulus dollars targeted to build 55 ethanol fueling stations across Southern California, saying it had policy concerns about ethanol as an alternative to gasoline.

Alberta Sets Plans for Energy-Friendly Legislation (Reuters)

Alberta’s government hopes to mend ties with the Canadian province’s powerful energy sector by starting its new legislative session with a bill widely expected to cut back on oil and gas royalties.

Federal Agency Denies Protections for Tiny Pika (AP)

Global warming might be wiping out some populations of the pika, a relative of the rabbit, but not enough to warrant legal protection under the Endangered Species Act, according to a decision released by the The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.