Today’s Climate: August 5, 2009

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Study: US Consumers Spared Big Costs in Climate Bill (Reuters)

A new U.S. government study adds to a growing list of experts concluding that climate legislation moving through Congress would have only a modest impact on consumers, adding a bit more than $100 to household costs in 2020.

Pacific Island Leaders Call for Major Carbon Cuts (AP)

The smallest seven island nations in the Pacific Islands Forum say deep cuts in emissions are vital to protect low-lying countries from rising seas, which are degrading coastlines, polluting drinking water and killing fruit trees and plants.

Maldives Official: ‘We Do Not Want to See The Blame Game’ (IPS)

Developing economies are vulnerable to climate change and need funds to implement much needed adaptation and mitigation measures. That must be addressed in the next round of climate negotiations, a Maldives official explains in an interview.

UK Unveils High-Speed Rail Plan to Ground Short Flights (Guardian)

The British government has made the demise of domestic air travel an explicit policy target for the first time by aiming to replace short-haul flights with a new 250mph high-speed rail network.

‘Cash for Clunkers’ Effect on Pollution? A Blip (AP)

Compared to overall carbon dioxide emission, the pollution savings from the cash for clunkers programs doesn’t noticeably move the fuel gauge. Environmental experts say it’s not an effective way to attack climate change.

Cleantech Intellectual Property: How to Share and Profit (Earth2Tech)

Depending on who you ask, compulsory licensing that would force companies to license technology if they’re not selling it in a particular market can be seen as either a doomsday scenario for innovation or a fair way to ensure developing nations have access to technology.

Missing Green Targets Could Cost Brits, Lawmakers Warn (Reuters)

Britain’s government is in danger of missing its own targets on cutting public sector greenhouse gas emissions and taxpayers could end up paying for the failure, a critical report from a group of lawmakers says.

Xcel Backtracks on Extra Charge for Solar Users (Wall Street Journal)

Xcel has withdrawn a plan to seek a new fee on solar users – the average user would have faced a $2 a month charge – but it hasn’t changed its overall request for a $180.2 million rate increase.

Intel Puts Wasted PC Power to Work on Climate Fight (GreenBiz)

A new Facebook application launched computing giant Intel lets idling computers work on a range of health and environmental research projects, including the world’s largest climate forecasting project.

eSolar Bets on Software to Make Solar Cheaper (CNet)

eSolar CEO Bill Gross predicts that a "more software, less steel" trend will continue in solar and help get the cost of solar electricity down.

Scientists Find Drowned Tundra Emits More Carbon (Nature)

Ecologists working in Alaska have found that the wetter the Arctic tundra becomes with warming temperatures, the more carbon dioxide it gives off.

Study: Sick Fish May Get Sicker Due To Climate Change (Science Daily)

Entire populations of North American fish already are being affected by several emerging diseases, a problem that threatens to increase in the future with climate change and other stresses on aquatic ecosystems.

Parched Northern China Suffering Through Water Crisis (AFP)

A water shortage in northern China that experts say is caused by global warming has created drought conditions and rising demand from 96 million people who live in the booming Beijing region.