Today’s Climate: July 6, 2009

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Oxfam: Hunger Rises as Climate Change Causes Crop Failure (Guardian)

Hunger may become the defining human tragedy of the century as the climate changes and hundreds of millions of farmers already struggling to grow enough food are forced to adapt to drought and different rainfall patterns, a report from Oxfam warns.

Blair: G8 Should Put that Good Will to Use on Energy Issues (Guardian)

"If we focus on clear, practical, and achievable goals, major reductions can be made in order to ensure that, whatever the precise interim target, the world will fashion a radical new approach," writes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

South Korea to Spend $85B on Green Industries (Reuters)

South Korea will invest $84.5 billion, or 2 percent of its annual GDP, in environment-related industries over the next five years, the presidential office said today.

Nigeria: Country Faces Hard Times With Less US Need for Oil (This Day)

Nigerian government officials warn that their economy, largely depend on crude oil exports, may witness a major shrink in five years time because planned changes in U.S. consumption unless it aggressively pursues a policy of diversifying its revenue sources.

Ex-BP Chief: Make State-Run Banks Invest in Renewables (London Times)

State-controlled banks such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group should be forced to invest in renewable energy projects to kick-start a transition to a lower-carbon economy, former BP chief John Browne says.

California Solar Subsidy Program Approaches Limit (Los Angeles Times)

A key state Senate committee is expected to vote on a bill that seeks to quadruple the amount of electricity consumers with roof panels may sell. The solar industry supports it; PG & E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric oppose the bill.

Energy-Pioneering Austrian Town Exports Its Model (AFP)

After 20 years investing in renewable energy, the small Austrian town of Guessing, a model of energy self-sufficiency, is spreading its pioneering technology far and wide.

China To Start Work on 20 GW Wind Farm (Reuters)

China will begin construction of a $17.6 billion wind power project in Gansu province this month dubbed “the Three Gorges Dam on the land.” Its 20 gigawatts will be part of a major push to boost renewable energy and cut the nation’s reliance on coal, Xinhua reports.

Congress Must Restore Strength to Climate Bill (Boston Globe)

As the Senate takes up climate legislation this week, John Kassel, president of the Conservation Law Foundation, urges it to restore the strength a real cap and better tools to foster renewable energy and efficiency – flaws inflicted by House negotiations.

Oil Companies Buying Bankrupt Ethanol Plants (Energy Business Daily)

The pressure is on to get the refiners to reduce emissions, so they are exploring new ways to meet these environmental standards ban. The hunt for bargains is on.

Texas Quakes Drawing La. Energy Agency’s Attention (Times Picayune)

A series of minor earthquakes in Texas has raised the specter of tremors in northwest Louisiana, where a natural gas discovery has launched a gold-rush style drilling boom. Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources has its ear to the ground for more rumblings.

Montana Considers Cashing in on 1.2B Tons of Coal (AP)

Montana officials are on track to seek bids this fall to mine a massive reserve of state-owned coal near the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation — a deposit with enough fuel to feed the U.S. coal appetite for a year.

Xinjiang Unrest: The Oil and Gas Connection (Financial Times)

Xinjiang in western China is a province rich in natural resources, a fact not unconnected with the violence that has killed 140 people in the past few days. The region’s oil and gas riches have been a growing source of tension between Uighurs and Han migrants.

Sweden Introduces Climate Labeling for Food (EurActiv)

Sweden is developing standards to help consumers make conscious choices about the impact of their decisions on global warming. Products with at least 25% greenhouse gas savings will be marked in each food category.

Studies: Climate Change May Be Benefiting Poison Ivy (Providence Journal)

Poison ivy is showing signs of being one of the big winners from climate change. Carbon dioxide acts almost as a growth hormone for the itchy weed.

Ocean Acidity? One UK Scheme Suggests Adding Lime (Guardian)

One of 20 innovative schemes proposed at a two-day search for the best ideas to tackle climate change in the UK proposed putting lime in the ocean to reduce acidity.