Today’s Climate: August 6, 2009

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China Negotiator Optimistic on Climate Treaty (AP)

China’s top climate envoy said he is optimistic that upcoming negotiations will produce a new global warming treaty, but admitted developed countries have slowed the process by not setting CO2 reduction targets.

$1.36 Billion to Create Technology Epicenter in Michigan (Detroit Free Press)

Michigan was established yesterday as the epicenter of the Obama administration’s push to build the electric car batteries and motors for the cars of the future, with the state winning most of a $2.4-billion federal grant program.

Senate Reaches Deal on $2B ‘Clunkers’ Refill (AP)

The Senate reached a deal on saving the "cash for clunkers" program last night, agreeing to vote on a plan that would add $2 billion to the rebate program.

Pacific Islands Survival ‘Depends on Climate Deal’ (AFP)

The survival of some of the world’s most vulnerable Pacific nations depends on a global climate change deal, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said today at the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum.

Air Quality Permit for Proposed Montana Coal Plant Revoked (AP)

The state has revoked the air quality permit that Southern Montana Electric needed to build a 250-MW coal plant — a move requested by SME, which says it wants to build a natural gas-fired facility instead.

150 Businesses Support Bill for U.S. Green Jobs (Reuters)

The Apollo Alliance, a California-based coalition of labor, business and green groups, is endorsing a new bill it says will create 680,000 direct green manufacturing jobs over five years.

Congressman Demands Answers on Forged Letters (AP)

Rep. Ed Markey, chairman of the House Select Committee on Global Warming, is demanding answers from a coal group about forged letters criticizing climate legislation that were sent to congressional offices ahead of the vote.

Fossil-Fuel Groups Form Circular Firing Squad (Greenwire)

Big energy companies that once stood shoulder to shoulder in a fight against climate legislation are shifting battle positions to focus on new opponents. Each other.

Psychological Barriers Hobble Climate Action (Reuters)

Psychological barriers like uncertainty, mistrust and denial keep most Americans from acting to fight climate change, a task force of the American Psychological Association has said.

Hot Streak for Solar Power in Spain (Wall Street Journal)

After positioning Spain as the third-largest wind power producer after the U.S. and Germany, renewable energy companies are now racing for a foothold in the country’s fast-growing "solar thermal" market.

eSolar Commissions 5MW Solar Power Tower in Southern California (PV Tech)

eSolar has unveiled a 5-MW, 24,000-mirror concentrating solar thermal power plant in the Antelope Valley in eastern Los Angeles County. It’s the only power tower of its kind currently operating in America.

Toyota Prius Top-Selling Car in Japan for 3 Months (AP)

Toyota’s popular Prius hybrid ranked as Japan’s top-selling car in July, clinching the spot for the third consecutive month as tax breaks boosted sales of green vehicles.

Car Charging Infrastructure in Short Supply (Wall Street Journal)

The U.S. DOE is awarding billions of dollars to companies developing the next-gen batteries that can power cars. But one crucial element is in short supply: stations where electric vehicles can recharge.

Vestas Sit-in Six Call on Country to Show Support (Guardian)

Six workers who have been staging a sit-in at Britain’s only major wind turbine factory called for a national day of action to support their attempt to save it from closure with the loss of more than 600 jobs.

Zoning Change Eyed after ND Coal Projects Blocked (AP)

Officials in southwestern North Dakota say they will consider changing a zoning rule that could block development of a coal mine, a coal drying plant and a synthetic gas factory.

Climate Change Brews Up Trouble for Coffee Growers (Guardian)

The weather outlook for coffee growers over the next millennium is poor: it will be hotter everywhere, with prolonged dry spells in many places, interspersed with very heavy rain.