Today’s Climate: February 7, 2010

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Study: Arctic Ice Melt Worse than ‘Most Pessimistic’ Models (Sydney Morning Herald)

Climate change is transforming the Arctic environment faster than expected and accelerating the disappearance of sea ice, scientists said in giving their early findings from the biggest-ever study of Canada’s changing north.

China: Record Temperatures Across Tibet in 2009 (Xinhua)

The "roof of the world" is getting warmer. The average temperature in the Tibet autonomous region was 5.9 degrees Celsius last year, 1.5 degrees higher than normal and a record high in almost four decades, latest figures from the regional climate center showed.

EU Considers Classifying Palm Oil Plantations as Forests (Mongabay)

The European Union may be planning to classify oil palm plantations as forests, raising fears among environmental groups of expanded conversion of rainforests for biofuel production, according to a leaked document from the European Commission.

EPA’s Voluntary Programs Under Scrutiny as Regulatory Obligations Rise (Greenwire)

As U.S. EPA ramps up regulatory activities in climate change and other arenas, the agency may cut back some of its many voluntary programs in an effort to funnel resources toward regulations, a top official says.

New Mexico Senate Approves Carbon Capture and Storage Bill (AP)

The New Mexico Senate approved a proposal that sets the stage for storing carbon dioxide deep underground. The bill would establish ownership rights for the pore spaces.

NOAA Grant Proposal Could Launch Marine Zoning (Greenwire)

The Obama administration is proposing a grant program that could start zoning marine areas for offshore projects. Advocates say the proposal, part of NOAA’s proposed budget, would be a big step toward helping improving the marine management.

China Flies Past EU, US on New Wind Turbines (EurActiv)

The global wind energy market continued to grow last year, driven by a strong push from China, which installed more new turbines than Europe and the U.S., according to new statistics from the Global Wind Energy Council.

In Clean Energy, US Needs More Steel in Ground (CNet)

More than scientific breakthroughs, the U.S. needs to deploy existing green technologies faster to keep pace with China and other nations, industry officials say. The concern is that the U.S. is lagging because of wavering policies, complex permitting, and a skittish financial community.

EU: Smart Grids to Enable Renewables at ‘Moderate’ Cost (EurActiv)

The EU could be powered almost entirely by renewable energies in 2050 without power disruptions by adding intelligence to its existing grids and building new cross-border connections, according to a study by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council.

Structural Composite Material Could Double as Energy Storage (Green Car Congress)

Researchers from Imperial College London and their European partners, including Volvo, are developing a composite material of carbon fibers and a polymer resin which can store and discharge electrical energy and which is also strong and lightweight enough for car parts.

Making Biofuels from Saltwater Crops (MIT Technology Review)

A project in the Middle East aims to make jet fuel from saltwater-tolerant crops grown in the desert. The goal is to produce biofuels without taking away land from food crops or using large amounts of fresh water.

Coal Group ACCCE Hires PR Firm Full of Bush Admin Operatives (Huffington Post)

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) has hired two new public relations firms to hock its message in the wake of the disastrous job done by Bonner & Associates.