Today’s Climate: March 7, 2010

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Arctic Melt to Cost Up to $24 Trillion by 2050 (Reuters)

Arctic ice melting could cost global agriculture, real estate and insurance anywhere from $2.4 trillion to $24 trillion by 2050 in damage from rising sea levels, floods and heat waves, according to a new report.

Climate Change Skepticism a Litmus Test for GOP (Chicago Tribune)

The shift by some prominent Republicans away from backing climate legislation reflects the rising power of climate skeptics in the GOP, where global warming is becoming a litmus test for conservatives.

Interior Department Chooses Alaska for Climate Center (Anchorage Daily News)

Interior Secretary Salazar announced last week that Alaska will be the site of the first of the department’s eight planned regional climate science centers, calling the state the "ground zero" of climate change.

Global Climate Battle Plays Out in World Bank (Reuters)

The U.S. and Britain are threatening to withhold support for a $3.75 billion World Bank loan for a coal-fired plant in South Africa.

Gore-Backed Climate Groups Form Single Organization (The Hill)

Two climate change groups that Al Gore founded — the Alliance for Climate Protection and the Climate Project — are merging, creating "one of the largest" organizations focused singularly on climate protection in the world, the groups said Friday.

EDP May Cut US Renewables Investment If Energy Bill Falls (Dow Jones)

Portuguese energy company Energias de Portugal SA may reduce its investment in U.S. renewables if lawmakers don’t pass legislation favoring its expansion, Chief Executive Antonio Mexia said.

U.S. Needs Fresh Look at Nuclear Waste Issue: Chu (Reuters)

U.S. Energy Secretary Chu said that the U.S. needs to come up with a better system for storing or disposing of radioactive nuclear waste than a planned repository near Las Vegas.

Xcel Promises to Cut Pollution in Colorado (AP)

Xcel will reduce pollutants by retiring or modifying the utility’s coal-fired power plants in Colorado by 2017, according to a deal announced by Gov. Bill Ritter.

Interior Department Says Sage Grouse Deserves — But Won’t Get — Protection (Los Angeles Times)

The Interior Department declared that an iconic Western bird deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act, but declined to offer that protection immediately — a split decision that will oil drilling to continue across large swaths of the mountainous West.

Japan, New Mexico Collaborate on Smart Grid Tech (AP)

Two national laboratories, the state of New Mexico and a Japanese agency are developing smart grid technology to give homeowners and businesses more access to renewable sources by controlling the supply and demand of electric power.

For Lighting, an Exception to ‘Buy American’ (Green Inc.)

The DOE has waived a "buy American" requirement for government projects receiving money from last year’s stimulus bill so that recipients can purchase energy-efficient LEDs, which are made almost exclusively in China and Mexico.

Iberdrola Creates Offshore Wind Division (Sustainable Business)

Spain’s Iberdrola Renovables has created an Offshore Wind Division to develop a large portfolio of offshore wind projects awarded to the company that totals close to 10,000 MW around the world.

Desertec Initiative Appoints Toepfer As Adviser (Dow Jones)

The Desertec Industrial Initiative, the Sahara Desert solar power project, has said it appointed Professor Klaus Toepfer, a former German minister for the environment, as strategic adviser.

Rise in UK Carbon Emissions Disputed by Report (Guardian)

A major study for the UK government has cast doubt over research published in the journal Nature that rising temperatures are causing soil to pump greater amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Noise Complaints About One in Six Wind Farms (Telegraph)

New government figures reveal that at least one in six wind farms in the UK have had complaints about noise causing a lack of sleep or just been "dreadfully irritating."

Indonesia Says Unilever Move On Palm Oil "Unfair" (Reuters)

A move by Unilever to stop buying palm oil from Indonesia’s top supplier Sinar Mas and to blacklist another supplier PT Duta Palma was "unfair," Indonesian Agriculture Minister Suswono said on Friday.

Exxon Must Pay $1.2 Million for Workers’ Radiation Exposure (Bloomberg)

Exxon Mobil, the largest U.S. energy company, must pay $1.2 million to 16 Louisiana workers who claimed they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation when they were cleaning used oil drilling pipes, a jury said.