Today’s Climate: December 7, 2009

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Climate Conference Opens in Copenhagen (AP)

The largest and most important U.N. climate change conference in history opened today, with organizers warning diplomats from 192 nations that this could be the best, last chance for a deal to protect the world from calamitous global warming.

US EPA to Finalize Endangerment Finding Today (NPR)

The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded greenhouse gases are endangering people’s health and must be regulated, signaling that the Obama administration is prepared to contain global warming without congressional action if necessary.

India Opposition Walks Out of Parliament Over Emissions Target (IBN)

Members of India’s opposition party staged a walk-out today over the prime minister’s announced emissions target. The environment minister stressed that the target “is unilateral and non-binding internationally,” saying “it will only strengthen our position to demand more reductions from the West.”

Sudan Adopts Negotiator Excluded by Philippines (GMA News)

Sudan has adopted veteran Philippine negotiator Bernarditas de Castro Muller after she was dropped from the country’s official delegation to the climate talks, sources from the Sudanese delegation said. Environment campaigners had expressed alarm over her exclusion.

South Africa to Cut Emissions 34% (BBC)

South Africa has committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 34% by 2020, but it says it will need financial aid from developed countries to do so.

56 Newspapers Run Copenhagen Editorial (Guardian)

“Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency,” they write.

Chinese Official: Climate Adaptation ‘More Realistic and Urgent’ (Green Car Congress)

Writing in the official magazine of China’s Central Committee of the Communist Party, the head of China Meteorological Administration asserts that “it is more realistic and urgent” for China to adapt to the effects of climate change, rather than focus on mitigation, in its efforts to enhance food security.

Emission Trading Programs Struggle to Find Traction (New York Times)

Russia could hold hostage the future of a carbon cap-and-trade system that many experts see as a critical tool for curbing global warming gases. The reason: Its large stocks of carbon offset credits.

Business Group: Summit Should Pave Way for Global CO2 Market (Reuters)

The United Nations climate summit should lay the foundations for a global carbon market or UK business will suffer as firms move to countries with lower emissions targets, business lobby group CBI said today.

NYC Mayor Drops an Effort to Cut Building Energy Use (New York Times)

After intense opposition from building owners, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has dropped the most far-reaching initiative of his plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Earth More Sensitive to CO2 (AFP)

Carbon dioxide indirectly causes up to 50 percent more global warming than originally thought, a finding that raises questions over targets for stabilizing carbon emissions over the long term, a study says.

Dutch Defense Against Climate Change: Adapt (Washington Post)

As sea levels swell and storms intensify, the Dutch are spending billions of euros on "floating communities" that can rise with surging waters.

Obama, Dem Efforts on Climate Cooled Off (AP)

Nearly a year into his presidency, Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress have fallen short of their own expectations on climate change as they prepare to attend international negotiations that begin this week.

Climate Victims: Wish We Weren’t Here (Reuters)

As world leaders begin talks in Copenhagen aimed at reaching a deal to slow the pace of climate change, people around the world are experiencing environmental destruction in myriad ways, some subtle, others devastating.