Today’s Climate: January 8, 2010

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U.S. EPA Plans to Tighten Bush-Era Smog Limits (Reuters)

The EPA has proposed a new standard to limit smog between 60 and 70 parts per billion measured over eight hours — a move that would hit coal plants, ships and locomotives hardest.

Study: Mountaintop Mining Damage ‘Pervasive and Irreversible’ (Charleston Gazette)

Mountaintop removal is causing "pervasive and irreversible damage" to Appalachia’s forests, streams and wildlife and new permits should not be granted, top scientists have concluded.

States to Lead Carbon Markets as Federal Plan Stalls (Bloomberg)

State government actions are likely to dominate the emerging U.S. carbon market in 2010 amid doubts that Congress will pass a cap-and-trade law this year.

Shell Clears Another Offshore Drilling Hurdle (AP)

The EPA has approved Shell’s air quality permit for exploration in the Chukchi Sea, one of the last administrative steps it needed before final approval for drilling off Alaska’s northwest coast.

Wis. Energy Bill Debate Centers on Nuclear, Jobs Creation (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

A bill that would relax Wisconsin’s ban on nuclear reactors and mandate increasing use of renewables began its journey through the state legislature on Thursday, with Gov. Jim Doyle asserting that it could create more than 15,000 jobs.

India Will Meet Its Copenhagen Climate Commitment, Ramesh Says (Bloomberg)

India will include its proposal to limit greenhouse gases through 2020 in the Copenhagen climate agreement, meeting a pledge made last month, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said.

Plans for £100 Bln Wind Power Program Called into Question (Telegraph)

PM Gordon’s plan to eventually power every home in Britain with electricity generated by 6,000 new wind turbines around the coast has been called into question due to a shortage of engineers.

Germany Pledges $39M for REDD Pilot Project (Jakarta Globe)

Germany has committed $39 million for a pilot project that would demonstrate how the UN’s REDD program to slow deforestation would work ahead of its implementation in 2012.

Warmer Climate Could Stifle Carbon Uptake by Trees, Study Finds (Science Daily)

Contrary to conventional belief, as the climate warms and growing seasons lengthen sub-alpine forests are likely to soak up less CO2, according to a new University of Colorado study.

Google Seeks to Tap Power Markets (Wall Street Journal)

Google has taken the unusual step of applying for approval from the FERC to become an electricity marketer, essentially giving it the authority to buy and sell bulk power at market prices, just the way large utilities and energy traders do.

Greenpeace Says Made to ‘Pay’ for Climate Summit Failure (AFP)

The head of Greenpeace Spain, freed from 20 days in Danish custody along with three others, has accused authorities in Copenhagen of making them "pay" for the failure of the climate summit.

Oil Sands Producers Prefer B.C. Carbon Rules (Globe and Mail)

Canada’s oil sands industry can live with U.S. states adopting low-carbon fuel standards, so long as they follow BC’s oil-sands-friendly model rather than the California approach.

Toyota’s Prius Top-Selling Car in Japan Last Year (AP)

The Toyota Prius was the top-selling car in Japan last year — the first time a gas-electric hybrid clinched that spot, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.

Study Raises Cost Estimate for Electric Cars (New York Times)

A new study predicts that electric cars would account for just 6% of the global market in 2020, or about three million of an estimated 54.5 million vehicles sold over all, due to still-high battery costs.

Tesla and Panasonic Collaborate to Develop Next-Gen Battery Cell Technology (Green Car Congress)

Electric-car firm Tesla Motors said it will use Panasonic cells featuring a next-gen, nickel-based lithium ion chemistry in their newest car battery packs.