Today’s Climate: October 8, 2009

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US Threatens Climate Talks by Opposing Kyoto Targets (Guardian)

The U.S. threatened to derail a climate deal today in a public showdown with China by expressing deep opposition to the existing Kyoto Protocol. It urged other rich countries to join it in setting up a new agreement that would require all countries to reduce emissions. The EU sided with the U.S.

Rich Countries Could Face Class Actions over Climate Change (Irish Times)

Rich countries could face class actions on behalf of people in the developing world if they fail to take convincing steps to cut the emissions blamed for causing climate change, a Filipino lawyer warns.

Fight Brewing Over Possible Rider to Weaken Ship Pollution Regs (Greenwire)

Clean air advocates are girding for a battle over a possible amendment to the annual U.S. EPA spending bill that would weaken the agency’s ability to regulate air pollution from oceangoing vessels.

UK’s Heavily Protested Kingsnorth Coal Plant Plan Put on Hold (Business Green)

The government’s plans for up to four carbon capture and storage plants were thrown into limbo when E.ON announced it was postponing controversial plans for a new coal-fired powers station at Kingsnorth. Protesters have repeatedly targeted the plant.

Norway Proposes 40% Emissions Cut by 2020 (AFP)

The government of Norway, the world’s fifth largest oil exporter, said it is prepared to toughen its 2020 target for cutting carbon emissions to help support efforts to reach a global climate accord.

China Supports India’s Per Capita Emissions Plan (New Kerala)

"Each person is entitled to his fair share of global atmospheric space," China’s chief climate negotiator Yu Qingtai said, publicly placing for the first time Chinese support to this concept formulated by India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

India pledges to phase out HCFCs by 2030 (Business Green)

India has said it will phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 2030 and will seek international funding and technology to meet the target.

UN: Rich Nations Need to Ante-up in Climate Talks (Reuters)

Poorer countries are helping shape a broader pact to fight climate change but their efforts are being stymied by rich nations’ lack of commitment on finance and tougher emissions cuts, the U.N. said today.

Forest Offsets Would let Companies Save Billions (Los Angeles Times)

U.S. companies could save tens of billions of dollars by investing in efforts to combat deforestation in developing nations instead of cleaning up their own domestic CO2 emissions, a new report on forest offsets calculates.

EU Cities Puzzled by Greenhouse Gas Measurements (EurActiv)

Many regional initiatives are already taking place in the EU to tackle climate change, but the array of different tools for measuring global warming gases make the results difficult to compare.

Canada Moving Forward on CCS Funding (Calgary Herald)

The government of Alberta is moving forward today on plans to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions, partnering with Ottawa to fund projects that propose to make the technology commercial.

Sen. Byrd blasts Massey ‘Arrogance’ Over School Near Mine (Coal Tattoo)

West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd issued an angry response to the news that Massey Energy declined to help fund a new school so Marsh Fork Elementary students in Raleigh County can move away from Massey’s mountaintop mining operation.

UMWA President Faces Hard Future for Coal (MetroNews)

Going into his fourth term as the United Mine Workers of America President, Cecil Roberts continues to support the Obama administration but worries about the EPA. "The biggest challenge right now is, unbelievably I guess in some sense, is whether or not there’s going to be a coal industry or not," he said.

Robert Stavins on Cap-and-Trade vs. the Alternatives (Huffington Post)

Experience has shown that conventional regulatory approaches cannot ensure achievement of emissions targets, create problematic unintended consequences and are very costly for what they achieve, writes economist Robert Stavins.

Solar Village Begins to Bloom on National Mall (CNet)

Teams of architecture and engineering students from around the world are about to open the doors on 20 solar-powered homes built on the National Mall for the Solar Decathlon, a DOE contest to showcase the potential of solar energy in buildings.

Peering Under the Ice of Collapsing Polar Coast (Science Daily)

Starting this month, a giant NASA DC-8 aircraft loaded with geophysical instruments and scientists will buzz at low level over West Antarctica, where ice sheets are collapsing at a pace far beyond what scientists expected just a few years ago. It’s an effort to image what is happening on and under the ice and estimate future sea-level rises.