Today’s Climate: June 9, 2009

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At Odds on Emissions, U.S., China Open Talks (Washington Post)

U.S. and Chinese officials began three days of talks in Beijing in hopes of making a breakthrough on climate change, but they remain far apart on the basic issue of who is to blame for carbon emissions and should shoulder the burden for reducing them.

EU to Postpone Climate Funding Decision, Again (EurActiv)

EU heads of state are expected to again postpone any decision on proving poor countries with financial contributions to fight climate change when they meet in Brussels next week, according to diplomatic sources.

Conoco Chief: Waxman-Markey ‘Unfair’ to Refiners (Wall Street Journal)

Oil refiners say it isn’t fair that the electricity sector would get 35 percent of allowances free under the climate bill and refiners would get 2 percent. They want more freebies for the transportation sector.

Union Chief Gives His Take on the Climate Talks (AFL-CIO Blog)

AFL-CIO union chief Bob Baugh writes from the climate talks in Bonn, “We are putting a trade union stamp on a shared vision for long-term cooperative action."

Midwest Governors Group Sets Goals to Reduce Greenhouse Gases (AP)

A group set up by six Midwestern governors to create a cap-and-trade system is recommending goals stronger than the House climate bill, but still short of the IPCC’s recommendations: a nearly 20% emissions cut from 2005 levels by 2020.

Judge Tosses CO2 Arguments in Arkansas Power Plant Case (Democrat-Gazette)

An administrative law judge hearing a case over an air permit for a coal-fired power plant in Arkansas threw out arguments on whether carbon dioxide emissions were properly considered, saying CO2 wasn’t regulated by the federal government.

Israel Declares ‘Revolution’ Against Gas Guzzlers (Reuters)

Israel declared a "green tax revolution", proposing a new customs levy on large vehicles and a rebate for junking older gas-guzzling models.

EU Kicks Off Battle for $6B in Energy Funds (Reuters)

Advanced green technologies such as superheated solar towers and gas from trees will be allowed to compete with industry-backed CCS technology for around $6 billion of European Union funding, an EU document shows.

GM Opens Global Battery Systems Lab (Green Car Congress)

General Motors further expanded its battery research and development capabilities by opening what it called the largest and most technologically advanced battery lab in the U.S. in Warren, Mich.

EU Clean Tech Competition Winners (Cleantech)

France-based Saint-Gobain wrapped up a startup competition for European companies developing clean tech in construction, energy and the environment. This year’s top picks: M-Therm, TVP Solar and Shark Solutions.

Asia Firms Create Clean Tech-Only Funds (Cleantech)

Four Asia-based private equity firms are rounding up capital for clean tech, marking the region’s first dedicated clean tech funds.

Energy, Climate and the U.S. Virgin Islands (New York Times)

The U.S. Virgin Islands are urgently trying to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and hoping that ocean thermal technology — generating electricity from the difference between the ocean’s cold depths and warm surface — will catch on.

Australia Puts Brakes on Rooftop Solar Rebate (Business Green)

Australia’s federal government has abruptly ended an $8,000 rebate on solar panels after an unexpectedly large number of households claimed more than $690 million over an 18-month period.

The Empire Strikes Back (Carl Pope)

We need to act quickly to educate members of the Senate that coal ash is a hazardous substance and should be regulated as such, writes Sierra Club Director Carl Pope.

Amsterdam: A Smart City Goes Live (Business Week)

On the streets of Amsterdam last week, major changes were afoot. The first of 1,200 households installed an energy-saving system from IBM and Cisco aimed at cutting electricity costs, and that was just the start.