Today’s Climate: October 9, 2009

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Negotiator: US Might Not Make Emissions Pledge in Copenhagen (Bloomberg)

The U.S. might not agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions in a new treaty this year because there is no domestic law setting a framework, the country’s top negotiator said at United Nations climate talks in Bangkok.

Committee Unlikely to Debate Climate Bill Before November (Dow Jones)

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee likely won’t consider a landmark climate bill until November, officials and Democratic aides close to the matter said. The schedule suggests the bill is unlikely to make it to the Senate floor until next year.

Saudis Want Financial Aid If World Cuts Oil Dependence (AP)

Saudi Arabia has led a quiet campaign during climate negotiations, demanding behind closed doors that oil-producing nations get special financial assistance if a new climate pact calls for substantial reductions in the use of fossil fuels.

US Blocks Oil Drilling at 60 Sites in Utah (New York Times)

The Department of the Interior has frozen oil and gas development on 60 of 77 contested drilling sites in Utah, saying the process of leasing the land was rushed and badly flawed.

Energy Secretary Hails Companies that Left Chamber of Commerce (Reuters)

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu applauded companies that have quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because they disagree with the business group’s climate change policy. "I think it’s wonderful," he said.

Bangkok Talks End with a Whimper (AP)

UN climate talks ended in a whimper today, with little progress on pressing issues including emission cuts for rich nations and financing for developing ones. Both are crucial to reaching a global warming pact.

Browner: White House is Stepping Up Climate Campaign (AP)

White House climate advisor Carol Browner tells the AP that the administration is stepping up its push to pass energy and climate legislation this year.

States Struggling to Meet Renewable Energy Goals (USA Today)

States are falling short of their goals to increase the use of renewable energy as Congress weighs a national renewable-energy standard, a survey finds. Recession, red tape and transmission are the major issues.

Australia Minister Wants to Speed Carbon Capture (Dow Jones)

All countries must accelerate the development of carbon capture and storage technology on a widespread, commercial scale, lest the global response to climate change be ineffective, Australia’s Minister for Resources and Energy said today.

Tropics to be Hit Hardest by Fisheries Shifts Due to Climate Change (PhysOrg)

Major shifts in fisheries distribution due to climate change will affect food security in tropical regions most adversely, according to a study led by the Sea Around Us Project at the University of British Columbia.

Drought in Somalia: Even the Camels are Dying (New York Times)

Somalia’s twin killers — war and drought — have sent more than 20 percent of the country’s population on the run. Now, the drought has become so bad, even the camels are dying.

Last Time CO2 Was This High: 15 Million Years Ago (PhysOrg)

One would have to go back at least 15 million years to find carbon dioxide levels on Earth as high as they are today, scientists report in the online edition of the journal Science.

UN: Rice Production in India to Slump Due to Drought (Bloomberg)

Drought in India may slash rice output in the world’s second-largest grower by about 18 percent this year, cutting global supplies available for importers, a United Nations official says.

EU Eyes 15 Million Eco-Renovations by 2020 (Reuters)

Fifteen million European buildings should have eco-renovations over the next decade, with builders and architects re-educated to do the job, a draft EU report says.

Activists Spread Peace in West Bank with Renewable Energy (AP)

Palestinian residents of a West Bank village with no electricity grid connections now have light thanks to an unlikely benefactor — a group of pro-peace Israeli scientists who installed solar and wind power systems.

The Crisis in Global Land Use (Yale Environment 360)

As the international community focuses on climate change as the great challenge of our era, it is ignoring another looming problem — the global crisis in land use.