Today’s Climate: December 9, 2009

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4 Nations Propose Green Fund to Break Talks’ Deadlock (Reuters)

Britain, Australia, Mexico and Norway today proposed guiding principles for “green funds,” hoping to end deadlock at U.N. talks on ways to manage billions of dollars to help the poor cope with global warming.

‘Danish Text’ Riles Up Copenhagen Summit (Business Green)

Diplomats at the Copenhagen summit are attempting to calm anger over the “leaked Danish text,” insisting numerous informal texts are being prepared by negotiators. Developing nations called the text a power grab to bury principles enshrined in the Kyoto Protocol.

FAO: UN Climate Talks Neglect Food Crisis (Reuters)

U.N. climate talks have neglected a food crisis, including measures which can both curb climate change and boost food production, the head of the U.N.’s food agency said.

Climate Deal Likely to Bear Big Price Tag (New York Times)

As scary as the numbers sound, the IEA says costs would ramp up relatively slowly and be largely offset by economic benefits in new jobs, improved lives and more secure energy supplies, and most investment will come from private funds.

Shell Allowed To Drill in Arctic’s Chukchi Sea (EarthJustice)

Lost in the news from Copenhagen and the EPA this week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that Shell Oil Co. has been granted conditional approval by the Minerals Management Agency to drill three exploratory wells next year in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast.

Exxon Mobil-Funded Groups Push Hacked E-Mail Scandal (Media Matters)

Over the past decade, oil giant Exxon Mobil has paid millions to organizations and "think tanks" attempting to deceive the public about the science behind climate change. A look at some of those groups, now pushing the hacked e-mails scandal as an imagined smoking gun.

Brazil Defends Biofuels as Only Answer to Fossil Fuels (IPS)

Being the world’s largest producer and exporter of ethanol it is natural for the Brazilian government and its partners to push biofuels as the only real alternative for a world trying wean itself away from fossil fuels that contribute to global warming.

Hansen: Urgency Needed On Climate Change Action (NPR)

James Hansen, who heads the earth sciences division of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, tells NPR that "politicians now use the right words — they talk about a "planet in peril" — but their actions still consist of what he calls "greenwash."

Canadian Pipeline Giant Buying Up Solar Farms (Toronto Star)

Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge Inc. has decided to quadruple its investment in Ontario’s solar-power market, announcing it is acquiring another six solar farms in Sarnia from First Solar Inc.

Europe Plans Offshore Wind Supergrid (New York Times)

As the United Nations climate meetings in Copenhagen get under way, nine European countries have pledged to create a “supergrid” in the North Sea to encourage the growth of offshore wind power.

Chinese Carbon Capture Unit a Small Step for ‘Clean Coal’ (Dow Jones)

The inauguration of the world’s largest post-combustion carbon-capture facility at a Shanghai power station this month is a reminder that it will take many years and massive investment to make a dent in the huge and growing scale of global coal use.

Bloom Energy Shifts Power via Fuel Cells (BusinessWeek)

Breakthrough home-based fuel cell technology from a richly funded Silicon Valley startup could revolutionize the energy business, especially in the developing world.

Recession Puts US Halfway to Emissions Goal (Reuters)

The recession has slashed U.S. output of planet warming gases and puts the country on track to reach President Barack Obama’s short-term emissions goal, but cutting the pollution further will take more effort as the economy recovers.

Seattle’s 2008 Emissions Were Below 1990 (Seattle Times)

After the federal government refused to join the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty capping carbon dioxide and other emissions, Seattle’s mayor in 2005 pledged that Seattle would meet the treaty’s goals anyway. It called for capping emissions at 7 percent below 1990 levels.

Driver of Deforestation Shifts from Poverty to Industry (Mongabay)

Tropical deforestation claimed roughly 13 million hectares of forest per year during the first half of this decade. The numbers mask a transition of great significance: a shift from poverty-driven to industry-driven deforestation, and that shift may offer opportunities for conservation.