Today’s Climate: March 10, 2009

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Amid Rising Anxiety, Climate Scientists Gather in Copenhagen (Canberra Times)

As scientists gather today for a research congress on climate change, one question is whether the scientific evidence presented to governments two years ago on the pace, scope and consequences of climate is already significantly out of date.

Australia Affirms Carbon Emissions Target Amid Growth Concerns (Bloomberg)

Australia released draft legislation today that aims to use carbon trading to cut emissions by between 5 and 15 percent of 2000 levels by 2020. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says Australia could meet a 60 percent reduction by mid-century.

USDA Chief Backs Higher Ethanol-to-Gasoline Blend (Reuters)

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tells a farm group that an increase in the ethanol-gasoline blend rate to 12 or 13 percent could be accomplished quickly and with minimal scientific review.

Feds Could Take Control Of Electric Superhighway (Forbes)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has introduced a bill that would give the federal government authority to grant permits for new electric transmission lines, trumping states’ jurisdiction on the matter.

Alaska Drilling Ruling Vacated, Future Uncertain (Reuters)

An appeals court vacated a decision that blocked Shell’s exploratory drilling program in the Beaufort Sea. Both the company and environmental groups challenging it say they have no indication whether a policy change will result.

Study: Exxon Valdez Oil Could Persist for Centuries (Los Angeles Times)

The stunning legacy of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska is the persistence of oil along the beaches of Prince William Sound that in places is “nearly as toxic as it was the first few weeks after the spill,” says the group monitoring the cleanup.

Stimulus Dollars Energize Smart Grid Effort (Washington Post)

Several utilities are confident they can turn out a smart grid that remakes an electricity network still moored to the 1950s, as long as they have billions of dollars from the federal stimulus package.

EPA to Study, Regulate Coal Ash Waste (AP)

The Environmental Protection Agency has launched a review of coal ash storage facilities and said it would draft regulations for coal ash by the end of the year.

Western Governors Envision I-5 Becoming Green Highway (Seattle Times)

The governors of Washington, Oregon and California are considering a plan they hope will help transform Interstate 5 from a freeway ruled by gasoline burners to a haven for eco-friendly cars and trucks.

Monsanto Submits Drought-Tolerant Corn to USDA (Reuters)

Monsanto says it moved a step closer to releasing what could be the world’s first drought-tolerant biotech corn by completing regulatory submissions in the U.S. and Canada. It hopes to have the produce to market in 2012.

US House Quietly Shelved Plan to Zero Out Carbon (AP)

The U.S. House quietly shelved its effort to go carbon neutral last month. It turned out that the House’s goal could not be guaranteed.

Disney Cutting Fuel Use in Half by 2012 (Reuters)

The Walt Disney Co. says it will cut carbon emissions from fuels by half by 2012 with an ultimate goal of achieving net zero direct greenhouse gas emissions at its office and retail complexes, theme parks and cruise lines.

Monbiot’s Top 10 Climate Change Deniers (Guardian)

George Monbiot releases his shortlist, playing card form, of people who have done most for the denialist cause.