Today’s Climate: April 10, 2009

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Rep. Barton’s Campaign Lost $700,000 in Markets; Including Energy Stocks (CQ)

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton’s campaign reported losing $703,500 in the financial markets last year. A large chunk involved companies with a stake in bills handled by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where Barton is the top Republican.

Government Buying 17,600 US-Made, Fuel-Efficient Cars (Reuters)

Swapping older federal cars for hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles will save 1.3 million gallons of gas per year and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 26 million pounds, the White House says.

Kenya: Wind Project Could Meet Quarter of Power Need (AllAfrica)

Lake Turkana Wind Power plans to produce 300MW from wind power in northern Kenya by 2012. Once complete, it could meet about a quarter of at Kenya’s total energy demand.

N.M. Governor Signs Renewable Energy Financing Plan (AP)

The measure allows cities and counties to form financing districts, which could issue bonds to provide financing for adding solar, wind or geothermal energy systems and allow the property owners to repay the loans through property assessments.

Utility Plans Large Solar Plant in Florida (Herald Tribune)

Florida Power & Light plans to build one of the world’s largest solar power plants of its kind. The announcement was timed to a debate over Gov. Crist’s renewable energy legislation; FPL wants it to favor large energy companies over small-scale solar on homes and businesses.

Poor Prospects for Corn Ethanol Under Global Warming (Los Angeles Times)

Global warming could scorch the corn economy to the tune of $1.4 billion a year, according to a new report from Environment America. The damage would come in the expected places: the Midwest and South.

Coal State Gets National Battery Lab (Courier-Journal)

Kentucky has been picked for a new national research center to develop the next generation of batteries to power electric vehicles and hybrids, Gov. Steve Beshear says. It was chosen in part for its automotive industry and state energy plan.

EPA Objects to More Mountaintop Mining Permits (Charleston Gazette)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials have lodged objections to three more mountaintop-removal mining permits, but the federal Army Corps of Engineers is – at least for now – sticking to some Bush administration positions on the issue.

W. Canada Rejects Ottawa’s Emissions Plan (Globe and Mail)

Ministers from resource-rich Alberta and Saskatchewan say any Canadian climate change policy needs to be consistent with their own approaches to greenhouse gas regulations, which set industrial emission standards based on levels of production rather than strict caps. The final plan may depend on what the U.S. does.

Calgary Commits to 100% Green Power (CBC)

The City of Calgary is spending $250 million over 25 years to have all of its municipal operations run by green power, primarily wind, starting in 2012. Its train system is already powered by wind-derived electricity.

Russian Voting Tinged with Green (Washington Post)

Russian candidates running on green platforms have won seats on local legislative councils in Russia, and now they’re getting into mayoral offices. It isn’t politically easy, but it resonates with voters.

Retreat of Andean Glaciers Foretells Global Water Woes (Yale Environment 360)

Bolivia accounts for a tiny fraction of global greenhouse gas emissions. But it will soon be paying a disproportionately high price for a major consequence of global warming: the rapid loss of glaciers and a subsequent decline in vital water supplies.