Today’s Climate: August 10, 2009

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Vast Expanses of Arctic Ice Melt in Summer Heat (AP)

The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles of ice on Sunday in a relentless summer of melt, with scientists watching through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap.

China to Unveil Plan for ‘New Energy’ by Year-End (Reuters)

Coal-dependent China will unveil a plan to foster the development of "new energy" sources, including wind, solar and nuclear, by the end of this year, a senior energy policy official has said.

Feds Holding Back $100 Million in Oil and Gas Drilling Leases (AP)

The U.S, government is sitting on $100 million worth of drilling leases it auctioned and sold but hasn’t issued, holding them back because of environmental protests and lawsuits.

Alaska Legislature to Take up Palin Energy Stimulus Veto (San Jose Mercury News)

A final battle remaining from the Sarah Palin era as Alaska governor closes today when the legislature votes on whether to override her veto of federal stimulus money for energy efficiency measures.

Australia: Pressure on Wong to Split Climate Bill (Sydney Morning Herald)

Australia’s climate change minister is facing calls to separate the government’s popular renewable energy scheme from its controversial emissions trading scheme, which faces defeat on Thursday.

New Zealand Sets Greenhouse Gas Emissions Target (AP)

New Zealand announced that it will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, holding off on a hard target.

UN Delegates Continue Battle over Climate Commitments (Deutsche-Welle)

The third session of UN global warming talks opened in Bonn today, amid accusations from green groups that current climate commitments are way off the mark.

UN Chief Says Climate Change Biggest Challenge (AP)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that climate change is the greatest challenge facing a world beset by crises and called on governments to reach a deal in Copenhagen later this year.

India Likely to Invest 1 Trillion Rupees in Renewable Energy (Wall Street Journal)

India expects to invest 1 trillion rupees, or $21 billion, over a five-year period for renewable energy and add 14.5 GW of clean energy capacity by March 2012.

Duke Energy Inking Tech Pact with China (Charlotte Observer)

Duke Energy has signed an agreement on "clean coal" technology and renewable energy projects with China’s largest power company, the Huaneng Group. It’s the first tech-exchange pact between electric utilities of the two nations.

A New Building Energy Label in the Works, Alternative to Energy Star (Earth2Tech)

A new program set to be unveiled this fall by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, will provide buildings with a rating of their energy use, from A+ to F.

Ethanol Industry Wants U.S. Cars Alt-Fuel Ready (Reuters)

A new report by Growth Energy, the ethanol industry trade group, is calling for all U.S. cars to handle higher blends of ethanol, a national low-carbon fuel standard, and more ethanol pumping stations and biofuel pipelines.

Global Warming Jeopardizes World’s Most Diverse Marine Ecosystem (Environment News Service)

The Verde Island Passage, a narrow corridor of tropical waters in the Philippines that is considered the most diverse marine ecosystem in the world, is at risk from climate change and needs immediate protective action, scientists are warning.

Flying Frogs and the World’s Oldest Mushroom: A Decade of Himalayan Discovery (Guardian)

A new report by the WWF reveals that 350 new species were discovered in the Eastern Himalayas over the past 10 years. But experts warn the new discoveries are under pressure from demand for land and climate change.

Electric Car Future May Power a Charging Industry (Reuters)

As makers from Tesla to Nissan jockey to dominate the next generation electric-powered cars, a fight on which companies will control the lucrative market to fuel them is just getting started.