Today’s Climate: June 11, 2009

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China Says No to Greenhouse Gas Cuts after US Talks (AFP)

China will not accept binding cuts in its greenhouse gas emissions, an official said today after the United States said it made progress with Beijing in talks on a global climate pact.

Obama to Increase Scrutiny of Mountaintop Mining (Washington Post)

The Obama administration will announce plans today to tighten scrutiny of mountaintop coal mining, in an effort to reduce environmental damage from operations that shear off peaks and fill Appalachian valleys, federal officials said.

GOP Energy Plan: Ban Greenhouse Gas Regulation Entirely (Wonk Room)

The Republican energy plan attempts to deny the threat of global warming out of existence. Here’s a taste: “Nothing in the Clean Air Act shall be treated as authorizing or requiring the regulation of climate change or global warming.”

U.S. Power Firms Want Free Carbon Permits Until 2040 (Bloomberg)

The Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, wants the free carbon- dioxide permits under a proposed “cap-and-trade” program for greenhouse gases to continue for nearly three decades.

World CO2-Emissions Growth Keeps Focus on Coal, China (Bloomberg)

World carbon-dioxide emissions from energy use rose last year as China, India and Russia burned more coal, data compiled by BP Plc indicate.

Pew: U.S. Green Economy Needs Plan to Hit Potential (Reuters)

U.S. clean economy jobs grew at rate of 9.1 percent from 1998 to 2007, faster than overall jobs during the decade, a Pew Charitable Trusts study finds. The U.S. needs to pass a comprehensive energy plan to ensure that that job growth continues.

UN Climate Chief: Full Deal ‘Unlikely’ in Copenhagen (AFP)

The UN’s top climate official, Yvo de Boer, voiced doubt about the prospects for completing a new pact on global warming in Copenhagen by December: “I don’t think it is possible between now and the end of Copenhagen to finalize every last detail.”

Canada Unveils Carbon Market Plan (Canadian Press)

Canada’s government announced the ground rules for a federal carbon-offset scheme, including which offset projects qualify, the value of those offsets, and how emissions cuts will be tracked and verified.

France Moves to Bring in Carbon Tax by 2011 (AFP)

The French government kick-started plans for a carbon tax on energy-hungry products, to be rolled out by 2011. The tax aims to steer French consumers and manufacturers towards environmentally-friendly goods and services.

EU Power Lines ‘Too Old to Deliver 2020 Renewables Target’ (Guardian)

Europe’s electricity grid needs a radical overhaul if it is to distribute the renewable energy capacity that governments have committed to building by 2020, according to Europe’s leading science academies.

Duke Energy Taps Cisco for Smart Grid Project (CleanTech)

Three weeks after Cisco officially entered the smart grid arena with intelligent networking infrastructure, Duke Energy announced a three-year deal to develop smart grid infrastructure based on Internet Protocol technology.

Chevron CEO Says US 2050 Carbon Goals Too Ambitious (Reuters)

The head of oil company Chevron, in a debate with Sierra Club’s Carl Pope, says cutting U.S. carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050 is unrealistic because so much current energy infrastructure would have to be replaced.

Waxman: Climate Bill Hits the House Floor in 2 Weeks (SolveClimate)

Rep. Henry Waxman expects his climate bill to hit the House floor in two weeks, and he called on environmental groups today to muster all their supporters to pressure Congress to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES).

Higher US Ethanol Blends Seen Spiking Food Prices (Reuters)

Raising the allowable levels of ethanol in conventional U.S. gasoline would help push up prices for corn and other grains and ultimately meat and dairy, economists associated with food groups said.

Reindeer Herds in Global Decline (BBC)

Reindeer herds, vital to indigenous peoples around the circumpolar north, are declining in numbers as it becomes increasingly difficult for them to survive in a world warmed by climate change and altered by industrial development, say scientists.

Century-Old Taxidermy Yields Clues to Climate Future (Wired)

100 years ago, biologists fanned out across California trapping, documenting and preserving the animals of the state. The continuing projects now reveals how 50 percent of the species have experienced some kind of range shift, most notably due to global warming.