Today’s Climate: December 11, 2009

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Key Copenhagen Group Releases Draft Climate Plan (Washington Post)

The ad-hoc group charged with charting a new path forward released a draft text this morning outlining the critical questions that need to be resolved before the talks end Dec. 18. Small Island nations released their own plan a few hours earlier.

EU Agrees to Commit €2.4B in Climate Aid (AP)

EU leaders agreed today to commit 2.4 billion euros ($3.6 billion) a year until 2012 to help poorer countries combat global warming, as they sought to rescue their image as climate change innovators and bolster talks in Copenhagen.

Senators Propose Returning Emissions Credit Revenue to Consumers (McClatchy)

Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) will introduce legislation today that would take some of the sting out of higher energy bills U.S. consumers may face because of efforts to control greenhouse gases.

Carbon Credit Fraud Tops €5 Billion, EU Police Say (Business Green)

The European police agency Europol has today revealed that the fraudulent trade in carbon credits that affected a number of countries over the past few months is far more widespread than previously thought and could have cost EU taxpayers up to €5 billion in lost revenue.

Enforcement of Climate Promises Becomes Obstacle at Talks (Los Angeles Times)

Negotiations appear stalled on a particularly touchy aspect of attacking global warming: How to make sure countries actually do what they pledge to do. The monitoring dispute pits wealthy Western nations against emerging powers, and it carries profound environmental and economic implications.

Japan to Drop CO2 Pledge Without Broader Climate Deal (Reuters)

Japan today threatened to drop a pledge to cut greenhouse emissions by 25 percent by 2020 if the Kyoto Protocol is extended without setting emission reduction goals for the U.S. and China.

World Bank to Invest $5.5 billion in North African Solar (Venture Beat)

The World Bank announced $5.5 billion dollars of investment money for North African solar power projects expected to commence in 2011.

China’s Emissions Could Double by 2020 (AFP)

Despite China’s pledges to improve energy efficiency, its carbon emissions could double by 2020 as compared with 2005 levels, surpassing limits seen as key to fighting global warming, experts say.

Getting Power From Coal Without Digging It Up (MIT Tech Review)

An Alberta project proposes to reach down 1,400 meters to covert coal directly into clean-burning gas at a depth that could lessen the threat of groundwater contamination from the smoldering, decomposing coal.

Quake Threat Leads Swiss to Close Geothermal Project (New York Times)

A $60 million project to extract renewable energy from the hot bedrock deep beneath Basel, Switzerland, has been shut down permanently after a government study determined earthquakes generated by the project were likely to do millions of dollars in damage.

Improving Safety at TVA Coal Plants to Cost at Least $1B (Tennessean)

Tennessee Valley Authority President Tom Kilgore says it will cost at least $1 billion to improve safety at 10 TVA coal-fired power plants. The cost of cleaning up just the last major coal spill in Kingston will likely top that.

US Provides $3B in Subsidies for Exxon Gas Project in Papua New Guinea (Mongabay)

The US Export-Import Bank confirmed it will subsidize a natural gas project in Papua New Guinea to the tune of $3 billion — a record for the bank. Critics say the project will clear over a thousand hectares of primary rainforest.

Deepwater Wind on Track to Build 1st US Off-Shore Wind Farm (Reuters)

The nation’s tiniest state may build the first U.S. offshore wind farm, after privately held Deepwater Wind landed a deal to sell power from the first phase of a Rhode Island project that eventually could supply 15 percent of the state’s electricity.

Fishermen Tell Sens. Snowe, Murkowski CO2 Having ‘Really Scary’ Ocean Effect (Bloomberg)

Jeremy Brown, a fisherman from the Pacific Northwest, is pulling things from the ocean he says are so disturbing that he came to Washington to warn U.S. lawmakers about it.

Nepal’s Reliance on China, India Stifles Its Criticism at Copenhagen (Guardian)

Tuvalu’s stand proved what smaller, developing nations really fear: That they do not have the political clout for their voices to be heard.