Today’s Climate: February 12, 2009

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Global CO2 Hits New Peaks (Reuters)

Measurements show atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are hitting new highs, with no sign yet that the world economic downturn is curbing industrial emissions, a leading scientist at the Norwegian Polar Institute said today.

‘Nuclear Pork’ Cut from Stimulus Compromise (ENS)

A U.S. House-Senate conference committee axed plans to include $50 billion in federal loan guarantees in the economic recovery bill that could have been used by the nuclear and coal industries.

Carbon Emitters Hold Talks in Tokyo (AFP)

The world’s major carbon emitters, including the U.S., China and India, are in "full negotiation mode" today as they meet in Tokyo with the clock ticking to draft a new UN treaty on fighting global warming.

Airlines: Include Aviation Emissions in Climate Pact (Reuters)

Four leading airlines – Air France/KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic – today called for aviation emissions to be included in a broader climate pact after growing criticism that the sector was not doing enough to fight global warming.

Economists Call for $400B Green Global Investment Fund (Guardian)

Leading economists, including Nicholas Stern, called for an immediate $400 billion global fund to rescue the economy and create jobs by investing in energy efficiency efforts and clean power.

Super Solar Deal in the Desert (Forbes)

Southern California Edison, under pressure to ensure more power comes from renewable sources, announced the largest solar energy pact ever: an agreement to purchase electricity from 1.3 gigawatts of solar thermal plants in the Mojave Desert.

SC Governor Says No to Coal (AP)

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford came out against a state-owned utility’s plan to build a new coal-fired plant, saying federal rules on mercury emissions and expected caps on carbon dioxide emissions would double the plant’s cost.

What a Slump in Carbon Prices Means for the Future (New Scientist)

The price of permits to emit carbon dioxide has crashed to near-record lows. How the fact that it is getting progressively cheaper to pollute the atmosphere could affect the European Union’s ability to meet its ambitious emissions targets.

Chu Sees Big Science Role in Global Warming Cure (New York Times)

Solving the world’s energy and climate woes will require Nobel-level breakthroughs in three areas: electric batteries, solar power and the development of new crops that can be turned into fuel, Energy Secretary Steven Chu says in an interview.

Ford Jumps Back into Green Car Fray (Reuters)

Ford has a new aggressive plan to roll out electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles over the next three years. "It’s impressive how a changing of the guard and a changing of the times can bring significant changes at a company," says David Friedman of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Using Cars to Power the Grid: Delaware Town Nails It (Celsias)

Newark, Del., has become the first electric utility in the U.S. to use a car to store and provide power for the local electric grid. University of Delaware researchers helped develop the concept, called Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G).

Ethanol Production Is Struggling (New York Times)

Barely a year after Congress enacted an energy law meant to foster a huge national enterprise capable of converting plants and agricultural wastes into automotive fuel, the goals lawmakers set for the ethanol industry are in serious jeopardy.

Calling HSBC to Account over Green Banking Claims (Guardian)

HSBC wants your money so badly it’s dressing up what is basically an online account – bundled up with cheaper air and road travel incentives – as a green choice for environmentalists. And then there’s this gem: "for each account you switch, we will plant one virtual tree in our virtual forest."