Today’s Climate: March 12, 2010

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Japan’s Cabinet Endorses Cap-and-Trade Climate Bill (Bloomberg)

Japan’s Cabinet has endorsed a climate draft law today that would cap industrial emissions and thrust the second-biggest economy into the $125 billion market for trading carbon credits.

Meeting on Deforestation Boosts Morale, Budget (AP)

A conference bringing together more than 60 nations Thursday added $1 billion to the fight against deforestation and boosted the morale of those hoping to save the world’s forests – a key defense against global warming.

White House Finalizing Rules to Cut Car Emissions (Reuters)

The White House is finalizing rules on the first U.S. greenhouse gas emission standard for automobiles, which would raise average fuel economy 42% by 2016, in a bid to slash oil imports and fight climate change.

Americans Show Less Concern About Global Warming (Bloomberg)

Americans are less concerned about the threat of climate change than they were two years ago and almost half say the seriousness of global warming is overblown, a Gallup Organization Inc. poll shows.

EPA to Allow States Address Rising Ocean Acidity (AP)

The U.S. EPA said it will consider ways the states can address rising acidity levels in oceans, which pose a serious threat to shellfish and other marine life.

Climate Change Pushing Bird Species ‘Towards Extinction:’ U.S. (AFP)

Climate change is pushing some bird species "towards extinction," U.S. Interior Secretary Salazar warned Thursday, as a new report on the threats facing North American birds was released.

Pairing Oil Recovery With Carbon Capture a Win-Win for U.S.: Report (Greenwire)

Enhanced oil recovery — a technique that stimulates aging wells — combined with carbon capture and storage could slash U.S. petroleum imports if there is a strong price on carbon, according to a report commissioned by NRDC.

Western U.S., Canada Go Own Way on Carbon Trading (Reuters)

As U.S. prospects for a national climate bill fade, five U.S. states and Canadian provinces are on track to start a cap-and-trade market for CO2 in 2012, say officials who see fading federal momentum boosting regional efforts.

U.S. Carbon Traders Fear Pink Slips (Reuters)

Wall Street was supposed to become the capital of a global carbon trading market worth a trillion dollars a year but now many who thought green trading desks would be the next big thing are fearing the pink slip.

Five Countries Fall Behind on European Renewable Energy Goals (Green Inc.)

The European Commission said on Thursday that five countries — Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark and Malta — were failing to meet goals for renewable energy but that they could make up their quotas by buying electricity from North Africa and the Balkans.

Group: Polluters Use Offsets to Avoid Carbon Cuts (AP)

Major European polluters are buying their way out of making big cuts to greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing carbon offsets that pay for environmental programs in developing nations, a nonprofit group said Friday.

Sarkozy to Press G20 on Climate Funding (Reuters)

France will push the Group of 20 countries to impose a tax on financial transactions to raise billions of dollars to help developing nations fight climate change, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday.

Stern Backs $100 Billion IMF Climate Fund Plan (Environmental Finance)

A climate fund proposed by the International Monetary Fund to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 has won support from climate change economics guru Nicholas Stern, who called it a "creative and constructive idea."

U.S. Smart-Grid Grants Won’t Be Taxed (Sustainable Business)

The U.S. Departments of Treasury and Energy announced that grants under the $3.4 billion Smart Grid Investment Grant program will not be subject to federal taxes.

U.S.’s SunEdison to Build Solar Plant in Italy (Reuters)

U.S. solar company SunEdison backed by Spain’s Banco Santander will invest 200-250 million euros to build Europe’s biggest solar plant in Italy to expand in the booming solar market there.

Mysterious Electric Car Firm Bursts Onto U.S. Market in Job Salvation Push (Business Green)

Unknown electric-car maker Aurica Motors emerged as an unlikely savior for the U.S. auto industry this week, announcing plans to take over a Toyota factory in Fremont, California when the Japanese car manufacturer vacates the plant at the end of the month.