Today’s Climate: January 13, 2009

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Bill Paves Way for ‘Clean Coal’ Plant to Advance (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

A coal-fired plant with carbon capture and storage technology in central Illinois got a boost Monday when impeached Illinois Gov. Blagojevich signed a bill that will enable work on the project to advance.

Expanding Facilities Get Relief from EPA (Washington Post)

The EPA issued a new rule yesterday that will make it easier for industrial plants, refineries and paper mills to expand operations without applying for new pollution permits under the Clean Air Act.

Senate Panel Considers Chu for Energy Secretary (AP)

Steven Chu, Obama’s pick for Energy Secretary, is expected to go before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today to detail how he intends to implement Obama’s energy priorities, including greater support of renewables and science-based climate solutions.

Toyota Unveils 2010 Prius that Boasts 50 MPG (AP)

Toyota rolled out its third-generation gas-electric Prius at the Detroit auto show, which promises a city-highway average of 50 miles to the gallon and is expected to hit US showrooms this spring.

Honda Unveils a Cheaper Hybrid Challenger to Toyota’s Top-Selling Prius (New York Times)

Honda has unveiled its new Insight hybrid. It’s smaller and less fuel efficient than the Toyota Prius but is expected to sell for as little as $18,000 — about $4,000 less than the Prius.

Poet Opens First Cellulosic Ethanol Pilot Plant (Reuters)

The top US ethanol producer Poet has said that it has opened an $8 million pilot plant to produce an alternative motor fuel made from corn cobs and other crop residue.

Stanford Creates $100 Million Energy Research Center (AFP)

Stanford University is creating a $100 million research institute that will focus on energy issues, including the search for ways to reduce global warming, officials have said.

Gulf Oil States Seeking a Lead in Clean Energy (New York Times)

Several Gulf oil states have been making a concerted push to become the Silicon Valley of alternative energy, aggressively pouring billions of dollars made in the oil fields into new clean energy technologies.

Bush Issues U.S. Policy on Arctic Energy Supplies (Reuters)

Pres. Bush yesterday issued a directive spelling out the US interest in the vast oil and natural gas resources held in the Arctic. The policy will carry over to the incoming Obama administration.

Treasury Department Can Help Fight Global Warming, Says Paulson (CNSNews)

The US Treasury and other finance ministries around the world should play a major role in fixing climate change, outgoing Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has said.