Today’s Climate: May 13, 2009

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Waxman to Weaken Climate Bill to Win Votes (Bloomberg)

The changes weaken the aims of the bill, including lowering midterm emissions targets from a 20 percent cut to 17 percent by 2020 and slashing renewable energy requirements to 15 percent.

Obama’s Key Climate Bill Hit by $45M PR Campaign (Guardian)

America’s oil, gas and coal industry has increased its lobbying budget by 50%, with key players spending $44.5m in the first three months of this year in an intense effort to cut off support for Barack Obama’s plan to build a clean energy economy.

Carbon Tax Wins, Cheap Politics Loses in B.C. Election (DeSmogBlog)

The only government in North America to implement a carbon tax to fight climate change has been re-elected handily in British Columbia.

UN: Worst Drought in Decade Deepens Somalia Crisis (Reuters)

Somalia’s worst drought in a decade is pushing growing numbers of children into near-famine conditions and deepening the humanitarian crisis caused by political violence, the United Nations warns.

Canada Overstated Greenhouse Gas Cuts (AFP)

Canada overstated how effective its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions will be and has yet to set up systems for accurately monitoring greenhouse gases sources, the country’s top environmental watchdog says.

Coral Triangle at Risk from Climate Change (Reuters)

Southeast Asia’s biologically diverse coral reefs will disappear by the end of this century, wiping out coastal economies and sparking civil unrest if climate change isn’t addressed, WWF said today.

Climate Debuts in India Polls (Reuters)

India’s main parties are offering environment plans in their manifestos for the first time, but the chances of climate policies to limit emissions after the election are slim because of low public awareness.

Solarcentury: Cost of Solar Energy to Match Fossil Fuels by 2013 (Guardian)

Solar energy will fall in price to match the cost of conventional fossil fuel electricity far sooner than previously expected, the UK’s largest solar company claims. Solarcentury says British homeowners will see solar achieve "grid parity."

Any Way You Slice It, Warming Affects Cascades Snowpack (UW News)

New research leaves little doubt that a warmer climate has a significant effect on the snowpack, as measured by water content, even if other factors keep year-to-year measurements close to normal for a period of years.

NASA Combines Algae, Wastewater to Make Aviation Fuel (New York Times)

NASA is applying space technology to a decidedly down-to-Earth effort that links the production of algae-based fuel with an inexpensive method of sewage treatment.

Coal, Nuke Plants Blur Michigan’s Green Vision (Detroit News)

Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s attempts to move Michigan away from fossil fuel power may be seeing their first signs of success, but many still fear the glut of old-school projects in the pipeline could lock the state into decades of reliance on coal.

Redesigning Cities for a Healthier Planet (Foreign Policy in Focus)

Solving the climate crisis is going to require a truly fundamental shift in how we build our cities and live in them.