Today’s Climate: November 13, 2009

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US Weighs Backing Interim Global Climate Deal (Washington Post)

Backing an interim agreement based on “political commitments” to cut greenhouse gas emissions rather than legally binding ones would be an attempt to keep the talks from being viewed a failure.

UN Official: Climate Deal Needs Another Six Months (Reuters)

World leaders are setting their sights on completing an international deal on combating global warming by the middle of next year, a U.N. official said, now that there is broad agreement next month’s deadline will not be met in Copenhagen.

Offsets Put EU on Track to Meet Kyoto Targets (EU Observer)

Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain will not meet their targets, though, and it is only through offsetting their emissions that the countries can claim a win.

Brazil: 45% Reduction in Amazon Deforestation (Guardian)

The world financial crisis played a part in silencing the chainsaws. Tellingly, Mato Grosso, a soy producing Amazonian state that has seen its forests ravished largely as a result of the Chinese demand for soy, saw a 65% drop in deforestation over the past year.

China, US Labs Agree to CCS Collaboration (DOE)

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and China’s Peking University agreed in a memorandum of understanding to jointly pursue the development of safe and effective carbon capture and storage techniques.

14 Senators Demand More Carbon Permits for Utilities Run on Coal (Reuters)

In the latest obstacle to climate legislation, 14 key lawmakers urged Senate Democrats to change distribution plans for carbon permits to offer more protection for coal-heavy utilities.

How the Lone Star State Slashed Emissions (Wall Street Journal)

Famously oil-friendly–and laissez-faire–Texas may be the biggest, baddest greenhouse gas hog in the Union. But it’s also among the states that have dropped their absolute carbon-dioxide emissions the most.

Coal Giant Massey Gets $50 Million Jury Verdict Overturned Again (Bloomberg)

Massey Energy succeeded for a second time in getting a $50 million jury verdict thrown out after the U.S. Supreme Court said West Virginia’s highest court had to re-hear the case because its chief justice, with close ties to Masssey, should have recused himself.

Xcel’s $15K Board Dinners Questioned in Rate-Hike Hearing (Independent)

With Xcel Energy on pace to disconnect power to some 70,000 Coloradans this year for nonpayment, energy activists are openly questioning why ratepayers should pick up the tab for lavish executive board-member dinners, hotel and spa retreats and luxury box tickets to sports games.

GBC: Number of US Green Builders Increasing Rapidly (Business Green)

A report from the US Green Building Council finds green construction spending currently supports more than 2 million US jobs and generates more than $100 billion in GDP. That is expected to grow to 7.9 million and over $550 billion in the next four years.

Study Finds Greenland Ice Loss Accelerating (Reuters)

Greenland’s ice losses are accelerating and nudging up sea levels, according to a study showing that icebergs breaking away and meltwater runoff are equally to blame for the shrinking ice sheet.

Lake Titicaca Dangerously Low (AP)

Evaporation blamed on global warming has reduced Lake Titicaca, one of the world’s highest navigable lakes, to its lowest level since 1949, Bolivian authorities say.

New Yorkers On Marcellus Shale: ‘No Fracking Way’ (ProPublica)

It didn’t take long for a New York City public hearing on natural gas drilling to descend into near chaos.