Today’s Climate: September 14, 2009

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Study: Warming Could Cut Some Countries’ GDP by a Fifth

Climate change could cut gross domestic product in countries at a high risk from weather catastrophes by as much as a fifth by 2030 unless urgent steps are taken, according to the UN-backed Economics of Climate Adaptation Working Group.

Clean Water Laws Neglected at Cost in Human Suffering (New York Times)

In recent years, violations of the Clean Water Act have risen steadily across the nation, especially in the Appalachian coal fields, an extensive review of water pollution records by The New York Times found.

New Zealand Revising Emissions Trading Plan (Reuters)

New Zealand will revise its largely stalled emissions trading plan to lower costs to businesses and homes, though the system will still cover all sectors and greenhouse gases, the government said today.

Mexico Enduring Worst Drought in Decades (New York Times)

Crops are drying up in the fields and water is being rationed in the capital. Residents of poor neighborhoods have hijacked water trucks, and there are other signs of social tensions building.

2 Cargo Ships Traverse Once-Ice-Bound Northeast Passage (AP)

Two cargo ships traversed the Northeast Passage after climate change melted enough ice to open a route from South Korea to Siberia along Russia’s Arctic coast.

In UK Carbon Test, Fines for Exceeding Personal Targets (London Times)

Britain’s first employee carbon rationing plan is about to be extended after the test phase demonstrated the effectiveness of fining people for exceeding their personal greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Study: Clean Energy to Create More Jobs than Coal (Reuters)

A strong shift toward renewable energies could create 2.7 million more jobs in power generation worldwide by 2030 than staying with dependence on fossil fuels would, according to a report today by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council.

McCain on Sidelines; Kerry Goes Full Throttle on Climate (Washington Post)

Sens. John Kerry and John McCain have championed the issue of global warming for years. But, for the moment, McCain is barely engaged in the issue while Kerry has emerged as a major dealmaker.

Australia’s Coal Industry Set to Boom in Next 5 Years (The Age)

Over the next five years, Australia’s coal production is set to bulge by 30 percent to a record 450 million tons a year compared with 350 million tons produced now, according to the energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

EWEA: Funding Obstructs EU Offshore Wind Boom (Reuters)

Enough offshore wind projects are planned to meet a tenth of Europe’s energy needs, but not all will emerge due to scarce finance and connections to the power grid, the European Wind Energy Association says.

Carbon Trust Gives Boost to Marine Power (Business Green)

The Carbon Trust is providing half a million pounds to help Pelamis Wave Power and Marine Current Turbines develop the technology needed to deploy their marine energy systems in the sea.

Verizon Apologizes for Sponsoring MTR Rally (Center for Biological Diversity)

The company apologized to environmental groups for sponsoring Massey CEO Bill Blankenship’s anti-climate, pro-mountaintop removal rally, but it waited to issue a pro-environment statement until after the rally was over.

Pumping Up the Grid:
 Key Step to Green Energy (Yale Environment 360)

The U.S. can build all the wind turbines and solar arrays it wants, but until it does something about improving its outmoded electricity grid, renewable energy will never reach its potential. What we need is a new electricity transmission system, with the costs shared by all, writes Michael Noble.

Norman Borlaug: Father of Controversial ‘Green Revolution’ (Guardian)

In the 1990s, several environmental writers began describing the agriculture scientist Norman Borlaug, who has died at 95, as the savior of "more lives than anyone in history". No one doubted famines were averted, but few considered the profound social and ecological impacts.