Today’s Climate: May 15, 2009

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Bush Team Still Haunts Environmental Action (Politico)

Environmentalists who see this year as their best hope for a climate bill can’t seem to escape a familiar foe: former Bush administration officials they fought year after year on energy and climate issues.

Poorest Nations Need $2B Now to Adjust to Climate Change (Reuters)

Poor countries already suffering from the impact of climate change urgently need up to $2 billion to help adjust and cope, the Commission on Climate Change and Development says.

Alaskan Villages Lose Climate Change Funding (Tundra Drums)

State and federal lawmakers have scaled back support for Alaska’s eroding villages, a move that threatens projects designed to help a handful of communities across Western Alaska.

Churches to Probe Impacts of Canadian Oil Sands (Reuters)

A coalition of church leaders will fan out across northern Alberta next week for a fact-finding mission that will help formulate an official stance on the environmental impact of oil sands development.

Australian Election Talk Swirls as Carbon Laws Debated (Reuters)

Australia’s government introduced its carbon trade laws into parliament on Thursday with no sign they will pass and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warning he may need an early election if his reforms are blocked.

Enviros Sue EPA Over Ocean Acidification (AP)

An environmental group is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeking to have Washington coastal waters listed as impaired because carbon dioxide is making the ocean more acidic.

West Antarctic Ice Threat Revised Down; Still Dire (Reuters)

A meltdown of West Antarctica’s ice sheet would raise sea levels by half as much as previously expected, but the impact would still be catastrophic, especially for U.S. coastal cities, a study showed.

In California, Desalination of Seawater as a Test Case (New York Times)

A vast $320 million desalination plant approved this week by San Diego’s regional water authorities is likely to serve as a test case for whether such a large project can meet its goals while safeguarding its Pacific environment.

Brazilian Lawmakers OK Landholdings in Protected Amazon (AFP)

Brazil approved a controversial law giving land titles to properties carved out of the protected Amazon rain forest by squatters before 2005. The environment minister said it would help regulation but warned it could become "a license for deforestation.”

Tenn. Plans $62.5M Stimulus for Solar Farm, Research (Tennessean)

Under Gov. Phil Bredesen’s plan, half the money would go into research and the rest would go to build a 5 MW solar farm that would sell its power to the Tennessee Valley Authority and use each year’s revenue to expand its size.

German Solar Sees Stronger Second Half (Reuters)

The German solar industry expects a recovery in the second half of this year and is already seeing an upturn in the market.

The Fantasy of ‘Green Bitumen’ (DeSmogBlog)

The petro state of Alberta has outdone itself again. The Canadian province best known as home of the tar sands recently named former Syncrude executive Eric Newell to head up a multi-million provincial climate change fund.

Gore, Volunteers Launch Education Campaign (AP)

Al Gore and a band of environmental volunteers are taking the congressional fight over climate change legislation to the home districts of undecided lawmakers with their own versions of the lectures in "An Inconvenient Truth".

Barton Plan: No Time for Party Crashers (NRDC)

The Barton plan reflects old, worn-out thinking that will do nothing to cut the pollution that causes global warming or reduce our dangerous dependence on oil.