Today’s Climate: July 15, 2010

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Cap-And-Trade Law Can’t Pass, Senator Rockefeller Says (Bloomberg)

Legislation that cuts CO2 from power plants with a cap-and-trade program can’t pass the U.S. Senate this year, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said on Wednesday. It’s "common knowledge around here," he added.

Industry Groups Target Utility-Focused Climate Plan (The Hill)

Industry officials are attacking plans to focus greenhouse gas emission reductions on power plants, one day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) gave new life to the idea.

California Sues Fannie, Freddie Over Clean Energy (Reuters)

California’s attorney general sued U.S. mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Wednesday for blocking a home clean-energy program he says will create jobs and stimulate local economies.

Greenland Iceberg Could Be Canada-Bound (CBC News)  

An iceberg about seven square kilometers in size that has broken from a glacier off Greenland’s west coast could end up in Canada’s eastern and Arctic waters, presenting potential risks to marine shipping lanes.

Oil Hits Louisiana’s Largest Seabird Nesting Area (AP)

Biologists say oil has smeared at least 300-400 pelicans and hundreds of terns in the largest seabird nesting area along the Louisiana coast — marking a sharp and sudden escalation in wildlife harmed by BP’s spill. 

BP Runs Crucial Test on Gulf Oil Leak (Reuters)

BP was running a crucial test on Thursday on its ruptured Gulf well that could stanch the flow of crude that has polluted the ocean and shoreline since April.

Suit Filed Seeking More Details on Dispersants (AP) 

BP’s use of chemicals to disperse the oil spill is coming under renewed scrutiny, as environmentalists head to court to seek more information about potential health hazards and a Senate panel plans a Thursday hearing on the issue.

West Virginia Mine Blast Probes Slowed (Bloomberg)

West Virginia’s special investigator for the coal mine explosion that killed 29 people in April said dust, water, debris and roof-falls are hampering his probe at the mine.

EU Agrees On Carbon Permit Auction Rules From 2013 (Reuters)

EU governments on Wednesday unanimously agreed to detailed rules for auctioning carbon permits in the third phase of the bloc’s Emissions Trading Scheme from 2013, the EU executive said in a statement.

Bucyrus Gets Ex-Im Bank’s Support For India Coal Project (Dow Jones)

The U.S. Export-Import Bank gave preliminary approval Wednesday to $600 million of loan guarantees for an Indian power company that wants to purchase coal mining equipment from Bucyrus International, reversing an earlier decision. 

Germany Agrees Draft Carbon Storage Law (Reuters) 

The underground storage of CO2 emissions could be a reality in Germany from 2017, after Berlin agreed to a draft law Wednesday to regulate the carbon capture and storage technology.

EU Regulators Promise Tougher Rules for Offshore Oil Drillers (Bloomberg)

European Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said he will seek stricter standards for offshore-oil drillers and broader liability rules.

Volt’s Battery to Have 8-Year Warranty (New York Times)

In an effort to lure early adopters who might hesitate to drop $30,000 on an electric car, GM said it will guarantee the Chevy Volt’s battery for eight years or 100,000 miles — better than the typical five-year/100,000-mile warranty it typically offers.

By the Numbers: DOE’s Electric Car Spending & Targets (Earth2Tech) 

The Obama administration has kicked off its electric car and battery offensive with a report laying out the facts and figures for its investments in advanced vehicles and batteries so far under the Recovery Act.

Exxon Says Growing its Algae Biofuels Program (Reuters)

Exxon Mobil said on Wednesday it opened a greenhouse facility to grow and test algae, the next step for its nascent biofuels program.

Solar-Powered Wells Displace Windmills on Western Range (AP)

An increasing number of American ranchers are pulling down their old mechanical windmills of metal and wood and converting to solar-powered systems.  

Mini Nuclear Plants in Works for 2020 (Roanoke Times) 

Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy and Bechtel Power Corp announced an alliance Wednesday with a global contractor to develop and deploy the world’s first commercially viable small modular nuclear power plant.

Foes Tell Nuclear Regulator to Shutter Vt. Plant (AP) 

The chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission sat down Wednesday with representatives of seven anti-nuke groups who say the agency has fallen down on the job in keeping tabs on the problem-plagued Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

Trilliant Snags $106 Million for Smart-Grid Networking (CNET News)

Silicon Valley-based Trilliant on Thursday said that it has raised $106 million in late-stage funding to expand its smart-grid communications business. The company makes mesh networking equipment for utilities to carry information through the many corners of the grid. 

Woolly Mammoth Hunters Helped Change Climate: Study (Reuters) 

Ancient hunters who stalked the world’s last woolly mammoths likely helped warm the Earth’s far northern latitudes thousands of years before humans began burning fossil fuels, according to a study of prehistoric climate change.