Today’s Climate: June 16, 2009

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Government Study Warns of Climate Change Effects (New York Times)

The impact of a changing climate is already being felt across the United States, like shifting migration patterns of butterflies in the West and heavier downpours in the Midwest and East, according to an important government study being released today.

Asia on Pace to Become Biggest Climate Change Driver by 2030 (AP)

Asia’s share of global greenhouse gas emissions could rise to more than 40 percent by 2030, making it the world’s main driver of climate change, experts warn.

Senate Committee Wrapping up Energy Bill (New York Times)

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee plans to wrap up major energy legislation this week after dealing with final amendments, including a possible fight over natural gas rates that has pitted public utilities against pipeline companies.

Sen. Kerry: US Faces Security Threat from Climate Change (Reuters)

There is "scarcely an instrument of U.S. foreign policy" that not vulnerable to climate change, Sen. John Kerry tells the Council on Foreign Relations.

Judge to Rule on Challenge to Arizona RPS (Arizona Republic)

A judge will decide whether the Arizona Corporation Commission exceeded its authority by requiring public electric utilities get 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025.

Ford Cutting Vehicle Emissions, Lags on Energy Efficiency (GreenBiz)

New engine technology and more electric and hybrids vehicles are some ways Ford aims to meet a goal of cutting CO2 emissions from new U.S. and European vehicles by 30 percent by 2020, the company writes in a sustainability report.

High-Altitude Wind Machines Could Power NYC (Wired)

The first rigorous, worldwide study of high-altitude wind power estimates that there is enough wind energy at altitudes of about 1,600 to 40,000 feet to meet global electricity demand a hundred times over.

Germans Plan $555B Solar Project in Africa (Reuters)

A consortium including Munich Re, Siemens, RWE and Deutsche Bank plans to build a $555 billion solar power project in Africa, a Munich Re executive told a German newspaper today.

British MPs Back Solar Feed-In Tariff Boost for PV (Guardian)

Guaranteed, above-market prices for electricity fed into power grid could help solar power boom in Britain, the MPs say.

Utah Governor-to-Be Says Climate Threat Inconclusive (Salt Lake Tribune)

On the same day that Energy Secretary Steven Chu warned the Western Governors’ Association that climate change was more ominous than projected, Utah’s governor-in-waiting turned the debate to whether a climate threat even exists.

Court Orders $507.5M Damages Plus Interest in Exxon Valdez Spill (Reuters)

A federal appeals court ordered Exxon Mobil to pay $507.5 million in punitive damages plus $500 million in interest for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, a fraction of the $5 billion that was originally awarded by a jury.

Big Oil Report Exposes Minimal Investment in Renewables (Wonk Room)

A new report commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute finds $58.4 billion invested by the oil and gas industry but just reinforces that Big Oil has all the wrong priorities.

Lessons From South Korea’s Broadband Buildout for Smart Grid (Earth2Tech)

South Korea’s ability to use government funds to boost the country’s broadband industries was a savvy move that reinvented its industry. Now, it’s looking to the same for smart grid technology and, lucky for us, is planning to share its best practices.

Ag Company Boosts Yields Without Chemistry (Cleantech)

A new ground tilling system addresses soil erosion, water flow management and related environmental problems, while increasing crop yields and reducing water and fertilizer needs

Bangladesh ‘Green Revolution’ Starts with Solar Power (AFP)

For the 100 million Bangladeshis, most of them farmers, who live in the countryside, the notion of electricity supply is little more than an empty promise bandied about by politicians at election time. Solar is becoming the answer.