Today’s Climate: August 15-16, 2009

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China Sets Date for CO2 Cut (Financial Times)

China’s carbon emissions will start falling by 2050, its top climate change policymaker said, the first time the world’s largest emitter has given such a time-frame.

Gloomy Negotiators End Bonn Climate Talks (Greenwire)

The latest round of talks for the UN climate conference concluded today with negotiators lamenting that the languid pace of meetings could mean there won’t be a deal on emissions in Copenhagen this December.

Giant Glacier in Antarctic is Melting Four Times Faster than Thought (The Times)

One of Antarctica’s largest glaciers is thinning four times faster than thought ten years ago, it has been found. The glacier could disappear in 100 years, 500 years sooner than previously thought.

Warmest Global Ocean Surface Temperatures on Record for July (U.S. NOAA)

The planet’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for July, breaking the previous high mark established in 1998, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

Alberta Frets over U.S. Climate Change Tariff Bill (Calgary Herald)

The Alberta government is worried about a provision in the U.S. climate change bill that would grant the president the power to slap tariffs on imports that have a carbon footprint larger than American-made goods.

New Coal Ads Emphasize Energy Costs in Bid for ‘Hearts and Minds’ (Greenwire)

The coal lobbying group ACCCE has launched an ad campaign featuring ordinary people talking about the importance of cheap electricity, a message seen as coal’s effort to rebrand itself before the Senate tackles climate legislation.

High Carbon Cost for ‘Clunkers’ Program (Green Inc.)

The popular ‘clunkers’ program may be costing the government — and taxpayers — several hundred dollars for each ton of CO2 emissions that it saves, according to conclusions reached separately by two researchers.

Vilsack Calls for Renewed Emphasis on Forests (AP)

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has outlined a vision for managing the nation’s forests that placed a high priority on restoration to protect water resources and combat climate change.

Australia: Renewable Energy Gets Another Go (Sydney Morning Herald)

Kevin Rudd has pulled his threat of an early election on climate change and will next week seek to appease green groups and investors by allowing legislation for the increased use of renewable energy through the Senate.

Doubts Raised Over India’s Plans for Solar Power (

A leading Indian adviser on climate change has expressed doubts over whether India can fund its $19-billion plan to up annual solar energy production from the current 51 MW to 20,000 MW by 2020.

Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy Drags Down SkyPower (Clean Break)

Toronto-based wind and solar developer SkyPower Corp. filed for court protection from creditors last week because it simply can’t service its massive debt.

Treasury & DOE To Release US $2B for Renewables Manufacturers (Renewable Energy World)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. DOE have released guidelines for the long awaited program to award $2.3 billion in tax credits to manufacturers who produce renewable energy equipment.

Global Warming Helped Inca Empire Rise (Globe and Mail)

Higher temperatures allowed the Inca empire to increase food production by planting at higher altitudes on farmland irrigated with water from melting glaciers, a team of European and American scientists have found.

Climate Change Could Have Negative Effects On Stream And Forest Ecosystems (Science Daily)

A rare April freeze in 2007 has provided researchers at the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory with further evidence that climate change could have negative effects on stream and forest ecosystems.