Today’s Climate: October 16, 2009

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EU: Developing Countries Soften Tech Transfer Demands (Financial Times)

Developing countries have dropped some of their demands for access to rich countries’ technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions, removing a big obstacle to an international deal on climate change, EU officials say.

Obama Pledges Climate Bill Push After Health Care (ClimateWire)

President Obama gave a nod to a budding bipartisan Senate effort on energy and climate legislation during a New Orleans town hall meeting, where he also pledged to push for the bill’s passage once Congress finishes its work on health care.

US Rejects Nuclear Plant Over Design of Key Piece (New York Times)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission rejected a design by Westinghouse for a new reactor because a key component might not withstand events like earthquakes and tornadoes, raising the possibility of delays for 14 planned U.S. reactors.

CEO: Tar Sands Should Be Allowed Higher Emissions (Globe and Mail)

The head of Canadian Oil Sands Trust says tar sands producers should be allowed to significantly increase their greenhouse gas emissions, even if that means forcing other sectors to make additional cuts to meet Canada’s climate change targets.

Rep. Davis Asks EPA to Raise Coal Ash Standards (Gadsden Times)

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama has asked the EPA to gauge the impact of coal ash on the environment, drinking water, and health. If coal ash poses an unacceptable risk, national guidelines should replace inconsistent state standards, he says.

Jackson: EPA Not Trying to Shut Down Coal Mining (Charleston Gazette)

The Obama administration is not out to halt all coal mining, but it will continue to push operators to reduce stream-burying valley fills, EPA chief Lisa Jackson says: “I believe that coal can be mined safely and cleanly.”

Drilling Backers, Foes Prepare for Big Fight in Florida (Miami Herald)

With its mix of political power, money and raw emotion, drilling will likely dominate the next session of the Florida Legislature, and the battle lines are being drawn now as supporters and foes of offshore oil drilling ramp up their respective campaigns.

The Rising Tide of Waterborne Disease (NRDC)

Global warming can increase the risk of more frequent and more widespread waterborne illness. More frequent severe rainfall events can wash disease-causing pathogens into surface and drinking water supplies.

Canadian Rivers in Trouble, Study Warns (CanWest)

Serious action is required to keep Canada’s rivers flowing and to prevent them from being drained by expanding cities, soaring energy demands and climate change, according to a new report from WWF-Canada.

UK Targets All Issues at Weekend Climate Meeting (Guardian)

Britain aims to break a deadlock in UN climate talks when it hosts the world’s biggest emitters this weekend, as doubts grow that a summit in 50 days will agree to a new pact.

EU Grapples with Deforestation Ahead of Copenhagen (EurActiv)

European countries are still undecided on how to handle the thorny issue of deforestation under a new international climate change agreement, with national interests coming into play as EU ministers gear up for a series of meetings next week.

Questioning the Invisible Hand (The Economist)

Climate change, a looming shortage of electricity and worries about the risks of relying on imported energy are causing many to doubt whether Britain’s vaunted liberalized energy markets are up to the job.

Economic Development: The Missing Link (Apollo Alliance)

The United States — unlike most other G20 members — still needs a comprehensive national clean energy economic development policy that ensures the creation of a new generation of high-quality green jobs.

Behind the Chamber Controversy (TPM)

A look at what’s motivating energy-sector companies on both sides of the issue, and how are their positions affecting the debate on Capitol Hill.

UK Stopped Climate Activist From Traveling to Copenhagen (Guardian)

UK border police used anti-terrorist legislation to prevent a British climate change activist from crossing over into mainland Europe where he planned to take part in events surrounding the upcoming United Nations climate meeting.

Solar Connects Millions by Cell Phone in Asia, Africa (Reuters)

Solar powered cell phones are proving to be revolutionary for millions of people in Africa and Asia with no connection to electricity grids or unreliable and expensive power.