Today’s Climate: November 17, 2009

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Obama: Copenhagen Deal Should Have ‘Immediate Effect’ (Reuters)

President Obama said today that climate talks in Copenhagen next month should fix a new deal which has "immediate operational effect", even if an original goal of a legally binding pact is out of reach.

Senate Climate Bill Faces Narrow Window for Action in 2010 (ClimateWire)

Next November’s midterm elections loom large, leaving the climate bill sponsors until about the end of March to notch the 60 votes necessary to get their bill through the Senate.

Lula Calls Out Rich Nations on Climate Change, Hunger (Brazzil Magazine)

At the FAO conference, where the heads of the world’s wealthiest countries were conspicuously absent, Brazil’s president declared that rich nations give too little attention to world hunger, and he accused them of sabotaging poor nations’ agriculture.

Europe’s Utilities Investing Less in Renewables, Smart Grid (Greentech)

The recession has cut power sales, and European utilities are investing less in renewable power and the smart grid as a result, even though they need to invest more to meet goals, a report from consulting firm Capgemini says.

Russia Takes Steps to Reduce Gas Flaring (EurActiv)

Russia has ordered oil companies to cut their gas flaring to no more than 5%. A report suggests oil companies could cuts greenhouse gas emissions 10-15% through reduced flaring and venting, energy efficiency and fuel switching in refineries.

Sens. Alexander, Webb Unveil Plan to Double US Nuclear Power (Reuters)

Republican Lamar Alexander and Democrat Jim Webb unveiled a new energy bill that would provide $100 billion in loan guarantees for carbon-free electricity projects, a move aimed at doubling the nation’s nuclear energy capacity.

US Nuclear ‘Renaissance’ Held Up by DOE, OMB Spat (ClimateWire)

The awards of $18.5 billion in federal loan guarantees for new nuclear plant projects remain held up by an ongoing dispute over the financial risk the new reactors pose for the government and taxpayers, according to industry and government officials.

Thailand Offers Tax Breaks to Encourage CDM Investment (Business Green)

Thailand will exempt revenue from carbon credit trades from corporate taxes in a bid to encourage manufacturers to invest in emission reduction projects under the UN’s clean development mechanism.

First Solar Expects Feed-In Tariff for China Plant (Dow Jones)

Electricity from First Solar’s planned 2GW solar power plant in China’s Inner Mongolia will likely be priced via a feed-in tariff structure, which company officials hopeful the government will set by the end of the year.

First Energy Bank to Build $1B Saudi Solar Plant (Reuters)

Bahrain-based First Energy Bank plans to build a $1 billion polysilicon plant in Saudi Arabia to rising regional investments in solar power. The region is trying to capture more of its solar and wind energy, thereby reducing its own consumption of oil.

Quick Emissions Cut Would Give Great Barrier Reef 50/50 Chance (Brisbane Times)

Global carbon emissions must be cut by at least 25 percent by 2020 to give the Great Barrier Reef a better than 50/50 chance of survival, an alliance of Australia’s reef and climate scientists says.

Polar Bears vs. Oil in Alaska (AP)

Like his predecessor, Alaska’s governor is suing the federal government to overturn the listing of polar bears as a threatened species, a move he believes could threaten Alaska’s oil industry.

Judge: No ‘Choice of Evils’ Defense in DeChristopher Case (New York Times)

Tim DeChristopher, the college student who disrupted more than $1.8 million in federal oil and gas lease sales last year, will not be allowed to argue in court that he acted out of necessity to protect the environment, a federal judge ruled.

Report Finds Biotech Crops Cause Big Jump in Pesticide Use (Reuters)

The rapid adoption by U.S. farmers of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton has promoted increased use of pesticides, an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds and more chemical residues in foods, a new report says.

Paying Extra for Green Power; Getting Ads Instead (New York Times)

Large majorities of Americans favor increased government support for clean energy, yet many are reluctant to trust utilities that offer ways to pay a little more for green energy.

The Coal Industry Wants Your Cash to Save It (CMD)

The coal industry knows that without massive public funding, CCS is dead, and without CCS, the coal industry and power companies locked into coal-fired stations will, at best, be on life support.