Today’s Climate: January 19, 2009

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California Emission Waiver Looms for Carmakers (Los Angeles Times)

Soon after taking office, Obama is expected to grant a waiver allowing California and a dozen other states to enforce their own greenhouse-gas emission standards on autos. That would completely change the landscape for vehicle regulation in America.

Most Glaciers Will Disappear by Mid-Century, Expert Warns (Guardian)

Most of Earth’s glaciers are melting so fast that they will disappear by mid-century, according to the World Glacier Monitoring Service. Such rapid melting will add to rising sea levels and threaten the livelihoods of 2 billion people dependent on rivers.

Dumping Mountaintops in Coal Country Streams Illegal, Lawsuit Claims (Environment News Service)

The National Parks Conservation Association and the Southern Environmental Law Center have filed a lawsuit against the feds, challenging a Bush administration rule that limits the government’s ability to protect Appalachian streams from mountaintop removal coal mining.

Report: Toyota Will Cut Price of Existing Prius to Counter Honda Insight (Green Car Congress)

Toyota will lower the price of the existing Prius hybrid when it begins selling its more fuel-efficient third-generation model later this year to counter Honda Motor’s new Insight hybrid, the Nikkei Business Daily has reported.

Advanced Car Battery Makers Seek Juice from Stimulus Plan (McClatchy Newspapers)

The National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacture, a group of 14 US battery manufacturers, is seeking $2 billion in grants and loans from the new stimulus package to jump-start the American lithium ion industry.

Official: Beetle-Killed Trees A Future Hazard (AP)

The pine beetle epidemic, which was triggered by extended drought, is chewing through forests in Wyoming and Colorado. It could endanger power lines and other infrastructure as millions of acres of trees fall to the ground, a top US Forest Service official has warned.

Hansen Says Obama Has Four Years to Curb Emissions (Business Green)

Leading climate scientist James Hansen has said that Obama has "only four years left" to halt catastrophic climate change, and has called on the president-elect to authorize a full investigation into the state of the planet’s ice caps as soon as taking office.

Editorial: Energy Inefficient (New York Times)

As the US frames its strategy to deal with the twin challenges of climate and energy, the Obama administration cannot overlook the low-hanging fruit — the gains to be had from making existing technologies more efficient.