Today’s Climate: February 19, 2010

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Governor, Premier Sign Mining, Drilling Ban (AP)

Leaders from Montana and British Columbia signed an agreement Thursday banning coal mining and oil and gas drilling in a valley along the U.S.-Canadian border north of Glacier National Park.

Google Cleared on Power Bid (Wall Street Journal)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously approved a request by Google to become an electricity marketer, allowing the Internet giant to buy and sell bulk power like a utility.

New Rules on Corn Ethanol May Hurt Environment (Reuters)

U.S. corn growers expressed relief when the Obama administration unveiled new environmental rules that would boost use of corn-based biofuel, but green groups complained the guidelines may fill the air with nitrogen, a greenhouse gas viewed as more potent than carbon.

World’s Top Firms Cause $2.2 Trillion of Environmental Damage (Guardian)

A report for the UN into the activities of the world’s 3,000 biggest companies estimates one-third of profits would be lost if firms were forced to pay for the loss and damage of the environment.

First Solar 4Q Profits Slightly Higher, Uncertainties Remain (AP)

First Solar on Thursday predicted the solar power industry will struggle through a rough 2010 as increasing supplies and dwindling European subsidies cut into profits.

Calif Lawmakers Pass Bill To Boost Solar-Power Net Metering (Dow Jones)

California lawmakers passed a bill Thursday that would allow more people in the state who generate their own solar power to sell excess generation to their utility, in a transaction called net metering.

EU’s Hedegaard to Embark on Climate Diplomacy Tour (Reuters)

The EU’s new climate chief, Connie Hedegaard, will soon embark on a climate diplomacy tour to reinvigorate global negotiations after the weak outcome of talks in Copenhagen.

Call for Tax on Livestock Emissions (Financial Times)

Livestock should be taxed to reduce the contribution made by their flatulence to greenhouse gas emissions, the UN said in a report that will give fresh ammunition to campaigners against the preponderance of meat in the foodchain.

Most Oil Majors Hunting for Shale Gas in Europe (Reuters)

Nearly all the major oil companies are looking across Europe for shale gas, an unconventional energy source that has transformed the U.S. energy market, industry researchers said.

House Committee Probes Shale Gas Practice (Reuters)

U.S. lawmakers announced an investigation of the drilling method that has allowed companies to tap abundant supplies of natural gas in shale beds but has generated complaints about polluted drinking water.

Bill Limiting Condemnation for Wind Lines Advances (AP)

The House Revenue Committee advanced a bill that would suspend the use of eminent domain to condemn land for building transmission collector systems for wind farms.

South Korea Mulls Carbon Tax (BusinessGreen)

South Korea has become the latest country to confirm it is considering imposing a carbon tax as it attempts to meet its target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions four percent by 2020.

U.A.E.’s Masdar Signs Egypt Wind-Power Agreement (Bloomberg)

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, signed a general framework agreement to study building a 200-MW wind power plant in Egypt.