Today’s Climate: July 18-19, 2009

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Clinton Upbeat on Climate Talks with India (Reuters)

Secretary of State Clinton sounded optimistic on Sunday that the U.S. and India can bridge their differences on reducing CO2 emissions — even as a top Indian official repeated his government’s view that it will not accept legally binding targets.

IPCC Chief: G8 Outcome Falls Short of Needs (AFP)

The head of the UN’s panel of climate experts said he was encouraged by climate pledges at last week’s G8 summit but warned commitments still fell short of what’s required by science.

New Pact to Let European Public Track Pollutants (Reuters)

European citizens will be able to find out what dangerous substances are emitted in their neighborhoods, including the levels of global warming pollution, under an environmental treaty to go into effect in 17 countries in October.

Mystery Methane Belched Out by Megacities (New Scientist)

L.A. belches far more methane into its air than scientists had previously realized. If other cities are equally profligate, urban methane emissions may represent a surprisingly important source of this potent greenhouse gas.

Tennessee Valley Authority Increases Hazard Ratings on Coal Ash Sites (New York Times)

The TVA has raised the hazard ratings on several of its coal ash disposal sites to "high," two weeks after environmental groups complained that the EPA had allowed the utility to rate its own facilities.

Clouds, Seas to Be Targeted by U.N. Climate Report (Reuters)

Cloud formation, sea level rises and extreme weather events are among areas set to get more attention in the next UN report on global warming due in 2014.

Sarkozy, UN Chief Talk Climate Change (AFP)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy met with UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday to discuss a variety of key international issues, with a specific focus on climate change.

GM Plans Battery Plant Near Detroit (AP)

GM will assemble battery packs for its new rechargeable electric car, the Chevy Volt, at a facility south of Detroit, creating about 100 job.

UK Admits Marine Power Fund Has Run Aground (Guardian)

Government promises that it would establish Britain as a global center for ocean power have been undermined by admissions that it has not handed out any of a $80 million marine development fund set up in 2004.

Vattenfall Speaks Out Against Desertec (BNET)

Vattenfall, one of Europe’s biggest utilities and an early leader in cutting emissions, is opposing the Desertec plan to import solar power from Africa. The company’s lack of enthusiasm could prove damaging, given its influence with government.

Catholic Carbon Audit with Gore’s Blessing (Sydney Morning Herald)

With the support of Al Gore, the Catholic Church in Australia is starting a carbon audit of thousands of churches, about 1500 schools and more than 300 hospitals and aged-care facilities.

Climate Targets for Ships Deferred (Nature News)

Last week’s meeting of the International Maritime Organization failed to set controls on CO2 emissions. But Europe signaled its intent to pass regulations on the shipping sector by 2013, even if the IMO doesn’t do so.

Denmark Plans Forces for Arctic (BBC)

Denmark plans to set up an Arctic military command and task force, as the melting of the ice cap opens up access to the region’s resources.

Temperate Forests Store More Carbon than Tropical Forests (

Temperate forests trump rainforests when it comes to storing carbon, according to a new report of global forest carbon stocks. The findings have important implications for efforts to mitigate climate change through forest protection.

Shell’s Coal-Gas Technology Questioned (Shanghai Daily)

A China industry body has proposed limiting any further purchase of Shell’s "immature" coal gasification technology after teething problems at half the plants where it is being tested.

BP Gives up on Jatropha for Biofuel (WSJ Environmental Capital)

BP has officially given up on jatropha, the shrub once touted as the great hope for biofuels, to focus instead on ethanol in Brazil and the U.S.

AT&T to Switch to 2.6M LEDs in Signage (GreenBiz)

By switching the lighting on signs in 6,500 of its stores to an efficient LED system, AT&T will save nearly 6 million kilowatt hours of electricity and eliminate 3,500 tons of planet-warming emissions each year.