Today’s Climate: January 20, 2010

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Sierra Club Gets a New Director: RAN’s Mike Brune (Earth Island Journal)

The choice of Mike Brune hints at a coming shakeup at the 700,000-member-strong Sierra Club, possibly toward more in-your-face tactics as the green movement struggles to translate growing mainstream interest in the environment into meaningful political action.

Massachusetts Vote Hurts U.S. Climate Bill (Reuters)

Republican Scott Brown’s upset victory on Tuesday in the special U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts has dealt a further blow to Democrats’ drive to pass a climate control bill in 2010.

Sen. Dorgan Calls Climate Bill Unlikely in 2010 (The Hill)

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) said the Senate is unlikely to consider a cap-and-trade bill this year. Instead, he called for lawmakers to endorse stand-alone energy legislation — including a provision that expands oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Germany Eyes 15% Solar Tariff Cut (Reuters)

German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen plans to propose a 15% cut in feed-in tariffs for new roof solar subsidies, less than the 16-17% previously expected, coalition sources said.

Indian Scientist Says He Was Misquoted on Melting Glaciers (Bloomberg)

Syed Iqbal Hasnain, the Indian scientist credited with initial claims that Himalayan glaciers may disappear by 2035, has denied ever making the assertion.

UN Climate Body Admits ‘Mistake’ on Himalayan Glaciers (BBC News)

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the UN IPCC’s vice chairman, said the panel made a mistake in asserting that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035. But he said it did not change the broad picture of man-made climate change.

Report: 2000s Warmest Decade on Record (AP)

The 2000-2009 decade was the globe’s warmest on record, easily surpassing the previous hottest decade — the 1990s — the National Climatic Data Center said in a new report.

Binding Climate Deal ‘Reachable This Year’: UN (AFP)

Countries could reach a binding agreement on climate change in Mexico City this year after failing to do so in Copenhagen, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN IPCC, said.

Rich Need to Show Poor CO2 Deal Won’t Hit Economy (Reuters)

Developed nations must convince developing countries their economies will not be harmed by greenhouse gas emission deals before global climate talks can progress, a British government minister said.

Small Islands Deserve Better than Copenhagen Accord: Official (Solomon Times Online)

The vulnerable people from small island states deserve a better deal than the Copenhagen Accord, according to the minister for environment for the Solomon Islands. But the government acknowledges that the accord is a "good starting point."

Eco-Bling and Retrofitting Won’t Meet Emissions Targets, Warn Engineers (Guardian)

Attaching "eco-bling" such as wind turbines or solar panels to buildings will not help the UK cut the emissions from buildings fast enough to meet the government’s ambitious targets for carbon-neutral homes, engineers warned.

First Solar, New Mexico Utility Ink Deal (Reuters)

PNM, New Mexico’s largest electric utility, said it has signed a contract with First Solar to build 22 MW of photovoltaic solar power plants in the state.

Montana Land Board Approves Wind Project (AP)

The Montana land board has agreed to lease land for a new 79-MW wind power project near Big Timber. It’s the third major wind project in Montana to be approved on state land.

Toyota in Argentine Lithium Deal for Hybrid Car Push (Reuters)

A sister company to Toyota secured a lithium supply deal in Argentina on Wednesday that could help the world’s largest automaker keep its lead in gasoline-electric hybrid cars.

U.S. Group Gives Obama B-Plus Grade on Climate (Reuters)

Pres. Obama earned a B-plus grade for his handling of climate and energy issues but could do more to forge a global agreement to curb climate change, the League of Conservation Voters said.

Two in Three Indians Don’t Know About Climate Change (Livemint)

A survey by polling agency Gallup shows that just 32% of Indians are familiar with climate change—well below levels of awareness shown by people in other emerging nations, such as China, Brazil and South Africa.

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