Today’s Climate: March 20, 2009

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Obama Opens Spigot on Plug-in Electric Car Grants (CNet)

President Barack Obama launched a $2.4 billion program to boost development of plug-in electric vehicles in the U.S., including grants to finance domestic production of auto batteries.

UN: $750B in Green Investment Could Revive Economy (Reuters)

Investments of $750 billion could create a "Green New Deal" to revive the world economy and protect the environment, perhaps aided by a tax on oil, the head of the U.N. environment agency says.

Polar Bears’ Plight Could Force Action on Climate Change (CBC)

The five Arctic countries declared climate change the single greatest threat to polar bears, a move that could pressure the governments to take further action to curb global warming.

Final Count Shows LA Solar Measure Defeated (Los Angeles Times)

Measure B, a plan to install 400 megawatts of solar energy around Los Angeles, lost by 2,644 votes – 50.5% of voters opposed it – election officials say. The count went down to the final mail-in, provisional and damaged ballots.

US CAP Members Donate to the Deniers (New Yorker)

An analysis of campaign contributions found that some members of U.S. CAP made contributions substantially higher to opponents of global warming legislation.

Electric Cars to Help Solve Riddle of Storing Power (Reuters)

Since the days of Thomas Edison, finding a way to effectively store electricity has been one of the “Holy Grails” for power companies. Edison International says cars are storage on wheels.

Rule Change Puts Toxic Release Numbers in Question (Public Integrity)

Almost 4.1 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the U.S. environment in 2007, according to newly published EPA data. While that’s down from 2006, a rule change just before the start of 2007 had loosened reporting requirements.

Solar Industry Posts Strong Growth in 2008 (New York Times)

Solar energy capacity in the United States grew by 17 percent in 2008, the Solar Energy Industries Association report. But the group warned that the financial crisis has hit the industry hard, since financing for projects has largely dried up.

Oil Shale Companies Take Key Share of Colo. Rivers (Denver Post)

Oil companies have amassed more than 250 water rights for oil-shale development, giving them a key share of the flow of the Colorado River and the White River. Many of the water rights are also more senior than those held by city water suppliers.

Tests Show Heavy Metals in W.Va. Coal Slurry (AP)

Preliminary tests reveal the slurry coal companies pump into worked-out underground mines in West Virginia contains heavy metals residents wouldn’t want to drink.

Sutley: Mountaintop Mining Decision Coming Soon (Charleston Gazette)

President Obama’s top aides will be making a decision “very soon” about actions to take on mountaintop mining, Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, testified.

Carbon Market Poised for First Wave of Post-2013 Trading (Business Green)

The low price of carbon might have attracted plenty of criticism, but those in the know are already preparing for the post-2013 recovery, a sign they remain confident in its long term prospects, analysts say.

Interview with EDF Chief on Carbon Markets (Wall Street Journal

The reputation of markets have taken a beating—too opaque, too complicated, and too easy for insiders to game. That’s rubbed off a bit on market-based solutions to environmental problems. The Journal talked to EDF’s Fred Krupp about it.

In Silt, Bangladesh Sees Way to Adapt to Sea Rise (New York Times)

The country has begun to channel silt to fill in low-lying lands prone to flooding and to create new land off its long, exposed coast.