Today’s Climate: April 20, 2009

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Congress Inclined to Act First on Health Care (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. lawmakers have to choose which Obama promise to make a higher priority: overhauling health care or addressing climate change. Several Democratic lawmakers say health care has a greater chance of producing consensus.

Indigenous Groups Hold Climate Summit in Alaska (AP)

Indigenous people from around the world are gathering in Alaska this week for a conference on climate change, a subject participants say disproportionately affects them though they share relatively little responsibility for it.

Britain to Boost Green Spending (Guardian)

Alistair Darling will use this week’s budget to announce an extra £500m of government spending on reducing carbon emissions, including a pledge of £40m to top up and keep open a grants programme for renewable energy technologies.

Tankers to Sail Off with Carbon Waste? (Times of London)

The world’s biggest cargo carriers have begun talks with power companies in Europe that could see them build new ships designed to transport greenhouse gas captured from power stations.

Automakers Announce Agreement on Common Plug for Electric Cars (AFP)

The three-point, 400-volt plug, which will allow electric cars to be recharged anywhere in a matter of minutes, is set to be unveiled today at the world’s biggest industrial technology fair in Germany.

China’s Wind-Power Boom to Outpace Nuclear by 2020 (Reuters)

China will have 100 gigawatts of wind power capacity by 2020, a senior energy official says, more than three times the 30 GW target the government laid down in an energy strategy drawn up 18 months ago.

UK’s Miliband to Back Power Supply from CCS (Times of London)

Mounting fears that Britain’s utilities are poised for a new dash for gas – increasing the country’s future power dependence on Russia – has persuaded the UK’s climate secretary to back funding for a CCS demonstration power plant.

New Solar Farm Adds Hot Water to Cheap Electricity (Reuters)

ZenithSolar says its energy dish can transform 75 percent of the sunlight it absorbs into electricity and hot water, with a cost of 8.6 cents per kilowatt hour.

Asian Governments Dangle Carrots to Attract Green Money (Reuters)

Asian governments are warming to the idea of offering incentives for green investment and could help attract billions of dollars in funding for solar and wind power industries struggling under tight credit conditions.

Dutch Stand Up to Shell’s Plan to Bury CO2 (Bloomberg)

The Dutch town of Barendrecht has a message for Shell about it plant to pump CO2 into two depleted natural-gas fields in the community: Not under my backyard.

From War Bonds to Environment Bonds (New York Times)

James Cameron of investment company Climate Change Capital proposes creating “environment bonds” similar to bonds created by governments during the 20th century to fund efforts to fight WWII.

Mountaintop Mining Activist Wins Global Award (AP)

In Maria Gunnoe’s 11-year war over the strip mining she says has ruined her homestead, there have been casualties: Family dogs have been poisoned and shot and her truck’s fuel tank has been stuffed with sand. Yet she has kept fighting, and the 2009 Goldman Environmental Prize is now honoring her work.