Today’s Climate: August 20, 2009

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Australian Parliament Sets Renewable Energy Target (AP)

Australia’s Parliament passed a law today to require that 20% of the country’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020, matching European standards and up from about 8% now.

Another Record for U.S. Renewable Electricity (Renewable Energy World)

The latest figures from the Energy Information Administration show that net U.S. electrical generation from renewables reached an all-time monthly high in May 2009, accounting for 13% of total electrical generation.

Dealers Want End to Cash for Clunkers (CNN Money)

The National Automobile Dealers Association is urging the federal government to begin shutting down the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program immediately, expressing concerns that funds are running out.

Germany Plans 1 Million Electric Cars by 2020 (Deutsche-Welle)

Chancellor Merkel’s cabinet has finalized a plan that calls for financial incentives starting in 2012 to support the sale of 100,000 electric cars. The plan envisions one million electric cars on German roads by 2020.

Gas Industry Girds to Fight in the Senate Over Climate (Wall Street Journal)

The U.S. natural-gas industry is counting on new Democratic allies and a stepped-up lobbying campaign to push measures through the Senate that will favor gas over coal and oil in a future climate law.

U.S. Climate Bill Calls for Forest Expansion (USA Today)

About 18 million acres of new trees — roughly the size of West Virginia — would be planted by 2020, according to an EPA analysis of the climate bill passed by the U.S. House in June.

Drilling Ordeals Said to Delay Geothermal Project (New York Times)

The Obama administration’s first major test of geothermal energy has fallen seriously behind schedule because of the earthquakes it could generate in Northern California.

China Seen Looking to Bigger Climate Change Steps (Reuters)

China appears committed to stronger steps to contain swelling CO2 emissions, former British PM Tony Blair said after meetings in Beijing, urging practical hopes of climate treaty negotiations.

India Foresees Sharp Rise in its Nuclear Power (AFP)

India, whose nuclear pariah status ended last year, could obtain 50% of its power from atomic energy by 2050, the country’s nuclear chief has said.

Company Taps Jet-Engine Technology in Bid to Cut Carbon-Capture Costs (Greenwire)

A U.S. Energy Department-backed project is using supersonic shock-wave technology used in jet engines to compress CO2 for storage at coal plants.

Suntech Claims New World Record in Silicon Panel Efficiency (Greentech Media)

Suntech Power has announced it now holds the world record in producing the most efficienct multicrystalline silicon panels, beating a 15-year record previously held by Sandia National Laboratories.

MAP: U.S. Green Car Battery Buildout (Earth2Tech)

More than 100 companies have been jockeying for billions of dollars in federal grants and state incentive packages designed to help spur the growth of a U.S. battery manufacturing industry for plug-in vehicles.

Tesla to Open New Factory in Heart of Silicon Valley (Business Green)

Electric car firm Tesla has continued to accelerate its expansion plans with the news it will open a major new components factory at the Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto.

S.Korea Hopes to Become Asia’s Carbon Trading Hub (Reuters)

South Korea, one of the world’s fastest growing polluters, said it hopes to become Asia’s trading hub for carbon emission certificates under its plan for a new carbon exchange from 2011.

Smart Grids May Help U.S. Boost Power Capacity by 13% (Bloomberg)

The U.S. may be able to increase power capacity by about 13% without adding plants by adopting "smart grids" that manage demand more efficiently, an engineering academic has said.

Slow Progress on Greening Palm Oil (New Scientist)

Claims by western banks and supermarkets to be taking a tough line on landowners who trash Asia’s rainforests are little more than "greenwash," according to a report on oil palm plantations in the region.