Today’s Climate: January 21, 2010

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Landrieu, Murkowski Collaborate on Plan to Block EPA Climate Rules (The Hill)

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) told reporters that she is working with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Murkowski’s efforts to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

U.S. Carbon Plan to Lean on States After Senate Vote (Reuters)

The election of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts to the U.S. Senate will make it even tougher for the Obama Administration to pass a cap-and-trade bill. That could put the focus back on the states to lead climate action.

In Senate, 59 Votes Can Still Deliver (Wall Street Journal)

Democrats won’t have 60 votes in the Senate any more, but they will have 59, which is a wider majority than presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush needed to win significant legislative victories.

UN Climate Science Panel Apologizes for Glacier Error (CNN)

The UN IPCC has apologized for publishing misleading data that warned Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035. But the panel reiterated its concern about the dangers melting glaciers present in a region that is home to one-sixth of the world’s population.

Solar Shares Drop in Germany on Proposals to Cut Aid (Bloomberg)

Solarworld AG and competing solar-panel makers fell in German trading after Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrats said they may press for a 16-17% cut in subsidies, deeper than the 15% sought by the environment ministry.

Study Links Asia to Smog in Western U.S. (AP)

Ozone blowing over from Asia is raising levels of a main ingredient of smog in the skies over Western states, according to a new study. This is in part a result of burning more coal and oil as part of Asia’s economic growth.

Big Boost in Wind Power Doable but Complicated in Eastern U.S. (Greenwire)

The eastern U.S. could get 30% of its electricity from wind by 2024, but it would cost up to $175 billion and wouldn’t take a big bite out of global warming emissions without a price on carbon, according to a new study by NREL.

France Adapts Carbon Tax Climate Plan (AFP)

France has outlined new efforts to become the first big economy to tax carbon emissions after its original plan was rejected by the high court last month, days before it was to kick in.

Groups File Legal Challenge to Chukchi Drilling (AP)

A coalition of Alaska Natives has combined forces with some of the heaviest hitters in the environmental community to challenge a plan by Shell to drill for oil off northwest Alaska.

Wis. Opens Decade’s First New Climate Efforts (ClimateWire)

Wisconsin Democrats are taking advantage of their majority takeovers in the state Assembly last year and in the Senate in 2006 to prioritize passage of the climate bill before Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle surrenders his office at year’s end.

Desertec Project Planning May Take Two More Years (Bloomberg)

Siemens has said it expects the multibillion-dollar Desetec project, which aims to generate electricity from the Saharan sun and help power Europe, will take at least two more years of strategic planning.

Brazil Opens World’s First Ethanol-Fired Power Plant (Reuters)

Brazil has opened the world’s first ethanol-fueled power plant in an effort by the South American biofuels giant to increase the global use of ethanol.

Report: Biofuels Could Help Jobs, Chesapeake Bay (AP)

More farming could be the answer to cleaning the Chesapeake Bay, according to a new report that finds biofuels from plants grown in the Chesapeake Bay watershed could create jobs, provide energy and prevent millions of pounds of runoff.

Hydrokinetic Energy Could Add 22 GW by 2015 (Environmental Leader)

Energy generated from the ocean and rivers may grow by 22 GW in the next five years, according to Pike Research. That growth is dependent on two major projects, however – a tidal barrage in the UK and a tidal fence in the Philippines.