Today’s Climate: May 21, 2009

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U.S. Carbon Emissions Fall by Most Since 1982 (Washington Post)

U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide related to energy use fell 2.8 percent last year, according to an estimate by the Energy Information Administration, driven down by high oil prices and the sagging economy.

Climate-Treaty Draft Proposes Rich Countries Eliminate Most CO2 (Euractiv)

The draft is packed with options that often run in different directions on issues such as long-term cooperative action, enhanced action on adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology and capacity-building.

Renewable Energy Industries Ask Obama to Speed Loan Guarantees (New York Times)

The letter cites “disagreements” between the Department of Energy and the Office of Management and Budget over regulations to carry out an important loan guarantee program. It says the program has ground to a standstill.

Big Cities Call for More Power in Climate Fight (AP)

City governments need more power to fight climate change since the world’s cities are responsible for a majority of greenhouse gas emissions and that is where the battle will be won or lost, 40 big-city mayors said in a declaration signed today.

Cement Makers Eye Big Cuts in GHGs (Reuters)

Nearly a third of the world’s cement industry has united on a strategy to cut global warming gases in a way that will not slow a construction boom in poor countries.

World Bank to Lend China $80M for Coal Methane Projects (China Daily)

The World Bank has agreed to lend $80 million to help China develop coal bed methane and coal mine methane as substitutes to coal, plus a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant with production capacity of 200,000 tons per year.

Energy Industry Blocking Grid Connection for UK Wind Projects (Business Green)

The established energy industry is deliberately blocking reforms to a process that would allow more renewable energy to be connected to the UK’s National Grid, according to the chief executive of Ofgem.

Chevron Tells Investors: Reject Shareholders’ Environmental Proposal (Reuters)

Chevron criticized a shareholder proposal for an environmental protection report as part of a "trial lawyer"-led campaign to force the company to settle a long-running case over oil pollution in the Ecuadorean jungle.

Nuclear Revival: Still On Hold, MIT Study Says (Wall Street Journal)

MIT just updated its seminal 2003 study on the role nuclear power could play in America’s energy mix. The upshot: Nuclear power’s appeal may have grown, but that hasn’t translated into any real progress in the U.S.

Obama Reverses Bush’s Preemption Policy (Constitutional Accountability Center)

A perfect example of why this matters to environmental issues is the decision to adopt California’s automobile emissions standards at the national level. It shows how the country benefits when states act as policy innovators.

US Chamber of Commerce Implodes on Climate Policy (DeSmogBlog)

The wheels are falling off the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s long-standing opposition to meaningful climate policy because it own members are demanding this Capitol Hill powerhouse move into the 21st century.

Four Companies Drop Support for New Georgia Coal Plant (Athens Online)

The Jackson Electric Membership Corp. is the latest to withdraw from a utility consortium’s plan to build an 850-megawatt, coal-fired electric plant near Sandersville, citing uncertainty about national energy policy.

Bureaucracy Holds Back Adirondack Wind Power (Times Union)

A proposal to allow permits for wind turbines on private land within New York’s Adirondack Park will actually discourage small wind energy projects because only wind turbines that are "substantially invisible" would qualify.

African Penguin Numbers in Sharp Decline (AFP)

African penguins are disappearing at an alarming rate, as commercial fishing decimates food stocks and global warming affects breeding patterns, experts say.

Zero-carbon Eco Home is Light Years Ahead (Guardian)

The dream of zero-carbon living is being realized at home controlled for energy efficiency and use of renewable energy in Denmark, despite dreary skies.