Today’s Climate: September 21, 2010

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Safety Officials Issue More Than 2,600 Citations in Surprise Mine Inspections (Washington Post)

Federal officials have conducted 111 "blitz" inspections at dozens of coal and metal mines with similar histories over the past six months, officials announced. More than 2,660 citations for safety violations were issued.

Democrats Fighting Election Battles Ask Environmentalists, ‘Where Are You Guys?’ (Los Angeles Times)

Energy companies and businesses are ramping up spending on candidates and issues, while environmental groups face lagging donations and enthusiasm for campaigns key to climate action.

Brown Calls on Whitman to State View on Prop. 23 (AP)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown challenged Republican Meg Whitman on Monday to take a stand on a November ballot initiative that would undermine California’s landmark global warming law.

Controversial Candidates on ‘Short List’ for EPA Fracking Panel (Greenwire)

U.S. EPA is considering two former Halliburton Co. executives along with one of the most outspoken critics of hydraulic fracturing to provide independent expert advice on its study of the drilling practice.

Climate Deal in Cancun May Hinge on Companies Lobbying, UN’s Figueres Say (Bloomberg)

Success at climate talks in Mexico may depend on companies, such as Siemens AG and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., prodding governments into action, said Christiana Figueres, the UN climate chief.

China Requires Energy-Use Review Before Project Approvals (Reuters)

China will start evaluating energy efficiency levels for any proposed capital expenditure programs as of November, as the country shuns energy-guzzling projects in favor of greener development.

$2B Oil Sands Expansion Approved (Edmonton Journal)

Cenovus Energy’s Foster Creek underground oil sands project has won approval for an estimated $2 billion expansion at its site 120 kilometers north of Bonnyville, Alberta.

TransCanada’s Oil-Sands Pipeline Would Create 12,000 Jobs, Girling Says (Bloomberg)

TransCanada Corp’s 2,000-mile pipeline linking Alberta’s oil sands with Gulf Coast refiners may add at least 12,000 jobs and provide a stable fuel source for the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Russell Girling said.

Cairn Says Greenland Well Finds Evidence of Oil (Reuters)

Oil explorer Cairn Energy said a well in Greenland found evidence of oil proving a working hydrocarbon system, sending its shares up on hopes of a big discovery in the frontier territory.

SO2, NOx Air Pollution Standards Fail to Protect Environment, EPA Says (Greenwire)

Current U.S. air pollution standards for sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) aren’t strict enough to prevent damage to the environment, according to an assessment from U.S. EPA that suggests tougher rules could be on the way.

Financiers Prepared to Back "Competitive" CCS (Business Green)

The finance sector is willing to fund carbon capture and storage projects – but only if the technology can demonstrate its viability without public funding, a new report has found.

Soros Says Climate Talks `Removed From Reality’ (Bloomberg)

Billionaire investor George Soros said debate about tackling global warming is being overtaken by damage occurring from climate change and practical action is needed.

2010 Tied With 1998 as Warmest Global Temperature on Record (Science Daily)

The first eight months of 2010 tied the same period in 1998 for the warmest combined land and ocean surface temperature on record worldwide, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

Extreme Heat Bleaches Coral, and Threat Is Seen (New York Times)

This year’s extreme heat is putting the world’s coral reefs under such severe stress that scientists fear widespread die-offs, endangering not only the richest ecosystems in the ocean but also fisheries that feed millions of people.

Floods in Northern India Sweep Away Homes, Crops (Reuters)

Unusually heavy monsoon rains over northern India have flooded villages, leaving more than half a million people homeless and submerging crops in a key sugar producing region, officials said on Monday.

UK: Coalition Drops Further Green Pledges on Timber and Renewables (Guardian)

The coalition is being accused of reneging on two of its key environment pledges om illegal logging and small-scale solar subsidies in a further blow to the credibility of David Cameron’s promise to lead the "greenest government ever."

A Rebranding for Global Warming? (New York Times)

Is the White House trying to rebrand global warming? That’s the impression that some conservative-leaning media outlets formed after recent remarks by John Holdren, who said a better term would be "global climate disruption."

Wal-Mart to Try Thin-Film Solar Technology (Reuters)

Retail giant Wal-Mart plans to expand the use of renewable energy in its stores by installing thin-film solar panels in up to 30 of its locations.

Concentrating Solar Power Plant Planned for Hawaii (Sustainable Business)

Keahole Solar Power is moving forward with plans to build a 5-MW concentrating solar power plant on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

Why Texas is the Smart Meter Market to Watch (Earth2Tech)

The Lone Star State lags California in sheer numbers of meters deployed, but has taken a lead in supporting them with regulations and funding, as well as tying them together in cross-utility platforms.