Today’s Climate: October 21, 2009

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Obama to Give Climate Bill a Boost with MIT Speech (ClimateWire)

President Obama will try to push the Senate climate bill forward Friday with an energy-themed speech at MIT, just days before the start of a marathon of hearings.

India, China Sign 5-Year Pact on Climate Change (Dow Jones)

India and China today signed an initial five-year pact on climate change, agreeing to set up a working group that would exchange views on issues concerning international negotiations on climate change.

3 South American Countries Agree to Halt Deforestation (AP)

Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay announced a joint plan that would establish protected zones in the Atlantic Forest under an effort to stop deforestation in the region by 2020.

Leaps Forward in Satellite Forest Monitoring (Carbon Positive)

Efforts to tackle deforestation received a double boost this week with two initiatives aimed at enhancing the monitoring of forests from space.

Poland Blocks EU Climate Funding Decision (EurActiv)

EU finance ministers failed to agree on funding climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries, due to Poland and Eastern European countries’ concerns that they would end up having to pay more than they can afford.

Embattled Chamber of Commerce Spent Record $34.7M on Lobbying (AP)

The Chamber of Commerce, losing key members and up against political challenges, spent a record $34.7 million on lobbying in the third quarter to fight energy, finance and health care policies.

Rift Between Obama, Chamber of Commerce Widens (Washington Post)

The White House is moving aggressively to remove the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from its traditional Washington role as the chief representative for big business

EU Ministers Set to Agree On Aviation Emissions Cuts (Guardian)

The 27 European Union countries are expected to agree on a 10% cut for aviation by 2020, relative to 2005, as part of its negotiating position at the upcoming UN summit in Copenhagen.

CDM Reform May Get Lost at Copenhagen (Reuters)

Reform of the UN-run carbon offset scheme CDM is in danger of being overshadowed by other issues at international climate talks later this year, the International Emissions Trading Association warns.

UK Science Academy Says World Must Use GM Crops (Reuters)

The world needs genetically modified crops to increase food yields and minimize the environmental impact of farming, Britain’s top science academy says in a report today.

Solar Panel Cost Drops, But Tax Breaks Dip Too (Los Angeles Times)

The average cost of solar photovoltaic power systems in the U.S. plunged more than 30% from 1998 to 2008, but a simultaneous drop in after-tax incentives resulted in a slight rise in net installed cost last year, a study finds.

UK Court Blocks Legal Action Against RBS Investments (Business Green)

Environmental campaigners vowed to appeal after a British judge blocked their attempt to sue the Treasury and RBS over the taxpayer-controlled bank’s investment in carbon intensive businesses.

Canada Threatens Tar Sands Activists with Anti-Terror Laws (IPS)

The government in Alberta is threatening to unleash its counter-terrorism plan if activists continue using civil disobedience to protest the tar sands, Canada’s fastest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

GM Exec: Volt Not Yet Cost Competitive (CNet)

General Motors needs to wring thousands of dollars in cost from its high-profile Chevy Volt electric car before it can compete long term on price, a company executive says.

Electric Cars Take on Hybrids at Tokyo Motor Show (AFP)

Futuristic concept cars, plug-in hybrids, zero-emission electric vehicles and even a hydrogen-powered scooter jostled for the limelight as the Tokyo Motor Show opened.

Columbia Suspends Environmental Journalism Program (Treehugger)

Emissions aren’t the only thing being cut by the recession. On the same day the Times axed 100 newsroom staff, Columbia University announced it was suspending its environmental journalism masters program amid a media-wide financial crisis.

Thought Experiments on Birth and Death (Dot Earth)

Rush Limbaugh reacts to a population report by proposing that an environmental reporter kill himself to save the planet, and the onslaught of hate mail begins — sent to the reporter, not to Limbaugh.