Today’s Climate: January 22, 2010

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Past Decade Warmest Ever, NASA Data Shows (New York Times)

The decade ending in 2009 was the warmest on record, figures released by NASA show. The agency also found that 2009 was the second warmest year since 1880, when modern temperature measurement began.

Blankenship, Kennedy Debate Coal’s Future (Charleston Gazette)

Massey Energy President Don Blankenship and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Thursday debated the future of coal and the science of climate change, agreeing on little but drawing still more attention to the issues that face the Appalachian coalfields.

U.S. Climate Bill Backers Seen Pushing Wrong Message (Reuters)

Most Americans want the jobs and clean energy that climate legislation could help bring, according to prominent U.S. pollster Frank Luntz. But the bill’s backers have been emphasizing climate science too much and the potential positive results too little.

Warming Expected to Cut Atlantic Hurricane Tally but Boost Threat (Dot Earth)

The number of storms in the western Atlantic are expected to drop toward the end of the century, but the number of strong ones — those reaching Category 4 or 5 — are expected to double from today, a new study in Science said.

Australia Mulls Carbon Tax in ETS Absence (Carbon Positive)

The Australian government says it will consider a proposal by the Green Party for a carbon tax on big emitters as an interim measure in the absence of support for an emissions-trading scheme.

Venture Funding Stabilizes, Shifts to Biotech, Shuns Energy (Bloomberg)

Venture-capital funding for startup companies stabilized in the fourth quarter, with investor interest shifting toward drug development and away from clean energy, a new report said.

Cement, Glass Firms Agree to Add Pollution Controls (McClatchy Newspapers)

For the first time in the history of the Clean Air Act, the federal government has reached settlements that will require a glassmaker and a cement company to add pollution controls at all their plants across the country.

Indiana Senate, House Panels Approve ‘Net Metering’ Bills (AP)

A bill aimed at utility customers who install renewable power sources, such as wind turbines, is seriously flawed and would hurt Indiana’s renewables movement, clean energy advocates told a state Senate committee.

Green Group Threatens Legal Challenge to Government’s Nuclear Plans (Guardian)

Friends of the Earth has threatened to launch a legal challenge against the UK government over its "fundamentally flawed" plans to approve hundreds of new nuclear reactors, power plants, wind farms, electricity lines and pipelines.

India May Start Renewable-Energy Credits Trade in May (Bloomberg)

India may allow power companies to start trading renewable-energy credits in May, in a push to create a multibillion-dollar market to encourage greenhouse gas cuts.

Ontario Says Samsung Deal to Make It Green Leader (Reuters)

A $6.7 billion green energy investment by a consortium led by South Korea’s Samsung C&T Corp will make Ontario a leader in renewable energy technology, the Canadian province said.

Solar Water Heaters Get a Boost in California (Green Inc.)

California regulators on Thursday approved a $350 million program to subsidize the installation of solar water heaters to reduce global-warming emissions.

JinkoSolar Joins Growing Clean-Tech IPO Gold Rush (Business Green)

Predictions that 2010 could see a spate of clean-tech IPOs are looking increasingly well-founded, after China-based solar company JinkoSolar filed for an IPO worth up to $100 million this week.

Confluence Solar Announces $200M Plant in Tenn. (AP)

Confluence Solar plans to build a $200 million, 200,000-square-foot solar manufacturing plant in East Tennessee that will create 250 jobs, Gov. Phil Bredesen announced.

Architects Urged to Find Simple Solutions to Energy Saving (The National)

Architects need to focus more on simple methods to cut emissions, such as the shape of buildings and better construction materials, rather than new technologies, leading architects said at the World Future Energy Summit.

Global Warming Opens Up Arctic for Undersea Cable (AP)

Global warming has melted so much Arctic ice that a telecommunication group is moving forward with a project that was once unthinkable: laying underwater fiber optic cable between Tokyo and London by way of the Northwest Passage.