Today’s Climate: March 21-22, 2009

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Latest Carbon Auction Raises $117 Million (AP)

The third quarterly auction of CO2 emission allowances raised $117 million for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in the 10 Northeastern states that are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Climate Change ‘Big Priority’ For Energy Commission Chief (Washington Post)

Pres. Obama has named Jon Wellinghoff — a lawyer who helped write Nevada’s renewable electricity standard requiring utilities to increase their use of wind, solar and geothermal power — as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

EU Energy Companies Get €1B Subsidy for Clean Coal (AP)

Some of Europe’s biggest energy companies will get more than €1 billion from the European Union to test out controversial "clean coal" technology under a deal struck by EU leaders.

Maryland Emissions Bill, Considered Flawed but Ambitious, Heads to House (Washington Post)

A bill to cut Maryland’s emissions — while considered ambitious relative to other states — would put the hardest decisions off until 2012, make smaller reductions than are needed and exempt the state’s entire manufacturing sector from its rules.

Feinstein Tries to Halt Solar Projects on Donated Land (The Press-Enterprise)

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is urging the Department of Interior to stop processing applications for more than a dozen solar energy projects sought on Mojave Desert land that was donated to the government by a conservation group.

EU Fails to Commit to Climate Change Aid (AFP)

EU leaders have refused to put a figure on aid for developing nations to cut greenhouse gases, saying they wanted to wait to see what the US, China and others have to offer.

First Solar Cranks Out a Good Gigawatt of Thin Film Solar (Earth2Tech)

First Solar, the thin-film solar darling that has reportedly reached grid parity, has hit another milestone: 1 GW of production.

Alberta Extends Fort Hills Oil Sands Leases (Reuters)

Petro-Canada and partners in its Fort Hills oil sands venture have said they reached a deal with the Alberta government on extending leases, one of the steps needed to move the delayed project ahead.

Word Goof Scuttles Utah Climate Change Measure (Salt Lake Tribune)

A bill in Utah that would have required cost studies for any new climate change policy enacted by the feds passed the State Legislature by a wide margin, but was scuttled because staff accidentally left the word "wholesale" out of the measure.

Critics Question Safety of Storing Coal Slurry (AP)

Regulators in Appalachian states that let coal companies inject slurry into abandoned mines say they are confident the practice is safe, but an AP survey shows they lack data to answer citizens who believe water and their own health are at risk.

Europe’s Energy Chiefs Aim for Carbon-Neutral Electricity by 2050 (Guardian)

The heads of 61 power groups in the EU have committed to achieving carbon-neutral electricity within an integrated power market by 2050.

US Birds Struggling to Survive Habitat Loss, Climate Change (Environment News Service)

Nearly one-third of the more than 800 bird species in the US are endangered, threatened or in decline due to climate change, habitat loss and invasive species, finds the first-ever report ever produced on US bird populations.

Is the Clean Development Mechanism Slumping Toward Extinction? (ClimateWire)

A perfect storm of bad economic and political trends could spell doom for the Clean Development Mechanism, the UN program that allows countries and corporations to offset CO2 emissions by making reductions in the developing world.

Copenhagen Aims To Be Carbon Neutral by 2025 (AFP)

The city of Copenhagen, which will host a UN climate conference in December, aims to become the world’s first carbon neutral capital in 2025, city officials have said.