Today’s Climate: July 22, 2009

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Senate Democrats’ Prep Team Girds for Climate Battle (ClimateWire)

One committee wrote last year’s failed cap-and-trade bill. This time, six are working as a team. "The more committees that are involved, the … more colleagues that get to understand it," Sen. Boxer says. The big challenge may be Finance Chairman Baucus.

IPCC’s Pachauri Warns Against Carbon Tariffs (AP)

The head of the IPCC warns that trade tariffs in a House-passed bill to limit greenhouse gases have only served to irritate international negotiations and could undermine efforts to persuade developing countries to join a new global warming treaty.

Peterson: Climate Bill Impact on US Farms Bearable (Reuters)

The impact on U.S. farms and ranches from climate-change legislation will be bearable, partly because of the chance to earn money for controlling greenhouse gases, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson tells soybean farmers.

Coal Coalition: We Spent $11 Million on Lobbying (NRDC)

How much did opponents of the federal climate bill really spend in the run-up to the House vote last month? A coal lobby front group offers a peek at the real numbers, before revising them.

NYT Editorial: Close the Climate Bill Loopholes (New York Times)

In all the last-minute wheeling and dealing, the House climate bill acquired two big loopholes that the Senate must close. One involves coal-fired power plants, the other offsets.

UN Approves New Generation Carbon Offset Project (Reuters)

The United Nations has given a green light to the first of a new generation of carbon offset programs designed to bring carbon reductions to a mass market in developing nations.

Rice Institute: GM Rice ‘Crucial in Drought Battle’ (AFP)

Genetic modification may be the only viable way to produce sufficient quantities of rice in the future as drought, climate change and dwindling acreage impact yields, the International Rice Research Institute says.

Climate Change Could Ruin California Fruit, Nut Crops (Reuters)

Climate change could devastate tree crops such as walnuts, cherries, prunes and peaches in California’s fertile Central Valley, researchers report.

Congress May Restore Hydrogen Funding (New York Times)

Congress appears close to restoring the $100 million in funding for hydrogen research that Steven Chu, the energy secretary, had cut from his budget in May.

Democrats Go on Offensive, Touting Energy Votes (Politico)

Vulnerable House Democrats are going on the offensive to blunt Republican attacks over their support for the ACES climate bill.

Wash. State Pushed to Limit Its Only Coal Plant (Columbian)

In what could become a national test case, four conservation groups have told the Southwest Clean Air Agency that it has "the legal mandate and the moral obligation" to limit CO2 emissions from the 1,376 MW TransAlta plant.

Yingli: U.S. Solar Market Improves Markedly (Reuters)

The head of Chinese solar panel maker Yingli Green Energy Holding’s U.S. business said the U.S. market for solar power has improved dramatically in the last six weeks.

GE: Clean, Greener and More Open (GreenBiz)

Last week Wal-Mart announced its plans for a sustainability index, generating lots of excitement, and today GE releases a citizenship report that demonstrates that the $183-billion company is becoming not just cleaner and greener, but more open.

UK Plans Largest Anaerobic Digester (Business Green)

With a new Low Carbon Transition Plan to follow, UK officials approved plans for Britain’s largest anaerobic digest, one that would convert food waste into power for 11,000 homes.

Mountaintop Mining Legacy: 
Destroyed Streams (Yale Environment 360)

Of all the environmental problems caused by mountaintop projects — decapitated peaks, deforestation, the significant carbon footprint — scientists have found that valley fills do the most damage to mountain ecosystems.