Today’s Climate: February 23, 2009

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Reid Bill Would Give FERC New Transmission Powers (Dow Jones)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to unveil a bill this week that would give the U.S. government broad new powers to determine where to build transmission lines that link renewable energy to the electric system. But speeding up the process using eminent domain is rife with political perils.

White House Considers Melding MPG, Emissions Rules (Bloomberg)

The heads of the federal transportation and environmental agencies are collaborating on a single U.S. policy for regulating emissions from vehicles, White House climate adviser Carol Browner says.

China’s Increasing Carbon Emissions Blamed on Manufacturing for the West (Guardian)

A new study shows that half of the recent rise in China’s carbon dioxide emissions was caused by manufacturing of goods for other countries — particularly developed nations such as the United States.

Collapsing Carbon Market Makes Mega-Pollution Cheap (Guardian)

Roll up for the great pollution fire sale, the ultimate chance to wreck the climate on the cheap. Set up to price pollution out of existence, carbon trading is pricing it back in. A ton of carbon has dropped to about €8, far below the €30-€45 range at which renewables can compete with fossil fuels.

Analyst: Solar Panel Prices to Fall as much as 40% This Year (BusinessGreen)

Increases in polysilicon supplies will lead to a sizable fall in production costs for solar panel manufacturers this year, industry analyst New Energy Finance says.

Palin Backs Away from Renewable Energy (Juneau Empire)

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s revised budget slashes in half a proposed $50 million for renewable energy projects. The move comes a month after Palin called for the state to get half its power from renewables by 2025.

3 Governors Ask Obama to Support ‘Clean Coal’ (Denver Business Journal)

The governors of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming write: “Finding a way to use our nation’s rich supplies of coal in a manner that avoids emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants is absolutely vital."

Squabbling Derails UK Emissions Efforts (Guardian)

Elliot Morley, head of the new energy and climate change select committee, says last year’s government restructuring to form a new Department of Energy and Climate Change will make a huge difference, but it will not solve the problem until all the ministries get on board.

U.S. Needs Clean-Energy Breakthrough (Chicago Tribune)

The Obama administration has big ideas for clean energy, but there are roadblocks – scientific and political – that need to be torn down. Three reports call for more research funding and suggest institutional changes to spend research dollars more wisely.

Chicago Promising Greenest Olympics in 2016 Bid (AP)

Chicago’s Olympic bid organizers tout a low-carbon event with venues powered by renewable energy and vehicles running on low-carbon fuels or electricity. The other bid cities are pitching green scenes, too.

‘Flower’ Power Blooms in First Climate-Change Video Game (Wired)

Introducing the the first — and only — truly good video game about climate change. Flower is "about" changing or improving the situation and making you feel wonderful over how you’ve renewed life that was destroyed by industrialization.