Today’s Climate: March 23, 2009

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A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy (George Monbiot/Celsias)

Scientists are saying privately that our chance to prevent a more than 2 degree rise in temperatures has been squandered.

NHTSA Removing Preemption from Fuel Rules (Constitutional Accountability Center)

California has informed a court that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to eliminate all mention of federal preemption in its final rules for fuel economy standards.

Consolidation Hits the Tar Sands (Financial Times)

Suncor of Canada is to buy rival Petro-Canada for about $13.7 billion, in a move that could trigger a wave of consolidation in Alberta’s tar sands.

Ethical Investment Funds Suffer Heavy Losses (Observer)

Green investment funds are suffering heavier losses than their ordinary counterparts, partly because they include banks and shun stocks such as tobacco and drug giants.

USDA Revising Plant Hardiness Zone Map (Environmental Health News)

The USDA is preparing to revise its plant hardiness map, and it’s about to bring climate change down to earth for millions of households across the country.

States Anxious as Obama Shapes Climate Policy (Reuters)

States plan to proceed with their own emission control programs until Washington gets a credible federal market mechanism such as "cap-and-trade." State officials say the federal program might never happen or be too weak.

Session Tests Maine’s Commitment to Climate (Portland Press Herald)

Maine’s legislature takes up climate proposals tomorrow on new limits on construction in rural areas and fees to cut down trees. The bills, coming in the midst of a recession, are sure to test the state’s commitment to the issue.

States Vie for Share of ‘Clean Coal’ Cash (Wall Street Journal)

The stimulus bill’s $3.4 billion that could go to toward carbon capture is sparking a high-stakes lobbying effort among different states trying to score some of the cash for local projects.

UK Nat Grid to Cut Carbon Emissions 45% by 2020 (Reuters)

UK network operator National Grid (NG.L) said today it plans to cut carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2020 as the country aims to reduce output of the greenhouse gas by 80 percent by 2050.

Renewable Energy in for a Bumpy Ride (Sunday Herald)

ScottishPower’s Spanish owner warns that the credit crunch has hit plans to invest in Scotland’s electricity transmission network.

Australia Plans Regional Climate Help (Canberra Times)

Australia’s Climate Change Minister Penny Wong announced a $20 million Pacific Climate Change Science Program today to help Australia’s neighbors understand the impacts of climate change.

Study: City-Dwellers Emit Less CO2 than Countryfolk (Reuters)

Major cities are getting a bad rap for the disproportionately high greenhouse gases they emit even though their per capita emissions are often a fraction of the national average, a new report said on Monday.

Reporting on Climate Change ‘Should Not Be Left to Journalists’ (World Editors Forum)

The chairwoman of the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change says the task of informing the public about climate change should not be left to journalists and scientists need to rethink their communication strategy.

Energy Secretary Serves Under a Microscope (New York Times)

For soft-spoken Nobel laureate-turned-Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Washington has been an initiation he likens to being “dumped in the deep end of the pool.”

Saddness in the Coal Fields (Louisville Courier-Journal)

A new Gallup poll shows the least happy places in the nation are Eastern Kentucky, Southwestern West Virginia, Eastern Tennessee and Western Virginia. In other words, the impoverished coal fields of Appalachia.