Weekly Climate: May 18-22, 2009

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It was a busy week at SolveClimate as the House Energy and Commerce Committee spent four days debating a watered down version of the American Clean Energy and Security Act and then passed the bill 33-25, with four Democrats joining all but one Republican in opposition.

We picked apart its polluter-friendly portions, examined its inadequate clean energy commitment, revealed a major coal union’s support and analyzed coal stocks, which saw a sudden upward surge as the bill advanced.

Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, blasted big utilities and their coal-state apologists for wrecking ACES. Adam Siegel suggested cutting "clean energy" from the name altogether. And Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, chided the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for trying to kill climate action.

President Obama announced the nation’s highest increase in fuel efficiency standards in decades, then met with an advisory group of CEOs and economists who urged him to give businesses a carbon price signal. Twelve retired admirals and generals made the national security case for clean energy. They also delivered an appeal to the American people to protect the planet.

In other news, Australia put a billion dollars into big solar. And Cisco unveiled its first end-to-end smart grid solution.

We learned that two U.S. utilities are planning pilot programs to install solar on homes and businesses, free of charge. The ISO 14001 standard is becoming the trusted seal of approval for green cities. And from across the ocean, foreign firms are buying up chunks of Africa to meet the world’s biofuel needs.

Last but not least, Lester R. Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute and Worldwatch Institute, showed the merits of an eco-economy, a future financial system that would jibe with the ecosystem on which it depends.