Today’s Climate: October 23, 2009

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Interior Dept. Proposes Polar Bear Habitat for Alaska (New York Times)

The Interior Department proposed designating more than 200,000 square miles of land, sea and ice along the Alaskan coast as critical habitat for the shrinking polar bear population.

EPA Rocks the Boat with Plan to Cut Ship Emissions (Washington Post)

An EPA proposal that would compel the shipping industry to burn cleaner fuel and upgrade its engines has sparked a furious behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign that has come to a head this week in Washington.

Poll Shows Global Warming Deniers Having Impact (Pew)

A new poll from the Pew Research Center finds that the number of Americans believing that there is solid evidence of global warming is at a three-year low, and the number who consider it a serious problem is also down.

Canada Argues for Weaker Emissions Targets — for Itself (Globe & Mail)

Canada will continue to insist that it should have a less aggressive target for emission reductions than Europe or Japan because of its faster-growing population and energy-intensive industrial structure, the nation’s environment minister says.

Tallying the Real Environmental Cost of Biofuels (Time)

Are biofuels really green? A pair of new studies in the journal Science damningly demonstrate that the answer is no, at least not the way we currently create and use them.

Notes to Obama: Time to Take Political Risks on Climate (Boston Globe)

President Obama speaks at MIT this morning, and chances are he’ll use the same tactic he has used in the health care debate, working with Congress to pass something modest. In this case, good politics may be bad science, writes Bill McKibben. The head of the IPCC also urges Obama to do more.

Investment Risks Threaten CDM (Reuters)

A combination of investment risks threatens to obstruct the already stumbling CDM, a U.N.-backed $6.5 billion market in clean energy projects in emerging nations.

Southeastern US at Highest Risk from Climate Change (Reuters)

A new Oxfam America report lays out how poverty and climate hazards make the southeast United States the country’s most vulnerable area to climate change impact.

Chamber of Commerce Members Speaking Out (NRDC)

With more voices saying clearly that US Chamber of Commerce does not represent them, the Chamber’s membership numbers are looking more and more questionable. Just listen to what the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut had to say.

California Weighs Rules to Cut TV Energy Use by Half (Chronicle)

California regulators, concerned over the proliferation of flat-panel television sets that guzzle electricity, could soon impose first-in-the-nation laws that restrict how much power televisions can consume.

Google, Microsoft Eye Wind Farm Investments (Financial Times)

Interest from large multinationals interested in greening their electricity use with offshore wind power is holding out a lifeline for an industry hit by a collapse in traditional sources of finance.

Oil Spill ‘Massive’ Risk to Australian Animals (AFP)

A continuing oil and gas leak off Australia’s northwest coast is killing seabirds and threatening thousands of marine animals, conservationists warned today.

Scientists Discover Secrets Of Drought Resistance (Science Daily)

A team of biologists in California has solved the structure of a critical molecule that helps plants survive during droughts. The findings may help scientists design new ways to protect crops against prolonged dry periods.

To Cut Global Warming, Swedes Study Their Plates (New York Times)

New labels listing the CO2 emissions associated with the production of foods, from whole wheat pasta to fast food burgers, are appearing in grocery stores and restaurants around Sweden.

Indians Devise Man-Made Glaciers (Christian Science Monitor)

Chhewang Norphel makes artificial glaciers. The reason: The real ones have rapidly receded up the Himalayan slopes in his home district of Ladakh in northernmost India.