Today’s Climate: December 23, 2009

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Copenhagen Green Lights Plan to Streamline CDM (Business Green)

Reforms agreed to at the Copenhagen summit should make it easier for emission reduction projects in developing countries to qualify for the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) carbon offset scheme, despite ongoing concerns.

Revealed: OPEC’s Fears that Appetite for Oil Is Waning (Financial Times)

The group’s economist told ministers: “Crisis appears to have induced a permanent loss in oil demand in OECD and slower rate of growth in non-OECD, due to policy measures and changes in consumer behavior.” For OPEC, the warning is pretty heavy stuff.

Air Pollution Could Dip from New EPA Rule on Ships (Los Angeles Times)

Air pollution from U.S.-flagged oil tankers and cargo vessels will be reduced by about 80% under new engine and fuel standards finalized Tuesday by the EPA, a move that could improve air quality.

Shipping & Aviation: Visibility Poor After Copenhagen (Carbon Positive)

It’s not quite back to square one on emissions regulation in the shipping and aviation sectors after Copenhagen, but the industries are left with no international certainty over how they will be affected in coming years. Perhaps even less.

US Senators to Take Up Biodiesel Credit Next Year (Reuters)

Sens. Baucus and Grassley say the Finance Committee will take up legislation to extend the $1-per-gallon tax credit and an array of other tax breaks as soon as possible after Congress convenes next year. The credit expires Dec. 31.

Schwarzenegger to Push for Off-Shore Drilling in Budget Battle (Los Angeles Times)

Facing a budget deficit of more than $20 billion, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to call for deep reductions in already suffering local mass transit programs and renew his push to expand oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast.

UN Urges All Countries to Sign Climate Accord (AP)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also urged richer nations to contribute to a multi-billion dollar fund to help poorer countries cope with global warming which will become operational in January.

An Electric ‘Game Changer’ Gets FERC Scrutiny (ClimateWire)

A proposal to move large amounts of wind and solar power out of the Southwest by linking the three electricity grids with state-of-the-art switching terminals and superconducting cables is now in hands of federal regulators.

First Solar’s Projects: The Truth and Everything Else (Greentech Media)

Media reports and research notes have lately raised questions about some of First Solar’s pending projects in western United States.

Utility Solar Project Adds Molten Salt for Storage (CNet)

SolarReserve announced it has signed a deal to build a utility-scale solar plant in Nevada with a molten salt storage system that will let it supply power when the sun isn’t shining.

‘World’s Largest Solar Project’ Prompts Environmental Debate (Mercury News)

A remote valley near Hollister, Calif., is finding itself at the center of a showdown over a Silicon Valley company’s plan to build what would be the world’s largest solar farm — 1.2 million solar panels spread across an area roughly the size of 3,500 football fields.

Lake Michigan Wind Farm Plans Upsets NIMBYs (Free Press)

A proposal to construct a massive wind turbine farm, capable of producing 1,000 megawatts of power, over 100 square miles of Lake Michigan, a few miles offshore from Pentwater and Ludington, has many residents howling.

Rhode Island Picks Chevron for Off-Shore Wind Project (AP)

Rhode Island has selected Chevron Energy Solutions to develop and maintain several onshore wind turbines in the coastal town of Narragansett.

Montana OKs Coal Development (AP)

Montana’s top elected officials this week backed a plan to put vast tracts of coal up for lease, bucking pressure from environmentalists who say digging up and burning the fuel will be an "abomination" that endangers the planet.

EU Blames Everyone Else for Climate Summit Outcome (New York Times)

European Union leaders sought to deflect criticism that they had fumbled their strategy at the Copenhagen climate summit meeting, just as a feud between the British and the Chinese over whom to blame for the outcome worsened.