Today’s Climate: May 23-24, 2009

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Kansas Enacts Renewable Energy Standard, Permits Coal Plant (Environment News Service)

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson has signed the state’s Renewable Energy Standards Act, which requires utilities to generate 20% of their power from renewables by 2020. The law also permits the construction of a new 895-MW coal plant.

U.S. Climate Plan Threatens EU Goal for Global Accord (Bloomberg)

The EU may have to scale back its global goal to cut GHG emissions 30% over 30 years after a less-ambitious climate plan won initial approval in the U.S. Congress.

Climate Bill Amendment Widens FERC Enforcement Power (Greenwire)

An amendment to the ACES climate bill would vastly expand the enforcement power of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to cover manipulation not only in new climate emissions markets but across the entire range of FERC’s jurisdiction.

Renewable Power Mandate Overcomes Hurdle in Senate (Reuters)

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted down an amendment offered by GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions that would have removed the renewable electricity standard from the energy package the panel is currently debating.

Pelosi Heads to China for Climate Talks (Reuters)

A bi-partisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will visit China in coming days to discuss global efforts aimed at reducing climate emissions.

World Biz Leaders to Call for "Massive" Climate Investment (Earth2Tech)

Next week, executives from some of the world’s largest corporations plan to get behind a call for an international treaty that would include "strong incentives for massive investment in new technologies and new climate solutions."

Sen. Barrasso Questions America’s Renewables Effort (UPI)

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo) said renewable energy efforts such as solar and wind power don’t produce enough energy for U.S. consumers. Instead, American should focus on developing other energy sources such as oil.

US, Italy Sign CCS Cooperation Agreement (Voice of America)

The U.S. and Italy have signed a cooperation agreement on carbon capture technology. It’s the first "clean coal" accord signed by the U.S. with a foreign nation.

Arctic Methane Rise Spurs Worry on Permafrost Thaw (Reuters)

After a decade of stability, a sudden rise in methane levels over the Arctic is stirring worries about a possible thaw of vast stores of greenhouse gases that are trapped in the permafrost, scientists said.

Japan Pledges $528 Million Climate Aid to Pacific Islands (AFP)

Japan pledged $528 million dollars in aid to small Pacific islands over the next three years to help them deploy clean energy technologies and to cope with climate change.

Yosemite’s Giant Trees Disappear (BBC News)

The oldest and largest trees in California’s Yosemite National Park are disappearing. Climate change appears to be a major cause of the loss, according to new research.

Australia’s East Coast a Disaster Zone after Severe Floods (Telegraph)

Large parts of Australia’s east coast have been declared natural disaster zones after torrential rain has left whole towns cut off and two people dead. The floods follow a heatwave in southeastern Australia, in which 173 people died.

Did Malaysia Cancel Plans for Palm Oil Development in the Amazon? (

In a positive yet puzzling development, the Malaysian government is now denying the existence of its well-documented plan to develop oil palm plantations in the Amazon rainforest.

Analysis: Fifth Warmest April for Globe (U.S. NOAA)

The combined average global land and ocean surface temperatures for April 2009 ranked fifth warmest since worldwide records began in 1880, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.