Today’s Climate: January 26, 2010

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Kan. Utility, Federal Agencies Settle Lawsuit (AP)

Kansas’ largest electric company has agreed to spend at least $200 million to upgrade pollution controls at its biggest coal plant under a settlement announced by the utility and federal officials. Government officials say closer to $500 million will be needed.

U.S. Wind Power Grows 39% for the Year (New York Times)

The U.S. added 39% more wind power capacity in 2009, or 9,900 MW, the American Wind Energy Association said in its annual report. The growth was the largest on record.

Interior to Look at Drilling in Atlantic Ocean (AP)

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he is nearly ready to begin an environmental analysis that could lead to drilling in areas up to 200 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean.

Fears Obama Will Omit Climate Change from State of Union Speech (Guardian)

Global warming is at risk of getting the short shrift in this year’s State of the Union speech, further shrinking the already slim prospects of getting a climate law through Congress, environmentalists say.

U.S. Assessing Climate Change Financing (Reuters)

The U.S. is weighing how to help finance the fight against climate change without having one country shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden, said Jonathan Pershing, the U.S. deputy special climate envoy, at a Capitol Hill gathering.

Climate Fund ‘Recycled’ from Existing Aid Budget, UK Government Admits (Guardian)

A £1.5 billion pledge by Gordon Brown to help poor countries cope with climate change will take funds from existing overseas aid programs to improve health, education and water supplies, the government admitted.

IPCC Report on Climate Change and Natural Disasters Was ‘Balanced’ (Telegraph)

In a defense against the latest accusation of distorting climate science, the UN IPCC said its 2007 report was used in a "balanced context" that made it quite clear that the link between natural disasters and climate change was not conclusive.

Indonesia Plans $1 Billion Green Fund to Battle Climate Change (Bloomberg)

Indonesia, which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2020, plans to set up a $1 billion fund to invest in renewable energy projects and water treatment to address the effects of climate change.

Scrap ETS and Go for a Carbon Tax: Garnaut (Sydney Morning Herald)

Kevin Rudd’s former climate adviser, Ross Garnaut, has urged the government to put behind it the ”fiasco” of Copenhagen and forge ahead with CO2 regulation, even if that means turning its emissions trading scheme into a carbon tax.

Hawaii Gov Keys on Energy, Tax Credits in Speech (AP)

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle pushed for the island state to increase its use of renewable energy and provide tax credits to stimulate it during a downtrodden economy.

State Regulators Still Strongly Distrust Federal Transmission Siting (Greenwire)

State regulators and green groups in the U.S. fear federal authority to site transmission lines would create a process that would emphasize infrastructure over costs and environmental benefits, according to a new survey.

Carbon Markets Are Under ‘Dark Cloud,’ Merrill Says (Bloomberg)

Carbon markets are under a "big, dark cloud" of uncertainty about future regulation and falling natural-gas prices, analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a research report.

California Aims for Permit Auction in Cap-and-Trade (Reuters)

California is aiming to auction off all its permits to emit greenhouse gases — rather than give them away — in its cap-and-trade program, but how quickly it will reach that target is still unclear, the state’s chief climate regulator said.

GM Will Make Its Own Electric Motors Starting in 2013 (AP)

GM announced that starting in 2013, it plans to invest $246 million to build its own electric motors for hybrid and electric cars to lower costs and improve quality and reliability.

220,000 Gallons Evaporated, Dispersed in Oil Spill (AP)

The worst Texas oil spill in more than 15 years was contained Monday, and authorities credit a massive emergency response with averting an environmental disaster.

Hundreds Protest S.China Project Over Pollution Worries (Reuters)

Hundreds of protesters in southern China donned masks to protest a planned incinerator plant, the latest grassroots initiative to target polluting projects in the region.