Today’s Climate: June 26, 2009

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Close Win Predicted For Cap-and-Trade Bill (Washington Post)

The House could vote today on a measure to cap U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, with Democratic leaders predicting a tight victory for a behemoth bill that has grown more complex with each compromise.

A Rough Supreme Court Term for Environmentalists (New York Times)

Environmental interests were trounced in the Supreme Court term that ends Monday. In five major cases, the justices overturned decisions that favored environmentalists.

Anatomy of a TVA Coal Ash Spill (Knoxville News)

A report on the December spill cites a combination of factors, including a previously undetected layer of unstable ash sludge, called a slime, construction of retaining walls atop ash, the saturation of the ash and pressure that created “a perfect storm.”

Low Natural Gas Prices Cut NE Carbon Emissions 10% (Guardian)

Power plants in the U.S. Northeast slashed carbon dioxide emissions by about 10 percent during the first quarter of 2009, largely due to switch to clean, cheaper natural gas rather than coal, according to report from Environment Northeast.

Senate Hears Science, Emotion of Mountaintop Mining (Charleston Gazette)

Mountaintop removal coal mining is causing "immense and irreversible" damage to Appalachia’s hills, streams and forests, members of a U.S. Senate subcommittee heard in the first Congressional hearing on mountaintop mining in decades.

EPA: Monsanto Mine Violates Law (AP)

Federal regulators say an Idaho mine that Monsanto Co. depends on to make its Roundup weed killer has violated federal and state water quality laws almost since it opened, sending selenium and other heavy metals into the region’s waterways.

Barroso: EU Wants US Climate Bill to Succeed (AP)

The Europe Union wants a U.S. climate change bill to succeed so the United States can move swiftly to curb greenhouse gas emissions, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said today.

Brown: US, UK Must Show More Ambition in Climate Fight (Guardian)

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown will outline Britain’s blueprint for a new international deal on global warming, and he is expected to call on all developed countries, including Britain and the US, to show greater ambition in the fight against climate change.

Obama, Merkel Talk Climate (Reuters)

President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss how to fix the global economy and fight climate change in a White House meeting today that is likely to highlight a range of differences between the two leaders.

China May Block Hummer Takeover (BBC)

A Chinese firm’s bid to buy the gas-guzzling Hummer car brand from General Motors will be blocked on environmental grounds, according to Chinese state radio.

Japan Backpedals on Emissions Targets (Wall Street Journal)

Who says peer pressure doesn’t work? After getting slammed by the international community two weeks ago for setting what were perceived as unambitious emission reduction targets, Japan is backpedaling.

US Could Support $250B in Renewables Projects (Environmental Finance)

With the distressed capital markets currently reluctant to provide extensive funds for renewable energy projects, the Department of Energy is committed to temporarily providing financial support for mature technologies.

Clean Tech Frets as Power of Federal Purse Grows (New York Times)

Having scrambled for a government lifeline in the wake of the financial crisis, some "clean energy" developers and technology companies are now urging Washington to help lure back private financing.

Riverstone Buys Babcock & Brown Wind Unit (Reuters)

Energy and power-focused private equity firm Riverstone Holdings has acquired Babcock & Brown’s North American wind energy group and its development pipeline for an undisclosed amount. It promises to commit $400 million to the unit.

California Landfills Must Capture Methane (ClimateBiz)

The California Air Resources Board adopted a new regulation that will force more than a dozen landfills to install equipment that captures methane gas from decomposing solid waste to reduce greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

California Adopts Cooler Cars Regulations (Green Car Congress)

New cars sold in California starting in 2012 will have to have windows that reflect or absorb heat, under a new California regulation. The goal is to help keep cars cooler, increase their fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

How Climate Policies Impact European Companies (Climate Wire)

Climate change and related regulations have influenced the lives of some major European companies, with energy efficiency measures the main options pursued and new hires being avoided by retraining or "greening" existing employees, a new study finds.