Today’s Climate: February 27, 2009

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Obama Budget Sets the Right Priorities (Center for American Progress)

The budget doesn’t waver from the vision that President Obama offered for the nation’s future during his campaign for office—build a low-carbon energy economy, reform the health care system, and support education. Here’s a look at each in detail.

A Victory for Capitol Power Plant Protest (And It Hasn’t Even Started) (Greenwire)

Days before the scheduled civil disobedience expected to draw thousands to a Washington, D.C., power plant, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid call for switching the plant to natural gas. The protest is still on.

Silicon Valley Must Reduce Greenhouse Gases (Los Angeles Times)

California regulators have adopted the world’s first mandatory measures to control highly potent greenhouse gases emitted by the computer manufacturing industry. The new rules require most computer chip makers to slash releases of sulfur hexafluoride and other fluorinated gases by more than half over the next three years.

$25 Billion Federal Fund for Electric Cars Still Untouched (New York Times)

The Energy Department has $25 billion to make loans to hasten the arrival of the next generation of automotive technology — electric-powered cars. But no money has been allocated so far, despite applications from 75 companies.

Rich Nations’ 2020 Greenhouse Gas Cuts Sink Toward 15 Percent (Reuters)

Rich nations have converged on targets of around 15 percent for cutting greenhouse gases by 2020, far short of reductions advised by U.N.-backed scientists. Analysts say the recession is limiting government ambitions.

Energy Boss: UK Carbon Capture Won’t Work Before 2030 (Guardian)

The chief executive of Centrica, owner of British Gas, warns that coal plants fitted for CCS are unlikely to make big cuts in Britain’s emissions before 2030. The geology is not suited to the technology, which is expensive and unproven.

Investors Urge Business to Ax Risk by Cutting Water Use (Reuters)

Institutional investors led by Ceres are urging companies to measure, disclose and reduce their use of water to reduce long-term financial risks as supplies dry up from overuse and as higher temperatures melt glaciers away.

Ecuador Oil Spill Pollutes River in Amazon (Reuters)

A rupture in Ecuador’s second largest oil pipeline has polluted the Santa Rosa river in the lush Amazon jungle. Repeated oil spills threaten rare species of jaguars and river dolphins in the Amazon, where most of the Andean country’s oil operations are located.

French-Owned enXco Unveils California Wind Farm (Reuters)

French-backed renewable energy company enXco unveiled a 150-megawatt wind-power plant in California and said it aimed to double the size in three years.

Global Carbon Market to Slump 32% (Business Green)

The size of the global carbon market will fall 32 percent in 2009 as the economic recession dampens demand for carbon credits, Point Carbon projects. But analysts remain upbeat as volumes increase and new trading schemes start.

Australia: Low Prices no Concern for Carbon Scheme (Reuters)

Australia’s climate change minister said today that she had no concerns about the fall in carbon prices in Europe and said the low price would not force changes to Australia’s plans for carbon trading in 2010.

Shell Sees Global Oil Demand Doubling By 2050 (NPR)

As oil companies plan for the future, they are expecting prices and demand to be higher. Oil company executives were on Capitol Hill this week to discuss offshore drilling. Shell Oil’s president talks to NPR.

Yucca Mountain, R.I.P. (Earth Justice)

After 21 years of studies, debate, protests and lawsuits — and $9 billion from the pockets of taxpayers — the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository plan is dead. It should have been dead on arrival.

Carbon Capture No Silver Bullet for Tar Sands (Toronto Star)

Keep smoking kids. We need the tax revenue. Trust us, we will cure cancer by the time you get it. So goes Canadian leaders’ view of the tar sands. CCS could only sequester a small portion of greenhouse gases, writes the CEO of WWF Canada: We will not be remembered well for this.