Today’s Climate: July 27, 2009

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US, China Continue Climate Change Talks in Washington (Los Angeles Times)

The United States and China today kick off talks in Washington that are expected to include the need for both sides to reach consensus on tackling climate change.

Japan Opposition Party Vows Stronger Emissions Targets (Bloomberg)

The head of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, favored to win next month’s election, aims to lower the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels.

Hydropower Booms Pits Fish v. Power (Los Angeles Times)

Armed with the possibility of powerful new cap-and-trade financial bonuses, the National Hydropower Association has set a goal of doubling the nation’s hydropower capacity by 2025. Expanding hydropower is fraught with controversy, though, involving fish.

4 Reasons Natural Gas Prices Will Stay Low (Globe & Mail)

Four trends have emerged that could keep natural gas prices near current levels for several years to come, in contrast to many published forecasts, writes a McKinsey & Co. analyst. That could throw into question elements of energy policies and environmental legislation.

UK Plans £1B Loans for 1 GW of Wind Farms (Guardian)

The UK plans 1 billion pounds in loans to kick-start 1 gigawatt of onshore wind projects that have been delayed by the credit crunch – enough to power 2 million homes.

Greenpeace Threatens Legal Action Over UK Nuclear Reactors (Guardian)

Greenpeace is threatening to take legal action against E.ON and other nuclear power companies for rushing ahead with plans to build new reactors before they have got the proper consents.

Uranium Contamination Haunts Navajo Nation (New York Times)

The legacy wrought from decades of uranium mining is long and painful on the Navajo Nation. Many Navajo miners died from radiation-related illnesses. Some homes are still contaminated and only now being torn down and rebuilt.

Hotter Weather Fed Growth of Incan Empire (New Scientist)

The meteoric rise of the Incan empire between 1400 and 1532 was driven by a sustained period of warmer weather, new research on Peruvian lake sediments suggests. The study also carries warning for Peru about melting of glaciers the country relies on today.

Spotlight on Russia’s Role in Climate Control (New York Times)

Russia is one of the planet’s most prodigious suppliers of fossil fuels and an intense consumer of energy. Its energy intensity — the amount of energy a country burns through to achieve a unit of gross domestic product — is double that of the United States.

ENER-G Launches Green Training Program (Business Green)

With a skills gap expected in the emerging green economy, UK-based cleantech firm ENER-G is launching its own careers program designed to recruit engineering graduates and train them in environmental technology and management.

South Korean Firms to Spend $2.6B on Syngas Projects (Business Green)

SK Energy, South Korea’s largest oil refiner, is teaming with domestic steel maker Pohang Iron and Steel to develop synthetic natural gas to replace imports of liquefied natural gas and syncrude for product production.

U.S. Solar Startup Suniva Gets $75 Million (Reuters)

U.S. solar startup Suniva says it completed a $75 million financing round, more evidence that funding for green technology startups is recovering from a sharp falloff earlier this year brought on by the global credit crisis.

Sen. Kerry: US, China Must Fight Emissions Together (Financial Times)

Yes, we want more than promises from China – the world’s largest emitter must eventually accept binding reductions. But it would be a mistake to focus single-mindedly on what China has said it will not do, Kerry writes.

RFK Jr. on Beating King Coal (Huffington Post)

The recent maturation of solar, geothermal and wind technologies will allow us to meet most of our future energy needs with clean, cheap renewables, Kennedy writes. A quick conversion from coal to gas is the quickest route for jumpstarting our economy and saving our planet.