Today’s Climate: March 28, 2010

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Tuvalu to Taiwan: Switching Off for Earth Hour (Reuters)

Landmarks such as Sydney’s Opera House, Beijing’s Forbidden City and Taiwan’s Taipei 101 office tower temporarily went dark on Saturday as nations dimmed the lights for Earth Hour 2010 to call for action on climate change.

New Rule Cuts Ship Pollution Around US, Canada (AP)

A UN agency that regulates the international shipping industry adopted a plan Friday to dramatically reduce air pollution from ships that sail within 200 nautical miles of the U.S. and Canadian coasts.

‘I’m Not Quitting’ Says Under-Fire UN Climate Boss (The Independent)

The head of the UN’s IPCC, Rajenda Pachauri, gave a vigorous defense of his position on Friday, accepting there had been mistakes in the panel’s work, but robustly refusing to stand down.

UN Panel Suspends Two More Carbon Emissions Auditors (Reuters)

The reputation of a Kyoto Protocol carbon finance scheme was dealt another blow after a UN climate panel late on Friday suspended the third emissions cut verifier in 15 months, and partially suspended a fourth.

Europe Still Split Over Carbon Tax at Border (AFP)

European leaders remained divided over whether or not to slap a carbon tax at EU borders at a two-day EU summit that wound up Friday.

CBO Tallies Stimulus-Aided Jump in Climate Spending (The Hill)

From 1998 through 2009, appropriations for U.S. agencies’ work related to climate change totaled about $99 billion. More than a third of that sum – $35.7 billion by CBO’s estimation – was provided in the 2009 stimulus, a new report has found.

U.S. Stimulus Watch: Weatherizing Program Slow to Start (AP)

After a year of crippling delays, Pres. Obama’s $5 billion program to install weather-tight windows and doors has retrofitted a fraction of homes and created far fewer construction jobs than expected.

Investments in GHG Mitigation Cut Oil Sector’s Emissions by 48M Metric Tons (Environmental Leader)

CO2 emissions emitted by the U.S. oil and natural gas industry dropped by more than 48 million metric tons from 2007 to 2008, thanks in part to investments in low-carbon technologies, according to a study by the American Petroleum Institute.

GE Plots Big Solar Push, Takes On First Solar (Reuters)

GE is betting on thin-film solar technology and plans to roll out a new panel next year that has the potential to lead the market, a company executive told Reuters.

Green Jobs May Surge 44% Within Five Years, UK Lawmakers Say (Bloomberg)

Britain may employ 44% more people in "green jobs" by 2015 working on renewable power, carbon capture and storage and efforts to make homes and businesses more energy-efficient, a panel of lawmakers said.

UK Cleantech Companies Mull Funding Options (Reuters)

UK cleantech companies are looking for alternative ways to raise capital for growth as stock market listings look out of reach for most for at least another year, investors and firms said on Friday.

Droughts Bring Severe Damage to Some Asian Countries (New Straits Times)

Severe droughts, the worst in 60 years, are hitting some east and southeast Asian countries, causing damages to crops, a drop in water levels of rivers and reservoirs and economic losses.

BYD to Launch Hybrid Cars for Mass Market on Monday (Reuters)

Chinese car and battery-maker BYD, backed by Warren Buffett, said it will start sales of plug-in hybrid cars with solar panels to the public in Shenzhen on Monday.