Today’s Climate: May 28, 2009

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EU Reconsiders Green Laws to Shore Up Industry (EurActiv)

EU ministers are expected to agree today to a new approach to industrial policy that takes greater care of key sectors such as the chemicals and automotive industries as Europe battles through its worst economic recession since the 1930s.

Shareholders Crank Up Pressure on Corporate America (Business Green)

The extent to which shareholders can pressure firms into improving their sustainability policies was on display as Chevron and Home Depot faced shareholder resolutions demanding they improve environmental performance.

China Pans US, Australian Climate Plans (Sydney Morning Herald)

A leading Chinese climate strategist says "there will be a deal at Copenhagen" to replace the Kyoto Protocol, but he belittled the carbon-reduction proposals in the U.S. and Australia as inadequate.

Chu: European-Level Gas Tax Not Politically Feasible (Financial Times)

The U.S. energy secretary has argued in the past that cutting U.S. oil use will requiring raising gas prices to European levels. He now says doing that through increased taxes or regulation is not politically feasible.

EU May Extend Duties on U.S. Biodiesel Imports (Reuters)

The European Commission is expected today to call for an extension of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports of biodiesel from the United States.

Obama Promises $467M for Renewable Energy (Washington Times)

President Obama announced $467 million in stimulus money would go to initiatives that in two years will double the country’s capacity for clean, renewable energy, particularly in solar and geothermal.

Vermont Renewable Energy Bill Becomes Law (Burlington Free Press)

Vermont’s new renewable-energy law, in effect without the governor’s signature, sets favorable rates for small-scale solar, wind, hydro and methane energy production that supporters say will eventually drive down their cost while generating jobs.

Big Oil Warms to Ethanol and Biofuel Companies (New York Times)

With demand for gasoline and biofuels expected to rise in the United States, big oil companies are trying to benefit.

Forest Offsets Tough Nuts to Crack for Regulators (New York Times)

Offsets are tricky business. Under Waxman-Markey, the EPA would have to set systems to verify and enforce the reductions in the U.S. and, more difficult, abroad. Some consider it an unattainable mandate.

Greenland Ice Could Cause Severe U.S. Sea Rise (Reuters)

Sea levels off the northeast coast of North America could rise by 12 to 20 inches more than other coastal areas if the Greenland glacier-melt continues to accelerate at its present pace, the researchers report.

Study Cites ‘Slow-Motion’ Threat from Permafrost (AP)

A study in today’s issue of the journal Nature finds that in thawing parts of Alaska, greenhouse gas releases initially are sucked up by new plants but that the helpful effect doesn’t last more than 15 to 50 years.

UK’s Stern Breaks East-West Deadlock on CO2 Responsibility (Guardian)

China says it is unfair that the West ‘outsources’ emissions. Now British economist Nicholas Stern has also said that responsibility should be split between producers and consumers. Will other countries begin accepting that argument?

Hot Times Ahead for Wild West (Nature)

New, more detailed computer modeling indicates the western U.S. will experience more temperature extremes than projected by the IPCC’s global climate models, most of which didn’t realistically account for regional topography.

Maps Show Geography of US Emissions: Beware of Sprawl (Huffington Post)

New GIS-based maps showing where carbon emissions from driving are the highest reveal that while emissions on a per-acre basis are greatest in urban areas, it’s the suburbs where we pollute the most on a per-household basis.