Today’s Climate: December 28, 2009

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Mercury Emissions Rise in Illinois, Michigan, Texas (Chicago Tribune)

New federal data shows the amount of mercury blown into the air by Illinois coal plants jumped 7% last year while emissions declined in 27 other states, including several that rely heavily on coal.

Some Democrats Urging White House to Drop Cap and Trade (Politico)

Some moderate Senate Democrats from states heavy into fossil fuel production and use are urging the White House to give up now on any effort to pass a cap-and-trade bill next year.

South Korea to Start Carbon Trading as Early as 2010 (Xinhua)

South Korea announced today it will launch a pilot greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme as early as late next year in a bid to encourage carbon emissions reduction.

Ocean Noise Pollution Increases with Emissions (Star-Bulletin)

Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide absorbed by the oceans has not only increased seawater acidity but also affected its acoustics, making it more transparent to low-frequency sound, according to a study in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Lake Study Points to Faster Warming (Sacramento Bee)

Lake Tahoe, Clear Lake and four other large lakes in Northern California and Nevada are warming faster than the surrounding atmosphere, suggesting climate change may affect aquatic environments faster and sooner.

The Year in Energy (MIT Technology Review)

Liquid batteries, giant lasers, and vast new reserves of natural gas highlight the fundamental energy advances of the past 12 months.

Africa’s Lake Chad Drying, Dying (IPS)

Climate change and overuse have put one of Africa’s mightiest lakes in mortal danger, and the livelihoods of the 30 million people who depend on its waters is hanging by a thread as a result.

Brazil Aims to Prevent Land Grabs in Amazon (New York Times)

Brazil’s government is trying to impose order on the often lawless territory of the Amazon, and in the process, possibly nip away at a broader global concern: deforestation and the threat of climate change that comes with it.

Classes Fill Up as Colleges Add Green Majors, Minors (USA Today)

Nationwide, more than 100 majors, minors or certificates were created this year in energy and sustainability-focused programs at U.S. colleges, and the classes are filling up.

Decade’s Top 10 Environmental Moments (CNN)

What a difference a decade makes. The "Noughties" saw environmental issues come to the forefront with a marked shift toward all things green in politics, technology and perhaps most importantly, society.

Midwest Hurt by Energy Dithering (Star-Tribune)

Often lost in the global warming debate is that the Midwest especially has a stake in the energy policy decisions that lie ahead. Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota are among the top wind-energy states, and the region is home to promising energy start-ups.

Missouri Congressman a Top Recipient of Coal Cash (News-Leader)

Rep. Roy Blunt’s recent "Energy Report" franking states: "Don’t be fooled. I don’t work for the interests of Big Oil or the Energy Industry. I work for the interests of Southwest Missourians." His statements parroting the energy industry’s messages say otherwise.

Will Our Grandchildren Revile the ‘Lost Decade’? (AFP)

The first decade of the 21st century dawned with a global strategy to fight climate change but ended in chaos and the UN system in tatters while greenhouse gases spewed with few constraints.