Today’s Climate: December 29, 2009

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Brazil Keeps Emissions Target Despite Summit Failure (Reuters)

Brazil will make its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions targets, roughly 20 percent below 2005 levels, legally binding even though global climate talks failed this month, the country’s environment minister says.

Katrina Who? Louisiana Gov. Campaigns Against GHG Regulation (NOLA)

The administration of Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal is mounting a coordinated campaign against the EPA’s plan to regulate greenhouse gases. The letters say nothing about the cost of inaction as Louisiana’s coastline is ravaged by rising sea levels.

North Dakota Considers Suing Minnesota Over Carbon Tax (Bismark Tribune)

North Dakota’s attorney general said he expects the state to sue Minnesota over a plan there to tax carbon created by electrical generation with a fee of between $4 and $34 per ton of carbon dioxide starting in 2012.

Drill Options in NY Report Have Problems of Their Own (ProPublica)

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has attempted to address the wastewater problem from Marcellus Shale gas drilling by proposing three disposal options. But none of the proposed methods is realistic.

Munich Re: Climate Change Losses Will Rise (Dow Jones)

Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurers worldwide, warned today that losses caused by climate change will continue to rise in the future and called for a near-term deal to substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

Dairy Industry Milks Innovation in Bid to Cut Emissions 25% (Business Green)

The US Department of Agriculture and the dairy industry have signed on to a landmark partnership to slash emissions and accelerate the roll out of anaerobic digesters.

Down on the Farm, an Endless Cycle of Waste (New York Times)

Even with best practices, manure can cause environmental headaches. So researchers are working on ways to improve its handling, to modify the nutrients in it and to develop alternative uses.

Palm Oil Players Want Incentives to Use Debris for Biomass Energy (The Star)

There are enough empty palm fruit bunches, which contribute methane as they’re left to rot, to fuel a biomass industry, but not sufficient incentives for oil palm players to consider renewable energy, industry members say.

Smart-Grid Work to Hit $200B by 2015 (CNet)

Governments and utilities are expected to ramp up their investments in the electrical smart grid, spending a total of $200 billion worldwide from 2008 through 2015, a new Pike Research report says. The largest jump will be in Asia.

Top 10 Solar Trends in 2009 (Greentech)

This year has largely been a painful one for solar manufacturers and project developers around the world, though as always, they hope for a better one next year.

DOE Launches $122M Innovation Hub to Focus on Solar Fuels (Green Car Congress)

The U.S. Department of Energy will invest up to $366 million in three new Energy Innovation Hubs focused on accelerating research and development in three key areas. One is developing effective solar energy to chemical fuel conversion.

New US Nuclear Loans Expected to Boost Industry Soon (Reuters)

The Obama administration is poised to announce loan guarantees to help kick-start the country’s nuclear power industry, which hasn’t started a new plant in more than three decades.

Rainforest Conservation: Year in Review (Mongabay)

2009 may prove an important turning point for tropical forests, with global forest loss likely declining to its lowest level in more than a decade.