Today’s Climate: June 30, 2009

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EPA to Grant Calif. Waiver on Vehicle Emissions (Los Angeles Times)

The EPA is expected to announce today that it is granting California’s request to impose tough restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, reversing the Bush administration’s position and opening the way for the state to take the lead on climate policy.

Chaos, Arm-Twisting Gave Pelosi a Climate Bill Win (Politico)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gambled big with a close vote on the climate bill and pulled off one of the most important legislative victories of her career, a win she views as a personal vindication.

EPA Proposes New Air Quality Standards for NO2 (Green Car Congress)

EPA has proposed revisions to the nitrogen dioxide air quality standard, the first adjustment since 1971. The proposed changes reflect the latest science on the health effects of exposure to NO2, formed by vehicle and factory emissions and can lead to respiratory disease.

US Works to Speed Solar Development in Southwest (AP)

The U.S. will fast-track efforts to build solar power facilities on public land in six Western states, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says. He signed an order setting aside more than 1,000 square miles for study to determine where solar power stations should be built.

Report: Shell Becoming Most CO2-Intensive Oil Co. (Dow Jones)

Royal Dutch Shell is on track to become the most carbon intensive international oil company because of its focus on unconventional oil resources like Canadian tar sands, according to a study published by a coalition of environmental groups.

What Energy Companies Wants from a Climate Bill (Morning Call)

With the climate bill past the U.S. House, PPL and other energy companies are focusing on the Senate in hopes of easing provisions that call for expanded use of renewable energies and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – while keeping their free allocations.

New Renewable Energy Agency HQ Goes to Abu Dhabi (RTT)

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates was chosen as the headquarters for the new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), despite criticism of its high carbon footprint.

Green Groups to Sue Over RBS Investments (Financial Times)

UK environmental groups launched what could be a landmark lawsuit against the Treasury to force it to ensure that taxpayers’ money invested in the Royal Bank of Scotland supports only projects that satisfy minimum green and human rights standards.

Obama Toughens Rules for Some Lighting (Washington Post)

The Energy Department issued new standards for lighting that would save $4 billion a year in energy by boosting the efficiency of fluorescent tubes common in office buildings and reflector lamps used in recessed fixtures.

Republican Rep. Explains His Yes Vote on ACES (Mark Kirk)

As a Navy veteran, I think is time to set America’s policy towards defunding Middle Eastern dictatorships by cutting our foreign oil bill, giving our troops less to worry about, Republican Congressman Mark Kirk writes in explaining his yes vote on the climate bill.

UK Prime Minister: 1 Million Green Jobs by 2017 (Guardian)

Prime Minister Gordon Brown proposed an additional 400,000 green jobs and highlighted carbon capture demonstration plants and a commitment to build 1,000 wind turbines.

Developing Economies Get Serious About Energy Efficiency (Wall Street Journal)

A few developments suggest some of the world’s most inefficient energy users are tightening up how they use their resources, with important implications for keeping a brake on crude prices down the road.

Rice: Carbon Tax Better than Cap-and-Trade (CleanTech)

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice advocated in favor of a carbon tax over the cap-and-trade system proposed in America’s energy and climate bill.

Souter Departs Supreme Court With Solid Environmental Legacy (New York Times)

When Justice David Souter retired from the Supreme Court, environmental interests lost one of their most dependable votes.

Study: Seagrass Loss Reveals Global Coastal Crisis (Reuters)

Mounting loss of seagrass in the world’s oceans, vital for the survival of endangered marine life, commercial fisheries and the fight against climate change, reveals a major crisis in coastal ecosystems, a report says.

Scientists: Higher CO2 Makes Some Crops Toxic (Reuters)

Staples such as cassava on which millions of people depend become more toxic and produce much smaller yields in a world with higher carbon dioxide levels and more drought, Australian scientists say.

Is Drilling To Blame For Texas Quakes? (NPR)

People in North Texas worry about tornadoes, not earthquakes. That’s not the case in Cleburne, just south of Fort Worth. So far this month, they have had six quakes; some wonder if they’re related to drilling of a recently discovered natural gas deposit.

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