Today’s Climate: December 30, 2009

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Court Rejects France’s National Carbon Tax (New York Times)

France’s constitutional court rejected the planned tax on carbon emissions on the grounds that it contained too many exemptions for polluters, broke with past practices and threatened to make tax collection unfair.

Quebec Adopts California’s Auto Emissions Standards (Reuters)

Quebec will become the first province in Canada to adopt California’s strict auto emissions standards, the province’s environment ministry said. The new rules, in effect on Jan. 14, will impose increasingly stringent limits on greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks.

Michigan Approves New Coal Plant on Condition 5 Old Ones Close (Free Press)

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit for a major new coal-fired power plant near Bay City that also requires Consumers Energy to close at least five older units across the state and as many as seven.

Texas Launches Rare New Coal Plant (Reuters)

While the possibility of federal caps on carbon emissions and the availability of cleaner natural gas led energy providers to nix more than two dozen U.S. coal plants this year, Luminant opened a second coal-fired generator this week in Texas.

CCS, Fuel Cell Companies Partner in Demonstration Project (Business Green)

The firms believe that combining underground coal gasification techniques with hydrogen fuel cell technologies will provide a significantly cleaner and cheaper way of generating energy from coal than fitting standard coal-fired power stations with costly CCS systems.

French Nuclear Sector Suffers Setback with Loss of UAE Bid (AFP)

The French nuclear power sector is re-focusing its strategy, notably in Britain and the United States, after losing out to a South Korean consortium on a $20.4 billion project in the United Arab Emirates.

California’s Renewable Pipeline Hits Nearly 70 GW (Reuters)

A stack of 244 renewable energy projects proposed in California would total nearly 70 gigawatts, a large pipeline that could help the state meet its renewable energy goals.

Drilling Slowdown in Colorado to Continue in 2010 (Grand Junction Sentinel)

In 2008, it seemed energy companies couldn’t drill fast enough as they sought to tap some of the trillions of cubic feet of natural gas in western Colorado. Now, with gas prices low, they’ve taken a much more measured approach, and that apparently will continue in 2010.

China Coal Demand May Rise 4-6% in 2010 (Bloomberg)

China, the world’s second-largest energy user, may consume between 4 and 6 percent more coal next year on continued economic growth, China Securities Journal said, citing a forecast from the China National Coal Association.

China to Shut More Small Power Plants in 2010 (Reuters)

China plans to shut down small coal-fired power plants with a combined 10 million kilowatt (KW) power generating capacity in 2010, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, quoting the country’s top energy official.

Australia Sticks by Plan to Reintroduce Carbon Bill (Bloomberg)

Australia’s government will stick by plans to reintroduce legislation in February to create a national carbon emissions trading system after the bill was rejected by the Senate earlier this month.

Brazil’s Lula Signs Law for Cutting CO2 Emissions (AFP)

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed a law Tuesday requiring that Brazil cut greenhouse gas emissions by 39 percent by 2020, meeting a commitment made at the Copenhagen climate change summit.

Ethical Sales Tripled Over Decade, says Co-operative Bank (Guardian)

Consumer spending on "ethical" products, from Fairtrade food to eco-friendly travel, has almost tripled in Britain over the past decade, Co-operative Bank’s annual ethical consumerism report shows.

Top 10 Energy Storage Moves in 2009 (Greentech Media)

Electric vehicles boost lithium-ion batteries, DOE dollars for grid storage, ice-making air conditioners, and a smart grid to rule them all.