Today’s Climate: July 31, 2009

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Koch Industries Fueling K St. Lobbying Boom – And Some Dems (Wonk Room)

Oil and natural gas interests are pumping money into lobbying firms to influence climate change legislation at a furious pace, $82.2 million in just the first half of 2009 compared to $132.2 million in all of 2008, and that’s just a fraction of the industry’s spending.

Yvo de Boer: Target Commitments Matter More than ETS Details (ABC Radio)

The international community will care little if Australia delays finalizing details of an emissions trading scheme, the UN’s top climate officer says. "What people care about in the international negotiations is the commitment that a government makes to take on a certain target.”

Cleantech Investment Recovers Strongly in Second Quarter (Business Green)

Global venture capital investments in clean technology rose 73% during the second quarter of the year, totaling $572 million across 48 deals, and analysts predict U.S. stimulus cash means growth is likely to accelerate during second half of the year.

Insurers Blame Climate Change for Rising Costs (Business Green)

Businesses that may already be struggling to comply with climate-related legislation will soon face another environmental burden – rising insurance. Even in areas with no flooding history, flood-related insurance payments are up 15%.

EU Carbon Credits Hit by Carousel Fraud (Financial Times)

Carousel fraud, involving complicated import and export schemes, charging buyers for value-added tax and then absconding with the tax money rather than handing it over to the governments, has found its way to the EU carbon market.

Activists Cheer China’s Plan to Move Refinery (Reuters)

China’s decision to shift the location of a planned $5 billion oil refinery and petrochemical plant after years of public outcry is a sign that environmental concerns can shape policy there.

Georgia Gov. Warns of Future Water Wars (Journal-Constitution)

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is calling for a national water policy, warning that more than a dozen other states could face the same multi-state water wars now dogging the use of water from Georgia’s Lake Lanier.

Texas Wind Farms Reap Out-of-State Dollars (Charlotte Observer)

With the first deadlines fast approaching for North Carolina’s renewable energy targets, power providesr are snapping up green certificates from out-of-state wind farms. The certificates don’t buy actual electricity, but pay for credits needed to meet state targets.

Ohio Tries Out California-Style Solar Financing (AP)

Ohio’s latest budget seeks to put solar power in the financial reach of Ohio residents by addressing the cost of installation, the biggest barrier to the renewable energy technology’s large-scale deployment. Now the onus falls on cities to carry the vision forward.

Cash for Clunkers Program Runs Out of Gas (Reuters)

The U.S. government’s $1 billion "cash for clunkers" program reached its funding limit unexpectedly after an avalanche of business exhausted its funds, an Obama administration official said.

Mysteriously High Tides on East Coast Perplex Scientists (Wired)

From Maine to Florida, the Atlantic seaboard has experienced higher tides than expected this summer. At their peak in mid-June, the tides at some locations outstripped predictions by two feet.

How Many D’s in Obama’s Energy Pledge? (New York Times)

A battle is brewing over how Obama’s $150 billion energy innovation investment would be divvied up. It looks like basic research, development and demonstration will have to compete with deployment.

Sen. Kerry on Bridging the US-China Divide (Huffington Post)

Ultimately, our climate diplomacy depends on building a framework that is flexible enough to accommodate individual countries’ wants and needs, but firm enough to bring all of us on board and hold all nations accountable, U.S. Sen. John Kerry writes.

Behind the Wing-Nut Attacks on Clean Energy (NRDC)

Ideological organizations have eclipsed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as the noisiest voices opposing clean energy. The NRDC finds they’re driven in part by ideology and in part by dirty-energy funding.