August 31, 2009

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Senators Delay Introducing Climate Bill (Reuters)

U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and John Kerry announced today that they will delay introducing a Senate climate bill for a few weeks and instead set a goal of unveiling legislation "later in September."

Japan Election Ushers in Party of Climate Action (Carbon Positive)

A landslide victory for Japan’s party of near-permanent opposition has turned the country’s political scene on its head, and the country’s climate change policy along with it.

New Zealand Lawmakers Give Thumbs Up to Emissions Plan (Bloomberg)

New Zealand should impose carbon emission controls on its power companies and manufacturers using a trading program rather than a carbon tax, a committee of lawmakers that has spent nine months reviewing the options said today.

Wind Farms Set Wall Street Aflutter (Wall Street Journal)

After nearly a six-month lull, Wall Street is getting back into the business of financing new wind farms. Bankers say this is the beginning of an active pipeline of new wind-farm financing, as well as investment in large solar and geothermal facilities.

Himalayan Nations Hold First Climate Talks (AFP)

Nepal’s prime minister opened the first climate change conference of Himalayan nations today with a warning about the dangers of melting glaciers, floods and violent storms for the region.

EU Chair Lowers Expectations for Copenhagen (COP15)

Countries eager for an ambitious global deal on climate change should prepare to settle for less, warns Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Chair of the EU: “I am confident that we will have an agreement, but at this point I doubt it will be enough to reach the 2 degrees target."

As Hybrid Cars Gobble Rare Earth Metals, Shortage Looms (Reuters)

Worldwide demand for rare earth metals, found in a wide range of gadgets and consumer goods, including hybrid cars, is expected to exceed supply by some 40,000 tons annually in several years unless major new production sources are developed.

BMW’s ‘CO2 Champion’ is a Plug-in Diesel Hybrid (Green Car Congress)

BMW’s Vision EfficientDynamics is able to run completely under electric power for up to 31 miles with the power of the turbodiesel engine alone.

California Struggles with Green Energy Plan (San Diego Tribune)

Still haunted by rolling blackouts and budget-busting energy contracts, California plans to broaden its aggressive directive requiring utilities to get more power from renewable sources, but lawmakers have yet to deliver with two weeks left in the session.

Climate Change a Risk to Security, Analyst Says (Tampa Tribune)

Military analysts say climate change threatens a cascade of natural disasters, crop failures, famine and disease that will strengthen terrorists by sparking conflict in unstable countries.

Santee Cooper Powers Down S.C. Coal Plant Plans (Post & Courier)

All the controversy stoked by Santee Cooper’s planned Pee Dee coal-burning plant over the past three years was all but snuffed out when the state-owned utility’s board suspended the project.

Protesters To Target E.ON Plant (Reuters)

Climate Camp activists in Britain say they will attempt to shut down German utility E.ON’s power station at Ratcliffe in central England, one of Britain’s biggest and most polluting, in a mass action planned for October.

Climate Opponents Seize Initiative as Senate Bill Nears (Washington Post)

Environmentalists are making slow progress adapting a movement built for other goals — building alarm over climate change, encouraging people to "green" their lives — into a political hammer.

Illinois Electric Co-op Scares Ratepayers Into Joining Oil Rallies (Wonk Room)

An electric utility in southern Illinois is frightening thousands of its customers by spreading misinformation about President Obama’s clean energy reform agenda.

Some Buildings Not Living Up to Green Label (New York Times)

Builders covet LEED certification as a way to gain tax credits, attract tenants, charge premium rents and project an image of environmental responsibility. But there is a gap between design and how some buildings actually perform.

EU Mulls Indicators to Measure Well-Being ‘Beyond GDP’ (EurActiv)

The European Commission has published a roadmap for developing new environmental and social indicators to measure the real prosperity and well-being of nations beyond traditional GDP.