State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup – Week of 9/27

Gordon Brown’s $100 bn Climate Aid Proposal is ‘Only First Offering‘,

Prime Minister Gordon Brown proposes $100 billion in future aid to countries struggling to adapt to climate change. The compensation, which could rise to a higher number as international negotiations continue, would be supplied by “rich” nations in a timeframe extending to 2020. The offer, long demanded by developing nations, is a first of its kind and will hopefully grease talks come December.

Senate Climate Bill Drops ‘Cap and Trade’ Term,

Democrats have swapped the term “cap and trade” for “pollution reduction and investment” in the climate bill now facing an up-hill battle in the Senate. Sponsors of the bill, including Senator Kerry, D-Mass., have re-branded the bill as “The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act”, framing climate change mitigation as a security and economic obligation. Senator Kerry says that energy independence is a necessary condition for national security. For more discussion on climate as a security risk see earlier blog posting.

Clean Technology Top US Venture Investment: Group, Reuters

Clean fuels and alternative energy sources are now the number one venture capital investment. Receiving 27% of venture capital in the third quarter, clean tech narrowly beat out biotech (24%) and software (18%). Solar companies received the most capital at $1.59 billion worldwide, which was distributed among 134 companies that produce everything from electric cars to photovoltaics for business rooftops. Investors may have been emboldened by government support and loan and subsidy guarantees.

E.P.A. Moves to Curtail Greenhouse Gas Emissions, New York Times

The EPA, with President Obama’s support, has pushed ahead with new regulations that place limits on greenhouse gases emitted by new and expanding power plants. Power plants are currently responsible for 70% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The regulations target the greatest emitters and exempt business, office buildings, and small facilities. Opponents of the bill, such as Senator Inhofe, R-OAK., have declared it in violation of the Clean Air Act and have accused the EPA of “circumventing Congress.”

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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