News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup – Week of 9/13

Germany Extends Nuclear Plants’ Life, NY Times, Sept. 13

Germany has signaled its intent to extend the life span of the country’s 17 nuclear power plants. The decision, which stands in contrast to the country’s historic resistance to nuclear power, comes as Merkel’s government pushes for more renewable energy sources in Germany’s energy mix.

US Power Sector is Decarbonizing Even Without a Climate Bill, SolveClimate, Sept. 14

Despite the diminished prospects for comprehensive climate legislation, there have been noticeable efforts in recent months towards decarbonizing the U.S. power sector. Ranging from more wind farms to regulations that decouple utility services to tougher efficiency standards, these moves are driven by a number of factors (EPA regulations, state-level renewable energy portfolio targets, etc.) that act upon the power sector even in the absence of congressional action on climate.

Nations Rethink Copenhagen Commitment on Climate Funding, Financial Express, Sept. 14

Last week’s informal talks in Geneva, Switzerland on the future of climate change finance has received mixed reviews from participants, from NGOs to government officials. Among the more controversial topics were the integration of private financing into the largely public enterprise, as well as the degree to which emerging economies should contribute to the financing effort.

UK Says “Green Growth” Can Boost Economy by 2 Percent, Reuters, Sept. 15

In the context of a global recession and a budget deficit of 11% GDP, Great Britain’s energy and climate minister has reported that the country’s new low-carbon energy program will grow the UK economy by up to 2%. The program includes funding for development of wind farms, support for renewable heat, and more stringent efficiency standards. Despite these measures, it is not clear that the UK will meet its target of 15% gross final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

Study: Women Have a Better Understanding of Science Than Men, Top News, Sept. 16

A new study from Michigan State University shows that women have a better grasp of the current state of knowledge of climate change, despite men’s belief that they understand climate change well. In addition, women are more likely than their male counterparts to heed warnings from climate scientists about the dangers of climate change.

California Braces for Showdown on Emissions, NY Times, Sept. 16

A ballot initiative in California, known as Proposition 23, would suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act, a “milestone” California law that will cut carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The campaign to suspend the law is based on concerns about the law’s cost during tough economic times, and is drawing funding from many out-of-state oil companies, as well as the Koch brothers.

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