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UN Forestry Plan Could Increase Logging, Advocates Warn

Draft lacks mechanisms to leave untouched forests standing and to prevent corruption

By Stacy Feldman

Oct 15, 2010

Forestry advocates are warning that a UN-backed plan to preserve disappearing forests in poor nations could do the opposite if alleged loopholes are not closed.

Under the politically popular plan, known as REDD, or , rich countries would pay poorer ones for slowing their rates of tree loss.

The scheme is seen as critical for averting dangerous climate change.

W.Va. Senate Candidate Takes "Dead Aim" on Carbon Trading

Both candidates oppose cap and trade and Obama's agenda, and attend to voters' focus on guns, abortion and coal

By Elizabeth McGowan

Oct 14, 2010

WASHINGTON—Playing on a theme popular nationwide this election season, the two U.S. Senate candidates from West Virginia seem intent on out-dueling each other for top “anti-Washington” billing.

Democratic was once considered a shoo-in to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd. Surprisingly, however, recent polls indicate he is about deadlocked with Republican business mogul .

Their latest attempts to boost that coveted outsider status erupted this week. Manchin released a 31-second video titled “” in which he literally shoots legislation designed to limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Meanwhile, Raese accepted an endorsement, issued via Facebook, by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

So, just what’s going on in the Mountain State just 2 1/2 weeks before Election Day?

Citing "Secrecy," NY Counties Demand Offshore Wind Details

Put off by the NY Power Authority's proposal process, upstate governments are increasingly opposing the Great Lakes Offshore Wind project.

by Joan Oleck

Oct 14, 2010

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is reviewing five proposals to build up to 166 utility-scale wind turbines along the shores of Lake Ontario and/or Lake Erie.

The project is significant, vying as it does with two wind projects in the works for Lake Michigan (off Evanston, Ill.) and Lake Erie (off Cleveland, Ohio) to become America's first freshwater wind project.

But NYPA isn't naming the candidate companies or saying where the 120- to 500-megawatt turbines might go. And that's not sitting well with locals, who accuse the state agency of undue, possibly unlawful "secretiveness" about bids and locations for the turbines, which they see as a potential threat to their lakes-based economic interests, from fishing and boating to tourism.

Wis. Senator Defeated with Clean Energy Message

Chris Larson used a "green cudgel" to beat out state Sen. Jeff Plale. His victory is a beacon to Wisconsin progressives.

By Elizabeth McGowan

Oct 14, 2010

 WASHINGTON—Before climate change denial became a tenet of the Tea Party movement, a headline about a Milwaukee-area Democrat winning a primary for a Senate seat in the might have been ho-hum.

But these days, 's ability to latch onto clean energy and wield it as a green cudgel to deliver a solid thumping to a longtime incumbent has the elements of a man-bites-dog story.

By capitalizing on the failure of his moderate-conservative Democrat opponent, , to deliver on his "Clean Energy Jobs Act," Larson defeated Plale in the state’s Sept. 14 primary. And his victory is serving as a green beacon to nervous progressives.

U.S. Solar Market Booms, With Utility-Scale Projects Leading the Way

Industry report says solar installations could increase tenfold by 2015

By Stacy Feldman

Oct 13, 2010

America could add 10 gigawatts of solar power every year by 2015, enough to power 2 million new homes annually, industry and market analysts have claimed in a new report.

The and , a Cambridge, Mass.-based market research firm, said the figures represent a tenfold surge compared to 2010, which is on track to set its own record.

Nebraska Ranchers Fear Pipeline Talks Have Gone Awry

Want an easement payout? Just sign this nondisclosure agreement, says TransCanada

By Elizabeth McGowan

Oct 13, 2010

Editor's Note: In late September, SolveClimate News reporter Elizabeth McGowan traveled to Nebraska to find out more about the Keystone XL pipeline that TransCanada plans to build to carry crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas. This is the seventh in a series. Read , , , , and here.

LINCOLN, Neb.—At first, it sounded too promising to resist.

The U.S. State Department would likely grant a presidential permit to build and operate a to carry heavy crude oil from tar sands mines in Alberta to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. If almost was destined to cross private land in 14 Nebraska counties, why shouldn't property owners gain their share of easement dollars from the giant corporation?

Close to 100 of the 470 landowners along the route signed up with and paid dues to Landowners for Fairness, a group formed by local lawyer Stan Dobrovolny. He pledged to negotiate with TransCanada the most lucrative deal possible.

In Mexico, E.U. Presents Ambitious Agenda for Cancún Climate Talks

Environmentalists express doubts about the possibility of “binding commitments” from the COP16

by Maria Gallucci

Oct 12, 2010

MEXICO CITY—In lieu of signing a treaty to curb global warming, the European Union says it will push instead for “concrete and ambitious results” in six specific sectors at the COP16 meeting beginning next month in Cancún.

Regional environmental groups, however, have set the bar much lower, citing disillusionment after last year’s failed talks in Copenhagen.

Marie-Anne Coninsx, head of the E.U.’s delegation to Mexico, said on Oct. 12 that parties in Cancún must establish solid advances in technology cooperation; international financing; mitigating and adapting to climate change; MRV (measurement, reporting and verification); global carbon markets; and tropical deforestation.

The ambassador outlined the agenda at a press conference for local media ahead of a global press event on Oct. 25-26 in Brussels that E.U. Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and U.N. Climate Chief Christina Figueres are expected to attend.

Ontario's Green Energy Push Draws Fire From Japan, U.S. and E.U.

In a WTO complaint, leading cleantech countries say policies violate international trade agreements

by Jennifer Pinkowski

Oct 12, 2010

In the lull between United Nations climate talks in Tianjin, China, and Cancun, Mexico, another international body is hosting a cross-border dispute over energy and the environment: the World Trade Organization. That’s because in one Canadian province, clean energy is replacing coal, and some foreign governments say they’re entitled to a piece of the clean energy action.

Since Oct. 1, in Ontario four more coal units have been shuttered, and the world’s largest solar PV farm began production. It’s all part of the province’s aggressive plan to completely eliminate coal-fired power plants, which provide about 20 percent of its energy production, by 2014. Since the Liberal government of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty came into power in 2003, coal use in the province is down 70 percent, while 8,000 megawatts of cleaner electricity have been added, according to the province’s Ministry of Energy.

But countries that lead the world in clean-energy R&D, policy and manufacture aren’t exactly embracing these successes. Japan, the United States and the European Union say Ontario’s green energy policies violate international trade agreements because of local requirements, and they’ve taken their case to the Geneva-based body that handles such disputes.

Some Nebraska Landowners Won't Make Way for Oil Sands Pipeline

TransCanada is offering buyouts—and threats of eminent domain proceedings—to farmers and ranchers

by Elizabeth McGowan

Oct 12, 2010

Editor's Note: In late September, SolveClimate News reporter Elizabeth McGowan traveled to Nebraska to find out more about the Keystone XL pipeline that TransCanada plans to build to carry crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas. This is the sixth in a series. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 here.

HORDVILLE, Neb.—Randy Thompson points with a tanned and well-muscled forearm to one of the hundreds of sturdy cedar fence posts ringing his family’s 400-acre farm in central Nebraska’s Platte River Valley.

“We’ve tried to dig holes in the spring and the posts would just float away,” he explains, laughing at the memory. “The holes fill up because the water table is just three- to four-feet deep. We’ve learned to do our fencing in the fall around here.”

10/10/10 Global Warming "Work Party" in 140 Characters or Less

Participants worldwide flooded the Internet with excited tweets over the largest day of climate-change action ever

by Stacy Feldman

Oct 11, 2010

Thousands rallied on Sunday in what organizers are calling the single largest day of action yet in the global climate change fight—and several documented the day in 140 characters or less.

Social media platform Twitter erupted with tweets of flickr photo links and commentary as more than 7,300 events took place in 188 countries in support of the "10/10/10 Global Work Party." The self-praising tweets came mainly from participants and organizers expressing awe.