Today’s Climate: September 4-5, 2010

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BP Gulf Well "Secured," Awaiting Final Kill: U.S. (Reuters)

BP’s ruptured Gulf oil well is secure with no threat of spewing crude again, the top U.S. official overseeing the spill response said on Saturday.

Oil Dispersant Effects Remain a Mystery (Los Angeles Times)

Despite more than half a century of dispersant use in oil spill cleanups, scientists say they still don’t know whether dispersants truly enable bacteria to digest spilled oil more quickly or whether dispersed oil is safe for marine life.

Interior Chief Salazar Voices Doubt on Arctic Drilling (Reuters)

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Friday he cannot predict whether Royal Dutch Shell, which has invested $3.5 billion in an offshore Arctic oil program, will be allowed to drill the five wells it plans next year in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.

Coal a ‘Driving Factor’ in U.S. Senate Race (Lexington Herald-Leader)

Coal policies, such as controversial "cap and trade" schemes, are a key issue in the contest between Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Jack Conway in the Kentucky U.S. Senate race.

U.S. Affirms 17% Climate Target (Bloomberg)

The U.S. failure to pass cap-and-trade legislation won’t change its target for 2020 to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by roughly 17 percent, climate negotiator Todd Stern said.

EU Climate Chief Calls for New Carbon Mechanisms (Reuters)

Connie Hedegaard, Europe’s climate chief called on Friday for a major reform of the UN’s carbon crediting mechanism, including more money for the poorest countries as well as a number of new pilot projects.

UN Debuts Website for Tracking Climate Aid (BusinessGreen)

The UN has launched a new website designed to track climate funding commitments from rich countries, in a bid to boost confidence that they are delivering on their commitment to provide $30bn in "fast-start" funding.

European Space Agency Captures Images of Huge Ice Island (Postmedia News)

The European Space Agency has released dramatic satellite images of the colossal iceberg that broke away from a Greenland glacier last month, which has traveled 30 kilometers and is now drifting into Canada’s Arctic waters.

Making Climate Data Free for All (Nature News)

Meteorologists are meeting this week to hammer out a solution to one of the thorniest problems in climate science: how to make raw climate data freely available to all.

Rising Wheat Prices Raise Fears over UK Commitment to Biofuels (The Observer)

The soaring price of wheat has raised questions about the UK’s commitment to biofuels as it attempts to wean itself from its dependence on oil.

China Halts Loans to Firms that Break Environment Rules (AFP)

China has ordered banks to stop new lending to companies that pollute excessively or consume too much energy, as part of a drive to make its economy more energy efficient, state media said Saturday.

DOE Announces Centers for U.S.-China Clean Energy Research (Sustainable Business)

The U.S. DOE announced that two consortia — one led by the University of Michigan and one led by the West Virginia University — will receive a total of $25 million over the next five years under the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center.

Mafia Cash In on Lucrative EU Wind Farm Handouts (Telegraph)

Attracted by the prospect of generous grants designed to boost the use of alternative energies, the so-called "eco Mafia" has begun fraudulently creaming off millions of euros from both the Italian government and the EU.