Today’s Climate: August 6, 2010

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U.S. Changes Plan for Capturing Emissions From Coal (New York Times)

The Energy Department abruptly shifted course on Thursday on a flagship federal effort to capture and sequester carbon dioxide from coal plants, saying it would not finance construction of a new plant in Mattoon, Ill.

Cementing of BP Well Completed (Wall Street Journal)

BP has finished pumping its rogue well in the Gulf of Mexico with cement, effectively sealing it for good. But the government insists it’s still too early to start celebrating victory.

Crude Still Coats Marshes and Wetlands Along Gulf (AP)

Much of the crude still in the Gulf and coastal areas more than three months after BP’s blowout has permeated deep into marshes and wetlands, complicating cleanup.

Sen. Begich: Oil-Spill Liability Deal is Imminent (The Hill)

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said Thursday that he has reached a deal with several senators on oil industry liability for offshore spills, a topic that has been politically divisive in Capitol Hill debates on spill-response legislation.

FDA Finds Low Risk of Chemical Dispersants Accumulating in Seafood (AP)

The FDA says chemical dispersants used to break up oil in the Gulf have a low potential for accumulating in seafood, and do not pose a public health concern.

Pemex Postpones Drilling to Test Deep-Water Equipment (Bloomberg)

Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, will postpone drilling a well in the Gulf of Mexico that would be its deepest ever while it tries out new equipment in a shallower project, a company executive said.

As BP Plugs Well, Other Spill Cos. See a Rebound (AP)

With BP at a turning point in the Gulf spill, other companies with a role in the crisis are seeing their fortunes improve, even as they wait to see how the legal and financial costs get sorted out.

Feds Sue Michigan Utility Over Coal-Fired Plant (AP)

The federal government filed a lawsuit Thursday against DTE Energy Co., accusing the utility of modifying a major coal-fired plant without permits and the best equipment to control pollution.

Methane Monitors at Center of Mine-Explosion Probe (Wall Street Journal)

Investigators are focusing on alleged maintenance lapses of critical safety devices that monitor explosive gas levels, including one that was secured by a plastic zip tie, at the Massey Energy Co. mine where 29 workers died in April.

EPA’s Boiler Proposal Sparks Hill Backlash (Washington Post)

More than 100 House Democrats and Republicans have sent a sharply-worded letter to EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson, suggesting a proposed rule to clean up industrial boilers nationwide could devastate U.S. manufacturing.

Setback to Hopes of Tobin Tax to Pay for Climate Aid (Guardian)

Much of the $100bn a year needed by 2020 to compensate poor countries for the effects of climate change will come from carbon taxes and the auction of carbon permits rather than new taxes on financial transactions or transport levies, it was suggested this week.

U.N. Climate Pact Could be 3 Treaties: Mexico (Reuters)

A UN climate pact to extend or replace the Kyoto Protocol could be a set of up to three legally binding instruments, not just a single one, Mexico’s climate chief said on Thursday.

U.S. Companies Lobby for Technology Fix, Not CO2 Limit at Climate Talks (Bloomberg)

U.S. companies are lobbying at UN climate talks in Bonn for incentives to spur technologies that could slow the pace of carbon emissions, abandoning a push to encourage a cap on gas emissions, a business lobby group said.

Global Tropical Forests Threatened by 2100 (ScienceDaily)

By 2100 only 18% to 45% of the plants and animals making up ecosystems in global, humid tropical forests may remain as we know them today, according to a new study led by the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology.

Spurned Chinese Developers Blast U.N. CO2 Rulings (Reuters)

Developers behind the 19 Chinese wind and hydropower projects rejected by a U.N.-backed clean energy investment panel have accused the board in charge of making arbitrary and non-transparent rule changes.

Vladimir Putin Bans Grain Exports as Drought and Wildfires Ravage Crops (Guardian)

Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin, has announced a ban on grain exports after millions of hectares of crops perished in the worst drought in more than a century.