Today’s Climate: May 18, 2010

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New UN Climate Chief Says Rich Must Act for Global Deal (Reuters)

The world can salvage a new deal to combat global warming but rich countries must first fulfill their pledges on climate aid, the UN’s new climate chief, Costa Rica’s Christiana Figueres, said.

Obama to Create Independent Commission to Review Gulf Oil Spill (The Hill)

Pres. Obama plans to create an independent commission to probe the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, an administration official and a Capitol Hill aide said.

MMS Drilling Official Retires in Oil Spill Fallout (AP)

The federal official overseeing offshore drilling announced his departure Monday in a fallout from the Gulf oil spill and criticism that federal regulators have been too cozy with industry.

U.S. to Probe Oil Spill as Containment Fight Picks Up (Reuters)

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will be in the political spotlight in Washington Tuesday as energy giant BP scrambles to contain crude spewing from its ruptured deep-water well.

Coast Guard: Tar balls found off Key West, Fla. (AP)

The U.S. Coast Guard says 20 tar balls have been found off Key West, Fla., but the agency stopped short of saying whether they came from a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

F.A.A. Clears Cape Cod Wind Farm (New York Times)

One of the last remaining hurdles to a proposed wind farm off Cape Cod was cleared Monday when the Federal Aviation Administration said the farm’s developer, Cape Wind, had agreed to fix the air traffic control radar system at nearby Otis Air Force Base.

U.S. Senate Climate Bill Cuts Aid to Global Forests (Reuters)

The climate bill unveiled in the U.S. Senate last week cuts funds to projects protecting tropical forests that also are inexpensive ways to reduce global pollution, environmentalists and electric utilities said on Monday.

Biomass Industry Sees ‘Chilling Message’ in EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule (Greenwire)

U.S. EPA’s final rule determining which sources will be subject to greenhouse gas permitting requirements does not exempt biomass power, a decision that has raised concern in the biomass industry.

2 Mountaintop Mining Foes Held on $100,000 Bail (AP)

Two mountaintop removal mining activists charged with blocking a road to a Massey Energy office are being held in the Southwestern Regional Jail on $100,000 bail.

April Was Warmest on Record (MSNBC)

The planet’s average land and sea temperature for April was 58.1 degrees Fahrenheit, the hottest for any April since record keeping began in 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday.

China’s Top Wind Blade Maker Eyes U.S. Growth, IPO (Reuters)

ZhongHang Huiteng Windpower Equipment, China’s largest maker of wind turbine blades, has targeted growth abroad, primarily in the U.S., as it positions itself for a planned IPO in Shanghai, a top executive said.

UN Atomic Chief Amano Warns That Nuclear Accidents May Rise (Bloomberg)

Nuclear accidents may occur more often as atomic technology spreads and countries build more reactors, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said.

GM’s New Volt to Use Google’s Android Software (Wall Street Journal)

GM has paired with Google to create new features for the soon-to-launch, plug-in hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt that combine the technology giant’s Android smartphone with the automaker’s OnStar technology system.

Nissan Says to Sell Leaf Electric Car for Under $36,000 (AFP)

Japanese carmaker Nissan announced on Monday that the company’s Leaf electric car will be sold in Europe for around $35,500 after various government incentives.

Nestle Bows to Greenpeace Pressure with Beefed Up Palm Oil Policy (BusinessGreen)

After months of criticism from Greenpeace over its use of palm oil grown in illegal plantations on previously forested land, Nestle announced a major overhaul of the food giant’s supply chain policy designed to help bring an end to rainforest destruction.