Today’s Climate: August 19, 2010

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More Tests, Preparation Ahead of Final BP Well Kill (Reuters)

BP has more testing ahead before it can finally kill its ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well, the top official overseeing the spill response said on Wednesday.

AP Poll: BP Image Recovering from Spill, Still Low (AP)

BP’s image is recovering since the company capped the well, though the oil giant’s approval level is still anything but robust. A majority of Americans still aren’t convinced it is safe to eat seafood from parts of the Gulf or swim in its waters, a new AP poll shows.

Murky Relationships Mark Scientific Efforts to Assess Gulf Spill’s Impacts (Greenwire)

Lawmakers have criticized BP for attempting to "muzzle" scientists researching the Gulf spill with confidentiality agreements and blocking the "open exchange of scientific data and analysis." But the government is employing similar tactics itself.

Oil-Cleanup Estimates Draw New Fire (Wall Street Journal)

The Obama administration’s conclusion that much of the oil released into the Gulf has disappeared is coming under additional fire from scientists.

First Oiled Turtles Released in Gulf After Rehab (AP)

The first rehabilitated turtles oiled by BP’s leak were released back into the Gulf on Wednesday, with scientists saying that animals taken in by rescuers — including birds — appear more resilient than first feared.

Loan Program for Green Home Upgrades Stalls (Los Angeles Times)

The popular PACE program that allows homeowners to tap low-interest government financing to install energy-efficient solar panels, windows and insulation has stalled, leaving tens of thousands of green improvement projects across the country in limbo.

Report Predicts Big Benefits for Green Industry in Texas (News 8 Austin)

An independent foundation released an economic study this week claiming that if Texas chooses to invest in renewable energy programs, it could spur the creation of 22,900 new jobs a year and $2.7 billion annually in local and state tax revenue.

Malaysia Activists Win Fight to Halt Coal Power Plant (AFP)

Environmentalists have won a victory in a battle to prevent a coal-fired power plant being built in Malaysian Borneo, with a minister Thursday rejecting the plan due to environmental concerns.

Renewables Investors Fear Withdrawal of Subsidies (Wall Street Journal)

Amid budgetary pressures and worries about high power prices eroding consumer spending, European governments are finding themselves forced to scale back renewable energy aid, causing pain for investors and the industry.

Vestas Posts Surprise Loss and Cuts Outlook (Reuters)

World No.1 wind turbine maker Vestas posted a surprise second-quarter loss and unexpectedly cut its 2010 earnings outlook as customers delayed orders in the wake of the credit crisis.

Greenpeace Pushes for Renewable Energy in S. Africa (AP)

South Africa has renewable resources that can provide solutions to the country’s energy problems and create jobs — while fighting global warming, Greenpeace officials said Wednesday.

Shell Says It May Spend as Much as $50 Billion in Australia Over 10 Years (Bloomberg)

Royal Dutch Shell plans to spend as much as $50 billion in Australia over the next decade, more than in any other region, as Europe’s largest oil company continues a shift to gas production.

Indonesia’s Coral Reefs Dying at Alarming Rate (AP)

Coral that survived the 2004 tsunami is now dying at one of the fastest rates ever recorded because of a dramatic rise in water temperatures off northwestern Indonesia, conservationists said, warning Wednesday that the threat extends to other reefs across Asia.

UN Emissions Board Will Question All Hydrofluorocarbon Projects, IETA Says (Bloomberg)

UN-appointed regulators will probably question all projects seeking emission credits for reducing hydrofluorocarbon-23 gases, the International Emissions Trading Association said.

Himalayan Nations Discuss Climate Change in Nepali Capital (Xinhua)

Four eastern Himalayan countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal — officially commenced a three-day high-level technical consultative meeting Wednesday in the Nepali capital Kathmandu on climate change in the Himalayas.

Scientists Brew Up Powerful Whisky Biofuel (BusinessGreen)

Biofuels made from whisky by-products could be available on Scottish roads within a few years after a team of researchers at Edinburgh Napier’s Biofuel Research Centre this week filed for a patent for the new fuel.