Today’s Climate: August 20, 2010

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Final BP Well Plug Delayed Until September (Reuters)

BP likely won’t put the final plug in its blown-out well until September to allow replacement of a critical piece of seabed equipment, the top U.S. oil spill official said on Thursday.

Oil Plume Is Not Breaking Down Fast, Study Says (New York Times)

New research confirms the existence of a huge plume of dispersed oil deep in the Gulf and suggests that it has not broken down rapidly, raising the possibility that it might pose a threat to wildlife for months or even years.

Partner Says BP Hiding Oil Spill Documents (AFP)

Transocean, the company that owned the rig behind the Gulf disaster, has accused oil giant BP of hiding key data needed for a probe in a recently published strongly worded letter.

Clean Energy Investors Flash Cash for Ads in California Climate Law Battle (Bloomberg)

California’s clean energy investors are raising millions of dollars for an advertising battle with oil refiners who want to delay the state’s new law on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Feingold Hits GOP Senate Foe Over ‘Bizarre’ Climate Change Explanation (The Hill)

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) is taking aim at GOP opponent Ron Johnson’s claim that climate change more likely stems from sunspots rather than human activity.

White House Removes $150 Bln Clean Energy R&D Investment Pledge from Website (Breakthrough Institute)

Pres. Obama’s pledge to "invest $150 billion over ten years in energy research and development to transition to a clean energy economy," once a central plank in Obama’s energy platform, was removed from the page.

Senate Bill Would Make Energy-Efficient Mortgages Mainstream (Grist)

A new bill backed by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) would require lenders to consider energy costs before granting a borrower a federally insured mortgage. Bennet is considering introducing the bill after the August congressional recess, his office said.

Duke Energy Drops NC Wind Turbine Project (AP)

Duke Energy said Thursday that it has dropped plans to install demonstration wind turbines on the North Carolina coast, saying the project was too small to be worth the cost.

UVA Students, Faculty, Alumni to Protest Cuccinelli Attack against Climate Scientist (DeSmog Blog)

University of Virginia faculty, students and alumni will gather Friday afternoon to protest against Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli’s "witch hunt" against former UVA Professor and leading climate scientist Michael Mann.

Climate Change Campaigners Turn Up the Heat on RBS Chiefs (Herald Scotland)

Climate change protesters will today step up a mass campaign outside the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarter, in protest of the bank’s funding of Canadian tar sands operations.

Japan to Subsidize Energy-Efficient Plants: Report (Reuters)

Japan’s government plans to subsidize domestic plants producing clean-energy and energy-efficient goods under steps to support the slowing economy, the Nikkei newspaper said.

Range Fuels Begins Comercial Cellulosic Operations in Georgia (Sustainable Business)

Following a delay of nearly two years, Khosla-backed cellulosic biofuel company Range Fuels announced that it has finally begun production at its facility in rural Georgia.

Yingli Quarterly Profit Tops Wall Street View (Reuters)

Chinese solar company Yingli Green Energy posted higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings on Thursday, but fears about weakening solar panel prices next year knocked its shares lower.

First Funds in Indonesia-Norway Forest Deal (Carbon Positive)

Norway will make its first down-payment to Indonesia under a billion-dollar forest protection plan in return for undertakings on transparency and accountability given by Jakarta this week.

China Renewables to Power Ahead Without CDM: Report (Reuters)

Green investment in China will forge ahead even without a UN carbon offset scheme, eventually shriveling the country’s dominant role in a program that has underpinned billions of dollars in investment.

Maine Offshore Energy Project Exceeds Expectations (CNET News)

Maine is now home to the "largest ocean energy device ever installed in U.S. waters," the Ocean Renewable Power Company announced Wednesday. The submerged turbine generator unit has a capacity of 60 kilowatts.

Rwanda Harnesses Energy from Exploding Lake (MSNBC)

Beneath the surface of Rwanda’s Lake Kivu lie huge reservoirs of methane and CO2 that is being used to power 4% of the country. But if released onto the surface, these gases could also endanger the two million people living around the lake’s shores.

CCS, Geoengineering Make It into Oxford Dictionary of English (Reuters)

Two climate-related entries have made it into the 3rd edition of the Oxford Dictionary. They are: "carbon capture and storage" – the process of trapping and storing CO2 produced by burning fossil fuels; and "geoengineering" – manipulation of environmental processes in an attempt to counteract the effects of global warming.