Today’s Climate: September 20, 2010

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Blown-Out BP Well Finally Killed at Bottom of Gulf (AP)

A permanent cement plug sealed BP’s well nearly 2.5 miles below the sea floor, five months after a rig explosion led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Dudley Faces Fight to Drill in Gulf as BP Says Goodbye Macondo (Bloomberg)

Robert Dudley, the American who takes over as CEO from Tony Hayward on Oct. 1, risks being shut out from the region where BP is the biggest producer as he deals with legal battles over blame for the spill.

First Nations Leaders Head to Washington, Urge Officials to Reject Oilsands Pipeline (Canadian Press)

Some First Nations leaders are heading to Washington Monday to persuade officials to reject the Keystone XL pipeline project they say would pump more "dirty oil" from Alberta’s tar sands into the U.S.

San Bruno Blast: Locating Gas Pipelines Difficult (San Francisco Chronicle)

People who were rattled by the Sept. 9 San Bruno disaster and want to find out if there are explosive pipelines under their neighborhoods have a tough task ahead of them. Experts say there are just too many kinds of gas lines from too many companies.

World Powers to Tackle Climate Amid Skepticism (AFP)

The 17 nations responsible for 80% of carbon emissions will seek to unblock stalled climate negotiations at the two-day Major Economies Forum this week in New York, but analysts expect little progress.

Barbara Boxer Loss Could Mean Climate Change (Politico)

Several lobbyists active in trying to pass environmental laws, including a climate bill, predict more productivity from the committee if Democrats remain in charge but Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) isn’t around next year.

California Vote Tests U.S. Climate Change Agenda (Reuters)

California’s ambitious climate agenda could evaporate in a November vote which pits renewable energy advocates and allies against oil companies and manufacturers.

New Smog Proposals From EPA Draw Fire (Wall Street Journal)

A proposed EPA crackdown on smog is fueling resistance from businesses groups, including Republicans who say it’ll be a drag on the economy and some heartland Democrats engaged in tough election battles this fall.

China a Beacon for Foreign Clean Tech Firms (AFP)

China’s vast market, deep pockets and favorable policies for cleantech are attracting a growing number of foreign companies, which face a severe funding shortage in their home markets due to the global crisis.

China Resorts to Blackouts in Pursuit of Energy Efficiency (Guardian)

In China’s Hebei Province authorities initiated draconian rationing last month to achieve the state’s efficiency targets, including cutting electricity to homes, factories and public buildings for 22 hours every three days.

Businesses Find Opportunities in Climate Change (Bloomberg)

Almost 90% of business responding in a survey of 500 of the world’s largest public companies identified "significant opportunities" from climate change, up from 80% last year, the Carbon Disclosure Project said in a report today.

Oil Palm Plantations on Peatlands Won’t Get Carbon Credits Under CDM (Mongabay)

Biofuel plantations grown on peatlands will no longer be supported by the UN Clean Development Mechanism, reports Wetlands International.

Huge Rise in Scottish Emissions of World’s Most Destructive Greenhouse Gas (Herald Scotland)

Scottish emissions of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), which has a global warming potential 24,000 times that of CO2, have increased dramatically over the last 15 years.

UN CO2 Premium for 2010 Widens as Board Scrutinizes HFC Credits (Bloomberg)

The premium of UN emission credits for 2010 over 2011 widened after the regulator said it wouldn’t decide on how to deal with projects seeking credits from destroying hydrofluorocarbons until November.

Psychology Provides Insight Into Why People Doubt Climate Change (Sydney Morning Herald)

Many people don’t believe in global warming because everyday life may have trained them to doubt it, according to a new study published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society that brings together climate science and cognitive psychology.

Builders Install Solar Systems So Owners Can Lease Them (USA Today)

Solar companies have offered solar lease programs for owners of existing homes for several years. Now, the option is spreading to new homes.

Shell, UN to Back $100 Million Plan for Clean Energy Cookstoves (Bloomberg)

The UN Foundation and the Shell Foundation plan to help organize an effort to raise as much as $100 million over five years to provide clean-burning cooking stoves to the world’s poor.

Yahoo Opens Doors to Self-Cooled Data Center (CNET News)

Yahoo today is scheduled to officially open a very energy-efficient data center in upstate New York that will get almost all of its cooling from outdoor air, a significant energy saver.

With Extreme Weather on Rise, Search Is on for Hardier Crops (Washington Post)

More than 500 years after Spanish priests brought wheat seeds to Mexico to make wafers for the Catholic Mass, those seeds may bring a new kind of salvation to farmers hit by global warming.

Where There’s Bugs, There’s Brass: UK Firm Lands $500 Mln Biofuel Deal (Guardian)

A British company that uses a genetically modified compost-heap bug to produce biofuel from household waste has signed a $500 million contract with U.S. firm Fiberight.