Today’s Climate: July 22, 2010

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U.S. Lawmakers Approve Legislation to Prevent Oil Spills (AFP)

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday to improve oil exploration techniques and oil spill cleanup to prevent another disaster like the one in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Judge Refuses to Reinstate First Oil Drill Ban (Reuters)

A U.S. judge on Wednesday refused a request by environmental groups to reinstate the Obama administration’s original moratorium on deepwater drilling set in the wake of the BP oil spill. 

Storm Threat Stalls BP Relief Well (Upstream)

BP has paused work on the first relief well destined to intercept the Macondo blowout while it gathers more information about the path of a storm forecast to move through the US Gulf of Mexico.

Judge Halts Oil, Gas Development on Chukchi Sea (AP)

A federal judge on Wednesday stopped companies from developing oil and gas wells on billions of dollars in leases off Alaska’s northwest coast, saying the federal government failed to follow environmental law before it sold the rights. 

Oil Companies Start $1 billion Gulf Spill Project (Reuters)

Big oil companies including Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell will spend $1 billion to develop a new oil spill containment system for the Gulf of Mexico, the companies said on Wednesday. 

Pipeline Repaired as China Works to Contain Spill (AP)

China National Petroleum Corp. said Thursday a vital pipeline has resumed operations after an explosion caused the country’s largest reported oil spill.

Key Environmentalists Okay with Delay on Climate Bill Until Fall

 (The Hill)

A key group of environmental organizations said it would be okay if the Senate waits until this fall to debate reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

U.N. Lists Kyoto Plan B Options If No Climate Deal (Reuters)

The U.N.’s climate agency has for the first time detailed contingency options if the world cannot agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, whose present round expires in 2012 with no new deal in sight. 

China Embraces Emissions Trading (Carbon Positive)

China is set to pilot an emissions trading scheme before 2015 after a decision at a high-level meeting between government and industry, according to local media.

U.S. Senate Panel Backs More Electric Cars, Solar (Reuters) 

Millions of electric-powered vehicles that would slash America’s dependence on foreign oil would be put on the road under legislation approved by a Senate committee on Wednesday.

Senators Want Loan Guarantees for Rare Earth Projects (SustainableBusiness)

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) sent a letter to Energy Secretary Chu on Monday urging him to consider granting loan guarantees to rebuild America’s rare earth supply chain.

House Panel Advances Mine-Safety Bill (Wall Street Journal)

In a 30 to 17 vote, a House panel on Wednesday approved sweeping mine and workplace safety changes prompted by the deadly explosion in April that killed 29 coal miners in West Virginia. 

Vestas Climbs After Winning Largest Wind Turbine Order (Bloomberg)

Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, climbed in Copenhagen trading after winning its largest order for a single electricity-generation site.  

Gap Plugged in Nuclear Fusion Project (Green)

A project to prove the viability of energy from nuclear fusion at a site in the south of France won a reprieve this week from the European Commission after costs ran significantly over budget.  

Climate Science: How Marmots Are Getting Fat on Global Warming (Time) 

A new study finds that the marmots in Upper East River Valley have gotten steadily heavier over the past decade due in part to climate changes.