Today’s Climate: August 23, 2010

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Compensation Czar Takes Charge of $20 Billion BP Fund (Reuters)

A $20 billion compensation fund for economic victims of the BP Gulf oil spill opens for business today amid accusations that the rules established by its administrator are unfair.

4th Round of Public Hearings on Gulf Disaster Starts Today (Houston Chronicle)

Beginning today, in a fourth round of public hearings — the first to take place in Houston — a federal investigative panel will once again question key witnesses from BP, rig owner Transocean and oil services firm Halliburton to narrow in on root causes of the incident.

Gulf Claims Chief Says No-Sue Rule Was His Idea (AP)

The new administrator for damage claims from Gulf oil spill victims said Sunday it was his idea, not BP’s, to require that anyone who receives a final settlement from the $20 billion compensation fund give up the right to sue the oil giant.

Gulf of Mexico’s Fish Beachings May Be Increasing Because of BP Oil Spill (Bloomberg)

BP’s oil spill in the Gulf may be exacerbating a natural phenomenon that causes fish, crabs, eels and shrimp to swarm the shoreline to escape oxygen-depleted sea waters.

EPA Delays Clean Air Rule Rollout (The Hill)

EPA is backing off plans to finalize rules to strengthen Bush-era smog regulations that were expected later this month, with fall the new target.

Pepco, BGE Get Go-Ahead to Install ‘Smart Meters’ (Washington Post)

The Maryland Public Service Commission has given Baltimore Gas & Electric as well as Potomac Electric Power Co. the go-ahead to deploy "smart meters" throughout the Washington area. The decision will allow both utilities to access DOE award money.

Big Bets on U.S. Oil Bonanza After Shale Gas Boom (Reuters)

As the U.S. shale gas revolution enters its third year, companies are making big bets to try to recreate that success with the billions of barrels of oil locked in the rock — even though geologists doubt the actual production potential.

Coal Industry Drinks Up Massive Amounts of Water (Epoch Times)

Out of the 410 billion gallons drawn from U.S. waterways every day for a variety of the nation’s water needs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, half of it goes to cooling power plants, which are largely coal fired.

Climate Change Protesters Arrested at RBS Office (BBC News)

Two women have been arrested after 100 climate change protesters attacked the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Edinburgh headquarters on Sunday.

Clinton Sparks Debate by Linking Pak floods with Global Climate Change (Sify News)

Linking devastating Pakistan floods with global climate change, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton has said that the deluge and other extreme weather events in the recent past clearly points towards climate change getting worse.

Australia Steps Up Renewable Energy Efforts (New York Times)

Australia has plans to build the biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere by 2013, part of its scramble to fight climate change and harness its abundance of clean energy sources — wind, solar, waves, geothermal energy and bioenergy.

Greens’ Electoral Gains Spur Hopes for Australian Clean Energy Initiatives (Bloomberg)

A surge in voter support for the Australian Greens spurred optimism that the government may increase funding to renewable energy projects and impose a price on carbon emissions to combat climate change.

Merkel Defends Nuclear Tax in Scrap with Industry (Reuters)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday stood by her plan to levy a tax on nuclear power providers, pitting her coalition against industry in a turbulent return to government business after the summer lull.

Solar Plans Lit Up by $5 Bln Fund (The National)

The World Bank is providing Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria with a total of $5.5 billion in funding for solar projects to be completed by 2015.

Central China Plans Nuke Equipment Making Hub: Report (Reuters)

Central China’s Hubei province plans to build in the next three to five years a base to make nuclear power equipment, official news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday, part of the country’s massive push to boost cleaner energy.

Centrotherm Boosts Efficiency, Production Costs Cost With New Silicon Cell (Bloomberg)

Using an improved process with a crystallization furnace, PV solar cell maker Centrotherm was able to increase the amount of peak watts generated by a solar panel to 236 watts from current levels of about 210 watts, the company said.