Today’s Climate: August 24, 2010

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Did BP Fail to Take Action on Technical Problems? (Los Angeles Times)

Federal investigators Monday suggested that BP knew of major technical problems but failed to take significant action before the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20.

Feinberg Criticized for Spill-Compensation Terms (Wall Street Journal)

Kenneth Feinberg’s effort to set the terms for handing out BP’s money to Gulf spill victims came under fresh attack Monday from state officials and private lawyers who said he planned to be too restrictive in deciding who gets paid.

Study Says Offshore Drilling Industry Forever Changed After Gulf Spill (The Hill)

A new analysis from the tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton concludes the BP oil spill and the political reaction to it could prompt consolidation in the offshore industry and reduce Gulf of Mexico oil production.

White House, Critics Reach Stalemate in Dispute Over Oil Budget in Gulf (Greenwire)

The Obama administration is standing behind its claims that all but 26% of the oil is accounted for, despite widespread criticism that such a claim paints too rosy a picture of the situation in the Gulf.

2002 Oil Spill May Shed Light on Health Problems for Deepwater Workers (HealthDay News)

The fate of fishermen involved in cleaning up a massive oil spill off the northwest coast of Spain in 2002 could shed light on potential health problems facing workers involved in the recent Gulf spill, according to new research in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

API Discloses Industry Standards (Washington Post)

The American Petroleum Institute, the nation’s top oil and gas group, has agreed to let the public see dozens of federal offshore drilling rules online for free — though they’ll still have to pay to print them out.

Outage Forces Enbridge to Ration Oil Pipeline Space (Reuters)

The outage of an Enbridge Inc pipeline after last month’s rupture and oil spill in Michigan has forced the company to limit the volumes its shippers had planned to move on two other major lines in its U.S. system, the company said on Monday.

Feingold Criticizes Johnson for ‘Sunspot’ Remark (AP)

Sen. Russ Feingold is criticizing his likely GOP challenger’s views on climate change, after Oshkosh businessman Ron Johnson said the science of human-caused climate change might be due to sunspots.

Solar Millennium, Chevron Project Clears Environmental Review (Bloomberg)

Solar Millennium AG and Chevron Corp.’s planned 1-gigawatt Blythe solar thermal energy complex in California passed a federal environmental review, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said.

More Air Monitors Planned for Texas Drilling Area (AP)

Eight new air monitors are planned for one of the nation’s largest natural gas fields, where drilling has raised questions about emissions effects, state lawmakers said Monday.

Clean Coal Group Spends $616,144 on 2Q Lobbying (AP)

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity spent $616,144 in the second quarter to lobby the federal government on energy-related issues, according to a recent disclosure report.

Nova Scotia Joins Canada’s Green Energy Club (Toronto Star)

Nova Scotia has been quietly cleaning up its act after decades of clinging to coal. It tabled its own green economy act a year before Ontario, but it garnered little recognition across the rest of Canada.

Greenpeace Warns Oil Rush Would Damage Greenland (AP)

Greenpeace says news that a Scottish energy company has found signs of hydrocarbons off Greenland’s coast could spark an oil rush that "would threaten the fragile environment."

UK: Will Wind Farms Pick Up the Tab for New Nuclear? (Business Green)

Wind farm operators could see their overheads increase by millions of pounds a year as a direct result of plans to upgrade and reinforce the grid to cope with a new fleet of nuclear reactors.

German Scientist Hands Putin Frosty Climate Rebuke (AFP)

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin queried Monday whether man was to blame for climate change on a visit to the remote Russian Arctic, only to find himself bluntly contradicted by a German scientist.

Geoengineering Won’t Curb Sea-Level Rise (Nature News)

Unless they involve extreme measures, geoengineering approaches to offset the effects of human-driven climate changes won’t do much to combat rising sea levels, a team of scientists reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Utility-Scale Geothermal Turns 50 (Renewable Energy World)

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first large-scale geothermal power plant in the U.S. – a development that spawned a multi-gigawatt industry for heat and power.

Brazilian Biofuels Run into EU Obstacles (Inter Press Service)

Brazil has begun a counterattack on the EU’s measures for certifying crop-based fuels, which could lead to import barriers for this energy source coming from the South American giant.

Scientist IDs Genes That May Make Biofuel Production More Economical (Press Release, University of Illinois)

A University of Illinois metabolic engineer has taken the first step toward the more efficient and economical production of biofuels by developing a strain of yeast with increased alcohol tolerance.

Offshore Wind Farms Reject "Seal-Killer" Tag (Business Green)

Offshore wind farm developers implicated in a mysterious spate of seal deaths have vigorously denied allegations their construction vessels could be to blame.