Today’s Climate: July 24-25, 2010

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Ships Head Back to Oil Well, Ready to Resume Work (AP)

Ships were getting back in place Sunday at the site of BP’s leaky oil well as crews raced to resume work on plugging the gusher before another big storm stops work again.

Researchers Confirm Subsea Gulf Oil Plumes are from BP Well (McClatchy Newspapers)

Through a chemical fingerprinting process, researchers have definitively linked clouds of underwater oil in the northern Gulf of Mexico to BP’s well — the first direct scientific link between the so-called "plumes" and the oil spill, officials said.

Rig Alarm System Partly Disabled at Time of Blast (AP)

An alarm system was partially shut down the day the ill-fated oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf, killing 11 workers and setting off the massive spill, an electronics technician who was aboard told an investigative panel.

BP Stalls Payments to Oil Spill Victims: Feinberg (Reuters)

British energy giant BP is holding up payments to economic victims of the Gulf spill, Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of a $20 billion compensation fund, said on Saturday.

BP to Start Drilling for Oil Off Libya within Weeks (AFP)

BP will start drilling off the Libyan coast in a few weeks, it said Saturday, despite lingering questions over the deal which led to the exploration and the oil firm’s role in the Gulf spill.

Senate Dems Say U.S. Energy Bill Out Early as Monday (Reuters)

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will unveil the pared-down energy bill focusing on reforming offshore oil drilling as early as Monday, a senior Democratic aid said.

Veto Likely On Bills Blocking EPA Regs (Politico)

Pres. Obama would veto legislation supported by coal-state Democrats that would suspend the EPA’s plans to write new climate change rules, a White House official said Friday.

U.S. Senate Deals Blow to Global Climate Talks (AFP)

The Senate’s decision Thursday to shelve legislation on climate change is certain to cast a long shadow over December’s meeting in Cancun, Mexico that will work on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Existing Emissions Laws Could Cut U.S. Footprint Without Climate Bill (ClimateBiz)

A day after the Senate pulled the plug on a comprehensive climate bill, a new report shows the U.S. could reduce greenhouse gas emissions 14% below 2005 levels by 2020 by aggressively using existing state and federal policies.

Prairie State Coal Plant to Cap Costs (Chicago Tribune)

Under pressure to hold down skyrocketing costs that promise expensive electric bills for dozens of Midwest cities, developers agreed to cap the construction budget for a massive coal plant in downstate Illinois at $4 billion.

Gillard Copies Obama’s Clunkers Plan (AAP)

Australian PM Julia Gillard has copied Pres.Obama’s cash-for-clunkers scheme to shore up Labor’s climate credentials ahead of the election. The government promises to give motorists a $2,000 rebate if they trade in a car built before 1995 for a fuel-efficient model.

Australia: 15 New Power Stations Wait in the Wings (Sydney Morning Herald)

Up to 15 new coal-fired power stations could still get the go ahead in Australia under the Labor policy that PM Julia Gillard says will ensure we "never again have a dirty power station built."

China Questions Review of Controversial Carbon Program (Reuters)

A Chinese government fund has told a UN panel it supports project developers that earn carbon offsets under a lucrative Kyoto Protocol program, and rejects the idea that they are overcompensated.

UK Climate Change Skeptic Accuses US Prof Of Libel (AP)

A Minnesota professor touched off a bitter trans-Atlantic dispute when he posted an extensive online slideshow rebutting a speech by a British climate change skeptic, a cyber flap that’s resulted in harsh words and threats of legal action.