Today’s Climate: March 31, 2010

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Obama to Allow Oil Drilling Off Virginia Coast (AP)

In a reversal of a long-standing ban on most offshore drilling, Pres. Obama is allowing oil drilling 50 miles off Virginia’s shorelines. At the same time, he is rejecting some new drilling sites in Alaska.

Climate-Row Professor Phil Jones Should Return to Work, Say MPs (The Times)

Phil Jones, the University of East Anglia climate scientist at the center of the controversy over stolen e-mails, has no case to answer and should be reinstated, a House of Commons panel who probed the scandal has reported.

‘Below 2C’ Opens New Rift in UN Climate Battle (Reuters)

A goal to limit global warming to "below 2 degrees Celsius" is opening a new rift for 2010 talks on a UN climate treaty as developing nations say it means the rich must deepen cuts in emissions.

Sarkozy Seeks U.S.-French Action on Climate: Kerry (AFP)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy told U.S. senators Tuesday that he hopes for US-French action to "put some pressure" on countries reluctant to battle climate change, one of the lawmakers said.

Suspended Carbon Firms Want Clarity on UN Rules (Reuters)

Carbon emissions auditors suspended by the UN late last week called for clarification of the rules of a Kyoto Protocol carbon finance scheme under which they operate, with one mulling fighting the suspension.

Spain Police Arrest Nine in CO2 Tax Probe (Reuters)

Spanish police on Tuesday said they had arrested nine people on charges of avoiding $67.54 million in tax linked to trading in carbon credits.

DOE Orders Company to Stop Distributing Product that Fails Efficiency Standard (The Hill)

The DOE announced it is forcing AeroSys, Inc. to stop distributing an air conditioner and a heat pump because the products use more energy than allowed under federal efficiency standards.

Insurance Regulators Scale Back Climate Rule on Industry (ClimateWire)

A surprise rebellion by a majority of insurance regulators reversed key elements of regulations that would require the industry to publicly disclose its efforts to address climate change.

Second Radioactive Substance at Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant (AP)

Test results have confirmed the presence of another, more dangerous, radioactive substance in the soil at Vermont’s only nuclear power plant, officials said Tuesday, five days after announcing they had found and stopped leaks at Vermont Yankee.

Missouri Considers Animal Waste Gas as Renewable Energy (AP)

The Missouri Senate gave initial approval Tuesday to a bill allowing methane gas produced by animal waste to count toward the state’s renewable energy mandate for electricity providers.

EU Urged to Set Higher Environmental Standards for Agriculture Imports (EurActiv)

The EU should force other world agricultural powers to adopt similar environmental rules if they wish to export to Europe, the chair of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee says.