Clean Start: January 27, 2012

Welcome to Clean Start, ThinkProgress Green’s morning round-up of the latest in climate and clean energy. Here is what we’re reading. What are you?

Last year’s extreme weather across the U.S. — 2011 was the most expensive year ever for climate disasters — is raising concern among scientists and policymakers about the nation’s ability to withstand a shifting climate. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

More than 400 people jammed into a Portland, Oregon hotel ballroom Wednesday night to hear a panel of global warming skeptics assert that manmade increases in greenhouse gases are not driving climate change. [The Oregonian]

Global warming, which is hitting Nepal particularly hard, is causing glaciers to melt, raising the specter of disastrous floods. [Reuters]

For every $1 the oil industry spends on campaign contributions and lobbying in Washington DC, it gets back $59 in subsidies. [Price of Oil]

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday said the country’s capacity to export tar sands crude is a national priority and pledged to speed regulatory approval of energy projects—a move that comes as Ottawa struggles with delays over tar sands pipelines. [WSJ]

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) told reporters that Republicans are GOP “so stupid” to demand inclusion of language forcing Keystone pipeline approval in the upcoming payroll tax package. [The Hill]

Republicans are pouncing on the bankruptcy of yet another alternative energy firm that got federal aid — but the company, battery-maker Ener1, was also backed strongly by Republicans, including Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. [Huffington Post]

Adjusting to shifts in the economy, states in the cap-and-trade system known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have slashed the number of allowances that electric power companies can buy to offset their emissions. [NYT]

Declaring the United States the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas,” President Obama began pushing Thursday for greater use of the fuel resource under domestic soil as he continued to pitch his economic plan on a tour of battleground states. [LA Times]

Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which blew out in the Gulf of Mexico nearly two years ago, is not liable for some of the pollution claims arising from the fatal accident, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled on Thursday. [NYT]

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