Clean Start: March 13, 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?

Record floodwaters inundated parts of southern Louisiana early Tuesday after intense rains of up to 20 inches caused flash flooding and prompted hundreds of rescues. [CNN]

Temperatures soared to record highs in the Northeast on Monday after a weekend of record-setting warmth across the Upper Plains and forecasts for an unprecedented extended warm front this week, the National Weather Service said. [Reuters]

A rapidly developing storm packing 80 mph winds cut power to thousands of customers in Northwest Oregon. [Oregonian]

Two days of torrential rain in northern Chile have swollen rivers out of their banks, flooding homes, knocking down bridges and blocking the rail line to neighboring Peru. [Associated Press]

A federal appeals court on Monday threw out a jury’s award of more than $650,000 to two Ohio tourists who were arrested in New Orleans on public drunkenness charges two days before Hurricane Katrina‘s landfall and jailed for more than a month after the storm, having to survive for three days without food, water or working toilets as their cells filled with more than two feet of flood water. [AP]

One-third of New South Wales’s communities have been declared natural disaster zones as the worst flooding in decades continues to threaten parts of the Australian state. [9 News]

Following extremely heavy snowfall this year, an avalanche struck two remote villages in northeast Afghanistan on Monday and 45 people were feared trapped in the snow, authorities said. [AP]

Leading natural gas services provider Piedmont Natural Gas Company, which primarily serves North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, saw setbacks in the first quarter of its fiscal year 2012 as a strong growth in customers and demand failed to offset the impact of much warmer-than-expected weather, which resulted in lower volume deliveries. [MarketWatch]

U.S. exports of gasoline, diesel and other fuels will more than double in the next three years as refiners take advantage of a growing supply of domestic crudes and ship more fuel to emerging markets, according to research firm Wood Mackenzie Ltd. [Bloomberg]

Research from East Carolina University shows oil from the BP spill made it into the ocean’s food chain. [WITN]

An unprecedented rise in the demand for food, rapid urbanization and climate change are significantly threatening global water supplies, according to a United Nations report, which stresses that a radical new approach to managing this essential resource is needed to be able to sustain future consumption levels. [RTT News]

Thanks to scientists working on particle acceleration at CERN, the Geneva International Airport is the proud owner of a new array of solar panels that will form one of the largest solar energy systems in Switzerland. [Forbes]

Solar3D, Inc., the developer of a 3-dimensional solar cell technology to maximize the conversion of sunlight into electricity, today announced that it will conduct a study of the economics and benefits of integrated Solar3D cells directly into roof tiles. [Solar3D]

Clean Power Research, which develops analytic tools for the renewable-energy industry, today said that the California Public Utilities Commission will give it an $852,260 to develop new simulations that will help predict how much cloud cover affects the performance of large solar-power arrays. [North Bay Business Journal]

The Asian Development Bank is warning countries to prepare for influxes of people fleeing climate disasters as climate change exacerbates rising sea levels, soil degradation and seasonal flooding. [Washington Post]

China has poured billions of dollars into Venezuela’s oil sector to expand its claim over the country’s massive oil reserves. [Washington Times]

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney‘s campaign said Obama’s energy policy is not working and he cited the slow sales of the plug-in Chevy Volt. [Detroit News]

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