A round-up of the top climate and energy news.
The National Transportation Safety Board blamed multiple corrosion cracks and “pervasive organizational failures” at the Calgary-based Enbridge pipeline company for a more-than-20,000-barrel oil spill two years ago near Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. [Washington Post]
The cost of the spill has reached $800 million and is rising, the NTSB said, making the pipeline rupture the most expensive on-shore oil spill in U.S. history. The pipeline’s contents — heavy crude oil from Canada’s oil sands — have made the spill a closely watched case with implications for other pipelines carrying such crude.
The NTSB also blamed “weak federal regulations” by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for the accident, which spilled at least 843,444 gallons of oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo in Marshall, Mich. The oil spread into a 40-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo and a nearby wetlands area.
Corn prices soared toward new highs on Monday amid growing fears that the drought scorching the U.S. Midwest will prove to be the harshest in decades. [Wall Street Journal]
Climate change researchers have been able to attribute recent examples of extreme weather to the effects of human activity on the planet’s climate systems for the first time, marking a major step forward in climate research. [Guardian]
The influence of manmade global warming on the climate system continues to grow, with human fingerprints identified in more than two dozen climate “indicators” examined by an international research team — from air temperatures to ocean acidity — for a comprehensive annual “State of the Climate” report released Tuesday. [Climate Central]
The ultra-conservative American Tradition Institute has expanded its legal pursuit of climate scientists, using transparency laws to try to flush out potentially damaging emails. [Guardian]
The renewable fuel standard (RFS) for transportation fuel is becoming another proxy battleground between Republicans and Democrats in the renewable energy debate, as the parties demonstrated Tuesday during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing. [The Hill]
The world is warming, incomes are rising, and smaller families are living in larger houses in hotter places. One result is a booming market for air conditioning — world sales in 2011 were up 13 percent over 2010, and that growth is expected to accelerate in coming decades. [Guardian]