Clean Start: January 4, 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?

For the climate, the near-tie between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses last night is bad news; both candidates have terrible or spotted records on the environment. Santorum is a long-time shill for coal and climate zombie, while Romney has pandered to the far right, doubting the harmful effects of carbon pollution. [The Guardian]

A review of NBC, ABC, and CBS finds that the number of stories on climate change fell by more than half last year from 32 to 14, despite a record-setting year of strange weather events. In 2007, the networks reported 147 stories about climate change. [E&E]

An appeals court in Ecuador upheld an $18 billion ruling against Chevron Corp. forcing the company to pay damages for oil pollution in the Amazon rain forest. [AP]

Researchers at U.S. universities say climate change projections may “grossly” underestimate the extinction of animal and plant species because they don’t account for migration, movement, and competition. [Bloomberg]

Companies in China and France will invest multi-billion dollars in drilling for shale gas, highlighting the role foreign countries play in U.S. oil and gas development. [Earth & Industry]

A panel told California lawmakers to deny authorizing the initial $2.7 billion in bonds for its high-speed rail plan, because it expressed concern about a lack of federal assurance of future funding. [WSJ]

In a blow to fracking industry claims that drilling is harmless, a seismologist found that sites hit by two earthquakes in Ohio recently were nearly identical: Both occurred near the bottom of a 9,200-foot-deep well used to dispose of fracking liquids. [NYT]

According to Ernst & Young, renewable energy is moving into a “revolutionary” phase reaching the developing world. Asian industrial economies, particularly, are leading in the investment. [AOL Energy]

And finally, scientists identified the first-ever hybrid shark off the coast of Australia. The unlikely interbreeding suggests that climate change might be the culprit, and that the shark species are responding to changing conditions and warmer oceans with unusual behavior. [Washington Post]

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