Clean Start: February 14, 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?

Hundreds of people rallied to save the MBTA public transit system from draconian cuts in Boston. [Occupy Boston]

Tropical Cyclone Giovanna has hit the island of Madagascar, with winds of up to 120mph ripping up trees and electricity pylons. [BBC]

The Latin America drought has spread to Brazil, with no rain for the entire month of December and only one rainy day in January, playing havoc with corn prices. [NASDAQ]

The U.S. requires the equivalent of a Marshall Plan for the Asia-Pacific to help countries address the climate challenge, and to complement its current military and economic engagement in the region. [e-International Relations]

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) will be speaking before the Senate Finance Committee in support of a bill aimed at developing offshore wind energy in Maryland. [Washington Post]

Climate change is warming the oceans and preventing water layers from mixing, which could upset the carbon storage capacity of microbes and plankton. [Economic Times]

Natural gas prices have strengthened in the two weeks since Chesapeake Energy Corporation announced it was immediately slashing spending on U.S. dry-gas exploration and production. [MarketWatch]

Employment in the EU’s renewable energy sector has broken through the one million mark for the first time, after the number of people working in the industry increased 25 per cent in 2010. [BusinessGreen]

President Barack Obama’s proposed budget would renew and extend a subsidy for renewable-energy projects that helps pay for as much as 30 percent of development costs, according to a solar lobbying group. [Bloomberg]

Forging ahead with its green power agenda, IKEA is expanding its solar power commitments in the US yet again and installing more charging stations for electric cars. [EV Wind]

President Barack Obama proposed cutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget for the third straight year by trimming funding for water grants to U.S. states and Superfund clean-up programs. [Bloomberg]

American scientists say they’re concerned that Canadian budget cuts will hamper important international research efforts on climate change, pollution and other regional issues that cut across political boundaries. [Summit County Voice]

Analysts say they’ll be looking for more clarity on what’s next for TransCanada‘s efforts to ship Alberta crude to Texas refineries when the pipeline giant reports its fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday. [Canadian Business]

California’s powerful Air Resources Board has issued new rules that, when finally approved, will lead to many fewer smog-causing pollutants, fewer greenhouse gases and, in time, encourage the auto industry to build millions more emissions-free cars and trucks, including a new generation of all-electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles. [NYT]

The recent disclosure of the Sierra Club’s secret acceptance of $26 million in donations from people associated with a natural gas company has revived an uncomfortable debate among environmental groups about corporate donations and transparency. [NYT]

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