Clean Start: March 2, 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?

Residents of storm-tossed midwestern towns searched for photographs and mementos from their ruined homes on Thursday as the death toll from a line of tornado-producing storms rose to 13, while more storms bore down on the region. [Reuters]

The world’s oceans are turning acidic at what could be the fastest pace of any time in the past 300 million years, even more rapidly than during a monster emission of planet-warming carbon 56 million years ago, scientists said on Thursday. [Reuters]

As energy companies from Spain, Russia and Malaysia line up to drill for oil in Cuban waters 60 miles from the Florida Keys, U.S. agencies are struggling to cobble together emergency plans to protect fragile reefs, sandy beaches and a multibillion-dollar tourism industry in the event of a spill. [Washington Post]

Members of the reinsurance industry urged Congress yesterday to prepare the country for rising weather perils from climate change. [E&E News]

Health impacts from the radioactive materials released in the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns will probably be too small to be easily measured, according to experts assembled by the Health Physics Society for a panel discussion on Thursday. [NYT]

Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney on Thursday channelled his inner Stephen Harper in a speech touting the Keystone XL pipeline as a “no-brainer,” while accusing President Barack Obama of failing to understand the value of Canadian oil to the U.S. economy. [Vancouver Sun]

Legendary Sherpa mountaineer Apa is on a quest to draw attention to the danger of more devastating floods in the Himalayas as glacial melt caused by climate change fills mountain lakes to the bursting point. [AP]

The cost of gasoline is going up while the cost of natural gas is going down, driving a resurgent interest in natural gas vehicles. [NPR]

In just the past few months, projects were announced in Florida and California that will attract hundreds of millions of dollars in energy-efficiency investments financed through the Property Assessed Clean Energy program, better known as PACE. [Houston Chronicle]

China’s cheap labor isn’t the major cause of the hole we’ve found ourselves in with advanced technology manufacturing, which is capital intensive, not labor intensive; rather, China gives its manufacturers whatever advantage it can over U.S. and other foreign competitors. [Detroit Free Press]

The trial that will determine the extent of any liability U.K.-based oil company BP and its partners face for the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is scheduled to begin next week in New Orleans federal court. [Bloomberg]

The Keystone XL pipeline really is a big deal for what it portends about the growing climate risks of our oil dependence. [Politico]

Oil prices spiked to their highest levels since 2008 on fears that tensions with Iran have the potential to disrupt supplies through the Strait of Hormuz. [CNN]

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