Clean Start: March 5, 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?

Not even a week into the month, this is already the nation’s deadliest March for tornadoes since March 1994, when 40 people were killed, according to the National Climatic Data Center, despite an effective early warning system that saved many lives. [USA Today]

More than half of likely voters think the federal government should release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring down rising gasoline prices. [The Hill]

Excessive speculation in the oil futures market may be costing you 15 percent or more at the gas pump and playing a “significant” role in rising gasoline prices, according to a joint letter from 68 members of Congress that ABC News has obtained. [ABC News]

Up to 900 species of tropical land birds around the world could become extinct by 2100 because of global warming, researchers say. [BBC]

The nationwide average for gasoline prices continued its march toward the $4 mark Monday, hovering at $3.77 a gallon, according to the motorist group AAA. [CNN]

Mozambique emergency officials say heavy rains and high winds killed eight people in the southern African nation over the weekend. [AP]

A new study suggests that as the climate warms, outdoor hockey could become an endangered sport. [Time]

Australia’s flood crisis deepened on Monday, with hundreds more forced to flee their homes in the rich agricultural land of the southeast and a second death as a car was swept off the road in Queensland. [News 24]

Nearly two years after an explosion on an oil platform killed 11 workers and sent millions of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, deepwater drilling has regained momentum in the gulf and is spreading around the world. [NY Times]

Shares in BP rose over 2 percent on Monday after the oil giant reached a settlement with businesses and individuals impacted by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill worth an estimated $7.8 billion. [Reuters]

BP may face as much as $17.6 billion in civil pollution fines and possibly billions of dollars more in criminal penalties as its settlement with businesses and individuals harmed by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill shifts the focus to government claims. [Bloomberg]

Gasoline prices, rising quickly across the country, could increase even faster in New England over the next year because of the shutdown of three refineries that serve the Northeast and the likelihood that another could close in the summer. [Boston Globe]

There are lots of reasons for the rise in gas prices, but the lack of American production is not one of them. [NY Times]

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) attacked President Obama on Sunday as being “hostile to fossil fuels,” arguing that his policies were what’s causing pain at the gas pump for many Americans. [National Journal]

U.S. auto makers are introducing pickup trucks powered by natural gas as they look to catch the growing wave of interest in the fuel as an alternative to gasoline. [WSJ]

Dr. Michael Mann talks about the climate wars on NPR’s Science Friday. [NPR]

After Portugal’s driest February in 80 years, farmers are praying for a miracle as drought ravages pastures and sparks forest fires, exacerbating the country’s economic crisis. [Reuters]

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