Clean Start: December 13, 2011

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?Canada will pull out of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, Environment Minister Peter Kent said Monday, dealing a symbolic blow to the troubled global treaty. [Chicago Tribune]

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday Canada’s decision to quit the Kyoto treaty on greenhouse gas emissions was “regrettable” and called on the country to continue abiding by its commitments on climate change. [Reuters]

Over the past 10 years, the death of forest trees due to drought and increased temperatures has been documented on all continents except Antarctica. [Science Daily]

One big item on the green list for Congress this year is an extension of the production tax credit for wind energy, and the industry’s trade association, the American Wind Energy Association, released a dire study on Monday about what will happen without it. [NY Times]

Plans are moving forward to build electricity-producing wind turbines as part of a $250 million project in three Michigan counties. [AP]

Of the American species recognized by international observers as being under threat of extinction, 40 percent of birds, 50 percent of mammals, and 80–95 percent of other species such as amphibians, gastropods, crustaceans, and insects, were not recognized by the Endangered Species Act as threatened. [Science Daily]

The Obama administration Monday said it will wait until next summer to finalize its proposal to protect two kinds of Arctic seals, a decision that angered environmentalists who warned the animals are threatened by melting sea ice. [AP]

Solar photovoltaic systems are very close to achieving the tipping point in many regions: they can make electricity that’s as cheap — sometimes cheaper — than what consumers pay their utilities. [Science Daily]

High winds and heavy rain battered England and Wales on Monday night while parts of Scotland could face blizzard conditions later as the unsettled weather continues. [UK Press Association]

Strong winds are again forecast on Tuesday for Wales with gusts of up to 60mph expected. [BBC]

Insurers look set to absorb natural catastrophe claims of over $100 billion in 2011, more than double the total for 2010, making it the second most costly natural disaster year on record, reinsurer Swiss Re said. [Reuters]

An analysis of bee collection data over the past 130 years shows that spring arrives about 10 days earlier than in the 1880s, and bees and flowering plants have kept pace by arriving earlier in lock-step; most of this shift has occurred since 1970. [Science Daily]