Clean Start: January 31, 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?

A report from NASA’s James Hansen and two colleagues from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies shows that the 2011 Texas and Oklahoma heat wave — as well as a deadly Moscow heat in 2010 — were “a consequence of global warming because their likelihood was negligible prior to the recent rapid global warming.” [Inside Climate News]

A new NASA study underscores the fact that greenhouse gases generated by human activity — not changes in solar activity — are the primary force driving global warming. [Science Daily]

January has been an unusually violent month for tornadoes in the USA: 70 twisters have been reported. [USA Today]

Weather is growing more unpredictable and extreme, said Mathew Barlow, professor of UMass Lowell’s Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department, an expert in climate-change studies. [Lowell Sentinel and Enterprise]


As time goes on, climate change will have an increasingly major impact on biological diversity, and nowhere more so than in Arctic and alpine environments, which are exposed to the most extreme climate changes. [PhysOrg]

A drought that a government official called the most severe Mexico had ever faced has left two million people without access to water and, coupled with a cold snap, has devastated cropland in nearly half of the country. [NYT]

This week, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman and other senior Energy Department officials will participate in events across the country to highlight President Obama’s State of the Union address and discuss the Obama Administration’s commitment to renewable energy, natural gas, and nuclear power. [DOE]

The oil companies that are causing climate change have climate adaptation strategies in place. [Triple Pundit]

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who is heading the GOP probe of the failed solar company Solyndra, said Republicans are meeting this week to discuss contempt charges against the White House over its response to last year’s subpoena for documents. [The Hill]


In a visit to Harvard, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus spoke about the Navy’s commitment to alternative energy at Harvard Business School on Monday evening. [The Crimson]

On the day the Deepwater Horizon sank, BP officials warned in internal e-mails that if the well was not protected by the blowout preventer, crude oil could burst into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of 3.4 million gallons a day — an amount a million gallons more than what the government later said it believed had spilled daily from the site. [NYT]

Gasoline prices, already at record levels for January, rose again over the last week, the Energy Department said. [LA Times]

At least 30 people have died in the past five days in a cold snap in Ukraine that has brought temperatures down to minus 33 Celsius (minus 27 Fahrenheit), the Emergencies Ministry said Tuesday. [Reuters]

Analysts polled by Reuters expect prices of corn, soybeans and wheat to tumble as much as 15 percent from a year ago, which will benefit companies that produce meat like Pilgrim’s Pride Corp, Sanderson Farms, and Tyson Foods Inc in terms of lower feed costs. [Reuters]