Clean Start: January 5, 2012

Welcome back to Clean Start, ThinkProgress Green’s morning round-up of the latest in climate and clean energy. Here is what we’re reading.

Scientists may have found out the reason behind the alarming honey bee die-off around the world: A parasitic fly that hijacks the bees’ bodies and causes them to abandon hives. [AP]

Back in 1972, the EPA had photographers capture the “environmental happenings and non-happenings” of the decade for a project called Documerica. Now, more than 15,000 images of the 80,000 have been digitized and posted online. [NYT]

A look at if Iran followed through on its threat to blockade the Strait of Hormuz, a transit route for one-fifth of the global oil trade, predicts that oil prices would soar 50 percent or more within days. [NYT]


One writer argues that when talking about climate change, environmentalists should focus on solutions and not warnings. [The Guardian]

Look no further than the bus drivers and transit workers to find the environmentalists in New York City. [Daily News]

Public awareness of electric cars is up, but Pike Research finds consumer interest in the car has gradually declined 8 percent over the past two years. [Market Watch]

Natural disasters in 2011 were the costliest in history at $380 billion in losses, but only a third of those costs were covered by insurance, without even including health-related expenses. [Science News]

Clean-energy technology such as wind and solar rely on five rare earth materials that are limited in supply, according to an Energy Department report. The report looked at 16 materials used in batteries after China imposed export restrictions in 2010. [Bloomberg]

A study by researchers at Duke University shows that warming oceans and melting ice may cause more seal deaths. [CTV]