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Clean Start: October 12, 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?

Video: New Zealand fears the stricken Rena container ship, which has been oiling the coast, will break up. [Guardian]

Australia’s lower house of parliament has narrowly passed a bill for a controversial carbon tax. [BBC]

Thailand’s worst floods in more than 50 years have reached levels that threaten to overwhelm barriers protecting Bangkok, said Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na- Ranong, who urged residents in the capital to be prepared. [Businessweek]

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Four dolphin carcasses have been found washed up in Alabama this week, bringing the number lost since the BP oil spill to more than 400. [AL.com]

The winners of the 2011 Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Awards were announced at the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, showcasing excellence in holistic retrofitting projects from around the world. [Greenbuild]

Food prices are expected to soar substantially with energy tied closer to agriculture and extreme weather events becoming more common, a U.N. report found. [UPI]

HP, Intel, Sony are among the 21 electronics companies, industry groups and NGOs that have joined a U.S. government-led effort to create a reputable supply chain for conflict-free minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo. [Greenbiz]

Mercury levels have dropped about 20 percent in the Great Lakes in recent decades but remain dangerously high and are getting worse in some places, scientists said in a report released Tuesday. [WSJ]

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In an effort to prove electric cars will work — are “normal” — even in the smaller cities of middle America, Mitsubishi Motors is flooding the city of Normal, Ill., with up to 1,000 of its coming “i” electric cars. [USA Today]