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US-ENVIRONMENT Summary

Sep 15, 2011, 7:23 p.m.

More Americans believe world is warming: Reuters/Ipsos

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More Americans than last year believe the world is warming and the change is likely influenced by the Republican presidential debates, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said on Thursday. The percentage of Americans who believe the Earth has been warming rose to 83 percent from 75 percent last year in the poll conducted Sept 8-12.

Arctic ice melts to second-lowest level, says study

(Reuters) - Sea ice on the Arctic Ocean shrank to its second-smallest extent since modern records began, in keeping with a long-term trend, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported on Thursday. The annual sea ice minimum was reached on September 9, the center said on its website http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2011/091511.html in a preliminary finding.

U.S. blames BP for Gulf spill

WASHINGTON/HOUSTON (Reuters) - The United States heaped the lion's share of blame for the country's biggest ever offshore oil spill on BP on Wednesday as the government issued its final assessment of last year's Gulf disaster. In a report that may be pivotal in the multibillion-dollar legal battles to come and could set the stage for criminal charges, the Coast Guard and the offshore oil regulator said BP was solely to blame for 21 of 35 contributing causes to the Macondo well blow-out that led to the leak, and shared blame for eight more.

Al Gore: climate science "reality" versus Republicans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For Al Gore, the choice is obvious: Either accept scientific reality about climate change or believe what the fossil fuel industry is paying some Republican candidates to say. "Anti-climate lobbyists ... give massive campaign contributions and they're not shy about making it clear to the candidates they support that there's a quid pro quo. In return for getting their money, these candidates have to pretend that they really believe this nonsense," the longtime climate change campaigner said on Wednesday in a telephone interview.

Arctic sea ice coverage second lowest on record: report

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Sea-ice coverage across the Arctic Ocean has dwindled to its second-lowest level since satellite records started in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Areas of the Arctic with at least 15 percent sea-ice as of Saturday totaled 1.68 million square miles, slightly above the record-low of 1.61 million square miles recorded in 2007, the center said.

China raises bar for fuel-saving car subsidies

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has made qualifications more stringent for fuel-saving vehicle subsidies, part of efforts to cut emissions in the world's biggest auto market. Cars will be eligible for the 3,000-yuan ($470) subsidies only if they consume 6.3 liters of gas or less per 100 kilometers, compared with the previous level of 6.9 liters, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its website.

Greenhouse gas proposal to miss deadline: EPA chief

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Environmental Protection Agency will miss an end-of-month target for proposing greenhouse gas regulations for power plants, the head of the EPA said on Wednesday. The administration of President Barack Obama is under pressure from business to cut environmental regulation that critics say is hurting the economy, and last week Obama backtracked on smog plans.

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