News bites: Hackers invade oil companies, Prince Charles takes on climate skeptics, and more

“Prince Charles lashed out Wednesday at climate change skeptics, saying they are playing ‘a reckless game of roulette’ with the planet's future,” The Associated Press reports.

“Skeptics are having a ‘corrosive effect’ on public opinion, the British heir to the throne added.”

The St. Petersburg Times reports that former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is battling offshore drilling.

“Former Gov. Charlie Crist and former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink returned to the Capitol on Wednesday to try to do what they couldn't while in office: ban oil drilling,” the paper reports.

“Sink and Crist joined Democratic lawmakers and environmental activists to launch a petition drive to place a constitutional amendment banning drilling on the November 2012 ballot,” the piece states.

The story later adds: “The amendment, if it makes the ballot and receives 60 percent of the vote, would prohibit drilling or exploration in waters within 10 miles of shore.”

Finally, a big Chinese energy company is increasing its investments in Canada.

“PetroChina Co., the country’s biggest energy producer, agreed to buy a 50 percent stake in Encana Corp.’s Cutbank Ridge gas assets in Canada for C$5.4 billion ($5.4 billion) in its largest overseas acquisition,” Bloomberg reports.

“The purchase is PetroChina’s first of gas assets in North America and takes energy acquisitions by Chinese companies to about $46 billion since the start of 2010 as they compete for global resources with South Korean and Indian rivals. State-controlled PetroChina is paying about 20 percent more than the U.S. benchmark gas price, analyst Gordon Kwan estimates,” the story adds.