News bites: Utility giant shelves carbon capture plan, pirates hinder climate research, and more

The New York Times reports that utility powerhouse American Electric Power will shelve efforts to trap carbon emissions from a West Virginia coal plant.

The Times, noting the project was the leading effort to trap the greenhouse gas from an existing plant, calls the decision “a severe blow to efforts to rein in emissions responsible for global warming.”

Oil giant ConocoPhillips will split into two companies, separating its refining business from oil production.

“With the move, ConocoPhillips becomes the first of the so-called super majors to shift away from the strategy that caused the industry to consolidate into a handful of players with global reach in the oil and gas production and oil products businesses,” Reuters reports.

The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. coal giant Peabody Energy will pursue a big mining project in China.

The Associated Press reports that Japan’s prime minister is pushing to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear power.

Climate change researchers are facing a new challenge.

“Australian scientists say piracy in the Indian Ocean is hampering climate change research. Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, says the danger posed by Somali pirates is preventing scientists from deploying equipment that collects data,” Radio Australia News reports.

Scientific American reports on a new study that concludes the federal government is underestimating the damage from carbon emissions.