E2 Round-up: Life after Yucca, Climate-gate flares, and Davos cheers for shale gas

The Review-Journal and New York Times report that the panel will be lead by former House member Lee Hamilton, who chaired the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks, and Brent Scowcroft, who was National Security Advisor to President George H.W. Bush.

Elsewhere, look for the “Climate-gate” controversy to flare again.

U.K. authorities say the university that houses the prominent Climatic Research Unit thwarted that nation’s information freedom law by failing to comply with requests for global warming data, in the Wall Street Journal and other outlets.

Emails among climate scientists hacked from the CRU late last year prompted allegations by several Republicans, and many other climate skeptics, that researchers tried to squelch data that undercuts the case that human-induced climate change is underway.

But Obama administration officials and many scientists have said nothing in the emails dents evidence that earth is warming, and burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests is playing a big role.

“We know that the fundamental physics of the science of climate change is correct. Carbon dioxide, when it is in the atmosphere, increases global warming,” the U.K. government’s top climate advisor, John Beddington, tells the BBC.

A lot of people are looking to natural gas – which emits far less carbon when burned than oil or coal – as a way to help slow down greenhouse gas emissions. Big U.S. supplies of shale gas are getting lots of attention, and deservedly so, says BP CEO Tony Hayward at the World Economic Forum in Davos, in the Guardian.

American debates about energy policy are at their most intense when oil prices spike, especially in an election season. Recall the GOP's “drill, baby, drill” rallying cry in the summer of 2008, when oil prices soared to $147 per barrel. Political support for longstanding U.S. offshore drilling bans melted away and Congress allowed them to lapse a couple months later.

But don’t look for a return of those prices, oil giant Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO tells Reuters at the Davos conference, arguing a $60-$80 range is more likely.