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GOP tries to force Big Coal’s poison pill on tax cut bill

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. GOP leadership in Congress has decided to use must-pass payroll tax cut legislation as a vehicle to push key polluter priorities, despite a veto threat from the White House. House Republicans have attached a rider to extend a Clean Air Act loophole for the coal industry, daring a White House veto. The coal-powered poison pill, inserted into Title I, Section B of H.R. 3630 as the "EPA Regulatory Relief Act," would establish a five-year delay in Boiler Maximum Available Control Technology (MACT) rules, striking down four Environmental Protection Agency rules. Section A is Rep. Lee Terry's …

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Top eight climate disasters during the Durban climate talks

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. During the two weeks of the international climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, millions of people have been affected by extreme weather disasters. Our poisoned climate is fueling more extreme and dangerous weather, as the super-heated atmosphere brings heavier rains, harder droughts, and fiercer storms. These eight climate disasters that took place while the world's governments debate whether to address climate pollution have killed dozens of people, displaced tens of thousands of people, and disrupted the lives of millions, and yet are far from the most damaging of 2011: 8. Canada weather bomb Dec. 8: Hurricane-force …

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Durban dispatch: U.S. takes ‘recourse to nonsense’

It's just a guidepost, guys. No need to panic.Photo: US Mission GenevaCross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. China limits commitments This week, China's top climate envoy said that the nation would be open to signing a formal treaty limiting emissions after 2020 -- but laid down conditions for doing so that are unlikely ever to be met. Xie Zhenhua, the head of the Chinese delegation, has refused to confirm that China would, as he had suggested, accept a binding international obligation to slow the growth in its emissions. U.S. stance on climate risks increasingly absurd The limit of 2 degrees C [3.6 …

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Durban dispatch: Fear of Kyoto commitment

An activist shows support for the Kyoto Protocol in Durban.Photo: Hollywood NorthCross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. "Even if others are not, we are ready to take a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol," said European commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard. Australia and New Zealand, which sponsor the most developed carbon markets outside Europe, say they won't agree to remain part of the Kyoto treaty unless other countries bolster efforts to curb emissions.  Brazil, South Africa, India, and China, known as "BASIC countries," remained united over major issues in relation to climate change, a senior Chinese official on climate change …

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Huntsman bows to right wing, reverses position on climate science

Photo: Gage SkidmoreCross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. At an oil-sponsored event at the Heritage Foundation, presidential candidate Jon Huntsman reversed his prior defense of climate science. Huntsman, who famously mocked his fellow candidates for questioning global warming in August, was asked by NewsBusters blogger Lachlan Markey if humans contribute to climate change. Huntsman said that the "scientific community owes us more": I don't know, I'm not a scientist, nor am I a physicist, but I would defer to science ... The scientific community owes us more in terms of a better description or explanation about what might lie beneath all of …

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Durban dispatch: Practical progress and water woes

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. "The Nepalese government has exhausted funds to drain the Tsho Rolpa (Nepal's biggest glacial lake), which poses an immediate threat to at least 10,000 people," said Samjwal Bajracharya, the lead author of a new report on the status of glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, also known as the Third Pole. Thai Airways International will lose about $100 million in revenues in Q4 due to the flood crisis, airline president Piyasvasti Amranand said Tuesday.  Efforts to establish water as an agenda item in its own right in climate change negotiations are gaining momentum in Durban. …

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Durban dispatch: Climate-talks failure is ‘moral apartheid’

The march on Saturday. Photo: Oxfam InternationalCross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. As the first week of climate negotiations drew to a close, Saturday saw people from across Africa and beyond march through the streets of Durban to demand progress on a fair, ambitious, and legally binding global climate deal. Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga said failure at U.N. climate talks in Durban is a "moral apartheid" that cannot be allowed to happen. Several animal species including gorillas in Rwanda and tigers in Bangladesh could risk extinction if the impact of climate change and extreme weather on their habitats is …

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Economist: We’ll just move to Siberia to escape climate change

Siberia: A perfect place to move after climate change messes up your home.Photo: Sean RouvinskyCross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. The inability of mainstream economists to grapple with the consequences of unrestrained global warming has been a recurring theme at ThinkProgress Green. However, the gold medal for sociopathic insouciance about a world of unimaginable biodiversity collapse, global desertification, the death of the oceans, and the inevitable wars and chaos that would bring would have to go to Karl Smith, one of the bloggers at the influential economics blog Modeled Behavior. In his post "In Praise of Dirty Energy: There Are Worse Things …

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Durban dispatch: Climate deniers rip Tutu

Canadian climate deniers gave Archbishop Desmond Tutu flack for speaking out against Canada's oil sands.Photo: Greater Tacoma Community FoundationCross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. Activists used hundreds of LED emergency lights to spell "climate fail" across the Canadian Parliament lawn in huge, illuminated letters to send Prime Minister Stephen Harper the message that he must listen to people, not polluters.  Canada's right-wing National Post said Archbishop Desmond Tutu "should shut his trap when it comes to the oil sands," calling his criticism "unwarranted hysteria from naïve environmentalists."  Canadian climate denier Rex Murphy attacked the Durban conference, saying Tutu "should be ashamed" for …

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Durban dispatch: Canada blames Canada

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. The Canadian Youth Delegation has publicly apologized for the actions of the Canadian government and their negotiators at Durban, publishing an apology letter in a local newspaper. The Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, which has the highest per-capita greenhouse gas emissions in the world, has been selected as the site of the United Nations climate change meeting next year. "Qatar has an appalling record of ignoring workers' rights, especially migrants, and the decision to hold next year's climate summit there sends a wrong message and risks delaying vital action," global trade union representatives complained. The United …