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Global warming hates the Ohio State Buckeyes

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. This Saturday's Crankshaft cartoon took on global warming, noting that climate change is threatening Ohio's iconic buckeye trees, the namesake of the Ohio State Buckeyes. "Once it starts to affect football, they'll get moving on climate change," one character says: As greenhouse pollution from oil and coal continues to build, the Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra) is on its way out of the Buckeye State. Between 1990 and 2006, United States hardiness zones shifted northward, putting Ohio closer to the southern end of buckeye viability. That trend will accelerate. A 2007 study by Daniel W. McKenney and …

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Announcement of alternate tar-sands pipeline sends Midwest oil prices surging

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. After the spiking of the Keystone XL pipeline by the Obama administration, the tar-sands industry moved quickly to open an alternate route from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. With the announcement of the pipeline deal, U.S. oil prices spiked, on the expectation that Canadian tar-sands crude would no longer be locked in the Midwest market. ConocoPhillips sold its stake in the Seaway Pipeline, which connects Texas to Oklahoma, to Enbridge Inc. Enbridge plans to alter the 200,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) pipeline so that it can take Candian crude from Oklahoma to Texas: The sale of an oil …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil

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Energy companies get $24 billion of corporate welfare from taxpayers

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. Tax breaks and subsidies for energy companies have gotten so extreme that dozens of top companies have made billions in profits while having negative taxes -- actually receiving taxpayer welfare instead of paying anything to the federal treasury. An analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found dozens of companies that had a negative tax balance [PDF] between 2008 and 2010, while making billions in profits. Because of tax breaks and questionable tax dodging, these companies reported higher post-tax profits than pretax profits, often actually getting checks from the …

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Fact check: Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline will not create jobs

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. Proponents of the dangerous Keystone XL project claim that construction of the 1,700-mile tar-sands pipeline from Canada to Texas will create tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of much-needed jobs across the country. "Jobs for the 99%!" proclaims a website funded by the American Petroleum Institute (API). The Wall Street Journal promises "13,000 union jobs." On the House floor today, Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) claimed the pipeline will create "20,000 high-wage construction jobs." Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) says the pipeline will "create 14,600 jobs in Illinois." The U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims the project …

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Fact Check: Keystone XL will not reduce oil imports from Middle East

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. The Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline will not reduce dependence on imports from the Middle East, an analysis conducted for the Department of Energy revealed a year ago. The hope of getting away from oil from the volatile region is a favored talking point by proponents. "The Keystone project has the potential to significantly reduce oil imports from the Middle East," Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) has claimed. However, an analysis by Department of Energy contractor Ensys Energy in December 2010 found that the pipeline would have virtually no impact on Middle East imports [PDF]: In contrast, efforts …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil

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Rep. Ralph Hall attacks his own badly designed clean energy standard

Ralph Hall.Photo: vexroboticsCross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), the science-denying chairman of the House science committee, says a federal clean energy standard would be an "expensive new electricity tax on the American people," based on a study he requested. An analysis by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of a clean energy standard (CES) he designed finds that "household electricity bills could jump an average of $115 per year by 2025." President Obama has called for a CES of 80 percent clean electricity production by 2035, allowing for production from renewable sources, nuclear, natural gas, and coal, with carbon …

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Top Obama official warns of consequences of Arctic drilling

Photo: NASACross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. Jane Lubchenco, a top marine ecologist and senior Obama administration official, is concerned that opening the Arctic to oil and gas development brings unknown risks to human civilization. In an exclusive interview with ThinkProgress Green, Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), discussed the vicious circle of oil and gas greenhouse pollution melting the Arctic sea ice, making it possible for new oil and gas drilling in the region that will melt the ice even faster. Lubchenco had just appeared in a panel on threats to oceans at the Society of …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil

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Obama rips GOP defeatism: ‘I’m not going to surrender to other countries’

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. This morning, President Barack Obama bashed the Republican argument that the United States can no longer compete in global manufacturing. Earlier this week, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) said that the bankruptcy of Solyndra means that the United States should surrender the clean-energy race to China. "We can't compete with China to make solar panels and wind turbines," Stearns told NPR, because one advanced-technology solar company that had received private and public financing had closed shop. "I'm not going to surrender to other countries," Obama shot back in today's press conference, after noting that Stearns, like dozens …

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Economists say coal is incredibly costly

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. A new economic analysis of the costs of pollution to the United States finds that coal power is harming the economy. In the American Economic Review article "Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy," economists Nicholas Z. Muller, Robert Mendelsohn, and William Nordhaus model the physical and economic consequences of emissions of six major pollutants (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, ammonia, fine particulate matter, and coarse particulate matter) from the country's 10,000 pollution sources. They estimate the "gross external damages" (GED) from the sickness and death caused by the pollution, and compare …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Coal

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Public disservice: Pipeline hearings run by Keystone XL contractor

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. In a stunning conflict of interest, public hearings on federal approval for a proposed tar-sands pipeline are being run by a contractor for the pipeline company itself. The U.S. Department of State's public hearings along the proposed route of the TransCanada Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline this week are under the purview of Cardno Entrix, a "professional environmental consulting company" that specializes in "permitting and compliance." Cardno is not only running the State Department hearings, but also manages the department's Keystone XL website and drafted the department's environmental impact statement (EIS). Comments from the public about the …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil