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A modest proposal

According to a study by the National Wind Coordinating Committee, "Based on current projections of 3,500 operational wind turbines in the US by the end of 2001, excluding California, the total annual mortality was estimated at approximately 6,400 bird fatalities per year for all species combined." Let's say they lowballed things, they underestimated the number of turbines, underestimated the number of birds per turbine, and are sops to the wind industry. Let's double their number ... no, triple it.  No, quadruple! Let's say turbines kill 25,000 birds a year. According to the National Audubon Society, house cats kill 100,000,000 birds …

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Global warming and natural disasters

What is the relationship between global warming and the recent tsunami in the Indian Ocean (and natural disasters more generally)? Who is and is not drawing such a connection? Who is and is not trying to score political points around it? There's been a flurry of writing on the subject recently. We begin with today's Muckraker ... which follows up on this post. Our own Amanda Griscom Little argues that, contrary to the assertions of some right-wing cranks, no enviro is in fact claiming that global warming caused the tsunami. What some enviros are claiming is that global warming -- …

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Top environmental events of 2004

What were the big eco-events of 2004? More than 2,000 members of the Sierra Club voted. The results are here.

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The year in renewable energy news

A lot happened this year in the world of renewable energy.  As Renewable Energy Access summarizes: 2004 was a banner year for renewable energy! PV production capacity reached the 1GW mark; Global Wind Power continued to blow at hurricane strength, even with a downturn in the U.S. market; Bioenergy gained critical momentum powered largely by biodiesel; Ocean Energy moved from a few ripples to serious swells in Europe and the U.S.; Green Energy purchases became synonymous with sustainable business practices; and lots more...whew! They've got a four-part year-in-review feature that makes for great skimming.  Here's Jan-March, April-June, July-Sep, and Oct-Dec.

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You go Conoco

ConocoPhillips has decided to withdraw from Arctic Power, the main lobbying group pushing for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We were actually going to write this up in the Daily Grist today, but our subscription to the Wall Street Journal, where it was reported, has mysteriously stopped working. (Anybody got a login they'd care to share? Not that I would ever encourage you to do something illegal, like send the login and password to droberts at grist dot org.) Luckily, the Green Life Blog has a summary of the story, with some trenchant thoughts on its significance. Of …

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Green coffee for the office

A short, concise, and helpful answer to the question of how to find the most eco-friendly coffee solution for your office, from Treehugger.

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Ending global poverty

Environmentalists are often hamstrung by their own category, prevented by the narrow confines of what counts as "environmental" from commenting on subjects that have immense, if indirect, environmental effects. (This is one of the principal critiques of the movement in "The Death of Environmentalism" (PDF), about which Grist will have much, much more to say in coming weeks.) Case in point: global poverty. While not directly "environmental," the persistance of extreme poverty in several parts of the world leads directly to deforestation, water table depletion, and a host of other eco-ills. With this in mind I recommend this Alex Steffen …

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GMO

If you can tolerate pointless (though free) web registration and downloading a PDF, this piece on agricultural biotechnology (uh, PDF) in the latest World Watch Magazine is good reading.

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Top 10 sustainable biz stories of 2004

I find myself tempted to link to just about every post on Joel Makower's blog, and this list of the ten biggest stories in green business in 2004 is no exception. As he says: The bottom line: amid steady declines in ecosystem indicators and devastating rollbacks by the Bush Administration in environmental laws and enforcement, there's some good news to report. Companies seem to be stepping up to the plate -- or are being forced to do so by shareholders, activists, or competitors. Glass half full and all that ... UPDATE: If you'd like to get involved in green investing …

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Dumb mongering

I don't want to get into the habit of flagging every piece of writing by a climate change skeptic -- it's a mug's game. But this column by Debra Saunders goes beyond the usual selective emphasis and obfuscation and crosses the line into, well, stupidity. She starts by pointing out that no enviro has blamed global warming for the recent tsunamis. Right. That would be dumb. But, it seems, some have pointed out that rising sea levels -- which are attributable to global warming -- are likely to increase the damage done by future tsunamis. Saunders calls this "capitalizing on …

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