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Japhet Koteen's Posts

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Tar Sands Protest is like the War on Drugs

What I am about to say may be considered blasphemy: I think the tar sands protests are misguided and will not (should not) achieve their stated goal. Before you grab your sustainably harvested bamboo pitchforks, I should say that I want the protests and arrests to continue, because there could be a much greater win, if we play it right. The Keystone XL Pipeline is not the problem. Approval of the pipeline will not be "Game over for climate" anymore than the resurgence in Afghani poppy production is "Game over for heroin addicts."  Like America's misguided War on Drugs, the …

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Obama secretly saves world while environmentalists protest

While Bill McKibben and Daryl Hannah were getting hauled away in handcuffs in protest of the Obama administration's decision to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, that same administration was quietly fixing the problem.  I don't have an informed opinion about the pipeline, except that it's clearly a symptom of our addiction to fossil energy and not the cause. When you start digging down to the root causes of our dependence on oil, gas, and coal, you will find government-subsidized suburban sprawl. Though curbing sprawl won't end our addiction to cheap oil, stabilize the climate, or pull us out of the Great …

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Airport beekeeping project is a win-win-win

A buzz-worthy idea.I'm jaded, but sometimes an idea is so good that it breaks through my cynical shell and gives me hope. The Chicago O'Hare Airport apiary is one of those ideas: The project addresses three problems at once and should be immediately replicated by the rest of the airports in the world.  Problem 1: Bee populations are mysteriously dying. Read more about colony collapse disorder and the threat it poses to agricultural production.  Problem 2: Vacant land near airports cannot be used for development. FAA regulations prohibit many economically productive uses because having a plane crash-land on an office …

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We can save $78 billion by ending oil and gas subsidies

As the debt showdown between President Obama and top House Republicans drags on, you've probably been hearing about the billions in tax subsidies we give to the oil and gas industry each year. And if you haven't been, you should be; eliminating those subsidies would be a great way to reduce spending without raising taxes or cutting services. So what does all that money go toward? And aside from a broken climate and oil spills, what exactly does it buy? Fossil-energy companies get tax exemptions, free access to drill on public land, special accounting rules to hide profits, protection from …

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Better cities could save $31 billion a year

A new report by CEO's For Cities shows how access to destinations is more important than how fast you can drive in your car while you are trying to get there.  The report, titled, "Driven Apart: How Sprawl is lengthening our commutes and why misleading mobility measures are making things worse" makes a couple of points, which you can probably guess from the title, but I'll lay it out anyway:  1. People who live in sprawling metropolitan areas, spend more time commuting in their cars; and 2. Measuring traffic congestion without considering the length of the trip is not the best …

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