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Another wild hurricane season ahead, forecasters say

Wild weather ahead.
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Wild weather ahead.

Following a tempestuous 2012, another torrent of hurricanes and superstorms is forecast to crash into the Atlantic coastline this year.

The prediction is based on warmer-than-average temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and a low probability of El Niño in the Pacific Ocean.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Biblical flood means climate change isn’t caused by humans, says Texas Rep. Joe Barton

As the climate changes, some species survive and some do not.
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The Great Flood happened, therefore climate science is a fraud.

Most people realize that the seas are rising, hurricanes are becoming more ferocious, and oceans are turning to acid because we keep digging up fossil fuels, burning them, and poisoning the atmosphere.

But Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) is not most people. He's a die-hard climate denier, and a particularly clueless one at that.

During a hearing yesterday on a GOP bill that would fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline without the blessing of President Barack Obama, Barton muttered some batshit crazy stuff.

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Keystone XL protestor cleverly disrupts Valero golf tournament, explains how he did it

Jeez, it seems a wealthy white dude can't even flick mindlessly between Fox News and golf broadcasts these days without being rudely interrupted by a message about the evils of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Last week at the Texas Open, a professional golf tournament sponsored by oil giant Valero, one of the signs being held by volunteer Doug Fahlbusch was changed at the 18th hole from stating players' names and scores to reveal this message: "TAR SANDS SPILL. ANSWER MANCHESTER."

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Tar Sands Blockade

Some of the tar-sands oil that would be piped to the Gulf Coast by Keystone XL would be processed by Valero in Houston's East End, which includes the neighborhood of Manchester, where pollution from industrial operations has long sickened residents.

As you can imagine, Fahlbusch's statement caused quite the kerfuffle among hoity-toity golf officials and he was carried away by security and arrested by police. Watch the video below and you'll see one security guard is particularly anxious to wrestle the dastardly sign from the protestor's hand, even as he is being carried away, perhaps worried that the offensive message might hurt the innocent eyes of any women or children. Which is not bloody likely, given that most golf fans are wealthy middle-aged white men.

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Climate change curriculum for American kids watered down

"Dude, does climate change make books swirl around like that? If only I'd learned more at kindergarten."
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"Dude, does climate change make books swirl around like that? If only I'd learned more in kindergarten."

New science education guidelines will formalize the teaching of evolution and climate change in American classrooms. But before they were finalized, recommended global warming lessons were watered down.

We mentioned the draft guidelines last month, noting they are expected to be adopted by the 26 states that helped draft them and that other states might also use them (not Texas, though). The final version of the guidelines was unveiled Tuesday.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Coal-mining jobs on the rise under Obama

No, Obama is not slowing down coal mining.
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No, Obama is not slowing down coal mining.

Americans are burning less coal every year, but thousands more of them are making a living from mining it.

The average number of coal-mining jobs under the Obama administration has been 15.3 percent higher than the average under George W. Bush, according to a new report [PDF] from the nonprofit Appalachian Voices. The report tries to debunk the claim made by coal-mining companies that Obama is waging war on them. The growth in coal-mining jobs in all of the leading coal-mining states is attributable, the group says, to a surge in exports and to a decline in mining efficiency as workers attempt to scour the last deposits from mines.

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Michigan neighbors sue to shut down new wind farm

Lake Winds Energy Park sure looks peaceful, but 17 neighbors claim otherwise.
Lake Winds Energy Park
Lake Winds Energy Park sure looks peaceful, but 17 neighbors claim otherwise.

Neighbors of a 56-turbine wind farm built last year in Mason County, Mich., have filed a lawsuit claiming that the turbines have negatively affected their health and wealth and should be shut down.

The lawsuit [PDF], filed by 17 property owners in a community along the east shore of Lake Michigan, alleges that Lake Winds Energy Park keeps them awake at night and has left them fatigued and stressed, unable to concentrate properly, and stricken with headaches, dizziness, nausea, and ringing and aching in the ears. They also say it has decreased their property values. They are seeking financial payouts and a shuttering of the facility.

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Skiers and snowboarders to Obama: Save our snow!

Landing a jump like this with no snow would be painful.
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Landing a jump like this with no snow would be painful.

For the athletes who make a living skiing, snowboarding, and pursuing other adventurous sports on the snow and ice, the gnarly changes underway in the climate are especially bad news.

Scores of athletes, including Olympic medalists, said as much in a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, trying to bring attention to the alarming disappearance of white winters.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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North Carolina joins rush to protect animal abusers

A bill in North Carolina would make it harder to stop animal abuses — like those documented at a Butterball turkey farm.
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A bill in North Carolina would make it harder to stop animal abuses — like those documented at a Butterball turkey farm.

Ronnie Jacobs last week became the fifth Butterball employee to plead guilty to cruelty-to-animals charges after workers at a North Carolina factory farm were filmed kicking and beating turkeys in 2011. The animal rights activists who filmed the abuse provided evidence that triggered a law enforcement raid and led to six people being charged.

From a 2012 ABC story:

Mercy for Animals, the animal rights group that shot the undercover video, said there had been no insider information about abuse at the facility before the tape was made. "Unfortunately, every time we send an investigator they emerge with shocking evidence of animal abuse," said MFA executive director Nathan Runkle.

Are these activists being showered with accolades and gratitude for doing the work that law-enforcement agencies apparently don't care to do? Hell no! The North Carolina legislature is trying to criminalize their activities.

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All U.S. nuclear reactors are too dangerous, says former nuke-safety chief

nuclear plant
Thomas Anderson
Beware.

Right on the heels of troubling news from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, here comes troubling news about nuke plants in the U.S.

From The New York Times:

All 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology, the former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Monday. Shutting them all down at once is not practical, he said, but he supports phasing them out rather than trying to extend their lives.

The position of the former chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, is not unusual in that various anti-nuclear groups take the same stance. But it is highly unusual for a former head of the nuclear commission to so bluntly criticize an industry whose safety he was previously in charge of ensuring.

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Fukushima Daiichi is undead

zombie warning
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Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was killed in early 2011 and has not produced power since. But it's turned into a radioactive zombie, wreaking havoc long after its pulse flatlined.

Nuclear rods at the disabled plant must be kept cool to prevent them from triggering another nuclear meltdown. But the building that houses them has been wrecked by explosions and compromised by a rodent. Even pits that hold radioactive water at the site are failing.