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Jon Rynn's Posts

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On the cutting edge

The Burlington Free Press has a story on some energy legislation Sen. Bernie Sanders is about to introduce: Sanders' proposed energy grants could be used by Vermont towns and counties to update building codes to require construction of energy-efficient homes and businesses, retrofit old buildings with newer technology, experiment with alternative energy, create incentives for residents to car pool or ride the bus, and organize voluntary efforts to encourage people to save energy by turning down their thermostats or replacing traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent lighting. The Senate also will vote on a Sanders amendment that would create a …

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Coal companies try a fast one

There is no better reminder of the perils of the end of the cheap gasoline era than the article in today's New York Times, ""Lawmakers Push for Big Subsidies for Coal Process," i.e., coal-to-liquids. This is the process that converts coal to diesel fuel, and while doing so, according to the NYT, emits 119 percent more greenhouse gases than conventional diesel. (David discussed the article this morning.) Of course, the coal companies will allegedly "try" to sequester the carbon, a position which will inevitably move to "just too expensive" and "technical difficulties." Dick Gephardt, of Democratic congressional fame, has even …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Continuing the debate

Recently, in the post "Global Warming and the vision thing," I criticized the use of numbers in advocating policies, arguing instead on behalf of concrete images. Jon Warnow, a Step It Up 2007 organizer, responded to my post, and I thought it would be appropriate to give him the benefit of a separate post, along with my reply: In Defense of the Numbers As an organizer that worked on the Step It Up 2007 efforts on April 14th, I am one of the global warming activists that is guilty of having "advocated policies based on numerical goals" as Jon Rynn …

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Using high gas prices to push for a rebirth

In today's New York Times, President Gerald Ford's energy adviser, in an article entitled "How to Win the Energy War," tries to use higher gas prices and oil dependence as an excuse to build more nuclear reactors: The other major way to wean us from oil is to resume construction of nuclear power plants. Nuclear energy is the cleanest and best option for America's electric power supply, yet it has been stalled by decades of unproductive debate. Our current commercial nuclear power plants have an outstanding record of safety and security, and new designs will only raise performance. How can …

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Concrete images of a greener society

Global warming activists have often advocated policies based on numerical goals or painted scary scenarios of the future. But there is a third way to advocate for long-term policies: propose solutions that contain a positive vision of a fossil fuel-free society. The importance of this approach was underlined to me when I heard Betsy Rosenberg of the radio show Ecotalk interview Chip Heath, an author of the business-oriented book, Made to Stick. She asked Heath what he thought of the phrase "20% by 2020," that is, reducing carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. She thought it had a nice ring …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy