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Flashback: Bachmann called for 'armed and dangerous' citzenry on climate bill

In the wake of the tragic shootings in Tucson on Saturday, there has been a lot of talk about the influence of heated -- and at times, violent -- political rhetoric, which has seemingly escalated in recent years. Sarah Palin has gotten plenty of attention for her midterms target map (replete with bulls-eyes) of congressional districts, including Arizona's Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), who was critically injured in the shooting. But it's worth noting some of the other examples of extreme rhetoric -- notably Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) calling on constituents to get "armed and dangerous" over the climate bill. …

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Cancun climate breakthrough: It's not perfect, but it's a deal

It's not perfect, and it's not binding, but international climate negotiators have struck a deal. The final hours in Cancun were a world of difference from the closing night of the Copenhagen climate talks. Last year's summit closed with drama, confusion, and plenty of unhappy delegations, but the Mexico conference came to an end with multiple standing ovations for the host country and widespread concurrence among countries to approve the text of an agreement. It was after 3:00 a.m. when the parties adopted the agreement -- or two agreements, really: one that delays a decision on the future of the …

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Cancun: politics vs. science

There are quite a few numbers tossed around at climate negotiations. Should world leaders agree to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F) in the next decade, or 1.5 (2.7 F)? How many gigatons of carbon can the world cut in 10 years? Should they shoot for reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, or can the world deal with 450 parts per million? The numbers can be daunting, and discussions of them can get, well, heated. But they often avoid the reality that we're already on the path to …

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What to expect (or not) from the Cancun climate talks

Photo: Pietro IzzoThe hope -- and hype -- surrounding the climate negotiations in Copenhagen last December was hard to miss. Even though the possibility of securing a new global climate pact was scaled back significantly in the weeks ahead of the summit, the level of engagement was unprecedented. President Obama and more than 60 other heads of state from around the world flew in for the brutal final days of the summit, and in the closing hours a deal of sorts was finally hashed out. But a year later, there's almost no build-up to the sixteenth Conference of the Parties, …

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The feds' oil-spill number games

A still from the BP live feed.Initial government estimates about the size of the Gulf oil spill were low -- way, way low. The number the government repeated for four weeks, about 5,000 barrels per day, was about one-twelfth of the actual rate oil was seeping from the well. So what went wrong with the government's math? It's an awfully good question, one that watchdog groups want answered. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which represents whistleblower scientists at government agencies, announced Thursday that it is filing suit against the Obama administration to gain access to the paper trail on the government's …

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What to expect when you're expecting a GOP takeover

Courtesy of thorinside via FlickrAfter Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) apologized to BP in June for what he described as an Obama administration "shakedown," Democrats saw an opportunity. Within a week, Barton, the ranking minority member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, was starring in Democratic National Committee ads titled "How Republicans Would Govern." The White House even got in on the action. "Who would the GOP put in charge of overseeing the energy industry & Big Oil if they won control of Congress?" tweeted White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. "Yup, u guessed it - JOE BARTON." Barton certainly has an odious …

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The Gulf's invisible villain: natural gas

You can’t see or smell the methane released into the ocean with the oil, but experts say the villian is stealthily destroying marine life. Photo: ThinkquestWaves thick with crude, tar-slicked beaches, and oil-soddened wildlife -- it's all visible evidence of the havoc that oil has wreaked in the Gulf. But marine scientists now fear that colorless, odorless natural gas that escaped from the ruptured well is also destroying the delicate ocean ecosystems -- and BP might never be held accountable for the damage this "invisible villain" causes. Investigations have so far indicated that the rig explosion was caused by natural …

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Senate energy package: Wait, it gets worse!

Just got confirmation from several Senate offices about what is actually going to be in the package Democrats put forward next week. In a nutshell, this is going to be a very tiny package, with little in the way of energy measures. I'm not even sure you can call it an energy package at this point. Here's what we know is going to be in the package: Oil spill response measures, including elimination of the liability cap for damages and granting the power of subpoena to the presidential oil spill commission. Reforms to the Department of Interior division charged with …

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BP whistleblower: ‘They just don’t know who they’re messing with’

If you've been reading Mother Jones lately, you've heard about BP's stranglehold on media access in the Gulf, which has included preventing reporters from visiting oil-soaked public beaches and barring its spill cleanup workers from talking to the press. Now, one of BP's ex-media enforcers is speaking out. Former BP contractor Adam Dillon went public last Friday, telling a local news station in New Orleans that he was fed up with BP's handling of the spill response, not least of all its information clampdown. In an interview with Mother Jones this week, Dillon, who claims he was fired for raising …

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Can global warming give you kidney stones?

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt van RijnPhoto: Wikimedia Commons. The 1995 Chicago heat wave was one of the most brutal weather events the United States has ever experienced. On July 13, the thermostat hit 106 degrees F. Many of the city's poor and elderly residents had no air conditioning; many of those who did lost power as blackouts swept the city. Soon, thousands were suffering from dehydration, kidney failure, and respiratory distress. The hospitals were overloaded; the city couldn't cope with the flood of 911 calls. Over the following days, more than 600 people died from heat-related illnesses, with hundreds …

Read more: Climate & Energy