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Ink-stained wretches

All over the map: Rounding up editorial reax to Copenhagen

It's too weak! ... No, it was a fool's errand to begin with ... China is to blame! Of course not, it was the United States that brokered a bad deal for the world's poor ... There's no hope ... Progress was made, there's more to do ... Despair ... Hope ... theogeo via FlickrSuch was the general tone struck by newspaper editorial boards over the weekend about the climate accord announced late Friday from Copenhagen. Below is a roundup of Copenhagen editorializing. As the product of pre-1990s public education in the United States, this author is only able to …

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Obama's big speech

No climate action, no peace, says Obama in Nobel speech

President Obama delivers his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. Photo: Nobelprize.org In accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo today, President Obama touched briefly on the issue of climate change, lumping it in with a laundry list of "soft" issues like economic security, food security, and education. Here's the excerpt, which came very late in the speech: ...a just peace includes not only civil and political rights – it must encompass economic security and opportunity. For true peace is not just freedom from fear, but freedom from want. It is undoubtedly true that development rarely takes root without security; it …

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Just Freakin' Read It

Why the ‘SuperFreakonomics’ global-warming chapter is worth your time

The two Steves knew exactly what they were doing when they sat down to pen the final chapter of their sequel to their 2005 bestseller Freakonomics. In the now infamous chapter in the newly released SuperFreakonomics, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner manage to downplay the global warming threat, compare climate change believers to religious fanatics, and accept at face value the assertion by some pointy-headed geeks that they can save the world on the cheap. No surprise, SuperFreakonomics set off a firestorm of criticism and angry rebuke. To quote Joe Romm, "the Superfreaks frame this chapter mostly as their (misguided) …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Tim Flannery boils it down

Put a cap on it, America!

Tim Flannery says the U.S. Senate absolutely must pass some form of carbon cap before the Copenhagen talks in December.Mark Coulson, 5th World Conference of Science JournalistsDon't let the perfect be the enemy of the absolutely essential. That's the message author and climate campaigner Tim Flannery brought to Grist's Seattle office today. By that, he means: The U.S. Congress absolutely must pass climate legislation that puts a cap on the country's total carbon emissions. Failure to do so will take pressure off other nations to follow suit, effectively undermining the spirit and intent of the international climate talks set to …

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Every day is climate action day...

A Savage way to save the world

Blogging won''t save the world, nor will rowing across the ocean. But join Roz Savage and thousands of others on Oct. 24 for 350.org's climate action day!Courtesy Roz SavageA million keyboards were singing on Wednesday as bloggers across the Internet drummed up support for action on climate change. The cynical move here would be to take a great big potshot at Blog Action Day, e.g.: "Thanks, bloggers, for dedicating a whole day to this topic. [Insert eye rolling] Your bits and bytes will help change minds and save the world." And after attending an event the other night in Seattle, …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Lame theory

The computer has spoken: Copenhagen will be a failure

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita uses game theory to predict all sorts of geopolitical and business outcomes. Don't ask him about global warming...Courtesy NYUCancel your plans for flying to Denmark this December. Send the polar bear suits back to the costume shop, and quit boning up on all those U.N. acronyms (IPCC ... UNFCCC ... AWG-LCA ...). The COP-15 climate talks in Copenhagen will fail. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, "one of the world's most prominent applied game theorists," has already gamed out the talks, according to the New York Times Magazine: Global warming is another area where politics are doomed to …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Clunk You, Detroit!

Cash-for-Clunkers returns from the dead … until Labor Day

The Senate celebrated the imminent arrival of the annual August recess by confirming Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination and ponying up an additional $2 billion for the highly successful (though dubiously green) cash-for-clunkers program. The vote was 60 to 37, with Democrats almost unanimously supporting the extension and Republicans nearly united in opposition. President Obama has said he will sign the bill ASAP. That $2 billion, various news reports agree, will keep the program running through Labor Day. "Administration officials have said the extension will subsidize the sale of another 500,000 new vehicles. Consumers get breaks of up to $4,500 …

Read more: Politics

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ACES low...

Obama stays on message … health care, health care, health care

The White House billed Wednesday night's primetime press conference as being about health care reform. And sure enough, President Obama and the press by and large stuck to that script. The president made a passing mention of renewable energy in his opening remarks, saying the U.S. economy "simply wasn't ready to compete in the 21st century, one where we've been slow to invest in clean-energy technologies that have created new jobs and industries in other countries." After that, all health care, with a smattering of the Prof. Gates arrest at the end. The media did not ask a single question …

Read more: Politics

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Last of the 'dead enders'

Palin eschews facts and economics in blasting cap-and-trade bill

The cap-and-trade climate and energy bill passed by the House last month is not a perfect piece of legislation. Critics on the right and left have leveled tough criticisms at it, questioning whether it will do much to accomplish its stated goal of cutting carbon emissions or if it will overburden average consumers with high energy prices. Palin takes to the pages of The Washington Post to blast away at President Obama's cap-and-trade plan. Too bad she's firing away with blanks. Above, Palin on the campaign trail last year.Courtesy sskennel via FlickrThese criticisms, typically, come backed by well-reasoned arguments. The …

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Big Ag Wins!

Peterson gets his way with climate and energy bill

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) on Tuesday surrendered to agriculture interests on a key provision in the massive climate and energy bill he introduced with Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). Facing a defection from farm-state Democrats, Politico.com reports that Waxman agreed to change the bill so that "the U.S. Department of Agriculture will oversee the [carbon] offset program for farmers, and the House will seek further guidance from the Obama administration about the appropriate role for the EPA." Politico further reported that Waxman "agreed to ask the EPA to roll back its new requirements that farmers offset rural land developed in other …