Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a reporter based in New York City who covers environment, energy, and sustainability issues, among other things.

Critical List: Olympia Snow retires; more people believe in global warming

Olympia Snowe, a moderate Republican who believed in global warming and even tried to do something about it, is retiring from the Senate. Since it’s getting warmer, more Americans believe in global warming, because of “personal observations of the weather.” Sigh. That’s not the correct reason to believe global warming is happening, but we’ll take it. At least until next winter. New York could double the speeding fines for electric bike riders to $1,000. Wind farms that fly or float can help maximize production.

Climate Skeptics

Terrifying video envisions a world where education is anti-science

Step for a moment into this chilling alternative reality, in which fine young men and women believe “gravity is just a theory” and “cigarettes aren’t addictive”: The video is from the Climate Reality Project, Al Gore’s current climate-change fighting outfit. What do y’all find the most terrifying moment? I lose it around “Scientists are, like, altering their data just to get paid.” That girl is really convincing! But the clincher is when they say, “Of course it’s true. I learned it in school.”

Oil

All you need to know about TransCanada’s new plan for Keystone XL

Keystone XL lives! TransCanada announced its next two moves in its fight to get the tar-sands pumping pipeline built, and its strategy now involves splitting the project into two parts.

Critical List: TransCanada reboots KeystoneXL; the most energy-dense battery ever

TransCanada is going to reapply for a Keystone XL permit and wants to start work on the Oklahoma-to-Texas portion of the pipeline. Envia Systems has created the most energy-dense battery ever, which could bring down the price of electric vehicles and extend their range. Rick Santorum thinks gas prices caused the recession. No, he really does. A direct quote: “The bubble burst in housing because people couldn’t pay their mortgages because they were looking at $4 a gallon gasoline.” A New York court dismissed a case by organic farmers who hoped for protection against Monsanto should the agribusiness giant’s genes …

Fossil Fuels

Alaska is about to get fracked up

Alaska’s been coasting on its stores of easy-access oil, but a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that the state has a motherlode of shale oil and natural gas. You know what means — here come the frackers. The numbers are impressive: as much as 80 trillion cubic feet of frackable natural gas and up to 2 billion barrels of shale oil. To put that in perspective, the natural gas resources are smaller than the Marcellus Shale, which underlays Pennsylvania and New York, and smaller than Texas’ Haynesville and Eagle Ford shale formations — but it’s still the …

Climate Change

Climate change could make Mt. Everest impossible to climb

If you’ve got “summit Everest” on your bucket list, better get started now. Apa Sherpa (aka “Super Sherpa”), who’s summited Mt. Everest 21 times, tells Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the trip up the mountain is getting increasingly dangerous as climate change sets in. As Himalayan glaciers melt, bare rock — slippery, treacherous, more prone to rockfalls — has replaced snow and ice.

Critical List: BP spill liability trial delayed; Meryl Streep’s eco-friendly Oscar dress

BP’s trial for Deepwater Horizon liability has been pushed back one week as the company considers a $14 billion settlement. Scientist Peter Gleick is taking a leave of absence from the Pacific Institute after the organization’s board of directors expressed concern about the methods he used to obtain internal documents from the Heartland Institute. Meryl Streep won her gamillionth Oscar last night but also marked a personal fashion best by choosing an eco-friendly dress. In Hawaii, a new wind project will help keep electricity prices steady as the price of oil rises.

Climate Change

The best green action plan we’ve ever seen

It is possible that we are suckers for this North Face campaign because it instructs participants to read Grist every day. But even before we noticed that part, we thought it was one of the best templates for taking green action we’ve come across. The Protect Our Winters (POW) pledge has seven ways to fight climate change. And, no, Jon Meacham, none of them involve composting shredded tote bags. They are: 1. Get political 2. Educate yourself 3. Find your biggest lever 4. Be vocal, bug your friends 5. Talk to businesses 6. Change your life and save money 7. …

Climate & Energy

Rich white dudes: Environmentalists are out of touch with the working class

MSNBC’s Morning Joe is a font of conventional wisdom, so I don’t feel bad restating this old maxim: Everyone on Morning Joe is a jerk. Here’s the evidence, starting at 3:10 or so: The ever-wise Joe says that Obama’s “environmental base” is holding him back because the only type of energy environmentalists like is “getting granola and grinding it up and hoping sparks will come off of it.” Oh, and wind and solar matter so little, we might as well just give up on them now. Apparently, according to ex-Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, enviros also think composting shredded tote bags …

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