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Ted Nace's Posts

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As waves lap at their doorsteps, Alaskan islanders take on climate polluters

The residents of Kivalina, Alaska, are feeling mighty vulnerable these days.Photo: USCG PressIn Christine Shearer's new book Kivalina: A Climate Change Story, global warming moves off the pages of science and into the lives of everyday people. Jammed into a narrow island on the northwest coast of Alaska, the town of Kivalina is home to 400 souls, with evidence of occupation extending back over a millennium. Due to the melting of sea ice, the island now gets a regular beating from ocean storms and is rapidly disappearing. The logical solution of relocating to the mainland is estimated to cost more …

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Down with coal! The grassroots anti-coal movement goes global

The article was coauthored by Bob Burton (CoalSwarm, Australia), Christine Shearer (CoalSwarm, U.S.), Cynthia Ong (LEAP, Malaysia), Jamie Henn (350.org, U.S.), John Hepburn (Greenpeace, Australia), Joshua Frank (CoalSwarm, U.S.), Justin Guay (Sierra Club, U.S.), Kate Hoshour (International Accountability Project, U.S.), and Mark Wakeham (Environment Victoria, Australia). In Thailand, 10,000 people call on their government to quit coal.Photo: Athit Perawongmetha of GreenpeaceIn the United States and Europe, the triple whammy of recession, cheap alternatives, and aggressive anti-coal campaigning has helped halt the expansion of coal use. Since 2004, plans to build more than 150 coal plants in the U.S. have been …

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Which has a bigger footprint, a coal plant or a solar farm?

Which kind of energy takes up more space? Coal.One of the most commonly accepted bits of conventional wisdom about energy is the notion that fossil fuels like coal are "concentrated" and renewable sources are "diffuse." According to this notion, the huge land demands of renewable sources like solar thermal are an inconvenient reality that energy planners must face up to. Sounds like common sense, right? After all, a lump of coal surely packs more energy than a dancing sunbeam or a fickle breeze. Here's blogger Richard W. Fulmer explaining the point: The reason that solar power, wind power, and ethanol …

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We should pay to shut down dirty old coal plants

A Cash for Coal Clunkers program is worth exploring.Too often, environmental policy turns into a game of whack-a-mole: solving one problem just makes another one pop up. Such a perverse game is currently playing out in the push to retrofit old coal plants with scrubbers for "criteria pollutants" such as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and mercury. Although it is estimated that tightened regulation of these emissions will push about a sixth of the aging coal fleet into retirement, those plants that survive the gauntlet will be harder than ever to close after receiving expensive retrofits. Although the shiny new scrubbers …

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A messy but practical strategy for phasing out the U.S. coal fleet

By 2030, we have to stop emitting greenhouse gases from coal. That conclusion is most famously associated with NASA's climate chief James Hansen, but Hansen is not alone. In a recent paper, nine other climate scientists -- David Beerling, Robert Berner, Pushker Kharecha, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Mark Paganini, Maureen Raymo, Dana Royer, Makiko Sato, and James Zachos -- joined Hansen in identifying a 2030 phase-out as the "sine qua non" for avoiding dangerous climate change. The scientists concluded: Decision-makers do not appreciate the gravity of the situation ... Continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions, for just another decade, practically eliminates the …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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We’re kicking butt on coal

Bummed out about Copenhagen, the U.S. Senate, that expensive-sounding kggrstch emanating from somewhere in your transmission? Well, here's some good news to sip and enjoy: the amazing success of the fight to stop new coal plants. Consider the situation in early 2007. At that time the Energy Department released a survey showing 151 new coal plants in progress. Speaking to the National Press Club in February 2007, NASA's head climate scientist James Hansen identified stopping this boom in new coal plant construction as a necessary condition for halting climate disaster. Hansen's focus on coal proved invaluable as a yardstick for …

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Big Coal's far-out proposal for an economic stimulus

Last week the coal lobbying group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity held a press conference to announce a study of the employment and other economic benefits of building new coal plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The plan, developed by Denver-based BBC Research and Consulting, looks at the effects of building 38, 122, or 188 new coal plants, each with 90 percent CCS. Since "jobs" and "stimulus" are the watchwords these days in Washington, ACCCE decided to emphasize the "6.9 million total job-years of labor" that would be created by building, fueling, and operating these new coal …

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When to change that light bulb

"Often when I'm on TV, they'll ask what are the three most important things for people to do [to stop global warming]. I know they want me to say that people should change their light bulbs. I say the number one thing is to organize politically; number two, do some political organizing; number three, get together with your neighbors and organize; and then if you have energy left over from all of that, change the light bulb." -- writer and activist Bill McKibben

Read more: Politics

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The ultimate directory of climate change cases

The estimable Arnold & Porter law firm has released a comprehensive online directory of climate change cases. Don't be deceived by the simplicity of the opening page. Just click on "Case Index" at the bottom of the opening page, which opens up a 35-page directory. Fantastic!

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Why the No New Coal Plants movement should be awarded the Virgin Earth Challenge prize

Dear Mr. Branson: On Feb. 9, 2007, you and Al Gore announced the Virgin Earth Challenge at a London press conference: The Virgin Earth Challenge is a prize of $25 million for whoever can demonstrate to the judges' satisfaction a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth's climate. It was announced that the panel of judges would consist of Richard Branson, Al Gore, Crispin Tickell, James Hansen, James Lovelock, and Tim Flannery. I'm sure that when you dreamed up the prize, you were probably …

Read more: Politics