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Wired: Two top Obama science advisors are tied to Monsanto and Amgen

I hope the executive branch's "war on science" era ends in January. Heading into a period of climate change, tight fossil energy supplies, growing trouble with food-borne illnesses, declining health metrics, etc, we clearly don't need a bunch of creationists and climate-change deniers knocking about the White House. At the same time, I hope we don't swing in the direction of a hyper-corporate vision of science: the idea that big problems demand big solutions -- the kind conveniently offered by really big companies. Well, Wired recently got the Obama campaign to reveal its five main science advisors. Unhappily, two of …

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Natural Hydration Council: drink more bottled water … please?

Bottled water sales growth may be "drying up," but the bottled-water industry is veritably gushing on the PR front. Here it is investing in a high-dollar sponsorship of the upcoming presidential campaigns, joining Anheuser-Busch, EDS (which specializes in "information technology outsourcing), BBH, a big U.K. advertising firm, and others. And over here, you've got water giants Nestle Waters, Danone, and Highland Spring rolling out the Natural Hydration Council. Right, because the only way to stay "naturally hydrated" is to package water into tiny plastic bottles and haul it around the globe. The NHC will "research and promote the environmental, health …

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Google, GE team up to tout ‘smart grid,’ clean energy initiatives

General Electric and Google announced on Wednesday they're teaming up to promote renewable energy, specifically geothermal energy and plug-in hybrids, and spur better investment and swifter government action to create "smart," more efficient electrical grids. In recent years, both enormous companies have announced big green investments: GE launched its Ecomagination initiative in 2005 to expand its spending on greener technology to some $25 billion by 2010, and last year, Google announced a similar program with a smaller budget and a slightly more specific focus called Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal to, well ... you know. "Both companies believe that our …

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California air agency says cutting emissions will boost economy

California's 2006 law requiring the state to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 would help boost its economy and save residents more money in the long term than doing nothing, according to a report by the influential California Air Resources Board. The state's draft plan for reducing emissions focuses on requiring utilities to generate one-third of their electricity from renewables, increasing the energy efficiency of state buildings, and (if it's ever granted the waiver it needs from the U.S. EPA) requiring new vehicles sold in the state to significantly reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions. By 2020, such measures would …

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Touting the Volt, GM exec denies anthropogenic climate change

GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz was on the "Colbert Report" last night to talk about the new Chevy Volt, but a lot of the conversation ended up being about whether or not Lutz believes in anthropogenic climate change. Colbert, on the Volt: "This is tantamount to admitting that we have to do something about global warming, sir. You are capitulating with the enemy. Why not just call this the Chevy Gore? You don't believe global warming is real. You've said so." Lutz: "I accept that the planet is heated, but like many noted scientists I don't believe in the CO2 …

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Truth in advertising

Check out this pearl from commenter David Ahlport (found in the comments of David Roberts' Cost Tic post). I'm a proponent of using ads to spread ideas. The problem with most ads is that they are at best half-truths. This one has it all. They draw a gentle and humorous line between themselves and negative stereotypes. Going green should not be about sacrifice and depravation deprivation. I have seen a few versions of this while channel surfing. We could use a lot more like it.

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Still trying to make environmental sense of the massive bailout now underway

I like to think of myself as a reasonably cynical person, at least in matters of finance. When I started reporting on Mexico's markets in 1998, Russia had just defaulted in billions of debt. Russia and Mexico had virtually no direct financial or trade relationship, yet large investors punished Mexico anyway. (To be fair, Mexico still hadn't recovered from its own financial meltdown of a few years before.) The peso plunged against the dollar, sparking something close to hyper inflation. I watched in awe as working people's real wages -- my own included, since I was paid in pesos -- …

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Immelt: yay RPS!

I'm on a conference call, listening to Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, chat with Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, about energy. I don't have a recording, but I tell you, Immelt sounds more and more like a standard greenie -- he's stumping for a national RPS, 10-year extension of renewable tax credits, and a price on carbon. And he keeps insisting that it's not particularly political. "Energy is easy," he says. Then again, Al Gore (who apparently is also in the room) asked him directly about what's blocking this stuff in Congress, and he basically dodged. "Partisanship," blah blah. There's …

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Will New York Gov. Paterson gut the regional northeastern-state carbon cap?

New York State relies heavily on Wall Street as an economic engine. With the financial-services industry in its deepest funk since the Great Depression, New York politicians are extremely skittish about the state's economic prospects. That's why Gov. David Paterson has been scrambling to help prop up AIG, the wobbly New York-based insurance behemoth. And that's not all he's doing in response to a possible economic slump for his state. According to The Daily Green, the governor is also prepared to gut the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an alliance among ten northeastern states to cap carbon emissions. The RGGI (known …