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Think all-electric vehicles coming to the U.S.

Ray Lane, the managing partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is about to announce some news. (He's up on stage with Jan-Olaf Willums, CEO of Think Global AS, and Wilber James, managing general partner of RockPort Capital Partners.) Ah. He's launching Think North America -- bringing Think vehicles to the U.S. Hundreds of the cars will reach the states this year, mainly for use in fleets. After that they'll be offered to consumers, first in California. (They're in talks with utilities, too -- they're cagey about the details, but it sounds quite intriguing.) The car game is changing.

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Shai Agassi talks electric cars in Israel

I'm watching Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Project Better Place, talk about the scheme he put together to fill Israel with electrical cars and recharging stations, with the ultimate goal of eliminating oil as a transportation fuel in the country. (He's going to do it in Denmark as well.) (A side note: this meeting room is filled with Herman Miller Aeron chairs. Sweet!) I'm a little behind on the details (dude talks fast), but it's a torrent of goodness. We're talking about full-size, five-seat, highway-speed vehicles, thousands of charging stations all over the country (where a depleted battery is …

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California utilities scuffle over cap-and-trade

California is well aware that reducing greenhouse-gas emissions is easier said than done. The state's attempts to craft an effective cap-and-trade system are causing infighting among public utilities and their privately owned counterparts. Public utilities, which source more of their power from coal, protest that they're going to end up paying out the nose to the state and seeing the money redirected into private utilities' coffers. That means public utilities will be lining private utilities' pockets instead of having money available to, say, boost renewable-energy capacity, they argue. But regulators say they don't intend to create a scheme that allows …

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Fortune Brainstorm Green

I flew down to Pasadena today for the Fortune Brainstorm: Green conference. There's tons of interesting stuff on the agenda -- a mix of corporate types and NGO types, technology and policy topics. I'm moderating a panel on Monday night called "Meet the Rabble Rousers," an informal discussion wherein activists answer questions about the rabble they've roused. It stars Mike Brune of the Rainforest Action Network, Sister Patricia A. Daly of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, John Passacantando of Greenpeace USA, and musician/activist/author Chuck Leavell. The panel starts at 9:30pm, after an entire day of presentations, a performance from …

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Nalgene, Wal-Mart back away from BPA

Bottle manufacturer Nalgene will stop using plastic containing bisphenol A in response to concerns from the National Toxicology Program and the Canadian health department that the chemical probably shouldn't be sucked on by kids. Nalgene says it still believes its clear, hard plastic bottles "are safe for their intended use" but says it's responding to customers who "indicated they preferred BPA-free alternatives." Wal-Mart also announced it would pull all baby bottles made with BPA from its shelves by early next year.

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Meeting of major economies ends with little progress

A U.S.-led gathering of major economies in Paris this week concluded, as previous meetings have done, with little progress. The 17 countries bashed President Bush's climate speech for a while, then argued about whether to set a goal of halving global greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. (Guess who's against it?) French president Nicolas Sarkozy made himself quoteworthy, saying that climate change would make Darfur "just one crisis among dozens of others" and urging international private investors to "massively redirect financial flows toward [a] new low-carbon economy." After vaguely agreeing that future deals should include sharing clean technologies and setting emissions goals …

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With food riots raging, let’s open the books on the finances of Big Ag

When we talk about the crisis in food prices, we should scrape below the surface to explore who's actually benefiting from the crisis. Unless you've had your head stuck in the freezer at Dean & Deluca, you've heard about the food crisis across the planet. A recent Financial Times displayed this staggering map of the globe: Black dots marked each of the countries were food riots have been sparked in outrage against the rising prices of food. Thirty dots in all. A recent CNN report noted that "Riots, instability spread as food prices skyrocket." These surging costs, warns World Bank …

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Google Checkout maps the spread of donations and Earth Day lovin’

I think Google has a crush on the planet. First, they announced a goal of achieving carbon neutrality for 2007 and beyond. Then, they unleashed their RE<C campaign (Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal), aimed at producing one gigawatt of clean electricity more cheaply than coal. Next, you may have noticed their blacked-out search page on March 29, in support of Earth Hour, the global awareness movement to turn out the lights and turn up action on climate change. And now, in anticipation and celebration of Earth Day (April 22), Google is winking flirtatiously at the neglected planet once more. This …

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Americans for Balanced Energy Choices gets new name, t-shirts

ABEC has re-branded themselves the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. See here for an interview with President Stephen Miller, who does an admirably media-savvy job of laying out their talking points and PR strategy. His key points: "If we push too hard, too fast, we will force fuel switching away from coal." "The president and the congress have a role to play to make sure the public sector invests in coal-fired power." We've spent a lot of money on t-shirts, trucks, and advertising to affect the primary campaign, and it's working. In other words: We need to burn more …

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Yes, according to a new ‘artisanal’ restaurant in Atlanta

A press release heralding a new restaurant in Atlanta crossed my email inbox recently. Everything seemed pretty standard at first: Holeman and Finch Public House, opening April 14, intends to serve "food and drink ... with unrivaled quality and care." The chef evidently revels in "whole-animal preparations" and plans to make his own "charcuterie such as coppa, bresaola, and tom thumbs." Photo: Samuel Wong Sounds good to me. I applaud nose-to-tail cookery, as well as the move toward small-scale artisanal sausage making. All very trendy, and not a bad thing at all -- as long as the meat is sourced …