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Coke: Still 'it' with the kids

Coca-Cola and McD’s top brands among teens, study says

Photo: Taneli Mielikäinen There has been a lot of great work in the last decade to wake kids up to alternatives to industrial food. Here and there, farm-to-school programs have been launched, soft drinks banished from cafeterias, books like Eric Schlosser's Chew on This have emerged. Yet clearly, much more work needs to be done. Seems that teens are still gulping down Coke and flocking to McDonald's (when they're not heading for Burger King, evidently seen by kids as the main alternative to McD's). I'm getting this from an article in BrandWeek on the latest marketing poll on teens. Evidently, …

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Succeeding in the free market

One of my favorite writers, Jonathan Chait, has an article in The New Republic on "the latest in global warming denialism" (the latest being acknowledging it exists but refusing to do anything about it). It mostly goes over familiar ground, but I wanted to call out one part where Chait makes an unwarranted concession. Discussing recent efforts to repeal some oil industry tax breaks in order to fund tax credits for renewable energy, Chait writes: Objection number one is that repealing the tax break to pay for renewable energy amounts to "taxing successful energy sources and subsidizing unsuccessful ones," as …

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Cheap clean coal now dirty, expensive

The WSJ energy blog points out that skyrocketing demand for coal in the developing world is rapidly driving up the commodity price. (And WSJ proper points out that rising prices for coal mean rising prices for steel.) Meanwhile, Reuters says "clean coal" is "elusive" and the head of one of Australia's biggest energy companies -- AGL -- says that coal's days are numbered: ... Michael Fraser said it is unlikely any new coal generators will be built without significant improvements in technology and the ability to capture and store carbon. Mr Fraser says he is accelerating the company's investment in …

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MoJo uncovers the eco-spies

Mother Jones has a blockbuster scoop today on the private security firm that spied on green groups on behalf of corporate clients: A private security company organized and managed by former Secret Service officers spied on Greenpeace and other environmental organizations from the late 1990s through at least 2000, pilfering documents from trash bins, attempting to plant undercover operatives within groups, casing offices, collecting phone records of activists, and penetrating confidential meetings. According to company documents provided to Mother Jones by a former investor in the firm, this security outfit collected confidential internal records -- donor lists, detailed financial statements, …

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World Bank should get out of carbon-offset market, says report

Carbon-offset dealings by the World Bank have been criticized (and not for the first time) in a report released Thursday by the Institute for Policy Studies. In the past two years, the report charges, the bank has loaned $1.5 billion to fossil-fuel companies to make minor greenhouse-gas reductions. It then sells carbon credits for those reductions, says coauthor Daphne Wysham, "takes its 13 percent cut, and everyone is happy." (Well, except the planet and its advocates -- the bank has come under much protest recently for funding a massive coal plant in India.) The bank would be better off getting …

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Do we need a massive government program to generate breakthroughs to make solar energy cost-competit

Concentrated solar power is already doing great; no breakthroughs needed

Almost certainly not and absolutely not. I give two answers here because there are two very different types of solar energy: Solar photovoltaics, PV, which is direct conversion of sunlight to electricity. It is well known, high-tech, uneconomically expensive in most parts of this country (but poised to resume dropping sharply in price), and intermittent (power only when the sun shines). Solar thermal electric or concentrated solar power (CSP), which uses mirrors to focus sunlight to heat a fluid to run a turbine or engine to make electricity. It is, as I've blogged, "The solar power you don't hear about." …

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ANWR of the heartland?

Why plowing up Conservation Reserve Program land won’t solve the food crisis

Uh oh. The New York Times reports that "thousands of farmers are taking their fields out of the government's biggest conservation program, which pays them not to cultivate." Rather then let the ground lie fallow, they're planting it with corn, soy, and wheat -- the price of each of which stands near or above all-time highs. "Last fall, they took back as many acres as are in Rhode Island and Delaware combined," The Times reports. And there's serious pressure to bring more out: But a broad coalition of baking, poultry, snack food, ethanol, and livestock groups say bigger harvests are …

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Saving the planet: sometimes as important as saving jobs

Maryland House committee kills climate bill

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Kari Manlove, fellows assistant at the Center for American Progress. ----- After reporting last week on the climate policy progression carving its way through the Maryland Senate, the same measures were defeated in a Maryland House committee this week. Supposedly, the bill was killed by pressure from industry and labor lobbyists, ironically accompanied by steelworkers draped with "Save Our Jobs" t-shirts. First of all, the United Steelworkers of America Union endorses the Apollo Alliance -- a coalition of labor, business, and environmental groups that collaborate to advocate a clean economy revolution. Additionally, just …

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Can industrial agriculture feed the world? Part 2

Global food riots edition

A couple of months ago, I raised the question, can industrial agriculture feed the world? I was being intentionally provocative. For decades, policymakers have treated low-input, diversified agriculture -- "organic" in the sense described by the great British agriculture scholar Sir Albert Howard -- as a kind of hippy indulgence. Sure, it's nice to grow food without poison, but you can't feed the world that way. To feed the globe's teeming masses, you need loads of mined and fossil-fuel synthesized fertilizers, pesticides by the tons, patent-protected genetically modified seeds, heroic irrigation projects, gargantuan, petroleum-fueled "combine" machines, etc. But as I …

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The faces of green

The Dream Reborn: diverse speakers and audience with a common vision

Jennifer Oladipo is a writer from Louisville, Ky., whose recent Orion article "Global Warming is Colorblind" was just reprinted in Utne Reader. She was in Memphis last weekend to see firsthand what the green jobs movement is about. (To read more Grist coverage of the Dream Reborn conference, see Pat Walters' dispatches from day one and day two.) ----- The hopeful skeptic in me was the part most drawn to The Dream Reborn conference hosted by Green For All last weekend in Memphis. So once I arrived, I stuck to what I deemed the practical path, sessions with titles like …