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Having naan of it

India’s 4,000 MW coal plant is a bad answer to electricity woes

A few more thoughts on the 4,000 MW coal plant in India recently approved for international aid financing, which David and Joe have noted. I think this deserves attention because it's at the center of the biggest climate question out there: how to meet tens of thousands of megawatt hours of unmet and projected power demand in India and China without huge coal plants like this Tata Mundra "Ultra-Mega" plant. It's not simple. But following the logic for this project involves going down a "There Is No Alternative" rabbit hole. To people in India facing daily brown-outs or a lack …

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The technologies needed to beat 450 ppm, Part 1

Examining the IPCC’s ‘portfolio of technologies’

In 2007, the IPCC wrote [PDF] in its Working Group III summary (page 16): The range of stabilization levels assessed can be achieved by deployment of a portfolio of technologies that are currently available and those that are expected to be commercialised in coming decades. This assumes that appropriate and effective incentives are in place for development, acquisition, deployment and diffusion of technologies, and for addressing related barriers (high agreement, much evidence). This range of levels includes reaching atmospheric concentrations of 445 to 490 ppm CO2-equivalent, or 400 to 450 ppm of CO2. The first sentence does beg the question, …

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Enterprise Rent-a-Car opens six ‘green’ branches in Atlanta

The largest car rental company in the United States, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, announced it's opening six "green" branches in Atlanta, Ga., where 60 percent of the available rental vehicles will be hybrids or other fuel-efficient cars. The agency said the increase in efficient vehicles is due to consumer demand. Enterprise currently has a fleet of about 4,000 hybrids out of a total 1.1 million vehicles nationwide. Rival rental agencies have also touted their own hybrid fleets. Avis said that it currently has about 2,500 hybrids, while Hertz said it aims to offer some 3,500 hybrid vehicles sometime this summer.

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The Van fan club

GOOD magazine’s profile on the black green activist

What Grist readers might have predicted over a year ago, when David interviewed Van Jones, is quickly becoming reality. In October, Thomas Friedman, in a gushing editorial, called Jones a "rare bird" who "exudes enough energy to light a few buildings on his own." Now he's appeared on the Colbert Report where, despite the always-awkward position of Stephen's interviewees, he managed to land "green jobs" in the mental dictionary of millions of young viewers. I had the privilege of speaking to Jones last month as he cabbed it from Capitol Hill back to the airport. The profile appears in this …

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Smithfield's European strategy

The hog giant CAFOizes Poland and Romania to gain access to Western Europe

Farmers in Iowa and North Carolina -- the two states that together house nearly half of U.S. hog production [PDF] -- won't be surprised by this report, from the International Herald Tribune: The American bacon producer, Smithfield Farms, now operates a dozen vast industrial pig farms in Poland. Importing cheap soy feed from South America, which the company feeds intensively to its tens of thousands of pigs, it has caused the price of pork to drop dramatically in the past couple of years. Since E.U. membership, the prices [paid to farmers for] pork and milk have dropped 30 percent. As …

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BP-powered no more

Remember that new environmental blog at The New Republic that was "powered by BP"? Apparently it is no longer thus powered. As gratifying as it is, in a schadenfreudey sort of way, to see that other small media operations can be as dysfunctional as, er, some small media operations I'm familiar with. I'm glad this got settled quickly -- I really do think it will be a blog worth reading. (This post brought to you by Wal-Mart.)

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Ford lays out how it will reduce fleet emissions

Ford Motor Co. has laid out specific plans for reducing the greenhouse-gas emissions of its vehicle fleet at least 30 percent by 2020. The announcement comes in response to shareholder resolutions filed by members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (representing about 300 religious investors) and the Investor Network on Climate Risk, organized by green-minded investment group Ceres. Says Mindy Lubber of Ceres, "Ford is taking a critical first step to align its products with the climate change challenge before us. But, let's not fool ourselves, this step is only a beginning."

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Out of the frying pan ...

Dynegy targeted by Sierra Club in new anti-coal campaign

Check out Clean Up Dynegy, the brand new website for the Sierra Club's campaign against the company Sierra calls "America's Coal-Fired Polluter Number 1." The campaign is significant in that it represents the first attempt by anti-coal forces to single out a single company on a nationwide basis. It kicked off in late February with mass call-ins to Dynegy headquarters originating from twenty states -- "thousands of calls," according to the Sierra Club. Already, the campaign seems to have hit a nerve, with Dynegy's CEO, Bruce Williamson, lashing out that his company is being unfairly picked on. It probably didn't …

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The spy who greened me

Bond film to feature greenwashing eco-villain

Everyone's favorite secret agent is at it again -- and this time he hopes to live and let Greene die. That's right, Craig (Daniel Craig) is filming the next Bond flick as we speak type. Quantum of Solace continues the storyline that began with Casino Royale and finds Bond shaken (not stirred) by the death and betrayal of a loved one. He wants revenge, and he points a (Gold)finger at "eco-entrepreneur" Dominic Greene (the man with the green gun?). Played by Mathieu Amalric, the French star of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Greene is the owner of an eco-hotel …

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W.R. Grace will finally pay Montana asbestos victims

W.R. Grace & Co. has agreed to pay some $3 billion in cash and equity to settle lawsuits filed on behalf of people injured or killed by asbestos in the company's products. Grace operated a vermiculite mine near Libby, Mont., from 1963 to 1990, infamously coating the town with asbestos fibers. The company went bankrupt in 2001 after more than 100,000 asbestos-related claims were filed against it. The legal battle over responsibility and cleanup for what the U.S. EPA once called "the nation's worst environmental disaster" has been long and arduous and still goes on: seven current and former Grace …