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Three green jobs questions, three green jobs answers

Day two at The Dream Reborn conference

When I left the Dream Reborn conference on Friday, I had a few questions: Exactly what are green jobs? How do we create them? And why has it suddenly become so important to talk about them? Yesterday, I got some answers. And it's a good thing, too, since the conference wraps up today. Here's a quick rundown of some of the answers I found. (We'll have more in-depth coverage of the conference in a few days.) Pay close attention, because I'm gonna go through this stuff quickly -- and in reverse order. First up: Why green jobs now? Here's Van …

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Blankenship to reporter: 'You're liable to get shot'

Massey wins W. Va. Supreme Court case; not doing so well in public relations

A while back, a case against mountaintop-removal giant Massey Energy reached the West Virginia Supreme Court, which overturned a previous judgment fining the company. But then pictures turned up of Massey CEO Don Blankenship canoodling around the French Riviera with one of the court judges and two female "companions." Oops. The court decided to re-hear the case, minus the offending judge. Then another judge, who had said that "the pernicious effects of Mr. Blankenship's bestowal of his personal wealth, political tactics, and 'friendship' have created a cancer in the affairs of this court" -- got bullied off the case by …

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Asking the right question

The implicit assumption in Pielke Jr.’s Nature commentary

Can we beat global warming with existing technology? I said here that "nobody believes" we have the technology available today to tackle global warming. Gar responded: yes, someone believes it, namely me. Lindsay Meisel from the Breakthrough Institute responded: yes, lots of enviros seem to believe it, and no, it's not true. Thinking more about this, it strikes me that that the question itself is deceptive. It's no wonder people seem to be talking past each other trying to answer it. As phrased, the question implicitly assumes that climate change is a technological problem. More honestly phrased, the question RPJr …

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Matt Drudge's misleading mashup bolsters right-wing fantasy World

Drudge hijacks headlines to sell global warming denial

From the Think Progress Wonk Room. Atop the Drudge Report right now: Do the stories behind these headlines tell the tale that global warming alarmists have "hijacked" the political debate despite a "lack of natural disasters" and no global warming "since 1998"? No. Let's review: DRUDGE HEADLINE #1: REPORT: GLOBAL TEMPS 'HAVE NOT RISEN SINCE 1998' This claim has been thoroughly debunked every time it's popped up. The oil-backed global warming denier Dennis Avery first made the claim -- which hinges on the fact that 1998 was an exceptionally warm year (but not the warmest ever) -- in 2006. A …

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Who owns your tomato?

Another big horticultural seed company bought by Monsanto

When Monsanto buys into a market, they buy in big. In 2005, Monsanto's seed/genetic trait holdings were primarily in corn, cotton, soybeans, and canola. That year, they purchased Seminis, the world's largest vegetable seed company (see And We Have the Seed) specializing in seed for vegetable field crops. Now their takeover of the vegetable seed sector continues, as they have announced the intent to purchase the Dutch breeding and seed company, De Ruiter Seeds. This purchase diversifies Monsanto's seed holdings in vegetable field crops (Seminis) to "protected culture" fruits and vegetables (primarily tomatoes and cucurbits produced greenhouse, hothouse, etc). Analysts …

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IMF report says economic costs of climate-change action negligible

The International Monetary Fund said in a report released today that sharply reducing the world's carbon emissions will cost relatively little economically if a carbon-pricing scheme is adopted soon that includes all the major-emitting countries. The report didn't endorse one specific pricing mechanism, but said that either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system could work if it gradually increased the price of carbon. "There are significant risks from climate change; damages could be severe," said IMF economist Natalia Tamirisa. "The costs of mitigation could be moderate provided that policies are well designed." Meanwhile, at the ongoing United Nations climate …

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The Big Lump gets thumped

King Coal’s year of rejection by banks, judges, and a lot of other folks

Earth Policy Institute just released this revelatory chronology of really sad, horrible, and depressing events in the life of the coal industry since February 2007. What's next -- will Santa be switching to lumps of dirt? Feb. 26, 2007: James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a leading climate scientist, calls for a moratorium on the construction of coal-fired power plants that do not sequester carbon, saying that it makes no sense to build these plants when we will have to "bulldoze" them in a few years. Feb. 26, 2007: Under mounting pressure from environmental groups, …

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Van Jones on Colbert Report

Am I the only one who just doesn't much like the Colbert Report? The interviews, especially. Colbert always comes off like a dickhead -- that's his shtick -- but the guests are in a catch-22 as well. They look bad if they play along and bad if they try to play it straight. It just ends up being awkward and conveying virtually no information. Why bother? Jon Stewart is a notorious pitcher of softballs, but at least he actually tries to engage his guests.

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When does additionality matter? Part 3

Almost always, but the reason is more subtle than you think

In two previous posts, I've attempted to establish that additionality is neither some strange concept relevant only to carbon offsets nor an awkward patch used to fix a defect in the design of carbon markets. Rather, the concept of additionality is applicable to any incentive system, whether subsidy, tax, or whatever. The real question is what degree of additionality is actually necessary or desirable in any given system. Put another way, when should we care enough about additionality to incur the costs of measuring and enforcing it? Those costs can be quite high, and the benefits sometimes uncertain. Let's return …