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Another reason to procrastinate about my Christmas shopping

From the producers of "The Meatrix" and "Grocery Store Wars" comes "The Story of Stuff," a short video about production and consumption, just in time for the holiday shopping binge. Click here for the full movie (sample clip embedded below).

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A titillating* new column on corporate carbon reporting

Imagine that you are upper management at a large corporation, and you're told that you need to start comprehensively disclosing your outfit's CO2 emissions in your financial reports. Sounds like an unbelievable hassle, no? Especially since there's no legal mandate to do so. And yet hundreds of companies are doing just that. Why? I offer an answer in my latest column at Fast Company: "Carbon Copy." In related news that has emerged since I wrote the column, Senate Banking Committee chair Chris Dodd recently wrote the SEC requesting that it "issue guidance on climate disclosure requirements." Also, last Tuesday, a …

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Canadian outdoor-goods retailer won’t sell plastic water bottles

Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada's largest outdoor-goods retailer, has yanked Nalgene bottles and other polycarbonate plastic containers from its shelves, concerned about toxic bisphenol A leaching from the plastic. MEC -- the Canadian equivalent of U.S.-based retailer REI -- has been one of Canada's largest sellers of the bottles. Canada's health agency is currently studying the risk posed by bisphenol A, and will comment on its research in May 2008; dependent on the outcome of that review, MEC may reinstate polycarbonate plastic Nalgenes to its stores.

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Gas prices impact car-purchasing decisions in the U.S.

Hybrid sales are taking off again as gasoline prices soar: Reported sales of hybrids in the US in November rose 82% year-on-year to reach 33,233 total units, representing 2.8% of all light-duty vehicles sold during the month. GM does not break out its hybrid sales separately, and so is not reflected in the hybrid number -- thus, the actual hybrid total and new market share will [be] slightly higher. Toyota posted a strong month, with Prius sales hitting 16,737 units, up 109% from the year before. Still a small fraction of U.S. vehicles sold, but gas prices clearly do have …

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Thumbs down for Toyota, GM, Ford, Washington Post

The Washington Post had an article yesterday on the House fuel economy deal that is quite good in doling out cheers and jeers -- good except for two sentences. Let's start with the cheers. The article quotes NRDC rightly praising Pelosi for being steadfast with the Senate's 35 mpg target and Dingell, too, for: ... telling the automakers a year ago that they were going to have to accept a mileage improvement. He bargained hard for trying to make it less, but he deserves credit for coming around and agreeing. The article also has fascinating back story on how Japanese …

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Fish less now to boost profits later, says study

The less fish there are, the more expensive it is to catch them -- so if overfished marine stocks were given time to regenerate, fisherfolk would end up making a lot more money down the line, says a new study in Science. So to solve the problem of overfishing, all we have to do is change humans' tendency toward instant gratification. How hard could it be?

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Fossil-friendly biz groups send letter to Senate requesting reversal of Supreme Court decision

Today, an extraordinary letter about the energy bill was sent to the U.S. Senate by a coalition of business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, oil, gas, forestry, and mining lobbying groups. With what can only be described as brass balls, they are asking the Senate to reverse the Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA. They say "the energy legislation must contain explicit language clarifying that nothing in this bill can be construed as triggering the regulation of CO2 or any other greenhouse gas under the Clean Air Act" and for good measure, " the legislation must address …

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California declares emissions-reduction target, requires industry to track emissions

As California's landmark global-warming law requires the state to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, the state Air Resources Board has determined just what that goal will be: 427 million metric tons of greenhouse gases. The number was devised from some 13,000 separate calculations, from the impact of the aviation industry to the number of cows and horses in the state to where Californians source their power. California currently emits some 500 million metric tons of greenhouse gases per year; officials estimate that if no steps are taken, that will jump to 600 million metric tons in 2020. …

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Medical device case could impact global warming debate

In last week's negotiations over the energy bill, one of the most significant victories for proponents of getting serious about global warming came when Speaker Nancy Pelosi stood up to yet another attempt to short-circuit efforts by over a dozen states to demand cleaner cars. The issue on which Pelosi convinced Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and other auto industry allies to back down, known in legal circles as "preemption," has emerged as a lightning rod in global warming politics. The focus on preemption has only intensified in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling this April in Mass v. EPA, …

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How to structure a cap-and-trade program

From an awesomely meaty article on cap-and-trade from The San Francisco Chronicle comes this pearl of wisdom (in bold at the bottom of the quote): [T]he lesson of the acid rain program is to keep the plan simple and easy for all parties to understand. "If it starts to employ a lot of special provisions to take care of every party's special needs ... and if it starts to look like the Chicago phone book, then throw it out," [RFF economist Dallas Burtraw] said. "A poorly designed market is worse than no market at all." I'm not sure I'd go …