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Stabilizing climate means embracing technology, public investment, and global economic development

The following is a guest essay by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, the latest in the ongoing conversation about their new book Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. ----- This week saw a watershed moment for those of us committed to moving environmentalism from a politics of limits to a politics of possibility. Senator Barack Obama proposed a $150 billion investment to develop and deploy clean energy technology on a scale approaching the challenge we face. In doing so, he has become the most recent of several national political leaders to go beyond the …

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AEP settlement exempts company from enforcement for 10 years

Earlier this week brought news of a settlement agreement between utility giant American Electric Power and the U.S. EPA in which the company agreed to install some $4.6 billion in pollution controls at some of its power plants and pay over $70 million in penalties and cleanup costs. Today, The Washington Post reported that the agreement contained language exempting the company from enforcement for the next 10 years under the same rule it was sued for allegedly not obeying. The new-source review rule mandates that utilities upgrade pollution controls when building or significantly renovating a power plant. "It just shows …

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Shellenberger & Nordhaus echo flawed economic assumptions

I just finished reading Shellenberger & Nordhaus' latest, and while I realize I am a bit late to the party, I think they say some fascinating things -- perhaps not for the reasons they intended. S&N manage to succinctly distill an awful lot of the ideas that are core not only to policy debates on carbon, but to policy discussions of any major change to the economy. Understanding these biases is critical to understanding why S&N write what they write, but also why they are so deeply wrong. I recently joked to an economist friend that economics is the only …

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Yogurt-maker Dannon agrees to pay fine, treat wastewater in EPA settlement

International yogurt giant Dannon has agreed to pay a fine of $71,350 and install a multimillion-dollar automated wastewater control system as part of a settlement with the U.S. EPA. There have been some 10 illegal discharges over the past few years at the company's 3-million-cup-a-day yogurt plant in Ohio -- and it's not just spilled yogurt. In February 2005, the company spilled 15,000 gallons of water and milk waste into the storm sewer and a canal, and a September 2005 spill dumped about 1,800 gallons of harsh chemicals and a few hundred thousand gallons of wastewater into the sanitary sewer, …

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Green investment funds are taking off

Eco-friendly investment funds are sssssssssssmokin'!

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Publisher will produce first eco-friendly Bible

Coming soon to a hotel room near you: the first green Bible, expected to hit the scene later this month from publisher Thomas Nelson. The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible -- which perhaps includes the 11th commandment "Thou shalt be principled"? -- will be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and contain recycled fiber. Says Tyson Miller of the Green Press Initiative, which is working with Thomas Nelson to green the Holy Book: "The Bible is the most widely circulated book on the planet and Thomas Nelson's leadership and use of environmentally responsible paper is a living legacy …

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Big-biz coalition will pressure suppliers to report emissions

At least six of the world's largest companies have banded together to urge their suppliers to report and mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions. Joining together as the Supply Chain Leadership Coalition and partnering with the Carbon Disclosure Project -- which is also working with Wal-Mart -- companies including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Tesco, Nestlé, Imperial Tobacco, and Cadbury Schweppes will pressure thousands of vendors and factories to be up front about their emissions.

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What should I ask a carbon offset expert?

Sorry for the late notice, but tomorrow at 1pm (Pacific) I'm interviewing Dan Kalafatas, president and COO of 3 Degrees, a new outfit that delivers "customized, global climate change solutions to U.S. businesses, utilities and institutions." In English, that means they sell offsets and RECs to businesses, work with utilities to establish green power pricing programs, and help businesses market their sustainability for maximum advantage. "Another offset provider," you yawn. Hold on, though. The reason I'm interviewing Kalfatas is that I'm quite taken with 3 Degrees' "Reduce, Renew, Balance" approach. That means when they work with businesses, they recommend first …

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The U.S. Dept. of Energy’s voluntary emission reduction reporting program worthless

Some disturbing findings on the U.S. DOE's voluntary climate registry program, at least as regards electric utilities: A new study by Lyon and U-M doctoral student Eun-Hee Kim shows that about 60 percent of companies that voluntarily participate in the Department of Energy program show increases in greenhouse gas emissions rather than decreases. Surprisingly, the researchers found that nonparticipating companies tend to have decreased emissions over time, relative to a 1995 baseline. The study compares eight years of data reported voluntarily to the Department of Energy registry by the electric utilities industry -- the sector that emits the greatest amount …

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Stabilizing the climate requires technology, public investment, and global economic development

The following is a guest essay by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, the latest in the ongoing conversation about their new book Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. ----- Thank you to everyone here who has participated in this discussion. We are grateful to Grist to making the space for this debate, and to everyone who has chimed in. Through agreement and disagreement alike, it is inspiring to find this many people joining a conversation about how to achieve a common goal. It is the argument of Break Through that we need to replace …