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Do gas prices affect behavior or not?

Despite record-setting gas prices, U.S. drivers haven't changed their gas-guzzling habits, says AP. Not only are we consuming as much as we always have, new vehicle sales seem to be tilting even more in favor of trucks than cars. But wait, USA Today disagrees. They say that drivers are, in fact, starting to cut back on how much they drive -- a clear sign that higher gas prices are starting to bite. Who's right? Who cares! Either way, the consumer response to massive increases in gas prices over the last five years has been teensy-tiny. New studies are suggesting, in …

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A new report says regulations are needed

A while back I mentioned a McKinsey Global Institute report showing that efficiency is the fastest, cheapest way to cut global GHG emissions. Now McKinsey's got a new report out, making a heretical claim: even though homeowners could vastly improve energy efficiency and save tons of money over the long term with current technologies, there won't be widespread adoption of those technologies without market intervention -- i.e., stronger regulations. Whatever will the market fundies think? Speaking of efficiency, Joel Makower's got a good roundup of recent efficiency news.

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A123 introduces new battery

From the Energy Blog: A123 Systems today introduced its 32-series NanophosphateTM Lithium Ion cells, specifically designed for Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) use. The 32-series cells are designed with abuse-tolerance in mind. A123 Systems Automotive Class cells take advantage of lessons learned from the mass-production of ANR26650M1 cells, used in DeWalt's and Black & Decker's power tool lines, in order to deliver 10+ year and 150,000 mile projected life requirements in engineered automotive battery packs. The cells have shown minimal power degradation and impedance growth after 300,000 cycles. The battery is able to operate at …

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New financial instruments may one day plug cities’ building codes into global carbon market

The William J. Clinton foundation has arranged billions in financing to help a coalition of sixteen cities cut urban emissions by applying a range of energy efficiency measures to aging buildings. Efficiency measures tends to get lumped in under the heading of conservation, but they really deserve to be their own full-fledged category of solutions to global warming. If conservation is simply doing less of a polluting activity, efficiency is doing the same activity with less energy. Turning off the lights is conservation. Screwing in a compact fluorescent light bulb is efficiency. Efficiency measures deserve their own category because they …

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HopStop

Not long ago, our own JMG lamented the fact that online map services don't include transit-oriented directions. Well, lookee here: HopStop, your city transit guide. OK, it's only for NYC, but still, sounds pretty cool: HopStop is your city transit guide. We provide door-to-door subway and bus directions and maps for New York City. You can also search for places to eat, drink, sleep and see in the City Guide. With HopStop you can: - Send directions by e-mail or text message to a cell phone directly from the website - Plan a trip with multiple destinations using the Itinerary. …

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Smells Like Progress

As climate summit continues, fed-up mayors unveil actual plans They cover 1 percent of the Earth's surface, but the world's cities spew 80 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions -- and 180 percent of climate-action plans. "Where national governments can't or won't lead, cities will," said Toronto Mayor David Miller at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in New York City. Yesterday, Miller unveiled an online social-networking carbon calculator called Zerofootprint Toronto that will, he says, "help make my city not only one of the greenest on the planet, but one of the most innovative as well." He's not alone: Los Angeles …

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Making public transit work

Greater Vancouver leads the Northwest in transit ridership, with somewhere between two and three times as many annual bus and train rides per person as Portland and Seattle. So the obvious question: How come? Why does Vancouver do so much better in transit statistics than its southern neighbors? If you're from Seattle, the "obvious" answer might seem to be Vancouver's SkyTrain light rail system, which carries about 66 million passengers each year. Seattle is working hard to expand its measly train system -- which currently consists of a lightly used commuter rail service and a 1.6 mile light rail line …

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The Big Yapple

World's mayors gather for climate-change summit in New York City Gone are the days when mayors chomped cigars and handed out keys to the city. Today's civic leaders face a somewhat more monumental task: saving the planet. This week, mayors from more than 30 of the world's biggest cities -- from Bangkok to Berlin, Sydney to Shanghai -- are in New York City to compare notes on fighting climate change. The C40 Large Cities Climate Summit follows a smaller event held in London in 2005; this time it also includes business leaders. With renewable energy, mass transit, and carbon reduction …

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Just what every taxpayer wants

This is super, super smart: A Depression-era program to bring electricity to rural areas is using taxpayer money to provide billions of dollars in low-interest loans to build coal plants even as Congress seeks ways to limit greenhouse gas emissions. ... The beneficiaries of the government's largesse -- the nation's rural electric cooperatives -- plan to spend $35 billion to build conventional coal plants over the next 10 years, enough to offset all state and federal efforts to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions over that time. Your tax dollars at work!

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