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Clean Air

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Here’s what the night sky ought to look like (i.e. AMAZING)

Here's your nature porn for the day: a long exposure of the night sky over the aptly named Very Large Telescope array in Chile.

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Julianne Moore wants clean air for kids

Did you guys know Julianne Moore wrote a children's book? This is apparently the thing celebrities do when they're over 25 (under 25, they start a perfume line). It's about the heartbreak of being a ginger, and not about environmental stuff at all, but that isn't stopping Moore from plugging it in her video for the Moms Clean Air Force. (It's a little labored -- something about polluters being bullies.)

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Obama makes strong call for clean energy — oh, and drilling and fracking too

(Photo by Alex Howard.)

Clean energy rocks. Nice, deserving people get jobs at wind-turbine plants. Solyndra-style investments are critical. Oil-industry subsidies suck. Energy efficiency is an economic engine. We need to drill, baby, drill. And we need to frack, baby, frack.

Those weren't the words, but those were the sentiments in the energy portion of President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday night. He dedicated a significant chunk of the speech to energy issues, making an unexpectedly vigorous appeal for renewable power, cleantech investment, and efficiency -- as well as for natural-gas fracking and oil drilling.

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Shocking but true! The director of ‘Revenge of the Electric Car’ wants to chat with you!

Chris Paine, director of Revenge of the Electric Car.

Director Chris Paine chatted with Grist readers about his latest film, Revenge of the Electric Car, which comes out on DVD this week after a nationwide tour.

Paine’s 2006 documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car?, told the tale of the EV-1, a prototype electric car created, then buried, by General Motors. Revenge of the Electric Car is the sequel, and follows the saga of four men, all racing to create a plug-in vehicle for the mass market, for the luxury set, or just for the pure awesomeness of it. (Read our review of the film here.)

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North Carolina gets great clean air news

Great clean air news out of North Carolina today - the Sierra Club and four of our key allies are announcing a settlement that will retire 1,600-megawatts of dirty coal power. North Carolina has long been a clean air leader, from passing the landmark Clean Smokestacks Act a decade ago, which requires all coal plants in the state to install pollution controls, to taking legal action calling on neighboring states to clean up the coal pollution blowing into the Tarheel State. From the Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, the people of North Carolina are passionate about clean air. As …

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Critical List: E.U. court OKs airline carbon emission scheme; climate change kills frankincense

The E.U.'s version of the Supreme Court decided that it's totally cool for the E.U. to require flights originating elsewhere to participate in its carbon-emissions trading plans. Later today, the EPA will announce new regulations for power plants that limit mercury and other emissions. Climate change: also killing Christmas. Okay, just the production of frankincense, and to be fair, we’re not sure what that’s for. But if you need a gift for a magic baby in the future, you might be one-third out of luck. The Interior Department just approved a solar project in Arizona and a wind farm in …

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Three cheers for new mercury pollution standards

New mercury pollution standards: something everyone should celebrate.Environmentalists and public health advocates have a reason to stand up and cheer: Finalized rules to cut down on mercury air pollution are set to be announced today by the EPA. But economists can also feel good about this holiday-season gift of clean air: Two decades of agency analysis have found the EPA's new mercury standards for power plants to be overwhelmingly cost-benefit justified. With annual compliance costs around $11 billion, and health benefits estimated to be up to $140 billion per year, even the most hard-nosed bean counter should be feeling festive. …

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Critical List: Seattle bans plastic bags; at least 100 million trees died in Texas this year

Seattle is banning retail stores from giving out single-use plastic bags. Paper bags will cost a nickel. Google is investing $94 million in solar projects. As many as 500 million trees died in the Texas drought this year. India could join the U.S. in officially complaining that China's been selling solar panels at too low a price. In the Chinese province of Guangdong, protestors are pinning air pollution on a coal-fired power plant and want it moved.

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Finally: New air toxics rules for power plants

Cross-posted from the World Resources Institute. The post was written by Nicholas Bianco, senior associate for WRI's climate and energy program. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prepares to release new mercury and air toxics standards, some people may be wondering about the history and timeline for these standards. One senator recently claimed that EPA is "charging ahead" with them. These standards, however, have been in development for over 20 years. These are standards that many plants are already meeting. Furthermore, 11 of the 15 largest coal utilities, roughly half of the nation's coal fleet, have informed their shareholders …

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GOP tries to force Big Coal’s poison pill on tax cut bill

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green. GOP leadership in Congress has decided to use must-pass payroll tax cut legislation as a vehicle to push key polluter priorities, despite a veto threat from the White House. House Republicans have attached a rider to extend a Clean Air Act loophole for the coal industry, daring a White House veto. The coal-powered poison pill, inserted into Title I, Section B of H.R. 3630 as the "EPA Regulatory Relief Act," would establish a five-year delay in Boiler Maximum Available Control Technology (MACT) rules, striking down four Environmental Protection Agency rules. Section A is Rep. Lee Terry's …