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2011 natural disasters cost a record $265 billion

Politicians might not believe in climate change, but insurance companies do. They track disasters, and it turns out that disasters just in the first six months of this year already cost the world more than any other year of disasters on record. The price tag for 2011 disasters reached $265 billion. Most of that cost ($210 billion) came from the tsunami in Japan. But flooding in Australia, tornadoes in the United States, and earthquakes in New Zealand also contributed, and the Munich Re insurance giant draws a connection between some of these disasters and climate change. Before 2011, the record-holding …

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Critical List: Carmageddon is a waste of money; Napa winegrowers aren't afraid of climate change

Carmageddon: L.A.'s shutting down a major highway to add a carpool lane, which is probably a waste of $1 billion in transit funding. Say it ain't so, Sandra Lee! The Food Network star spoke to a petroleum industry group and won't say why. Maybe she just wants to use crude oil as an ingredient -- it’s not edible, but when has that ever stopped her? Napa Valley can totally take climate change: Winegrowers say, "We'll be able to adapt." Bacon panic: Still on. Even in a town with more organic farms per capita than anywhere else in the world, not …

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Critical List: Republicans vote to give states power over clean water; deer ticks in the Great Lakes

House Republicans voted yesterday to let states decide whether a company is living up to the Clean Water Act or not. The EPA's decision to prevent West Virginia coal companies from dumping waste into rivers prompted the bill to begin with, so it's pretty safe to assume that the bill's not meant to strengthen CWA protections. The federal government says the cost of carbon is $21 per ton; a group of pro-environment economists says the cost is closer to $900 per ton. China's feeding its "strategic pork reserve" with soybeans grown in Brazil on environmentally sensitive land. As Moscow more …

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Critical List: It’s hot; 2.7 million Americans work in clean energy

It's hot. It's hot. It's hooooottttt. You want green jobs? Here are your green jobs: 2.7 million Americans are employed in the clean energy economy, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution. But that could all end with a drop-off in government subsidies across the world. Nike, Adidas, Puma, Lacoste, and H&M have a relationship with a Chinese factory that pollutes rivers like you won't believe. The House Appropriations Committee passed a major funding bill that cuts the EPA's budget, delays carbon regulation, and allows mining in the Grand Canyon. At Dartmouth, tiny trash cans cut 200 tons …

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Gore launches new Climate Reality Project, tells Grist all about it

The Goracle strikes again.Photo: Center for American ProgressTuesday, Al Gore launched a new campaign that will involve, among other things, a new name for his climate change group: the Alliance for Climate Protection will henceforth be known as the Climate Reality Project. I chatted with him about it Monday and got a rundown on the thinking behind it. All of the group's efforts will be devoted to spreading the truth about the climate crisis and the solutions to it, making use of the thousands of slideshow presenters that Gore has trained over the last few years. It sounds like the …

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Five things Al Gore will reveal at the upcoming Climate Reality event

On Sept. 14, The Climate Reality Project, spearheaded by Al Gore, will bring us "24 hours of reality … An event that that will focus the world's attention on the full truth, scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis." Its goals: "To remove the doubt, reveal the deniers, and catalyze urgency around an issue that affects every one of us." A visit to the site's homepage reveals little more than of those maddening countdown timers that reminds us that we're pissing away on the internet what little time we have left in a livable, pre-collapse climate. We thought we …

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'It is hotter than balls,' says U.S. government

.bbpBox90778323399090177 {background:url(http://a0.twimg.com/images/themes/theme1/bg.png) #C0DEED;padding:20px;} p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata{display:block;width:100%;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid #fff;border-top:1px solid #e6e6e6} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author{line-height:19px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author img{float:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px} p.bbpTweet a:hover{text-decoration:underline}p.bbpTweet span.timestamp{font-size:12px;display:block} 640 max heat records broken or tied this month http://t.co/6v837IF Even more for highest minimum http://t.co/kIaL5OBless than a minute ago via Tweet Button Favorite Retweet ReplyJustin Kenney JustinNOAA   Justin Kenney is the director of communications and external affairs for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. You should follow him on Twitter.

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Can Florida's nature and people outrace sea-level rise?

Cross-posted from Cool Green Science. Want to know how climate change might affect a seashore near you? Look at what it's already done over the past 20 years to a stretch of the Florida Gulf Coast, according to a pathbreaking new study published in the journal Climatic Change. Sea-level rise along the Waccasassa Bay area (90 miles north of Tampa) is already picking winners and losers in nature there -- and the losers include the habitat the iconic Florida black bear and the bald eagle depend upon. People up and down Florida’s Gulf Coast might soon suffer, too, if sea-level …

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Feminist icon Gloria Steinem on climate change, population, & deep ecology [VIDEO]

Who knew feminist trailblazer Gloria Steinem was such a greenie? In an interview on ABC News' "Nature's Edge" a few months ago, she raised the alarm about climate change, talked about how climate is connected to women's rights and population, and gave a basic lesson on ecofeminism and deep ecology (all while fielding insipid questions from the interviewer): Quotable bits: "The overpopulation is still the biggest reason for global warming, for all the pressure on the environment." "The truth is that global warming is a nuclear holocaust slowed down slightly." "The important thing, I think, about both ecofeminism, as a …

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Scary maps of the new climate normal

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just updated its Climate Normals for the United States. Per agreement of the World Meteorological Organization, "normals" are calculated per decade, rather than per year. NOAA's latest update is crunched from weather data compiled from 1981 to 2010.  The new annual normal temperatures for the U.S. strongly reflect a warming world: July maximums, 1981-2010 compared with 1971-2000.Image: NOAA January minimums, 1981-2010 compared with 1971-2000.Image: NOAA In the two images above you can see the differences between the old normals (1971 to 2000) and the new normals. The top image shows changes in July …