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GOP congressman: Stop climate change by destroying the rainforest

Republican representative Dana Rohrabacher has a novel solution for reducing greenhouse gases: Destroy the rainforest! While we’re at it, we should probably get rid of the ozone layer and those pesky whales, as well. Rohrabacher argues that since 80 percent of carbon emissions come from decaying plant matter, we should clear-cut rainforests in order to reduce carbon. This is basically like saying that because your body turns food into blood sugar, the best cure for diabetes is to keep on drinking soda but drain all your blood. The staggering stupidity of this statement is causing respectable academics to make Sesame …

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NOAA’s terrifying tornado time-lapse [VIDEO]

By now, most of us know last month was the busiest April ever for tornadic activity; with May hosting the deadliest single tornado on record, the whole country's talking about the Fujita Scale, core bursting, and Helen Hunt like it's 1996. For those who refuse to even talk about the links between twisters and climate change, Bill McKibben drops a dose of hot, buttery sarcasm in a valiant attempt to pull a few heads out of the sand over at the Washington Post. Now NOAA offers up some raw data, cleanly and terrifyingly executed: In the following time-lapse animation, April's …

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Et tu, pistachios? How climate change will mess with trail mix

Pistachios: What shell remain? Photo: PatternedCross-posted from Cool Green Science. What won't climate change affect? Well, cross trail mix and cherry pie off that ever-shrinking list. It turns out that crisp apples, chewy almonds, ripe plums, and a host of other nuts and stone fruits might become much more costly to grow -- or not grown at all in some spots -- because of rising winter temperatures, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS One. The problem, say researchers: The trees that produce these goodies need a certain number of hours at cold temperatures -- or …

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House GOP pays for climate disaster relief by increasing climate pollution

Eric Cantor.Photo: Talk Radio News ServiceCross-posted from the Wonk Room. In a stunningly heartless move, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) put strings on emergency relief for the victims of the killer Joplin tornado, saying that other government services would have to be cut to offset aid spending. Yesterday afternoon, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) to add $1 billion in funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) disaster relief fund, offset by funding reductions from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program at the Department of Energy. Instead of cutting oil subsidies …

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Missouri tornado whips up media discussion of climate change and extreme weather

Devastation in Joplin, Mo.Photo: KOMUnewsThe devastation of Joplin, Mo., has led to a super-storm of media stories on the link between climate change and extreme weather, including tornadoes. After April saw records set for most tornadoes in a month and in 24 hours, I examined the link in great detail here, looking at the data, the literature, and expert analysis. That piece concluded: When discussing extreme weather and climate, tornadoes should not be conflated with the other extreme weather events for which the connection is considerably more straightforward and better documented, including deluges, droughts, and heat waves. Just because the …

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Chicago’s government prepares for climate change to turn the city into Baton Rouge

While other cities ignore climate change, Chicago is doing the obvious: planning its infrastructure as if the next 50 years, and the next generation of Chicagoans, actually matter. Its efforts, started under one of the mayors Richard Daley (we can’t keep track), are now bearing fruit, leading to everything from flood-proof streets to heat-tolerant trees. By the end of the century, Chicago's weather will resemble that of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. So the city stopped planting the Illinois state tree, the white oak, and went with swamp oak and bald cypress instead. You heard that right -- the knobby-kneed trees that …

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Hasta la vista, Arnie: Can the climate movement afford to lose Arnold Schwarzenegger?

He's a colossal jerk, but do we still need him?Photo: Steve JurvetsonThe most prominent Republican voice for climate action is now in the (hound)doghouse. Turns out the Sperminator has been pumping more than iron. If you're as revolted as I am, you might be tempted to toss the bum permanently overboard -- but can we afford to? At a time when every Republican presidential contender is arguing against climate action, when more than half of the Republicans in Congress question whether climate change is even happening, let alone whether we should do anything about it, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been consistently …

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The coming decline of accurate hurricane forecasts

NOAA put out this summer's hurricane forecast late last week, and it looks like it's going to be another doozy of a storm season. And that’s probably all we’re going to get in terms of forecasting. NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco took the opportunity to point out that, in the last round of budget cuts, Congress slashed the funding to upgrade the satellite system that allows the agency to make such accurate hurricane predictions. These cuts are the same ones that undermined the country's tsunami warning system. Apparently budget-minded conservatives want Americans to rely on their psychic powers and those feelings …

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Critical List: Tornado hits Joplin, Missouri; Chicago preps for climate change

A half-mile wide tornado leveled a Missouri town. And another volcano in Iceland poured ash into the sky. Cut it out, nature, we get it: you don't like airplanes. In Chicago, government officials not only believe in climate change, they are preparing the city for a steamier future. Local officials have been leading on adaptation for awhile, but, in this case, it probably doesn't hurt Chicago pols to say, loudly, that the city's destined to get less frigid. High gas prices means job-seekers are looking for employment closer to home. Sounds like it's time to invest in some public transportation …

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Apocalypse now? Lessons for the climate movement from the ‘Rapture’ that didn’t happen

So, the world did not end on Saturday. Harold Camping's predicted Judgment Day and "Rapture" failed. I wonder how disappointed his followers are. I also wonder if this might be a good time for the environmental community to reconsider its use of apocalyptic terms when describing our fears for the future. There's no doubt that we face certain peril and that immediate radical action is needed. We find ourselves frustrated by failures in Copenhagen, Cancun, and the Obama administration. And the "Arab Spring" reminds us that we need massive mobilization; we long for our "Cairo moment." So, what now? I've …