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Why efficiency is the key to CO2 reduction

DR: The conservative argument on global warming is that CO2 emissions are a good indicator of economic activity. They rise and fall together. Thus, fighting global warming is a secret UN plot to hobble the American economy relative to China and India. That's Inhofe's theory, anyway. TC: He's the only elected official in Washington that might possibly be stupider than the man in the White House. Even people that very much want to do something about global warming make the mistake of thinking that carbon is like any other pollutant. With the Clean Air Act, the criteria pollutants have no …

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The energy of crowds

My first reaction to this story was, well, if you suck energy out of people's movements, the people themselves will just need more energy, in the form of food, which is energy-intensive to make, so you're really not getting any net gain. Conservation of energy and all that. But then I remembered that Americans are, ahem, fat. That is to say, they consume way more embedded energy than they can use, and it ends up as cellulite. This is, in part, because we don't get any exercise. So, say you made floors flexible, and the weight of human foot traffic …

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Um, If It’s Not Too Much Trouble?

EPA suggests wishy-washy compromise in Indiana BP permit mess Officials from the U.S. EPA have stepped in to quell the furor over a controversial permit the state of Indiana granted to a BP refinery. The permit will allow BP to discharge more ammonia and sludge into Lake Michigan -- at legal limits, but increased over previous amounts. Residents and politicians in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and nationwide are up in arms over the decision: several city councils have passed resolutions opposing it, as has the U.S. House of Representatives; at least one Chicago alderman is calling for a BP boycott; and …

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We still heart Rocky Anderson

Rocky Anderson is in the news again, reminding us why we all love him. Now he's taking on idling autos, calling for city-owned vehicles and personal vehicles on city business to limit their idling to five minutes, except in emergency situations. Fifty percent of air pollution in Utah comes from cars and trucks, and Rocky wants the city to do their part in cutting down on the smog-creating emissions. His environmental adviser, Jordan Gates, says this latest executive order is part of the mayor's comprehensive plan to improve air quality, encourage alternative fuels, reduce driving, bolster alternative transportation, and reduce …

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High CO2 crops could be low on nutrition

One of the silver linings of climate change, some have argued, is that high carbon dioxide levels will mean increased crop yields, which will, in turn, be good for combating global hunger (the logic, I suppose, being that if we're frying fifty years from now, at least we won't be hot and hungry). But some underpublicized studies, reported this month in Nature, cast a long shadow on this sunny assertion. (Sorry! It looks like the the article is subscription only, so I'll be as descriptive as possible.) In the 1980s, Bruce Kimball, a soil physicist with the USDA in Arizona, …

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A leak, to be precise.

The following is a guest post from Natalie Troyer, publications and volunteer coordinator at Heart of America Northwest. Read her previous posts here and here. I don't know if you've heard, but on Friday, July 27, a geyser from Hades erupted at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Yep, it's true. In the wee hours of that morning, a water line became clogged with radioactive sludge as thick as peanut butter, sending a big chunky mass of the hottest, most deadly material found on the site spattering to the ground and contaminating the air. Approximately 50 to 100 gallons of the toxic …

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New consensus?

At the New York Sun, Gary Shapiro notices that there's broad bipartisan consensus on the need for "energy independence" but very little agreement about how to achieve it. Uh, hasn't that been the prevailing situation for almost a half century now?

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Luckily

A must-read interview on global climate change with William H. Calvin.

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Not really

I get the point Idean Salehyan is trying to make in "The New Myth About Climate Change," but -- the headline should tip you off -- the whole piece has been unnecessarily tarted up to generate controversy. It administers a stern beating to a series of strawmen. The "myth" in question is that global warming increases the probability of conflict, or as Salehyan puts it, "international and civil wars, a rise in the number of failed states, terrorism, crime, and a stampede of migration toward developed countries." What the piece demonstrates, however, is that the claim is a myth only …

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We have what we need to beat global warming

One of the consequences of lazy, defeatist mainstream discussion of climate change (see: Robert J. Samuelson) is goofballery like this piece in The New York Times. Michael Fitzgerald argues that because we don't yet have a weapon that can totally and awesomely kick global warming's ass, we should spend billions of public dollars on giganto-technologies like carbon sequestration and space-age masturbation aids like light-reflecting space particles. This is stupid. We have dozens, hundreds of ways of cutting GHG emissions available right now. We have technological tools; we have social, economic, legislative, and regulatory tools. I'd bet we could get the …

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