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Ranking oil companies from evil to even more evil

Get pumped: Sierra has updated its guide to choosing the least-evil gas stations. And they've condensed it to fit in a handy travel-sized package: a rearview-mirror air freshener, which could not be more appropriate considering how gassy Americans are. (We consume some 400 million gallons of crudeness a day!) Below, the top eight oil companies ranked from evil to even more evil: Top of the Barrel BP Sunoco Middle of the Barrel Royal Dutch Shell Chevron Valero Energy Corporation Citgo Bottom of the Barrel ExxonMobil ConocoPhillips

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It’s not a ‘sustainable’ biofuel

So Europeans are buying Indonesian palm oil as a "sustainable" biofuel, but it isn't sustainable, as we've noted before. The tragedy continues: Palm oil companies are burning peat forests to clear land for plantations in Indonesia's Riau province, despite government pledges to end forest fires ... Blazes have started flaring again since the end of June with the start of the dry season. How a big deal is this? As The New York Times put it earlier this year, "Considering these emissions, Indonesia had quickly become the world's third-leading producer of carbon emissions that scientists believe are responsible for global …

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They should be gradually eliminated

Even more from NASA's climate guru: Given the damage that fossil fuels cause to the climate, human health, wildlife, forests, lakes, ocean fish, etc., you may think that we place a very high tax on fossil fuels, right? Umm, well, not exactly. On the contrary, our government, egged on by special interests, chooses to subsidize them, or, more accurately, they volunteer you to subsidize fossil fuels. ... Being from Iowa, I point out an example on the farms, pointed out to me by Bruce Johansen, who found it in an article by Steve Mufson. Franklin Roosevelt granted subsidies for coal-fired …

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More on the dumbest video from the YouTube debate

The Wall Street Journal brings you more than you ever wanted to know about that stupid snowman who asked the question about global warming in the Democratic debate. Kill me.

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An interview with John Edwards about his presidential platform on energy and the environment

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside. Update: John Edwards dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 30, 2008. John Edwards. Photo: Rachel Feierman John Edwards has gone to great lengths to outshine the top Democratic candidates with an aggressive environmental platform. On the 2008 campaign trail, this blue-collar defender has painted himself as a bleeding-heart greenie. The first candidate to call for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 and the first to make his campaign carbon neutral, Edwards has had a pied-piper effect on the …

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Brazil …

... realizes that global warming is going to hurt it too, and starts to come around on the notion of market mechanisms that could prevent further deforestation in the Amazon, one of the principal global sources of greenhouse gas emissions. This is good news -- it needs to become more profitable to save the forest than to cut it down, and quickly.

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Sleep tight!

I would be remiss if I did not point out that legendary climate scientist Jim Hansen finds it "almost inconceivable that 'business as usual' climate change will not result in a rise in sea level measured in metres within a century." That's some scary sh*t. Hansen seems way out ahead of what any glaciologist is willing to say, which he attributes to "scientific reticence." I'm a little leery casting my lot in with an outlier on matters like this, but Hansen's been an outlier before and has been richly vindicated. Here's an idea: maybe we should cut back on emissions …

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Are wack

In his SOTU speech earlier this year, Bush proposed updating and reforming CAFE standards. Skeptical? Good. You're not stupid. As I wrote here, one of his reforms is to make the whole CAFE system "attribute-based," meaning different mileage standards would apply to different classes of vehicles based on their, um, attributes -- mainly size. This would make things unnecessarily complicated and perpetuate the double standard that has encouraged the domination of ginormous SUVs for the last decade. Under Bush's plan, the double standard would become a multiple-standard, an open sop to the Big Three automakers. Anyway, that was just my …

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It’s not the same as a carbon tax, and it’s not cool

I've noticed that lots of people talk about a carbon tax and a gas tax as if they're interchangeable, or the same thing, or connected parts of some larger package. That's bad. Please stop it. A carbon tax is just that: a tax on carbon content. It could take numerous forms, but it's generally agreed that the best would be to tax as far "upstream" as possible -- as close as possible to the sources of carbon-heavy fuels -- so as to minimize the number of taxed parties and the possibility of accounting shenanigans. That means a tax on wellheads …

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A note to the environmentally self-righteous

Frequently, when a small, incremental measure to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions is proposed, environmental commentators argue that it should be rejected. Why? Because it is a "distraction," a way of enabling us to continue our horrid, depraved lifestyle, methadone for our addiction to iniquity, a sop to our corporate overlords, mere playing of games, a highly Unserious Frivolity, etc. etc. Instead, we should choose the Magical Pony Plan for a Totally and Awesomely Transformed World. That, after all, is the only real solution. Here's a thought for such folks: unless you also describe practical steps for how we can achieve your …

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