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Umbra on refrigerator downsizing

Dear Umbra, Two of our favorite Brit-coms are Keeping Up Appearances and As Time Goes By. It is hard for an American not to remark that in both households, which seem quite affluent, the refrigerator is short, and fits beneath the kitchen counter: nothing so grand as what passes for normal in American kitchens. Do most Brits and Europeans in fact have in their kitchens only counter-height refrigerators? And if so, are they therefore quite satisfied with that arrangement? And if so, are they therefore using much less electricity than we are? And if so, is there any chance that …

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No, not like that

No, I don't mean that the home of crab cakes and Orioles is suddenly adopting Hollywood-style divorces -- although the state's unusual flag (pictured here) certainly suggest the state likes to be different. Rather, the state is embracing the same smart electric utility regulations that has enabled California to be a leader in energy efficiency for three decades. As the Washington Post reports today: In a bid to cut energy use, Maryland yesterday became just the fourth state in the nation to approve a plan that removes the incentive for electric utilities to sell more power in order to make …

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Even more guidance

Resources for the Future has put together yet another comprehensive guide to current climate legislation, if the other guides aren't working for you. This one comes in two forms: either a convenient comparison grid (PDF), or a timeline of emission reduction targets (PDF). Compare away.

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Ring a ding Dingell

This profile of Dingell in the NYT doesn't offer any new info, but it's a nice summary of the state of play -- between Dingell and Pelosi, and on energy legislation in the House.

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Ante up

Colin Challen, a member of Parliament and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group, has a good editorial in the latest issue of Science (sub. rqd). He makes a key point that is often missed in the debate: Not only must we reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, we need a timetable that reduces the risk of positive feedbacks and sink failures that could lead to runaway catastrophic climate change. We are "playing climate change poker," as Challen says, fighting not just to avoid the consensus prediction for climate change, but the plausible worst-case scenario, which is far worse. …

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Watch six episodes of ‘Project Phin’

Would seeing Ben Affleck dressed as an ear of corn make you more or less interested in learning about ethanol and supporting legislation requiring service stations to sell it? It's an interesting question -- especially without context -- but one the Center for American Progress is eager to investigate. This week, they launched an online video series, "Project Phin," to address energy issues -- specifically flex fuels. The six-episode series is being released one YouTube video at a time, and will include cameos from green-leaning celebs like Matt Damon, Jennifer Garner, Sarah Silverman, and the corn-husk-clad Affleck. Check out the …

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And he argues that cow farts produce more greenhouse gases than cars

Check out this clip (via RAN) of the insufferable Glenn Beck running through asinine talking points while disparaging Live Earth: I'm not the first to note this, but it is really remarkable that CNN, a formerly respected former news network, stoops to this egregious low. Mike Brune of the Rainforest Action Network does an admirable job of keeping his dignity, not committing any felonies no matter how justified, and calling him on his bull. If, in the unlikely event that I am ever asked to do a similar interview, my only request will be that I be within smirk-smacking distance.

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Renewable energy is good for them

Renewable energy is good for rural communities -- at least in the UK: A study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, of community renewable energy projects in Britain has found that so far, projects are largely based in the countryside, some quite remote. From wind turbines to shared heating systems, small-scale renewable energy doesn't just help in the fight against climate change. It can also bring people together, revitalise local economies and help alleviate poverty. Community energy projects generate energy renewably, at a local level. They involve anything from a community-owned wind turbine to a solar panel on …

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We want some

Hmmm. This is interesting. Seems that American Express is running a contest, and the winning project gets $5 million. I mention this for two reasons: out of civic duty, and because our project is in the running for five million freakin' dollars. We are currently about 1,200 measly votes from making it to the next round. The project, "Harvest the Sun," is a collaboration of Vote Solar and the Center for Resource Solutions, and would go toward our work bringing solar into the mainstream. For the love of God -- I currently expend a ridiculous amount of time, energy, and …

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Really

If you haven't already heard, yesterday saw the release of an important new report: In the most comprehensive environmental assessment of electric transportation to date, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are examining the greenhouse gas emissions and air quality impacts of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). The purpose of the program is to evaluate the nationwide environmental impacts of potentially large numbers of PHEVs over a time period of 2000 to 2050. The year 2000 is assumed to be the first year PHEVs would become available in the U.S. market, while 2050 …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy