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Breaking all the offset rules

[Important update to this post here.] One reason I began posting my Rules of Carbon Offsets is a dubious program by the California utility PG&E called ClimateSmart, which is supposed to allow PG&E customers to become "climate neutral." This program actually manages to violate rules zero, 1, and 2 all at once! It really makes clear why offsets are bastardized emissions reductions -- and why trees are an especially dubious offset. This picture graces the "Our Projects" page of the ClimateSmart website. The caption reads : "Photo of van Eck Forest, courtesy of Pacific Forest Trust." Well, that burns rule …

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Carbon offsets are tricky business

Joseph Romm has been running a series of "rules of the road for carbon offsets" on these pages. This is a worthwhile endeavor, and as good of an excuse as any for me to provide some shade and color to the frequently misconceived debate over offsets. Although I mostly agree with Romm's conclusions, I don't think he chose the best route to reach them. My intent is not to rebut Romm's proposed rules -- again, I (mostly) agree with all of the guidelines posted so far, even if they do contain some important errors of fact and emphasis. And more …

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Monbiot: We can provide all or most of our electricity from renewable sources

In his July 3 column, George Monbiot reminds us of how much worse the threat of global warming may be than the consensus IPCC position. But he also reminds us that there are reasons for optimism too. He cites three studies that point to the fact that there is every reason to believe Europe and the UK can supply between 80 percent and 100 percent of electricity needs completely sun, wind, water, wave, tide, and minor amounts of biomass and geothermal energy, V2G Vanadium flow batteries, and pumped storage. Given that electricity can drive just about all energetic processes of …

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The Day the Music Lied?

Live Earth reaches an estimated 2 billion, critics harp on hypocrisy By all accounts, Live Earth (perhaps you've heard of it?) was a smashing success. Organizers say the shows reached about 2 billion people in 130 countries. More than 150 musical acts crooned, and supporters held more than 10,000 registered "fringe events" in addition to the main concerts on every continent. Al Gore appeared in person (and in hologram form!) to urge crowds to commit to a seven-point pledge to green their lives, and launched a three-year campaign that will "get the scientific [climate] evidence in front of people all …

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And the Peanuts Are Free-Range

With fans and fanfare, Boeing unveils new fuel-efficient aircraft Yesterday, Boeing unveiled a new fuel-efficient airplane to a crowd of more than 15,000 workers and onlookers, as tens of thousands more watched by satellite. The 787 Dreamliner -- nicknamed the "greenliner" -- boasts a body that's half carbon-fiber composite; because the material is lighter than the traditional aluminum, the aircraft will use 20 percent less fuel than similarly sized planes, says the company. According to Jeff Hawk, who oversees environmental efforts for the model, the 787 consumes about one gallon of fuel per seat per 100 miles of travel -- …

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Hope There’s a High Ceiling for the Kangaroos

Australia to build 1,740-mile corridor for wildlife affected by climate change State and federal leaders in Australia have agreed to create a 1,740-mile wildlife corridor spanning the east coast of the continent -- in part to allow plants and animals to flee the effects of global warming. "The effects of climate change will likely be less severe in systems that have some resilience and that we haven't gone in and buggered up," says David Lindenmayer, a conservation biology professor at Australian National University. "A lot of that forest and vegetation spine is already there. But there are still blockages." The …

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Your intrepid Grist correspondent sweats through an arena concert, so you don’t have to

Don't ever say we never did anything for you. On Saturday, while you were cavorting in the surf, grilling organic free-range meat on the barbecue (or is that barbecuing meat on the grill?), or kicking back with a good book in the sweet, sweet air conditioning, Grist was sweating at Live Earth New York. Er, New Jersey. Whatever. We suffered through sets by Ludacris, Melissa Etheridge, Roger Waters, and the Police to report back -- to YOU, dear Grist reader -- from the front lines of global eco-activism. Or something like that. Check back soon for my report from the …

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Check it out

If not, here it is. Man that's cool. I wish we had one of Chip standing on his head.

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Car company on national tour to pimp hybrids

If you want to learn more about hybrids, or uh, at least Toyota's take on hybrids, the company is on a "Highway to the Future" national tour to hook some more folks on their line of hybrid cars, talk about alternative fuels, and offer some ideas about reducing your carbon footprint. And as we learned this week, you can get them up to 100 miles per hour, if you're into that sort of thing. Also, they're quickly becoming the biggest status symbol on the block, for whatever that's worth. And for the other Brokeasses out there who fantasize about Priuses …

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The LA Times reports on global warming and skinny whales

Kenneth Weiss, a surfer/reporter who last year headed the team that won a Pulitzer for the Los Angeles Times for a series on our trashed oceans, returns to the front page today with a story about how global warming appears to be damaging the arctic feeding grounds of the gray whale, leading to "skinny whales" and unusual behaviors. The whales are journeying far to the north of their usual territory looking for the sea-bed crustaceans that make up the bulk of their diet -- and foraging off California and along the western coast as well. The story tops the front …

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