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China’s one-child policy reduces population, helps climate

Perhaps a wee bit sensitive about being vilified for its excessive impact on climate change, China has pointed out that its one-child policy, instituted in the late 1970s, has kept 300 million consumers off of the planet.

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The solar power you don't hear about

Solar thermal power deserves more attention, due to its lower cost and relative ease of storage

Solar thermal power is back! Solar thermal gets less attention than its sexier cousin -- high-tech photovoltaics -- but has two big advantages. First, it is much cheaper than PV. Second, it captures energy in a form that is much easier to store -- heat -- typically with mirrored surfaces that concentrate sunlight onto a receiver that heats a liquid (which is then used to make steam to drive a turbine). Back in the 1980s, Luz International was the sole commercial developer of U.S. solar thermal electric projects. The company built nine solar plants, totaling 355 MW of capacity, in …

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Fast to stop global warming

September 4th event marks new phase in struggle for the planet

I'm incredibly excited about the September 4th Climate Emergency Fast being organized by the U.S. Climate Emergency Council and others. I've signed up and hope you will too, by clicking here. In one week, the number of fasters has grown from 395 to 795 and continues to multiply. Everyone I've talked to about it is instantly drawn to it; people seem to instinctively understand that we need to move beyond the polite letter-writing, lobbying, and yes -- blogging -- that has characterized response to the climate crisis thus far. In most true crises, people take to the streets if the …

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Do as we say ...

Developed world scolds China for doing what it does

For 200 years the Western world has plundered the world's oil and fouled its atmosphere, and despite a recent flurry of happy talk to the contrary, it is still doing so. So it's rich indeed for Merkel to go to China and ask them to please stop. If I were Premier Wen Jiabao, my response would be nothing but a raised middle finger. He's somewhat more polite about it.

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'If you were really green, you would have walked here'

Is Burning Man living up to its Green Man intentions?

The headline refers to a sign that appears as you drive (or as I drove, in a huge white pickup truck) into the Playa at five miles an hour, and it's not a bad summary of the enviro discussion here at Burning Man. How can you really be green at an event you have to drive hundreds of miles to, mostly through desert, with all your heavy crap in the car? Where will all those plastic water bottles end up? Is there such thing as a petroleum-free camp? What about all those Zip Ties, the preferred technology for securing dome …

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Hurricane Katrina and the myth of global warming adaptation

When it comes to climate change, prevention is more important than adaptation

G. Gordon Liddy's daughter repeated a standard Denier line in our debate: Humans are very adaptable -- we've adapted to climate changes in the past and will do so in the future. I think Hurricane Katrina gives the lie to that myth. No, I'm not saying humans are not adaptable. Nor am I saying global warming caused Hurricane Katrina, although warming probably did make it more intense. But on the two-year anniversary of Katrina, I'm saying Katrina showed the limitations of adaptation as a response to climate change, for several reasons. First, the citizens of New Orleans "adapted" to Hurricane …

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Killing me greenly

Miltary tech goes eco

Earth2Tech brings us seven ways the military is using green technology. And don't forget how they're tackling overpopulation!

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Indulgences redux

Offset customers don’t buy offsets to justify their other behavior

So, TerraPass just got done with a customer survey, with several thousand responses. Uncovered was the shocking news that people are not, in fact, using offsets as an excuse to indulge in other bad behaviors. (Here's a one-page PDF summarizing results.) In fact, just as you'd expect, people who care enough to pay for offsets also care enough to reduce their emissions in other ways. As Adam says, this counts as pretty good evidence against the "indulgences" theory of offsets, particularly in light of the fact that there's no evidence for it. Of course, it's possible that TerraPass customers are …

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Keep your friends close ...

Some unwitting climate change advice from the National Review

Hey, did anyone here read that recent article on political strategies for action on climate change? You know, the one published in the National Review? [crickets chirping] OK, I generally don't recommend the National Review on environmental policy, but I couldn't help peeking at the recent article [PDF] by Jim Manzi. Various writers of the more thoughtful right-of-center blogs have alternatively described it as "brilliant" and "a taste of how a wised-up, heads-out-of-the-sand Right could kick [liberals'] ass on the issue" of global warming. I hadn't realized that climate change was a game of flag football, but there you go. …

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An interview with Joe Biden about energy and the environment

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside. Update: Joe Biden was chosen as Barack Obama's running mate on Aug. 23, 2008. (He dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 3, 2008.) Joe Biden. Photo: Michael Millhollin Joe Biden says his top priority as president would be "energy security." "If I could wave a wand, and the Lord said I could solve one problem, I would solve the energy crisis," he said this spring at a political rally in South Carolina. "That's the single most consequential problem we can solve." …