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Feel guilty yet?

Ever wondered if your state's climate policy really makes a difference in the big global scheme of things? If so, here's a little map I made. For each state, the map shows a nation with equivalent greenhouse-gas emissions from energy. The full U.S. version is here. When I've shown drafts to people, almost everyone wants to compare populations. The western states population comparison is after the jump. The full data are here(xls). Number of people (in millions), 2003 I find the full U.S. map a bit overwhelming. Even more so when I realize that the 2003 population of the U.S. …

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Turning Lemons Into Powerade

Waste Management announces $400 million methane-to-energy plan Renewable energy got a boost this week: mega-hauler Waste Management said it will spend $400 million over five years to build 60 landfill-based facilities that will convert methane to electricity. The potent gas -- which results from the decomposition of organic yummies like trash and cow manure -- is the second-leading human-made contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide, and landfills account for 34 percent of methane emissions in the U.S. Waste Management already operates about 100 methane-energy facilities at its 281 North American landfills; in Saint-Sophie, Quebec, for instance, such an operation …

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It Was Sunny in Seattle

Global weather is bad and likely to get worse Within the last week, excessive heat -- think 113 degrees Fahrenheit -- has killed dozens of people in Greece, Romania, and Turkey. Storms killed some 150 people in India and about 220 people in Pakistan. Britain has been deluged by flooding. We like to think of these severe weather incidents as coincidental, but some crazies claim they're a wake-up call. Recent natural catastrophes "are indications of what might happen more frequently and more severely across the globe as a consequence of global warming," says Salvano Briceno, director of a U.N. agency …

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Sure to Hit Fox News Soon

Mainstream media explores Bush administration eco-disregard Searing indictment of the Bush administration's environmental policies -- it's not just for bloggers anymore! Last week, Rolling Stone published "The Secret Campaign of President Bush's Administration to Deny Global Warming," about -- well, you know. Not to be outdone, The Washington Post focused an installment of a series on Vice President Dick Cheney on the veep's involvement in various incidents of eco-dicking. Cheney's influence was indisputable in the relaxation of air-pollution regulations in 2003, says the Post, and in the 2001 deaths of tens of thousands of Oregon salmon when Klamath River water …

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Kristof speaks

Nicholas Kristof, one of the few genuine moral authorities in the pundit class today, points out a brutal truth: If we need any more proof that life is unfair, it is that subsistence villagers here in Africa will pay with their lives for our refusal to curb greenhouse gas emissions. When we think of climate change, we tend to focus on Alaskan villages or New Orleans hurricanes. But the people who will suffer the worst will be those living in countries like this, even though they don't contribute at all to global warming. Climate change is going to kill hundreds …

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BASF CEO questions whether climate change is a problem

Interesting interview with BASF CEO Jürgen Hambrecht in today's Der Speigel, in which the leader of the world's largest chemical company questions the whole "climate change is a problem" thing. He's also one of Angela Merkel's "key advisers," though we're hoping it's on topics other than climate policy. An excerpt: Spiegel: You say that what the government is calling for is completely unrealistic. What is realistic? Hambrecht: Realistic is what is doable without harming the economy. Otherwise we will be solving supposed problems by de-industrializing Germany. We are one of the few Western economies that still has a large, well-functioning …

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Lots of stuff going on in D.C.

Lordy, the developments are happening so fast I can barely keep up with them. Here are a few more of note. Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va) are teaming up to put together comprehensive climate legislation. You can bet that whatever they come up with is going to be way over on the business-friendly side of things, but nonetheless this is a big development. Lieberman and Warner are both key members of the Senate EPW committee, where chair Barbara Boxer has come under fire lately for losing control of the climate change issue and letting it slide. Warner …

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A professor of History and Science Studies explains

For those interested in why the scientific community is so certain about climate change, take a look at this presentation and this book chapter, both by Naomi Oreskes. She does a great job explaining how science reaches conclusions, and why we can be pretty sure that humans are indeed warming the climate.

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The House’s most indecipherable, um, cipher

I've been getting some interesting -- and widely varied -- reactions to this post on Dingell. So here's a follow-up. First, MoveOn's political action campaign director, Ilyse Hogue, sends me this: Rep. Dingell has been late to the game and is well behind other Democratic leaders whose vision can make our country competitive in the 21st century. His calls in the last couple days for greenhouse gas reductions and (maybe) a carbon tax are good steps. But this is not about horse trading; it's about listening to the American people and a climate bill that takes stand against industry and …

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Their reasons aren’t all that unreasonable

Yesterday, I spoke to a group of manufacturers in Arkansas. Throughout the conference there was a fair amount of pride in the successful squashing of Bingaman's RPS bill -- and for reasons that are not entirely unreasonable. Among the speakers was the chair of the Arkansas Energy Commission, who said that he personally objected to the bill because it was unfair. Specifically, it would not allow Arkansas to count their existing hydro-electric capacity in the RPS targets, but would allow existing wind to count. From his perspective, this looked like a sop to Bingaman's wind-rich home district, and while we …