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Dave’s Second Law of Sustainability Politics

Clean up coal emissions and you end up with more -- and more toxic -- coal ash. You get cleaner air, but you get ash that can't be recycled (into, e.g., concrete). You breath free, but you've got arsenic and mercury leaching into your groundwater from coal-ash landfills. Look at this vintage coal magic: There are ways to remove the pollutants from emissions without making the ash unusable [for recycling]. But that equipment can be up to four times more expensive, adding millions of dollars to the cost of meeting EPA guidelines, [American Coal Ash Association executive director Dave] Goss …

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Past perceptions of climate change

A new study gathers 20 years of public opinion about global warming

Matthew Nisbet of Framing Science and his colleague, T. Myers, trawled through two decades of data on public opinion about global warming (sounds fun, huh?). The results will be published in the fall issue of the journal Public Opinion Quarterly. An abstract: Over the past 20 years, there have been dozens of news organization, academic, and nonpartisan public opinion surveys on global warming, yet there exists no authoritative summary of their collective findings. In this article, we provide a systematic review of trends in public opinion about global warming. We sifted through hundreds of polling questions culled from more than …

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Positive offset reinforcement

The Wall Street Journal has a big package ... of stories on energy in their Energy Report. I think you need a subscription to see them; there's a roundup here. I haven't looked through everything yet, but I did like this smart, if brief, video on offsets: One of the things Gelobter's outfit is trying to do with its new shopping portal is direct substantial money to the right kind of offsets, serving to reinforce positive practices in the market. He says as much himself, right here: PS: there's a stealth strategy too...the guidelines for every offset dollar we collect …

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Shopping causes global warming

Australian newspaper identifies consumerism as warming culprit

I was just in Australia, spending some love miles (my wife is an Aussie) but also giving some talks, and while there I was interviewed by a journalist named Wendy Frew from the Sydney Morning Herald. She did a nice piece (August 9) on Greenhouse Development Rights called "Rich will have to help poor to save climate," which is perhaps notable for containing the dulcet phrase "coal is the enemy of mankind." But that's not what I'm writing about. What I'm writing about is another article by Ms. Frew, dated August 19, this one called "Top suburbs costing the Earth." …

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Coal welfare queens unite

Liquid coal coalition gears up to suck from the public teat

Mike Millikin brings word of the horrific goings-on at a recent conference on liquid coal. Witness: [Sen. Jay] Rockefeller [D-W.Va.], after saying that "coal is the single greatest chance our country has for achieving energy independence," outlined what he described as four key elements for building the coal-to-liquids industry. Build up military uses of coal-based fuels. ... Work together to keep all those who support coal on the same page. ... Have a substantial federal government investment in the R&D for workable carbon capture and sequestration. ... Expand the pipeline infrastructure to serve the coalfields. ... Rockefeller called for the …

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On the Ball: Obscure football edition

Ball-kickers power stadiums with renewables

And you thought by "football" in my title I meant football? Pssh. I do love me some obscure European soccer news. So with no further ado: Scottish soccer team powers its stadium floodlights with wind power! Swiss soccer team has the world's largest stadium-integrated photovoltaic system on the roof of the Stade de Suisse Wankdorf Bern! Heh heh. Wankdorf.

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Talkin'

Latest round of UN climate talks focuses on energy investment

Just how excited can one get by the latest round of international talks on climate change? This one is focused on business, specifically energy investment: A new report by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change says additional investments of about $210 billion a year will be needed - mostly in the developing world - to maintain greenhouse gas emissions at their current levels until 2030. "If the funding available ... remains at its current level and continues to rely mainly on voluntary contributions, it will not be sufficient," the report warns. If you weren't aware.

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Move Your Bloomin’ Ash

Curbing air pollution from coal plants can lead to more ash in landfills The growing pressure to clean up emissions from coal-fired power plants is good for air quality, but it's got a sooty lining: pollution capture could end up filling landfills with millions more tons of toxic ash. More than one-third of the ash currently generated by coal plants is recycled for other uses, but the chemicals commonly used to capture pollutants out of coal-plant emissions change the composition of ash, often making it unusable. To the landfill it goes; the U.S. EPA does not classify coal ash as …

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Radioactive Flyer

International safeguards for nuclear materials are flawed, says report As nuclear energy enjoys a renaissance as a touted climate-change fix, a new report identifies significant flaws in the international safeguards meant to keep nuclear materials in reactors (as opposed to, say, the hands of illegal bomb makers). A two-year study by the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center concludes that the International Atomic Energy Agency is ill-funded for its important task of supervising a rapidly increasing volume of nuclear material that could potentially be used for weapons. In addition, says NPEC, the IAEA overestimates the necessary amount of nuclear material to make …

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