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Three rescue workers killed in Utah mine

The tragedy grows

Two Three rescue workers were killed and at least seven six others injured when a tunnel collapsed in Crandall Canyon mine, the site of a rescue operation attempting to reach six miners that have been trapped inside for what is now 11 days without contact. Mine officials are discussing whether to shut down the rescue effort.

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Heard it through the bovine

Scientists try to reduce methane emissions by tweaking cow diets

Did you know that cows belch every 40 seconds? I did not. A recent article in The Christian Science Monitor states this fun fact, and goes on to explain how scientists are trying to manipulate bovine diets to reduce the amount of methane that they emit: British researchers have begun a $1.5 million government research program to propose ways to change cows' diets in order to reduce methane production by feeding them grasses with higher levels of sugar, which facilitate digestion. "These grasses present a better balance of nutrients to the microbial population in the rumen and are used more …

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Climate forecast: Hot, and then very hot

In nontechnical terms

For those wondering why the planet hasn't yet exceeded the 1998 El Niño-fueled temperature record, a new Science magazine article ($ub. req'd) explains why. Basically, in addition to the steady increase in anthropogenic warming from greenhouse gases, you have to add a smaller variation from climate oscillations linked to the oceans. Those oscillations have been tamping down temperatures a tad, and will keep doing so for the next couple of years, but the decade of the 2010s is going to bring a return to record-smashing temperatures: Our system predicts that internal variability will partially offset the anthropogenic global warming signal …

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Freeman Dyson, climate crackpot

Yet another one

As a physicist, I have never been a big fan of Freeman Dyson. He was, after all, one of the "geniuses" pushing Project Orion -- the absurdly impractical idea of creating a rocket ship powered by detonating nuclear bombs -- I kid you not! Dyson has written a new book, A Many Colored Glass, that you shouldn't waste your time and money on -- as this extract on global warming makes clear. Dyson has basically joined the famous-crackpot camp with Michael Crichton and Bill Gray. You can read a good debunking of Dyson here. I'll add my two cents. Dyson …

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Wanna ditch the paparazzi?

A tip from Leonardo DiCaprio

Start talking about global warming.

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Interview with Thomas Casten, part four

Making money cutting carbon

DR: There hasn't been any public pressure to change the electricity system. Most people don't even know how electricity is made. It comes out of the wall like magic. TC: You are so right. In Ontario, they did a massive peer-reviewed study to identify the health and environmental effects of making power with coal, and what they thought would be saved if they replaced the coal with gas or nuclear. They talked about being able to save $3 billion a year in health and environmental costs. When you divide that number by the kilowatt hours made from coal plants, it …

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Al Gore calls for civil disobedience

Against climate polluters

From The New York Times's Nicholas Kristof ($ub req'd): I ran into Al Gore at a climate/energy conference this month, and he vibrates with passion about this issue -- recognizing that we should confront mortal threats even when they don't emanate from Al Qaeda. "We are now treating the Earth's atmosphere as an open sewer," he said, and (perhaps because my teenage son was beside me) he encouraged young people to engage in peaceful protests to block major new carbon sources. "I can't understand why there aren't rings of young people blocking bulldozers," Mr. Gore said, "and preventing them from …

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Hastert aging, mellowing, retiring … going green?

Also via Brian Beutler (TOWTM) comes the exceedingly strange news that Denny Hastert (R-Ill.), former Speaker of the House and heretofore undistinguished party apparatchik, wants to leave Congress with a bang by ... passing climate change legislation with Nancy Pelosi. Wonders never cease.

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EPRI: The secret to carbon reduction is more coal

Really?

The Electric Power Research Institute just released "The Power to Reduce CO2 Emissions" (PDF), its discussion paper to "provide stakeholders with a framework [to] develop a research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) Action Plan that will enable sustainable and substantial electricity sector CO2 emissions reductions over the coming decades." It is crazy, mathematically bogus, economically disastrous, and generally inane ... but will reach an audience vastly larger than its rigor warrants. First, a bit about EPRI. It is the research arm of the nation's regulated utilities. It has historically been funded by charges on electric bills, but with restructured markets, it's …

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