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More intransigence on climate change

Hello! I just wanted to drop by Gristmill to give all of you an update on the energy bill. To no one's surprise, the Republicans are throwing sand in the gears and trying to block any meaningful progress. The energy bill, as it stands, is not nearly strong enough, so there are a number of amendments that must be adopted to give us a bill that actually gets us started on that path of dealing with our energy crisis and our climate crisis. But when we tried to bring up the Bingaman amendment that requires the use of alternative energy …

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Ahhhnold and friends tell the folks on the Hill to get with it

Ahhhnold is calling out the U.S. government for being a bunch of girly men and women on climate change. On Monday, he teamed up with Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell, a fellow Republican, to chastise the folks on the Hill for "inaction and denial" on climate change in an open letter published in the Washington Post. Not only have they failed to take major federal action, they've also tried to thwart actions by progressive states like California and Connecticut, the governors said. "It's bad enough that the federal government has yet to take the threat of global warming seriously," wrote the …

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Who knew?

Maybe some of you are not going to believe this, but a trend seems to be developing wherein some progressives seem to think that the issue of global warming is grabbing the "spotlight." For instance, in "Why is peak oil politically incorrect?" Ugo Bardi compares the number of online searches that global warming receives versus peak oil, using Google's admittedly new "Trends" system. The number of searches for global warming is rising rapidly, while peak oil lists along. But as an editor comments at the end of the article,"But if you think that's all very depressing -- do the comparison …

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Umbra on solar hot-water systems

Dear Umbra, I would like to change to solar heating for providing some of our electricity requirements, particularly for hot water. Can you advise me how to go about it? Leela Pienaar Grahamstown, South Africa Dearest Leela, I notice you're in South Africa. I can talk about solar equipment as found in the U.S., and perhaps these general thoughts will be useful to you. Since the web is worldwide, I was able to see at least the signs of government support for a solar water-heater campaign in South Africa. Certainly we have all reason to believe that it is sunny …

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Some guy and a camera

A homecooked argument for aggressive response to global heating.

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How Much CO2 Does a Kegger Emit?

College and university presidents sign on to climate pledge Aiming to give greenhouse-gas reduction the old college try, 280 institutions have signed on to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. Modeled after a pact signed by mayors across the country, the agreement commits schools to promoting research on global warming, keeping track of emissions, and aiming for carbon neutrality. The effort is being led by President Michael Crow of Arizona State University, which plans to turn down the AC, increase solar power, and provide free bus passes to students, faculty, and staff. Some non-signers are lukewarm to the …

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Ready to Barack

Obama qualifies his support for coal-to-liquid fuel Illinois senator and presidential hopeful Barack Obama (D) has qualified his support for coal -- which is, you may recall, the enemy of the human race. In January, Obama cosponsored legislation to provide incentives for production of coal-to-liquid fuel. He was lambasted by enviros; influential advocacy group MoveOn.org waged a petition opposing the bill. And the public pressure seems to have worked: Yesterday, Obama sent an email to green groups that stated, "Senator Obama supports ... investing in technology that could make coal a clean-burning source of energy. However, unless and until this …

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We Propose They Give Everyone a Pony

Senate begins to debate energy bill The U.S. Senate began debate on a honkin' new energy bill yesterday. In its current form, the bill would increase vehicle fuel-economy standards by up to 40 percent by 2020, significantly boost ethanol production (both corn and non-corn), promote green-collar job training, and mandate a reduction in imported-oil use by 10 million barrels a day by 2031. Let the amending begin! Coal-state Democrats want billions of dollars in loans and other incentives for the bane of greens' existence, coal-to-liquid fuel. Republicans want incentives for domestic fossil-fuel production. One proposal in the works would weaken …

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Better, but still not great

This statement from Obama is a welcome clarification of his position on liquid coal: he says he won't support it unless it demonstrates "at least 20% less life-cycle carbon than conventional fuels." The key term, of course, is "life-cycle." Unless he's weaseling, that means the whole shebang, from mining to refining to burning. This is a clear line in the sand, and Obama's to be commended for it. But. It still dodges the crux of the issue: opportunity costs. The technology exists to get CTL down to a 20% emissions reduction from gasoline, but if all of it is implemented, …

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It makes Senate Dems act like wussies

Remarkable: The bill is being circulated by Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and the energy bill's lead author. Until this week, Mr. Bingaman had opposed big subsidies for coal-based fuels, saying that each new production plant would cost billions of dollars and that the economic uncertainties posed risks for taxpayers. But in what could be an effort to fend off demands from coal-state lawmakers for bigger subsidies, Mr. Bingaman's draft proposal would offer up to $10 billion in direct government loans for coal-to-liquid plants. Unfuckingbelievable. They want to give one of the …