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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 …

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New energy legislation in Congress debates various terrible solutions

This piece in the NYT is pretty depressing. It's about the main battles around the upcoming energy legislation. Here are the points of contention: Ethanol subsidies Coal and nuclear subsidies CAFE standards On pretty much all these issues, it's Big Money lobby vs. Big Money lobby, and every one of them is a distraction -- no help at best, a hindrance at worst. Where's the Big Efficiency lobby when you need it?

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It’s hard out here for a glacier

Feeling down? Probably not as down as the Arctic's melting glaciers. And now you can listen to their sob story by giving the Icelandic glacier Vatnajokull a call, thanks to an art project that helps folks "connect emotionally" with Europe's largest glacier. With the help of Virgin Mobile and DolphinEAR, Peterson dropped a hydrophone into the glacier, allowing folks from around the world to call in and listen to the creaks, groans, and drips of a dying chunk of ice. Only one person can call in at a time, allowing everyone to have a "one-to-one beautiful and intimate moment" with …

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The tiny island nation of Tuvalu is threatened by global warming.

Possibly one of the most tragic outcomes that may result from climate change is the extinction of an entire nation's culture and homeland. As the United Nations discussed the threat that global warming poses to the security of nations, Afelee Pita, an ambassador from the tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, was there to represent his country. Tuvalu may be one of the first nations whose way of life could disappear as a result of the actions (or in this case, the lack of action) of other countries. NPR is covering this story as part of their year-long Climate Connections …

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Make your opinion heard

Senator Bingaman is with the majority of Americans in wanting more renewable energy. Accordingly, he has authored legislation that would require utilities to increase renewables in their portfolio to 15 percent by 2020. Senator Domenici is with the craven few who don't want this to happen. Accordingly, he has authored an amendment to redefine qualifying renewables to include nukes and coal. So tricky! But we are on to him. The vote on Domenici's amendment will take place this afternoon. Calls to the following swinging senators by 2 p.m. EDT today could make all the difference. Minn. - Coleman - 202.224.5641 …

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From the candidates with the best plans and least chances

The two Democratic presidential candidates with the strongest energy plans and, um, least chance of winning have come out with new ads based on global warming. Here's Chris Dodd's: Here's Bill Richardson's: (via Hugg)

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Can You Hear the Drums, Hu Jintao?

Sweden hosts Chinese president, global environment ministers What we learned today: while researching eco-news from Sweden, you might stumble upon some juicy tidbits. Like the fact that tennis player Björn Borg was severely bitten by a dog this weekend, or that the organizers of a future museum dedicated to ABBA have found a location in Stockholm! But since you are a professional, you will not let such news distract you from your purpose. Which is to report that Chinese President Hu Jintao has just wrapped up a three-day visit to Sweden, during which he affirmed his country's commitment to battling …

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Johnson Pussyfoots

EPA chief will decide whether to regulate greenhouse gases ... next year Climatic evidence notwithstanding, U.S. EPA chief Stephen Johnson would like to assure you that snoozers are not losers. On Friday, Johnson told a House special committee on global warming that he's going to put off making up his mind about whether vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions should be regulated by his agency until late 2008. It's all a matter of whether the emissions "endanger public health or welfare" -- and endangerment is a "legal term of art" that needs more study, Johnson said. The Undecider also refused to inform the …

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What rules would you impose to address global heating if you were

America, nominally a democracy, acquired a strange fetish for "czars" during the Nixon administration (how telling). I remember William Simon being appointed "energy czar" back in the 70s. Like the Romanoffs, he had a fearsome title and did nothing good for most of the people in his country. Still, it can be a useful exercise to think about what you would do if you suddenly had responsibility for something like dealing with global heating, and you could make the policy changes you thought wisest. What would yours be? Here's a small handful of mine, in random order (i.e., not ranked …

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Your math teacher knew you’d need this stuff someday!

During one of our many discussions here at Gristmill around cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, I did some figuring and realized that, if we started in 2008, we would have three "halving" periods between then and 2050 if we could just cut emissions by 5 percent per year -- not an unreachable goal for people who absolutely waste a buttload of energy. I've been talking up what I've taken to calling "The 5% Solution" here in Springfield (where the Simpsons live), making contact with a local group to propose starting a campaign for it as a project of the organization, with the …

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