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Dam it all

Tucuruí, Brazil's second largest dam has many times the GHG emissions of a natural gas plant of the same capacity -- though there is fierce argument over whether that output substantially exceeds what a natural watercourse would produce. (The emissions are due to methane from trapped organic matter in the dam.) There is now a proposal to tap that methane to run gas turbines and produce electricity, reducing the emissions many times, since CO2 from burning the methane has a much lower impact than the methane itself. It would also close to double the electrical output from the dam. This …

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Sign the petition!

I opened my inbox the other day and thought I must be dreaming: the venerable progressive organization MoveOn is taking on coal-to-liquids (CTL). This is from an email they sent to their over three million members on Wednesday: In the next few weeks, Congress could vote to DOUBLE the amount of greenhouse gases America produces from our cars and planes. It's the greatest single threat to solving the climate crisis in a decade. It sounds crazy. But Congress is rushing through a package that could lock us into liquid coal as our country's new energy source for transportation. For every …

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Oregon Gov. signs tough new renewable standard

Kudos to Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who this week signed one of the nation's toughest renewable portfolio standards: the state's biggest utilities must deliver 25% of their power from renewable sources by 2025.

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Find ITT on eBay

Ecuador offers to keep oil in the ground for compensation Ecuador offered to play "Let's Make a Deal" this week, suggesting that it could afford to keep a pristine area from oil drilling if developed nations and green groups ponied up some cold, hard cash. "We are willing to do this sacrifice, but not for free," said President Rafael Correa, who suggested that $350 million annually for 10 years would suffice. "This is an insignificant figure compared to what is spent on the Iraq war," Correa added. Zing! The $350 million figure is about half what the country expects could …

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More Colbert on Griffin

You can see part one here. Here's part two:

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Wisdom from the heart of coal country

It's not news when I criticize Congress's proposals to subsidize coal-to-liquids (CTL). After all, my focus is avoiding serious global warming, which CTL would only make more likely. But when two newspapers from traditional coal regions say "no" to CTL, that is a man-bites-dog story. The Kentucky Herald-Leader has a great headline: Liquid coal a new version of snake oil: Don't subsidize energy plans that would worsen global warming. The Roanoke Times of the coal-region of Southwestern Virginia has an equally strong headline: Billion-dollar boondoggle: Coal-to-liquid technology is expensive, harmful to the environment and inefficient. The federal government should take …

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Color me unimpressed

You can color me unimpressed by the big news today in the Globe and Mail: Quebec just became the first Canadian province to pass a carbon tax. For one thing, the tax is tiny, just 0.8 cents per liter of gasoline, and at comparably low levels on natural gas and diesel. (For non-metricized Americans, that's 3 cents per gallon.) So that makes Quebec's new approach not quite as aggressive as -- to pick just one example at random -- Idaho's 5 cent per gallon increase circa 1996. Now in fairness to Quebec, the new carbon tax revenue, which weighs in …

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Australia tries to distract from Kyoto

Looks like somebody's been taking lessons from Bush. Get this: "The Kyoto model -- top-down, prescriptive, legalistic and Euro-centric -- simply won't fly in a rising Asia-Pacific region," Howard told an Asia Society Australasia dinner. Gag.

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Are the two inextricably linked?

The G8 wants to "decouple economic growth from energy use." Is that possible? That's the central question of out times, I guess. Walden Belloon thinks not: The only effective response to climate change is to radically reduce economic growth rates and consumption levels, particularly in the North, and in the very near future. The climate change section of the G8 declaration is a long and all-too-transparent exercise to get around this reality.