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Explain climate change to Little Stevie

A call for suckers

Little Stevie Milloy's outfit is offering $100,000 to the person who can "prove, in a scientific manner, that humans are causing harmful global warming." Fine print: This exciting opportunity will cost you $15. Think of it as a sweepstakes, only with Ed McMahon peer-reviewing articles on particle physics, and nobody winning. Now, the phrase "prove in a scientific manner" should tip you off that a childhood of eating paste has left Little Stevie fighting this war with a pea shooter. Epistemological category mistakes aside, however, he's a clever scamp. For years he's bamboozled Exxon out of money with the promise …

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Nuclear physicist says nukes are not the answer

And he should know what he’s talking about

Someone with a lot of experience in advanced reactor technologies says nukes are not worth pursuing as we contend with peak oil and climate change.

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Must-read from RealClimate

The latest skepticism, debunked

Not that anyone but a denier or two believed that some microscopic revision in a few years of temperature data meant the theory of human-caused global warming was even slightly undercut -- but progressives need to know all the rebuttals. I emailed Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate about this -- I'm sure I wasn't alone -- and he put together a very nice debunking post. As Gavin writes, "there is clearly a latent and deeply felt wish in some sectors for the whole problem of global warming to be reduced to a statistical quirk or a mistake." Sad.

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Interview with Thomas Casten, part one

The world’s expert on recycled energy discusses … recycled energy

All across the nation, factories and power plants are wasting energy -- lots and lots of it. If that energy could be captured and put to good use, greenhouse gas emissions could be substantially reduced, at a profit. Thomas Casten has been proclaiming this good news for almost 30 years now. Not only that, he's been trying to make it happen, starting and managing a series of profitable companies, founding and consulting for nonprofits, writings reports, articles, and a book, and testifying before Congress. Despite becoming a nationally known energy expert and a successful businessman, he has often played the …

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Geez, All We Got Was Karl Rove’s Resignation

Governments ruffled by climate kerfuffles in England, Australia A couple of government climate kerfuffles have broken out: In Britain, a leaked briefing paper says the country won't meet a European Union target of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020, and suggests lobbying other nations for a more flexible interpretation of the goal or using "statistical interpretations" to shine things up. Written for government ministers by what is now the Department for Business, Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform, the memo says the best Britain can hope for is 9 percent by 2020, and even that would be a challenge. Officials and activists …

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Oopsy Daisy

Alaskan study says 2 million gallons of oil, seawater spilled over 10 years Did you hear about the 2-million-gallon spill in the Alaskan tundra? No, you didn't, because it happened slowly, from different sources, over the course of 10 years. A study by the state's Department of Environmental Conservation says spills on the North Slope between 1995 and 2005 included a 994,400-gallon splash of seawater, which can kill tundra plants; during the same time, 349,274 gallons of seawater-oil-gas slop and 103,397 gallons of crude oil also found their way onto the fragile landscape. In all, operators reported 4,481 spills. Whoops! …

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I had no idea

Two crazy environmental stories via podcast

I've been catching up on a backlog of podcasts this week (I haven't used my iPod in weeks; in New York City you almost feel alien if you walk the streets without cables in your ears). From one of my favorites, the NPR Environment podcast, two surprising stories. The first is from their excellent Climate Connections series, created in conjunction with National Geographic. Who knew that Nigeria's natural gas flares are so big they can be viewed from space? As horrifying as it sounds, apparently, "every year, millions of dollars are literally going up in smoke in Nigeria," as oil-drilling …

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Can markets solve global warming?

One economist says no

James Galbraith gets to the heart of the dilemma facing climate change economics: The market's real failure is that it allows for no signal from the future to the present, either from the conditions that will exist 30 years hence or from the people who will be alive and working then. The question becomes: Can we really create a market in which those far-off voices are effectively heard? He ponders the solution offered by mainstream economists, mainly carbon taxes and cap-and-trade systems, noting that they all rely on markets and competition. Then he directly questions whether that's the way to …

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Shameless self-promotion Friday

Writing about Mooney, writing about storms

I reviewed Chris Mooney's new book, Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming, for The American Prospect, and it's up today. Gristmiller Kit Stolz reviewed it here a while ago, but uh, mine is ... longer. Anyway, the book is good, though not the galvanizing polemic that made his first book, The Republican War on Science, a bestseller. But Mooney's got quite the knack for telling the back story on how science and politics became friends with benefits here in the U.S.

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More Murray

Yesterday the Washington Post ran a profile of Robert Murray, head of Murray Energy, owner of the Utah mine that recently collapsed and all around evil motherfvcker. I actually thought the story did a decent job of showing what an unhinged fruitcake Murray is, gibbering on about how "elites" who attack coal don't understand what it's like to work in a coal mine -- this from a guy who's spent his career battling unions and running mines with horrendous safety records. With friends like these ... But the story also let lots of Murray's claims -- about, say, electricity prices …