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Credits will be auctioned and limits tightened

This is extremely heartening: Europe is moving toward making significant changes to its emissions-trading system that could force large polluters to pay for most, if not all, permits to produce climate-changing gases, European officials said Monday. Although the European carbon-trading arrangement is considered to be among the world's most functional, the countries that administer it acknowledged in a meeting during the weekend in Essen, Germany, that the system had flaws, including a government credit allocation plan that allows companies to profit by lobbying for additional pollution permits. According to a statement, the governments of the European Union plan to ask …

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Why we gotta knock solar?

Can we please, once and for all, stop decrying solar energy for being too area-intensive? See, for example, the oft-cited statistic that to power its economy, the U.S. would need "10 billion meters, squared, of land." America isn't exactly short on square meters, and awfully sunny ones at that. But 10 billion square meters sounds a lot bigger than it really is. 10,000 square kilometers (100km x 100km) form a square you could drive around entirely, at legal highway speeds, in four hours. (Less if you speed.) 10,000 square kilometers is also roughly one-fortieth the area that the human species …

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Conservatives like Bush’s climate plan because greens don’t

The conservative National Review likes the president's new climate change strategy. Not because it will work to reduce emissions, mind you. Because it irritates environmentalists and Europeans.

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It would pre-empt state fuel efficiency laws

An energy bill is emerging from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but it has some "unacceptable" provisions, according to leading energy and environmental experts. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), chair of the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, has a draft bill online, along with summaries of key provisions. The bill has a variety of important provisions aimed at promoting energy efficiency in electricity and vehicles -- and some useful provisions to promote low carbon fuels. But it has at least two serious flaws. First, it helps subsidize coal to liquids, which is an irredeemably bad idea, as I have argued …

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Stormy weather ahead

Well, we might find out, according to an exclusive from The Oil Drum and Chuck Watson of KAC/UCF, also using a weather blog, where Margie Kieper writes: An unusual event is happening over the next 48 hours, as the first tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds, and major hurricane-force winds at that, is approaching the Gulf of Oman, to strike the eastern coast of Oman, curve northward, and make landfall on the coast of Iran. In the tropical cyclone best tracks and the modern era of weather satellites, there is no record of such an occurrence. As the Oil Drum writer …

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Still a Great Wall to progress

On the heels of Bush's bluster of the week, China today released its first comprehensive plan for climate change. But as the NY Times reports, it too isn't much to sing about. Said Ma Kai, head of China's National Development and Reform Commission: Our general stance is that China will not commit to any quantified emissions reduction targets, but that does not mean we will not assume responsibilities in responding to climate change. Thus, the plan calls for improving energy efficiency, but doesn't include any hard caps on carbon emissions. This is pretty scary news, since by now we all …

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Condi Rice goes out on limbs

First she rides in an electric car, now she says disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic? Condi better watch her back.

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Or As We Like to Call It, Inept Development

Clean Development Mechanism comes under fire for incompetence World Environment Day not depressing enough yet? Check this out: the Clean Development Mechanism, a key emissions-reduction program under the Kyoto Protocol, is riddled with incompetence, rule-breaking, and possible fraud, The Guardian reports. The CDM allows nations to fund green-energy projects in developing countries instead of slicing their own emissions. But since its launch in January 2005, it has only offset some 55 million tons of greenhouse gases -- roughly what Britain produces in one month. One source suggests that up to 20 percent of those "certified emissions reductions" may not be …

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More on nuclear shillery

A while back I mentioned a great article by Diane Farsetta about the nuclear industry's big PR push and the gullibility of the journalists covering it. Now there's a similar piece in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, from Amanda Witherell, and it contains this delightful tidbit: A survey by Diane Farsetta, a senior researcher at the Center for Media and Democracy, came across 302 recent articles mentioning [Patrick] Moore and nuclear power as a possible option for mitigating the effects of global warming. Only 37 -- a mere 12 percent -- said he's being paid to support nuclear power by …

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Reflections from the scene of this weekend’s G8 protests

Michael Levitin is a freelance journalist living in Berlin. He has written for Newsweek, Slate, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. Tuesday, 5 Jun 2007 ROSTOCK, Germany If you dress head to foot in black, set cars on fire, launch stones and beer bottles at police, and brave hand-to-hand scuffles amid clouds of tear gas with choppers thundering overhead, best bet is you'll make the evening news. Which is too bad, because in the case of Saturday's late-afternoon riots in Rostock, the images of unrest have obscured and altered what most of us adults would have called the real …

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