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Burning too much energy at the gym?

New York Sports Club kicks in to conserve

The other day at the gym I was engaging in classic attention-deficient media trawling -- attempting to read my magazine, watch the morning newscast, and work up a sweat all at the same time. So it didn't bother me too much when the TV kept shutting off. The equipment at these high-traffic fitness clubs is renowned for breaking down, so I chalked it up to an electrical glitch. Today I learned that in late July, the New York Sports Clubs reprogrammed their televisions to automatically turn off when not in use (this doesn't account, I guess, for those who want …

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Repetto argues for upstream cap-and-trade

More on carbon trading

August is a time to catch up on reading. A good place to start is "National Climate Policy: Choosing the Right Architecture" [PDF], by Yale's Robert Repetto, one of the country's leading experts on environmental and resource economics. He argues for an upstream cap-and-trade system, and against a safety valve. Other views can be found here, here, and here. This is Repetto's conclusion: It is extremely important that the U.S. adopt a good policy architecture for greenhouse gas control. The costs of not doing so will be very large and will persist for decades, adding up to many trillions of …

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Mon Dieu, Il Fait Chaud

European heat-wave length has doubled since 1880, study says The average length of Europe's sultry heat waves has doubled since 1880, researchers say, from an average of 1.5 days to an average of three days. By analyzing historical records from 54 stations across the continent -- then correcting for an upward bias in earlier decades due to thermometers not being shielded from direct sunlight and indirect radiation -- the team found that extreme temperatures are getting extremer; they wrote up their findings in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. "These results add more evidence to the belief among climate scientists that …

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With Safety Like This, Who Needs Danger?

Rescue effort continues in collapsed Utah mine called "safe" by owner The search for survivors continues at a coal mine in central Utah that collapsed early Monday. Four miners escaped the implosion -- which was so strong it registered magnitude 3.9 at a nearby seismic station -- but six others were trapped about three miles from the Crandall Canyon Mine entrance, some 1,500 feet underground. While rescue teams worked through the night, the facility's owner defended his operation, which has received upwards of 300 safety citations from federal officials since January 2004. "I believe we run a very safe coal …

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Do 'green' appliances live up to their promises?

The WSJ asks and answers

As home-appliance technology continues to move toward the energy-efficient (and brightly colored), more and more consumers are looking to replace their old appliances. But is it really an upgrade? No, says Jeanine Van Voorhees, who spent $1,000 on a new energy-saving washer only to find that it coughs up dingy, cat-hair-covered clothes. "I curse that machine every time," she says, and she often washes her loads twice. (I'm no expert, but that doesn't sound energy efficient to me.) According to this Wall Street Journal article, Van Voorhees isn't alone, either. Many conscientious consumers are reporting that their energy-efficient appliances aren't …

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The best clean-tech book

If you only read one book, pick this one

For years I've been looking for one book to recommend to people who want to get up to speed on what's happening in clean technology. I have finally found it: The Clean Tech Revolution: The Next Big Growth and Investment Opportunity, by Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder. It is the only book I've seen that covers the whole gamut of the latest in clean energy -- including such cutting-edge areas as concentrating solar power and microalgae -- and isn't swept up in fads like hydrogen cars. I was a bit worried when the index didn't have an entry for either …

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YearlyKos: My message to the netroots

Listen up

I thought, as a final post on Yearly Kos (about which I fear my posts are woefully inadequate -- it really was a fascinating sociopolitical event, worthy of better analysis than I'm able to give it -- read Ezra Klein's wrap-up), I'd recap in somewhat more elaborate terms what I said at my global warming panel. These are points that will be familiar to Grist readers, but perhaps it's worth bringing them together. A note: these were explicitly conceived as messages to the netroots, as points in need of grassroots emphasis, to influence the ongoing political debate. 1. Global warming …

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MoJo's math poetry: Now available online

Cool commentary on a hot topic

Awhile ago I made a lame post pointing to a really cool page in Mother Jones that actually wasn't online yet. Well, it's up now, so if you were one of the two people who tried to see it, you can go visit MoJo now and check it out.

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An interview with Bill Richardson about his presidential platform on energy and the environment

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside. Update: Bill Richardson dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 10, 2008. Bill Richardson. Photo: Michael Millhollin via flickr Bill Richardson likes to play up his image as a horse-ridin', gun-totin' man of the Wild West, but don't be distracted by the cowboy swagger -- the Democratic governor of New Mexico also has a serious policy wonk side. That was on full display in May when he unveiled a broad and ambitious climate and energy plan. Billing himself as the "energy president," …

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Saturday night's energy bill

It contains some transformative measures

Contentious round of voting Saturday night, and the heavy threat of the president's veto pen, but if we can get through the political fog, the House may well have accomplished something truly monumental. Two big pieces in the energy bill worth noting, and following closely in any subsequent compromise. Both are transformative for our electricity markets -- an area where past energy bills (at least since 1993) have favored the status quo over true reform. In addition, with >50 GW of already identified potential for zero-carbon electricity from industrial waste heat sources (compare to the entire US nuclear fleet at …