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Phin dephends (ha ha!) corn

Not very well

As reaction to Sarah's post showed (rather more rudely than strictly necessary, I might add), Grist readers are not big fans of "Project Phin," the online video series launched by the Center for American Progress to promote flex fuels -- i.e., ethanol. Ben Affleck dressed as a corn cob proved particularly irksome. CAP clearly got some outraged emails about the use of corn in the campaign (they sure got one from me). If you're interested, Phin himself has penned a defense of the use of corn. Said defense is, in my humble opinion, incredibly weak, but there it is for …

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Coal: Because you care enough to burn the very best

I’ve watched this video four times now and I can’t stop laughing

Yeeeessss. Because the only enemy of the human race greater than coal is ... the human race. This video comes to us from filmmaker Jeremy Beiler of Brooklyn, who is also a Grist reader and fan.

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Global warming and eugenics

Where did the comparison start?

Recently, CNN cable TV and syndicated radio host Glenn Beck said this: Al Gore's not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That is the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all of the Jews and have one global government. You got to have an enemy to fight. And when you have an enemy to fight, then you can unite the entire world behind …

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Hansen's 'two plus two solution' to global warming

Two actions and two ‘tweaks’

Hansen offers his climate solution -- two important actions and two "tweaks": When you are given a list of 101 things that you should do to save the planet, it is easy to get discouraged. Well, that way of looking at the problem, without some overall understanding, is discouraging! Moreover, you would need to convince everyone else to do all those things! Fat chance of that. Even if you convinced a very large number of people, the net effect would be to reduce the cost of oil (and other fossil fuels). With dirt cheap fossil fuels (they are already cheap) …

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Policies to promote technological innovation

Here are some

Last week I discussed the basic arithmetic associated with population and economic growth, which will make it impossible to dramatically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions without major improvements in technology. (Some commenters protested, saying that current technology is sufficient, but they are mistaking the ability to reduce emissions based on current levels of income and population and what emissions will be as countries grow and economies expand.) Now I would like to turn to a short discussion of some of the policies that can help to promote technological innovation. Getting the prices right The fact that there is no price paid for …

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MoveOn comes out behind a national RPS

Good on ‘em

I just got this email from MoveOn.org: Dear MoveOn member, Did you know the U.S. right now gets only 2% of our electricity from clean energy sources like solar and wind? We have the technology. We know people want it. We just haven't had the political will. But Congress is voting this week on H.R. 969, a bill that will dramatically boost solar and wind energy. If it passes, it'll be like taking 37 million cars off the road.1 Along with the rest of the energy package, it'll be the biggest step in two decades toward a clean planet and …

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Iraq and electricity

Distributed power could have saved us some serious pain over there

Earlier this year, it was reported that residents of Baghdad could count on about five or six hours of electricity a day. Last week, it was reported that they could now count on about ... one. The Bush administration's response to this trend is paradigmatically Bushian: it's going to stop reporting. Seriously: But that piece of data has not been sent to lawmakers for months because the State Department, which prepares a weekly "status report" for Congress on conditions in Iraq, stopped estimating in May how many hours of electricity Baghdad residents typically receive each day. Instead, the department now …

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Interview with thin-film startup Nanosolar CEO

Interesting stuff on the hottest new green tech

I've been waiting for a good excuse to link to Earth2Tech, an interesting new project from internet legend Om Malik's GigaOm family of blogs. It's focused on clean tech startups, which as we all know are the hot new thing. I've also been waiting for a good excuse to post something about thin-film solar, which is hopping right now. Shell and Honda, which are big-timers in solar, both recently dropped their crystalline silicon programs and switch to full-time thin-film R&D. In the next two or three years we're going to see the introduction of some products that will eventually change …

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An interview with Barack Obama 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. Barack Obama at an Earth Day 2007 event. Photo: Michael Millhollin In his two and a half years in the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama has been active -- even hyperactive -- on matters of energy and the environment. The Democrat from Illinois has introduced or cosponsored nearly 100 eco-related bills on issues ranging from lead poisoning and mercury emissions to auto fuel economy and biofuels promotion. Along the way, he's racked up a notable 96 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters. …

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Energy-saving web search

Back(ground) in black

It's called Blackle -- a black version of Google -- and according to this blogpost, it could save 8.3 Megawatt-hours per day, or about 3000 Megawatt-hours a year globally: An all white web page uses about 74 watts to display, while an all black page uses only 59 watts. I thought I would do a little math and see what could be saved by moving a high volume site to the black format. Take at look at Google, who gets about 200 million queries a day. Let's assume each query is displayed for about 10 seconds; that means Google is …

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