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Alternatives to nuclear power

They exist

In an unsigned editorial, the L.A. Times makes the case against nuclear power. IMHO, the strongest stuff comes at the bottom: The accelerating threat of global warming requires innovation and may demand risk-taking, but there are better options than nuclear power. A combination of energy-efficiency measures, renewable power like wind and solar, and decentralized power generators are already producing more energy worldwide than nuclear power plants. Their use is expanding more quickly, and the decentralized approach they represent is more attractive on several levels. The much hyped (though largely imaginary) "renaissance" of nuclear power relies on popular opinion that there …

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Alternatives to auto-mobility

Necessary

This op-ed from Rick Cole, city manager of Ventura, Calif., will be music to the ears of all you Gristians: The feel-good stage of California's leadership on global warming is unsustainable. Kudos to the pop stars with their calls to switch lightbulbs and unplug cellphone chargers when not in use. But we can't pretend that we will actually reduce 2020 greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels without tackling our region's embedded patterns of auto dependence and suburban sprawl. ... Halting the slide toward irreversible global climate change starts with envisioning a new and better way of life. That is not …

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Dick, Dick, Dick

Just stay out of it, won’t you?

In an article about the Bush administration's halting, grudging baby steps toward maybe, somewhat, possibly considering the eensiest-beensiest mandatory restrictions on carbon emissions, perhaps, some day, if it doesn't cost any industry any money, we get this beautiful capper of a final paragraph: A number of big businesses, including some oil, chemical and utility companies, view a cap-and-trade system such as Europe's as inevitable. Opposition to caps -- led by Vice President Dick Cheney -- remains powerful within the White House, according to people familiar with the deliberations. Farce.

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Coal is the enemy of the human race: Gloating edition

In which I rejoice

Count me among those rejoicing: Citigroup analyst John Hill downgraded coal company stocks across the board in a report this week, saying that expected U.S. greenhouse gas regulations on coal, which emits more of the main heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide than any other fuel, paint a bleak outlook for the sector. Downward pressure on stock prices by a current U.S. coal oversupply could last for more than a year, he wrote. If that happens it could coincide with 2008 presidential campaign politics, in which a national plan to limit greenhouse emissions is expected to figure prominently. "Election politics are likely …

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My product rules!

So, I'm reading this incredibly weak defense of corn ethanol, and I'm thinking, "who the hell would put their name on this swill?" Then I get to the bottom: Robert Gallant is president and chief executive officer of GreenField Ethanol, Canada's largest ethanol producer. Ah.

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Thames Fugit

England walloped by historic floods It's a "summer of suffering" in England, as severe flooding wreaks havoc across the country. This weekend, floods in the central and southern part of the country left more than 350,000 people without drinking water and forced the evacuation of hundreds from their homes. The worst part, observers say, is that the waters are still rising -- and are on track to outpace record flooding from 1947. The crisis follows a June flood in the north that killed seven people and left 7,000 at least temporarily homeless. With the swollen Thames and Severn rivers threatening …

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Madness Takes Its Toll

Siberia attack leaves one anti-nuclear protester dead, others injured A pre-dawn attack on an anti-nuclear protest camp in Siberia this weekend left one person dead and several others seriously injured. Twenty suspects have been detained for the crime, in which attackers wearing dark clothes and masks brandished metal pipes, chanted nationalist slogans, attempted to set tents on fire, and beat the crap out of as many of the 21 encamped environmentalists -- most of whom were sleeping -- as they could get their hands on. Authorities say they don't believe the protest itself -- which is focused on nuclear-waste processing …

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Umbra on refrigerator downsizing

Dear Umbra, Two of our favorite Brit-coms are Keeping Up Appearances and As Time Goes By. It is hard for an American not to remark that in both households, which seem quite affluent, the refrigerator is short, and fits beneath the kitchen counter: nothing so grand as what passes for normal in American kitchens. Do most Brits and Europeans in fact have in their kitchens only counter-height refrigerators? And if so, are they therefore quite satisfied with that arrangement? And if so, are they therefore using much less electricity than we are? And if so, is there any chance that …

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Maryland embraces California-style decoupling

No, not like that

No, I don't mean that the home of crab cakes and Orioles is suddenly adopting Hollywood-style divorces -- although the state's unusual flag (pictured here) certainly suggest the state likes to be different. Rather, the state is embracing the same smart electric utility regulations that has enabled California to be a leader in energy efficiency for three decades. As the Washington Post reports today: In a bid to cut energy use, Maryland yesterday became just the fourth state in the nation to approve a plan that removes the incentive for electric utilities to sell more power in order to make …

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Even more guidance

Resources for the Future has put together yet another comprehensive guide to current climate legislation, if the other guides aren't working for you. This one comes in two forms: either a convenient comparison grid (PDF), or a timeline of emission reduction targets (PDF). Compare away.