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Climate change message: positive or negative?

Al Gore does both

Both: "What we're facing worldwide really is a planetary emergency," Gore said. "I'm optimistic, but we're losing this battle badly." That's in an article about Al Gore at the Aspen Institute. It's going to take a 90-percent decrease in carbon emissions from developed fossil fuel guzzlers like the U.S. and a 50-percent decrease worldwide to get a handle on the problem, Gore said -- changes that will take major leaps of political will far beyond what current politicians see as feasible. That reduction, which would be mandated by a world-wide treaty, could happen through carbon taxes, cap and trade, technological …

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Just Call Us the Rainmakers

Study confirms connection between human activity and increased rainfall A study led by Canadian scientists shows that peeps have an effect on precip: "For the first time, climate scientists have clearly detected the human fingerprint on changing global precipitation patterns over the past century," the team says. Comparing rainfall records from 1925 to 1999 against nearly 100 scenarios generated by 14 computer models, the team found that 50 to 85 percent of rainfall increase at latitudes north of 40 degrees, including Russia, Canada, and northern Europe, was connected to human activity. The study, set to appear in Nature on Thursday, …

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Viva Zap

Canada, U.S., Mexico sign five-year energy pact Will an energy pact between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico pave the way for alternative fuels or grease the skids for business as usual? Maybe a little of both. The five-year agreement, signed yesterday by Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, and Mexican Secretary of Energy Georgina Kessel, "represents another step -- we believe a major step -- toward enhancing global energy security and environmental protection," Bodman said. The countries will share information and technology on renewable sources like wind, solar, and biomass; draft energy-efficiency guidelines for …

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Lieberman and Warner move closer to climate legislation

But what will it look like?

Sens. Lieberman (I) and Warner (R) are, as you may know, attempting to put together a global warming bill that can get through the Senate. They're picking bits and pieces from all the other bills floating around. A hearing on Wed. Tues., with testimony from a variety of big money types, should reveal something about how they plan to play it. Here's what E&E has to say (sub. rqd): Lieberman and Warner are a little more than three weeks into talks on a compromise climate package that would establish a cap-and-trade system covering most sectors of the U.S. economy. The …

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The future is solar; politics is ethanol

Hillary pays tribute to Iowa politics

This is (bitterly) funny: As Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton climbed onto a makeshift stage at the Iowa State Fairgrounds and embraced motor fuel from corn as a key to America's future, she completed a turnabout from being an ethanol opponent, a position she held only two years ago. ... Political observers view her about-face as a political necessity, saying Iowa's first-in-the-nation's caucuses -- in which residents of the country's biggest corn-producing state vote their choice for presidential nominee -- makes it politically risky to avoid kneeling at the altar of ethanol-from-corn. This seems like a good place to tout Robert …

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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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