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Here’s wishing you plentiful petroleum

I give you Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the Lundberg Survey of gas prices: I'm hoping that consumers will see through the rhetoric about consuming less, demanding less, as faulty. It is not a given that consuming less will be good for our economy or for our personal freedom. It is not even established for our environment that we [should] deprive ourselves of gasoline for our personal mobility as well our commerce. And to suppose that it is good to do that, and pretend that we have consensus and put our heads together to deprive ourselves of this great product that …

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Deader Than Ever

Biofuels could contribute to historically big Gulf of Mexico dead zone Still think corn-based biofuels will save the world? Here's another piece of the no-they-won't puzzle: Researchers say more intensive farming of more land in the Midwestern U.S. -- in part a result of the push for more corn production -- could contribute to the largest-ever "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico this summer. The zone is created when fertilizer and other runoff find their way down the Mississippi River and into the gulf, encouraging algae to grow. The algae's decay process sucks up all the available oxygen, leaving …

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Cheney energy task force ... revealed!

Pretty much what you thought it was

Six years and a protracted legal battle later, The Washington Post has finally gotten its hands on a list of who met with Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force in 2001. Turns out it's a bunch of oil and gas execs. Shocking. This is my favorite 'graph from the story: The task force issued its report on May 16, 2001. Though the report was roundly criticized by environmental groups at the time, some energy experts say that in retrospect it appears better balanced than the administration's actual policy. Sigh. Here's the full list.

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Carbon credit allocation

All the kids are talking about it

Today in Greenwire, Darren Samuelsohn rightly notes that the big -- and by big we're talking multi-billions of dollars -- question around a cap-and-trade system is how the credits are initially allocated. Do you give more to utilities with lots of coal plants, because they need help transitioning to a low-carbon future? Do you give more to utilities with gas and hydro, to reward their low-carbon ways? Do you auction them all? Some mix? You can be sure lots of utility lobbyists are rapidly becoming experts on the subject. You need a subscription to read the article, so here's a …

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It ain't natural

What global warming could do to national parks

The National Parks Conservation Association released a new report last week, "Unnatural Disaster" (PDF), which explores the impact of global warming on national parks, and as you'd expect, the news is pretty grim. From the intro: The gradual, accelerated warming of our planet will have disastrous consequences for America's national parks. Glaciers in the national parks of Alaska as well as North Cascades and Mount Rainier National Parks will continue to disappear; Joshua trees will no longer exist at Joshua Tree National Park; and a rising sea will drown Everglades National Park and portions of historic sites such as Colonial …

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Benefits of large-scale energy storage

A shock absorber for the grid to enhance efficiency, reliability, and security

In their July 16th piece on solar energy technology in The New York Times, Andrew Revkin and Matthew Wald wrote that, "With more research, the solar thermal method might allow for storing energy. Currently, all solar power is hampered by a lack of storage capability." They are certainly right. In fact, a lack of storage capacity hampers a lot of things. While there's been a lot of talk about coupling energy storage to solar (and wind) power, there are additional reasons for addressing our lack of storage capability. In fact, storage technologies can act as a "shock absorber" for the …

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House offset hearing on Wed.

This hearing is the main reason I haven't had time to post more "rules" -- I know, I know ... you have been waiting for them as anxiously as for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming hearing on voluntary carbon offsets tomorrow will be webcast at globalwarming.house.gov -- and I have been reliably informed that if there's any problem with that website, the direct link to the hearing room feed is here. You don't get that kind of information anywhere else on the web! And here's a Greenwire (subs. req'd) …

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Green computing: Hope or hype?

Hard to say, but Zonbu has clearly done its homework

A lot of the deepest environmental thinking is that we have to move away from the idea of purchasing consumer products and instead keep "ownership" with the maker, who is responsible for minimizing the environmental footprint of the product and for dealing with it when the user is ready to move to another one. In other words, we should pay for the services we want (computing, hot water, power, cool air, comfortable office floors, etc.) rather than the devices used to provide those services (PCs, tankless heaters, electricity, air conditioners, office carpets); that way, we're not invested in less-efficient devices. …

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An interview with Tom Kiernan of the National Parks Conservation Association

A moment of reflection at Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Photo: Richard and Robin via flickr Every year, millions of Americans pack up their families and head out to visit one of America's national parks. My family was no different: I vividly recall the patchwork of reds, oranges, and yellows blanketing the Appalachian mountains as autumn made its big entrance one year. Another time, I remember being transfixed by a herd of Yellowstone bison -- burly, ancient-looking creatures -- crossing the paved road we were traversing in our large, modern minivan. Maybe for you, the Statue of …

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First grants from $100 million Duke Foundation Climate Initiative announced

The winners? ED, NRDC, The Pew Center for Climate Change, and other familiar faces

The first round of grants (PDF) from the $100 million climate fund established last year by the Doris Duke Foundation were announced last week. Funding priorities and grant recipients were identified in an exhaustive 18-month process of extensive literature reviews and interviews with more than 75 distinguished scientists, economists, environmental leaders, investors, energy industry representatives, and public policy experts. The result? A total of $3.6 million will be distributed to five environmental organizations -- ED and NRDC ($500K), Pew Center on Global Climate Change ($395K), World Resources Institute ($750K), and Resources for the Future ($750K) -- and two universities -- …

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