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Mystery ads

There's a series of very strange political videos out recently on YouTube. They parody Republicans, but purport to be campaign ads for Rudy Giuliani. Nobody knows who's making them, or why. So mysterious! This one's mildly amusing on global warming and oil: (h/t: reader KW)

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Some good news about coal

For once

It's typically held that the market will price in all current information. To avowed economists, this means markets can virtually predict the future. If you buy that logic, the market may be signaling something environmentally positive about coal and carbon legislation. This from Greenwire ($ub. rqd): Citing high input costs, weather and environmental concerns, the global bank Citigroup yesterday downgraded coal stocks across the board and shaved earnings estimates and targets for Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU), Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI) and Foundation Coal Holdings Inc. (NYSE: FCL). In a metals and mining report to investors, Citi analyst John Hill …

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To the rescue!

A new group called The Elders to solve globe’s problems

Singer Peter Gabriel and industry titan Richard Branson conceived, and have now convened and funded, a group called The Elders, a small collection of eminent global statesmenpersons who, it is hoped, will be able to ... um ... be wise and stuff. And also use their superpowers to solve pressing global problems like climate change and poverty and reality tv. Meet your elders! The members include Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop emeritus of Capetown; former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and Mohammed Yunus, the Nobel laureate and founder of …

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Precaution? Are you mad?

Ignore those flashing lights! Full speed ahead!!

Yawn. Another story about the way production of biofuels (inferior substitutes for a commodity that is wasted in gargantuan quantities daily) consumes many times their weight in water, a truly vital liquid. The money quote, the perfect encapsulation of all that is stupid, is here: State Sen. David Johnson, the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said he will not support regulations on how ethanol facilities use water until he sees proof that Iowa's aquifers are in trouble. You go, Senator! Never address a problem until it's a crisis, that's the spirit! You are a true credit to your …

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Your mileage may vary

Why bicycling is 25 percent better than you thought

Your car's greenhouse-gas emissions are about 25 percent worse than you think. How so? Well, for each gallon of gas you burn in your engine, there's the climate equivalent of another quarter-gallon or so embedded in your consumption. What that means is this: the gasoline you use didn't just magically appear in your tank -- it was extracted, refined, and transported to your local station. And all that activity released emissions. It's a curiosity of our energy system (and other systems too, such as our food system), but it's a curiosity that bears closely on our thinking about how to …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

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More fresh, hot data nuggets on carbon offsets

Highlights from a report on the state of the U.S. carbon market

Yesterday morning I attended a "special presentation" of the carbon market survey David summarized earlier. The panel discussion was a chance for the report's authors to present the findings to industry participants. A couple of further comments, for those interested in this topic: The market is probably bigger than reported. Due to difficulties gathering data on this young and highly fragmented industry, the authors feel the market size estimate is conservative. It could be as large as $200 million in 2006. This is still pretty small, but real. That's $200 million per year being sent to clean energy, efficiency, and …

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Who says solar is expensive?

DIY solar

DIY Solar. Love it. Just don't let your homeowner's association see it. In other news, at the American Solar Energy Society conference in Cleveland last week, First Solar -- the same First Solar that recently announced the sale of $1.28 billion worth of modules -- gave a presentation in which they announced that based on current cost curves, they will be selling around $1.25/W in the 2010-2012 time frame. That, friends, is cheap solar. If the industry can continue to bring down installation costs commensurately -- and that is done by developing local solar programs, creating local solar markets, and …

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Exporting our greenhouse gases to China

China’s emissions aren’t really China’s

If you want a Chinese perspective on global warming, a good place to start is this China Daily opinion piece, "Climate change is reshaping global politics." Pang Zhongying, a research fellow with the Joint Program on Globalization under the CRF-Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, makes some points worth remembering, especially: Western countries and industrialized Asian nations like Japan and the Republic of Korea have moved many of their factories to developing countries such as China and India, where cheap labor allows them to manufacture at lower costs than at home. This globalization of production has resulted in the discharge of …

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Just When You Thought It Was Safe-ish

Rush-hour steam-pipe explosion rattles Manhattan An 83-year-old underground steam pipe exploded near New York City's Grand Central Terminal during rush hour yesterday, causing one death, more than 40 injuries, and a lot of rattled nerves. After the initial explosion -- a plume as high as the Chrysler Building that onlookers compared to a volcano, the Yellowstone geyser, and the World Trade Center attack -- fears arose about possible asbestos contamination. Crews from local utility Con Edison and the city's Department of Environmental Protection spent the night testing air and debris samples for traces of the carcinogen, which was often used …

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Give a hoot, offset a poot

It was only a matter of time

Remember when Umbra wrote about offsetting flatulence in 2005? Turns out she was ahead of her time.

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