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The Amish dig it

The Amish affinity for solar says something essential about the difference between fossil and renewable fuels. Not quite sure I know how to put it into words, though.

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More climate-change initiatives from the original web geeks

A few weeks ago I noted that Yahoo! has pledged to go carbon neutral in 2007. Today the company is making some more splashy green announcements. Company co-founder David Filo, along with Global Green and Matt Dillon (?!), will be taking to Times Square later today to announce a series of initiatives around climate change. You can read about the details in this blog post from Filo. The main push is around "Be a Better Planet," a site that will serve as the center of a contest to determine America's greenest city. As part of the announcement, Yahoo! is donating …

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Some guy on CNBC

There's plenty of oil. We're swimming in it! What I don't get is, why does he think production-capacity limitations and geological limitations are mutually exclusive? (via Hugg)

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Not exactly

Wondering what to make of this? President Bush responded to a Supreme Court environmental ruling by settling on regulatory changes that don't need congressional approval, the White House said Monday. Bush is announcing the steps he is directing his administration to take in a Rose Garden appearance later Monday. Read on down a little bit: In his State of the Union address in January, Bush set a goal of reducing gas consumption by 20 percent over 10 years. Under his plan, this would be accomplished by increasing the use of alternative fuels to 35 billion gallons by 2017 and boosting …

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Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Not Talk About

U.S. negotiators edit climate out of G8 climate draft Here's a comforting thought for a Monday: your future is being played like a poker hand. Next month, the leaders of the G8 nations will meet in Germany along with the heads of China, India, South Africa, Mexico, and Brazil. With hopes of agreeing on climate-change action, Germany has circulated a draft of a declaration that the U.S. is editing all to hell. According to press reports, U.S. negotiators have suggested cutting a pledge to limit global temperature rise; excising a promise to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels …

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Yeah, that’s running out too

A few weeks ago I mentioned a study showing that coal reserves are not nearly as extensive as the "200-year supply" invoked by coal boosters. Now Richard Heinberg brings word of another study that reaches substantially similar conclusions. The main thrust is that the quality of easily accessible coal is declining and that prices are almost certain to go up, and soon. An interesting correlate -- which hadn't really occurred to me, but makes sense -- is that rising coal prices are going to make it less likely for carbon sequestration to catch on. Heinberg's conclusion is worth reading in …

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This is getting old

Next month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will convene a summit of the G8 countries, which will issue a joint declaration on climate change. Here's how that's going: A draft proposal dated April 2007 that is being debated in Bonn, Germany, this weekend by senior officials of the Group of Eight includes a pledge to limit the global temperature rise this century to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as an agreement to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The United States is seeking to strike that section, the documents show. Oh, and this: The …

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Garret Keizer burns in anger about ‘green capitalism’

The new Harper's (June 2007) contains a stunning and powerful "Notebook" essay titled "Climate, Class, and Claptrap," by Garret Keizer -- a minister, if I recall correctly. Keizer writes as well as Wendell Berry, but with a kind of righteous anger that the more ponderous Berry tamps down. This essay is about the contradictions inherent in the environmental community's fast embrace of "green capitalism" and wondertoys. The intestinal tipping point came for me when a contingent of students from Middlebury College (annual tuition and fees $44,330) found both the gas money and the gall to drive to the town of …

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Well, actually it’s about sports

The Oregonian brings word of outdoor companies going "carbon neutral" in the near future. They include roof-rack manufacturer Yakima (aiming to be zero-emissions before this fall), outdoor-gear behemoth REI (planning to neutralize its emissions by, um, 2020), Nike (which already powers more than half of its electricity use through wind energy), and shoe company KEEN. Well-played, outdoorsy folk -- and well-played Oregonian, for not buying fully into carbon offsets' promise of "neutrality," and quoting gallant Gristmill contributor Clark Williams-Derry. On a different note, updates on Beijing's preparations for the 2008 Olympics are in the news nearly every day. The city …

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Why must global-warming science produce certainty?

I wonder what would happen if the same amount of skeptical attention paid to global warming science were paid to the other disciplines that inform policymakers: economics, opinion polling, covert intelligence, diplomacy, history, ethics, etc. Do those other areas of analysis produce models and predictions free of uncertainty? Of course not. And yet we use them every day, because -- outside this bizarre cultural artifact we call the "global warming debate" -- people are quite accustomed to the notion that we have to do the best we can with the best information available. If all our best economic models were …

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