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Just what every taxpayer wants

This is super, super smart: A Depression-era program to bring electricity to rural areas is using taxpayer money to provide billions of dollars in low-interest loans to build coal plants even as Congress seeks ways to limit greenhouse gas emissions. ... The beneficiaries of the government's largesse -- the nation's rural electric cooperatives -- plan to spend $35 billion to build conventional coal plants over the next 10 years, enough to offset all state and federal efforts to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions over that time. Your tax dollars at work!

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Yeah or nay?

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) thinks it's silly to use intelligence resources to assess the national security implications of climate change, or as he calls it, the "bugs and bunnies." Meanwhile, Michael McConnell -- the U.S. Director of National Intelligence -- thinks it's "entirely appropriate." Who to trust?

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Bigtime mayors and Bill Clinton meet about climate change

This C40 summit looks like a doozy. You could do worse than having Bill Clinton and Michael Bloomberg as your keynote speakers. If any Grist readers happen to be attending, get in touch. I'd love to hear how it goes. Speaking of Bloomberg, Worldchanging NYC has a whole series of posts on PlaNYC, Bloomberg's plan to green the Big Apple, if you want to really sink your teeth into it.

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It could be fantastic, but nobody’s built any

CNET's summary of its own story perfectly captures the highs and lows of solar thermal: Bottom line: A large-scale solar power plant with a large energy-storage system that is close to other solar-power systems and the customers they serve could produce electricity for about the same cost as that from standard utility plants. Such a system has yet to be built, however. And in other tauntingly suggestive solar news: A new mechanism for focusing light on small areas of photovoltaic material could make solar power in residential and commercial applications cheaper than electricity from the grid in most markets in …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

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Solar that doesn’t need direct sunlight

Solar that doesn't require direct sunlight: [G24i] uses nano-sized titanium crystals, which turn sunlight into electricity in a process similar to photosynthesis (the method plants use to store the energy from sunlight in sugars). Because G24i's technology is more powerful than other solar cells, it does not need direct sunlight to generate electricity and can work even in rainy Wales. The use of nanotechnology also makes the cells lighter, more powerful and more flexible. Because they aren't made using silicon, which is in high demand, they are also relatively cheap to produce. Traditional solar cells are either mounted on glass …

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Breaking news on Fox

This is one of the most torturous cable TV segments I've ever seen: (via Hugg)

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Unused mobile power adapters still use energy

As part of an announcement by Nokia regarding new green initiatives and features for future phones, the company revealed a little-known fact about mobile phone adapters: Kirsi Sormunen, Vice-President of Environmental Affairs at Nokia said, "Around two-thirds of the energy used by a mobile phone is lost when it is unplugged after charging but the charger itself is left in a live socket. We want to reduce this waste and are working on reducing to an absolute minimum the amount of energy our chargers use. The new alerts also play an important role, encouraging people to help us in this …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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What if city hall had to disclose its assumptions like Wall Street does?

For those unaware, Michigan has been hard hit by the increasingly insistent intrusion of an unpleasant reality (that the era of cheap energy is over). Detroit and Wayne County are especially hard hit, as the economic malady destroying the auto industry hit a city already weakened to the point of collapse by stark racial segregation and disinvestment. What Michigan likes to do is imagine that "big projects" will save it, so it tends to build enormous temples to optimism, much in the same way the pharaohs built the pyramids as monuments to themselves: "I may pass on, but my mighty …

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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 …