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Denialist special tanks in the ratings

Eric Boehlert on Glenn Beck: The bad news last week was that Glenn Beck, the right-wing radio talker and self-described "rodeo clown" who broadcasts nightly on CNN Headline News, hosted a world-is-flat special about the "myths" surrounding global warming. In it, Beck rounded up the usual band of discredited, oil industry-friendly "experts" who announced that the looming atmospheric crisis is overblown, and that far from being a consensus, serious scientists still disagree on the matter. The good news was that Beck's special, "Exposed: Climate of Fear," was a commercial flop, finishing dead last in total viewers among CNN, Headline News, …

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Measure Twice, Cut One of These Days

Coalition of 31 states creates greenhouse-gas emissions registry Flipping the feds the collective bird, 31 U.S. states have created a registry to track industrial greenhouse-gas emissions. The states -- joined by British Columbia, Manitoba, and a Native American nation in California -- represent some 70 percent of the U.S. population and all (er, both?) sides of the political spectrum. Starting in January, the registry will track emissions data that's verified by a third party; the system is similar to a federal one already in place, except for that whole "verified by a third party" thing. Supporters say that difference is …

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Rupert Murdoch launches effort to green News Corp.’s operations and programming

Today, the fast-growing cadre of corporate leaders pressing for climate action welcomes a new member: Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, the media empire that encompasses Fox News, 20th Century Fox, HarperCollins, MySpace.com, and dozens of newspapers in Australia, the U.K., the U.S., and beyond. Rupert Murdoch. Photo: Kelly Kline/WireImage.com At an event held this morning in midtown Manhattan and webcast to all News Corp. employees, Murdoch launched a company-wide plan to address climate change that includes not only a pledge to reduce the company's emissions (which has come to be expected at such biz-greening events) but also a vow …

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Senate’s strongest climate bill now has more co-sponsors

Two bills floating around Congress now serve as the far side of the Overton window on climate policy. Both adopt the (relatively) stringent target of reducing CO2 emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. In the House, there's Rep. Waxman's Safe Climate Act, and in the Senate, there's Sen. Sanders' (formerly Sen. Jeffords') Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act. It is a mark of how far the debate has shifted that the latter actually seems to be moving into the realm of the possible. Sen. Boxer became a co-sponsor shortly after the election, and today, the bill picked up some …

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Oh what a relief it biz

The United States Climate Action Partnership, the group of corporations calling "on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions," just doubled in size (PDF): With its new members, USCAP companies now have total revenues of $1.7 trillion, a collective workforce of more than 2 million and operations in all 50 states; they also have a combine market capitalization of more than $1.9 trillion. The big news is that General Motors has joined the list: GM is very pleased to join USCAP to proactively address the concerns posed by climate change …

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Trends on an ever-shrinking planet

I was at Coop Power's excellent annual renewable energy summit in western Massachusetts recently. Richard Heinberg was there as a presenter. He discussed his well-regarded peak oil projections, and he then put that curve next to his peak uranium and peak coal projections. That visual drew gasps from the crowd -- especially the peak coal bit. Sure we've got lots of coal, but its quality ain't what it used to be, and won't go as far. Check his data. This got me thinking of all the indexes we might put forward to track important trends on this ever-shrinking planet. The …

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Bio Willie, make way for Jeff Parnell

Political songwriter Jeff Parnell has just composed a jaunty little ditty called "Subsidized Ethanol Blues." (Click on link to play.) As Parnell sings it: "Sacrifice the water and land, and what do you gain? Line the pockets of cronies, playing that subsidy game!" The rest of the lyrics are found below the fold: Subsidized Ethanol Blues By Jeff Parnell I got the 51-cents-per-gallon, subsidized ethanol blues, I do. The water table's dropping, The land is worth less than my shoes. We used to have something called free enterprise But if you know the right people You'll get sub-si-dized. I got …

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A story from Tanzania

Interesting story on a Michigan State University project to help test and improve locally made solar cookers in Tanzania: MSU students' re-engineered ovens help impoverished in Tanzania When Judy Martin worked as a teacher in Tanzania in the 1960s, living conditions for many people were harsh. Impoverished women there walked long distances in search of firewood or spent precious money on inefficient charcoal for cooking. They prepared family meals over open fires. Martin returned to Tanzania in 2001 and found that the population had nearly quadrupled -- making firewood even more scarce -- but little else had changed. ... A …

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Biodiesel rage

From the Seattle PI: More than 1,300 people -- some shouting "revolution" -- took over Fisher Pavilion at the Seattle Center on Sunday. Look what's happening out in the streets, they said: Biodiesel is coming of age. It's all the rage. Part trade show, part strategy session, part cheerleading camp, the fifth annual NW Biodiesel Forum brought together biodiesel enthusiasts to learn about peak oil, alternative fuels, mass transit and, in a wrap-up discussion, "Biodiesel in the Northwest -- The Revolution Has Begun!" Many of these enthusiasts are people who have purchased diesel vehicles so they can burn biodiesel in …

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Current Events

Wind power is controversial but should keep on keeping on, says report U.S. wind-power capacity has quadrupled in the past six years and could eventually produce up to 7 percent of the nation's electricity. Easy-breezy? Not quite: Wind-industry growth lacks "any truly coordinated planning," says a report from the National Academy of Sciences. Developers and officials should receive more guidance, particularly around siting, NAS says; in the helpful words of contributor Paul G. Risser, "The human impacts of wind farms can be both positive and negative." Among the positives are global effects like cleaner air and less oil use, but …

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