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Wind farms or poor farms?

The torpor with which we here in the U.S. are responding to strong, clear, and persistent signals that the old era -- of abundant cheap energy in a stable climate -- is ending is nothing short of astonishing. The fact that supposedly serious people could have a debate about tourism vs. offshore wind turbines is astounding. Implicit in such a discussion is the premise that tourism is going to continue even if we don't build a lot of ways to attain a lot of non-fossil energy. Perhaps the best best way to understand stories like that is to consult a …

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Could the unthinkable become thinked?

Over on MyDD, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) discusses the carbon tax bill he recently introduced. My legislation, the Save Our Climate Act (H.R. 2069), would tax coal, petroleum and natural gas at a rate of $10 per ton of carbon content. Applied when these fossil fuels are initially removed from the ground, the tax would increase by $10 each year, freezing when a mandated report by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Energy determines that carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 80 percent from 1990 levels. As far as I know, this is the first real carbon tax …

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Press conference on Tuesday in NYC

A delegation of grassroots groups from around Appalachia will be at the UN's Commission on Sustainable Development meetings this week to discourage further MTR abuse and advocate for alternatives (More on them here: http://www.stopmtr.org). New Yorkers, turn up for this if you can: NEW YORK CITY//MAY 8, 2007 NEWS ADVISORY A delegation of Appalachia coalfield citizen groups will hold a news event at 2 p.m. on Tuesday (May 8, 2007) in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Park to call on the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development to abolish radical forms of coal surface mining, such as mountaintop removal. Coal extraction industry …

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Plug-in aftermarket kits just around the corner?

Business Wire tells us that A123 (what a catchy name) just bought out Hymotion, the company it had been working with to develop a plug-in kit for the Prius. The kits may be available next year for about $10,000, allowing you to go about 30 miles on a four-hour charge. Don't get too excited just yet. Putting one on your car will void the manufacturer's warranty and Hymotion presently plans to guarantee the kit for only two years, until they are confident it will last longer than that. At some point we enviros will need to step in to expose …

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We knew we liked that guy

Huge Gristmill big-ups to Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who late last week cast a crucial vote in the Senate EPW committee to scuttle a coal-to-liquid amendment. The committee's been trying to craft an energy package; they had agreed to table contentious issues like CTL for open debate on the floor, but Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo) put forth his measure anyway. It would have created a substantial mandate for liquid coal fuels -- 21 billion gallons annually by 2022 -- and could have killed the bill entirely. Tester isn't against coal. He supports it; he's from a coal state. But as …

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Summaries of a summary — the new black?

Finally, below is the first half of my summary of the IPCC summary (PDF): In 2030 macro-economic costs for multi-gas mitigation, consistent with emissions trajectories towards stabilization between 445 and 710 ppm CO2-eq, are estimated at between a 3% decrease of global GDP and a small increase, compared to the baseline. However, regional costs may differ significantly from global averages (high agreement, medium evidence). In 2050 global average macro-economic costs for multi-gas mitigation towards stabilization between 710 and 445 ppm CO2-eq, are between a 1% gain to a 5.5% decrease of global GDP. For specific countries and sectors, costs vary …

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Electric hybrid bikes going mainstream

Now, before you start calling BS, take a look at this video. And if you are still skeptical, take a look at this one: Fast forward to the 1.5 minute mark in the above video to see him hit 45 MPH. Yes, yes, the first video is faked, but you have to admire their creativity. Today's New York Times has a short article on hybrid bikes. Here is the picture that goes with the article, just in case you don't subscribe to the Times. The guy paid $7,000 for his bike, and thanks to this NYT article, I expect the …

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Reece on MTR mining

Erik Reese has an op-ed in the NYT about mountaintop-removal mining and a new program that shows promise in helping landscapes recover from it. Here's the nut: Appalachia's land is dying. Its fractured communities show the typical symptoms of hopelessness, including OxyContin abuse rates higher than anywhere in the country. Meanwhile, 22 states power houses and businesses with Kentucky coal. The people of central and southern Appalachia have relinquished much of their natural wealth to the rest of the country and have received next to nothing in return. To right these wrongs, first we need federal legislation that will halt …

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It ain’t pretty

I want to highlight a few points from the IPCC's Mitigation Report (PDF). First, even the most stringent global greenhouse gas targets can be met at a cost of a mere 0.1% of GDP per year! While the report is not explicit about when action should be taken, it does say that: In order to stabilize the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere, emissions would need to peak and decline thereafter. The lower the stabilization level, the more quickly this peak and decline would need to occur. The Center for American Progress and I have encouraged stabilizing atmospheric CO2 concentration …

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Charcoal carbon sequestration — birth of a new CO2 removal wedge?

I would love to hear Graham Nash and David Crosby rerecord their old "Carry Me" song about agrichar and removing carbon from the atmosphere while revitalizing soils: "Bury me, buuuu-reee me, bury me, across the world ..." This is sounding so good it's scary -- like I am being set up to have my bubble burst when it turns out to violate one or more basic physical laws, or only be net negative by ignoring some huge emissions somewhere in the process, or whatever. But for today, I'm going to feel a little better: Birth of a New Wedge By …

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