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Pep Rally

PepsiCo buys a lotta renewable-energy credits, tops EPA green power list The U.S. EPA released its quarterly list of the top 25 buyers of green power yesterday, with the No. 1 slot filled by a new kid in the renewable-energy biz. That would be PepsiCo, which vaulted to the top of the list by announcing plans to purchase 1 beeellion kilowatt-hours of renewable-energy credits. In partnership with REC provider Sterling Planet, the fizzy-drink maker (and owner of Frito-Lay) will spend $2 million funding wind, biomass, and hydroelectric power to "offset" the power used by its U.S. manufacturing facilities, headquarters, distribution …

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Or They Could Stop Waging War

Report says U.S. military needs to wean itself from oil A report commissioned by the Pentagon says the U.S. military needs to break its oil addiction. The country used an average of 16 gallons of fuel per soldier per day in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006, compared to four per soldier per day in the Persian Gulf War and one per soldier per day during World War II. The increase is attributed to cuts in troops and the use of centralized bases farther from conflicts. Also, this administration doesn't give a hoot about conservation. The study says the rising cost …

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Some students don’t want to go carbon neutral

As an undergrad at Brown University and a veteran organizer with the Sierra Student Coalition, Nathan Wyeth has his ear to the ground on campus sustainability issues. In this occasional column for Grist, Wyeth will report on what's afoot at the campus grassroots level and how he and his fellow students are making their voices heard. As of today, 202 colleges and universities have pledged to move toward climate neutrality, or net-zero global warming emissions, with the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment. I've been part of a student group pushing Brown University to do the same. But debate …

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How to build a real climate movement

Campaigns and programs crafted to advance the Bright Lines strategy must also fit real world constraints and political realities on the ground, and take account of external roadblocks to effective action. The following objectives address these issues. 1. Tangible risk. Climate change is like world hunger: it's an issue of concern when media attention is high, just as coverage of periodic famines raises concern about world hunger. Most Americans do not see climate change as an immediate or personal risk, yet, like world hunger, they view it as a problem so immense that it is impractical to think that it …

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Your share of the world

Imagine, as a thought experiment, that everyone on the planet had the same share of the world's resources. It turns out your share is about six acres (2.5 hectares) of dry land. Now imagine if that were your whole world. How would you treat it? Thinking in small numbers It's difficult to think in extremely large numbers. Suppose, for instance, the U.S. government spends around $100 million on climate models per year. (I believe this is about right.) That sounds like a big number! Much too big, perhaps? Well, if you are an average American, it's 33 cents out of …

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Not tonight … your CFLs give me a headache

I have to say, this story has sure played out at my house, where my bride lovingly (I hope) refers to me, in moments of teasing (I hope), as "Mr. Conserver Man" for what she considers to be an excessive devotion to making the electric meter spin more slowly and for my habit of figuring out ways to avoid using the car. But the 100w incandescent in her bedside lamp says that I'm at least smart enough to know when to quit: Fluorescent Bulbs Are Known to Zap Domestic Tranquillity Energy-Savers a Turnoff for Wives NESKOWIN, Ore. -- Alex and …

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Ann Bancroft, pioneering polar explorer, answers questions

Ann Bancroft. What work do you do? I typically call myself an educator, explorer, and lecturer. I have been lucky in life to blend my passions for teaching and the outdoor world together. In 1986, I joined the Steger International Polar Expedition, a team of seven men and 49 male dogs. After reaching the North Pole as the first known woman to cross the ice, I was thrust into a new role and a new understanding of what I could do merging education and expeditions. In 1992 and 1993, I mounted an all-female expedition across Greenland from east to west, …

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Biofuel rating system may be premature

I received an email yesterday from Richard Plevin over at Berkeley: I can only conclude from your post on Grist that you didn't actually read our report. The implications that we are either unaware of the environmental issues surrounding biofuels, or that we dismiss them, are incorrect. Your post does a disservice to those reading it by suggesting this. I encourage you to read our report. Likewise, I could conclude that he didn't read my post since he missed the gist, which was that all biofuels agrofuels being produced today may be as bad or worse than fossil fuels overall, …

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One Fight In Bangkok

Scientists, others gather in Thailand to finalize third IPCC report In its third report of the year, due out Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will recommend climate solutions. (The first report confirmed the existence and science of our collective mess, and the second outlined its likely effects.) So what will save us? A draft released this weekend suggests nuclear power, genetically modified crops, and carbon burial as leading options. Uh, awesome? We feel so much better? "Simply replacing one set of technologies with another set of technologies won't work, especially when there are such big downsides with some …

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