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Poll results!

The NYT has a bucketload of important poll results. Here's the full poll; here's the summary: Americans in large bipartisan numbers say the heating of the earth's atmosphere is having serious effects on the environment now or will soon and think that it is necessary to take immediate steps to reduce its effects, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds. Beyond that is a whole series of juicy tidbits. I hardly know where to dip in. Some quotes: Ninety percent of Democrats, 80 percent of independents and 60 percent of Republicans said immediate action was required to curb the …

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And their PM is still in denial

Australian Prime Minister John Howard is in a sticky, yet dry, situation. Even though a drought has caused Australia's agricultural production to fall 25 percent in the last year, Howard may have to ban irrigation so that urban centers can have drinking water. The targeted river basin, the Murray-Darling, is known as Australia's "food bowl" because it houses 72 percent of Australia's farm and pasture land. If insufficient rain continues through the next few weeks, this year's harvest will be devastated and cities will need to implement water usage restrictions. Prime Minister Howard doesn't accept the connection to global warming, …

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America is Dragon

China's carbon-cutting more ambitious than many assume Used to be, the U.S. couldn't do anything about climate change because climate change wasn't real. Now the U.S. can't do anything about climate change because ... China's not doing anything about climate change. But surprise! Turns out China, despite being the huge energy-sucker that slipped through the Kyoto Protocol's developing-country loophole, is working on emissions cuts of its own that could equal or outpace those in the U.S. and Europe. A program to cut energy use at factories, for instance, could cut 168 million tons of greenhouse gases by 2010 -- nearly …

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Shenanigans everywhere

The WSJ has a story today about the high hopes riding on the few large-scale carbon-capture demonstration projects under construction. The entire global political and economic elite desperately wants carbon sequestration to work, so they can keep us hooked up to the fossil fuel mainline. But as the WSJ notes, it's a tough row to hoe: Unlike oil or gas fields, power plants aren't always conveniently located near geological formations where carbon dioxide can be stored. In many cases, pipelines will be needed to transport carbon dioxide over great distances to underground storage areas. There are safety risks. Carbon dioxide …

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The Tyee busts Harper

I think the hue and cry about "greenwashing" is generally overdone, for reasons I've discussed at length elsewhere. But the Tyee has a great story today that looks like a bona fide example of selling a big infrastructure project as "green" when its consequences will be just the opposite. It's about a proposal by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to extend the electricity grid up to people up on the Alaska panhandle in northern B.C., so they can stop powering their stuff with dirty diesel fuel. But: The Highway 37 electrification project, as it's known, has been on the drawing …

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Discuss amongst yourselves

This is heartening: the activist netroots are starting to get serious about figuring out global warming policy. Welcome to the fun, y'all! Stoller comes to a familiar conclusion: carbon tax is preferable to cap and trade. I think he's a little hard on the latter, but the basic position is sound -- and all but universal among non-politicians these days.

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If we aren’t causing it, why would reducing emissions fix it?

According to a new poll, a majority of folks in South Carolina -- from both parties -- agree that it's time to do something about global warming. However, while the majority of Democrats polled believe that humans are driving recent warming, a majority of Republicans cite "natural processes." This position by Republicans, which I think is fairly common, strikes me as a strange artifact of their cultural biases. They see the notion that humans are driving global warming as part of a narrative spun by human-hating, nature-worshiping, blame-America-first liberals (the bogey man liberals that populate their dark fantasies, anyway). But …

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Happy birthday!

Peter Madden, chief executive of Forum for the Future, writes a monthly column for Gristmill on sustainability in the U.K. and Europe. "Sustainable development" is 20 years old this week. On April 27, 1987, after four years of deliberation, the World Commission on Environment and Development released its report. The inquiry -- also known as the Brundtland Commission -- was led by the prime minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland. I was at university then, and devoured the contents of the report, which was later published as the book Our Common Future. Here, at last, was someone tying together the …

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Video

Stephen Colbert brings the good news: (h/t: Hugg)

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Some miscellaneous but connected items

The daily news is never short of articles on biofuels these days, but these three caught my eye today. The first concerns the release of some research results by soil scientist Jane Johnson of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). It's an open secret that the dominant feedstock for cellulosic ethanol production as the technology takes off in the Midwest will likely be corn stover, and not switchgrass or prairie grasses. The implication of Johnson's findings, however, is that farmers growing corn for ethanol production might be able to "sustainably" harvest only half as much cornstalk residue as previously expected: If …

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