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Hansen keeps sounding the alarm

Is anyone listening?

James Hansen has a new paper out, co-authored with six other scientists: "Climate Change and trace gases." It appears in the current issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, and Hansen says: "In my opinion, among our papers this one probably does the best job of making clear that the Earth is getting perilously close to climate changes that could run out of our control." Steve Connor has a writeup in The Independent. Sounds like scary stuff: "Civilisation developed, and constructed extensive infrastructure, during a period of unusual climate stability, the Holocene, now almost 12,000 years in duration. …

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Oil lobby resorts to open extortion

Hardly new, but brazen nonetheless

Senate Democrats want to pay for renewables with taxes and royalties on oil companies. This pressure is causing the oil lobby to threaten higher gasoline prices: Bill Holbrook, communications director for the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, told ABC News that there are conflicting signals about what path the nation will take coming from both President Bush and lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The president is calling for a 20 percent reduction on gasoline use while some lawmakers are pushing for more biofuels. If you process gasoline, those in the industry say that none of those developments are necessarily going to …

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Green-collar jobs in Congress

A new amendment from Sanders and Clinton

Over at The Hill's Congress Blog, Sen. Bernie Sanders touts his green-collar jobs amendment to the energy bill, which will come up for debate this week. (Sen. Clinton also put her name on it.) Great to see this issue getting attention. See, again: Van Jones.

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Time to put the notion of 'energy independence' to bed

So says Jim Henley, and yours truly

Jim Henley says that "energy independence" is the most ridiculous phrase in the American political lexicon: The concept of "energy independence" is a sham. I think it's generally code for "Then we can stop being nice to the fvcking A-rabs," but this gets gussied up with terms like "instability" and references to Hugo Chavez, who has been around a lot less long than the Magic Words. (It is often also code for "let's float politically connected domestic producers some subsidies!") There's no question that the oil-producing world is full of problematic regimes. But you don't hear every respectable politician in …

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Breaking: Senate fights off liquid coal

More victories

Sweet! Here's a press release I just got from Friends of the Earth: ----- WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate today voted against two attempts to encourage the use of liquid coal, rejecting a pair of amendments to the energy bill that would have alternately mandated 6 billion gallons of liquid coal use annually by 2022 or provided $10 billion in loan subsidies to produce liquid coal. "This is a victory for anyone who takes global warming seriously or cares about environmentally destructive mining," said Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder. "Coal mining is a dirty process, and with current …

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MoJo's math poetry

The precise mathematical formula for despair

The latest Mother Jones (July/August 2007, according to the the weird dating schemes of dinosaur media) has a great last-page feature titled "The New Math of Global Warming" -- short, poetic mathematical expressions on our plight. I'd link to it but the MoJo site seems to be missing some of its mojo right now ... the link to the slideshow gives you a "not found" error. But it's probably for sale at a local indie newsstand near you. As Joe Bob would say, "Check it out."

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Rolling Stone on the climate crisis

A package of good stories

Rolling Stone has a package of stories on Al Gore's climate crusade in the current issue. First up is a long interview with the man himself , including this nice tidbit: What figure in the administration, other than the president himself, do you hold most responsible for standing in the way of meaningful change on global warming? Oh, Cheney, of course. Both Bush and Cheney come out of the carbon-extraction industry. But Cheney has been the more forceful determinant of the two where this issue is concerned. And this one: What about a straight tax on carbon emissions, which many …

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Thirty years to hone an argument

Arguments supporting government subsidies of agrofuels are getting polished

This is my formal rebuttal to David Morris's "case for corn-based fuel." I'm using my access to the bully pulpit to pull it out of the comments field. How did the use of ethanol end up alongside tyranny and torture as an evil to be conquered? That's easy. A whole lot of real smart people have been giving corn ethanol a lot of thought and have found that "an evil to be conquered" isn't a bad description. In smaller quantities, it does smaller amounts of damage, but as quantities increase, so does the damage. I mean, what's not to like …

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Nuclear power no climate cure-all

So says a new report

Everything you could possibly want to know about nuclear power -- and its (limited) potential as a potential climate solution -- can be found in the new Keystone Center Report with the less-than-captivating title "Nuclear Power Joint Fact-Finding." Reuters is confused in its article on the report, "Nuclear Power Can't Curb Global Warming -- Report," and actually overstates the case for nuclear: Nuclear power would only curb climate change by expanding worldwide at the rate it grew from 1981 to 1990, its busiest decade, and keep up that rate for half a century, a report said on Thursday. Specifically, that …

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Solar power goes to Congress

A hearing before the Science Committee

There's a hearing on solar power today in the House Science Committee. Sounds like they're focusing on concentrating solar power and thermal storage -- smart. Note this: [Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Vice-Chair] Rep. [Gabrielle] Giffords expects to soon introduce "The Solar Energy Research and Advancement Act of 2007" to address issues in solar research, education, and training not covered by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. These include a research and development program on thermal energy storage technologies for concentrating solar power, a study to determine the necessary steps to integrate concentrating solar power plants with the regional and …

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