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Climate & Energy

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Kill the vampires!

There oughta be a law: Off means off

Here's why you need to put all your electronics on power strips/surge protectors; so you can actually turn them off and save the massive amounts of energy these vampires suck out of the system (and your wallet). We need a law that says by 2009 no new electronic devices can be sold without a hard off setting that actually turns the device entirely off (i.e., no current drain whatsoever). It's not hard -- it's how everything used to work.

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Easing off the gas?

Well, sorta

One of the most striking findings from this year's Cascadia Scorecard from Sightline Institute (just released Tuesday, by the way) is that Northwesterners -- or, more properly, the residents of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia -- are using less gasoline. In fact, per person gas consumption on the Northwest's roads and highways has fallen by nearly a tenth since the late 1990s. To put the recent declines in context: cutting gas consumption by nearly a tenth is equivalent to each driver taking a one-month holiday from driving each year. At this point, the average resident of the U.S. Northwest …

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Air-powered cars

Compressed air, not hot air

In contrast to the hot air coming out of Washington and Detroit, India is opting for compressed air. Deets here.

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The fight in the Senate

More intransigence on climate change

Hello! I just wanted to drop by Gristmill to give all of you an update on the energy bill. To no one's surprise, the Republicans are throwing sand in the gears and trying to block any meaningful progress. The energy bill, as it stands, is not nearly strong enough, so there are a number of amendments that must be adopted to give us a bill that actually gets us started on that path of dealing with our energy crisis and our climate crisis. But when we tried to bring up the Bingaman amendment that requires the use of alternative energy …

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When push comes to guv

Ahhhnold and friends tell the folks on the Hill to get with it

Ahhhnold is calling out the U.S. government for being a bunch of girly men and women on climate change. On Monday, he teamed up with Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell, a fellow Republican, to chastise the folks on the Hill for "inaction and denial" on climate change in an open letter published in the Washington Post. Not only have they failed to take major federal action, they've also tried to thwart actions by progressive states like California and Connecticut, the governors said. "It's bad enough that the federal government has yet to take the threat of global warming seriously," wrote the …

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Global warming envy

Who knew?

Maybe some of you are not going to believe this, but a trend seems to be developing wherein some progressives seem to think that the issue of global warming is grabbing the "spotlight." For instance, in "Why is peak oil politically incorrect?" Ugo Bardi compares the number of online searches that global warming receives versus peak oil, using Google's admittedly new "Trends" system. The number of searches for global warming is rising rapidly, while peak oil lists along. But as an editor comments at the end of the article,"But if you think that's all very depressing -- do the comparison …

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Umbra on solar hot-water systems

Dear Umbra, I would like to change to solar heating for providing some of our electricity requirements, particularly for hot water. Can you advise me how to go about it? Leela Pienaar Grahamstown, South Africa Dearest Leela, I notice you're in South Africa. I can talk about solar equipment as found in the U.S., and perhaps these general thoughts will be useful to you. Since the web is worldwide, I was able to see at least the signs of government support for a solar water-heater campaign in South Africa. Certainly we have all reason to believe that it is sunny …

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What's the worst that could happen?

Some guy and a camera

A homecooked argument for aggressive response to global heating.

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How Much CO2 Does a Kegger Emit?

College and university presidents sign on to climate pledge Aiming to give greenhouse-gas reduction the old college try, 280 institutions have signed on to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. Modeled after a pact signed by mayors across the country, the agreement commits schools to promoting research on global warming, keeping track of emissions, and aiming for carbon neutrality. The effort is being led by President Michael Crow of Arizona State University, which plans to turn down the AC, increase solar power, and provide free bus passes to students, faculty, and staff. Some non-signers are lukewarm to the …

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Ready to Barack

Obama qualifies his support for coal-to-liquid fuel Illinois senator and presidential hopeful Barack Obama (D) has qualified his support for coal -- which is, you may recall, the enemy of the human race. In January, Obama cosponsored legislation to provide incentives for production of coal-to-liquid fuel. He was lambasted by enviros; influential advocacy group MoveOn.org waged a petition opposing the bill. And the public pressure seems to have worked: Yesterday, Obama sent an email to green groups that stated, "Senator Obama supports ... investing in technology that could make coal a clean-burning source of energy. However, unless and until this …