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Spitting out the Kool-Aid

Condi Rice goes out on limbs

First she rides in an electric car, now she says disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic? Condi better watch her back.

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Or As We Like to Call It, Inept Development

Clean Development Mechanism comes under fire for incompetence World Environment Day not depressing enough yet? Check this out: the Clean Development Mechanism, a key emissions-reduction program under the Kyoto Protocol, is riddled with incompetence, rule-breaking, and possible fraud, The Guardian reports. The CDM allows nations to fund green-energy projects in developing countries instead of slicing their own emissions. But since its launch in January 2005, it has only offset some 55 million tons of greenhouse gases -- roughly what Britain produces in one month. One source suggests that up to 20 percent of those "certified emissions reductions" may not be …

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More on nuclear shillery

A while back I mentioned a great article by Diane Farsetta about the nuclear industry's big PR push and the gullibility of the journalists covering it. Now there's a similar piece in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, from Amanda Witherell, and it contains this delightful tidbit: A survey by Diane Farsetta, a senior researcher at the Center for Media and Democracy, came across 302 recent articles mentioning [Patrick] Moore and nuclear power as a possible option for mitigating the effects of global warming. Only 37 -- a mere 12 percent -- said he's being paid to support nuclear power by …

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Reflections from the scene of this weekend’s G8 protests

Michael Levitin is a freelance journalist living in Berlin. He has written for Newsweek, Slate, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. Tuesday, 5 Jun 2007 ROSTOCK, Germany If you dress head to foot in black, set cars on fire, launch stones and beer bottles at police, and brave hand-to-hand scuffles amid clouds of tear gas with choppers thundering overhead, best bet is you'll make the evening news. Which is too bad, because in the case of Saturday's late-afternoon riots in Rostock, the images of unrest have obscured and altered what most of us adults would have called the real …

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Pumped hydro energy storage

A concise introduction

The great question about wind is intermittency, and the great answer is energy storage. There are a number of energy storage technologies out there; I suspect the right storage mechanism will differ from region to region. One of the most interesting storage options out there is pumped hydro. The concept is pretty simple: you build two reservoirs, one down low and one up high, connected by a pipe. In the pipe are energy-generating turbines. When you're getting excess wind power, you can use it to pump water up to the top reservoir. When you're not getting enough, you can drop …

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Using Earth's magnetic field to eject CO2

A new solution from a plasma physicist

We've already thoroughly debunked geoengineering strategies like launching mirrors into space, seeding the oceans with extra iron, and loading the atmosphere with ray-repelling aerosols. But this idea, posed by a scientist last week at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, though still a long shot, is actually pretty ingenious. Alfred Wong, a plasma physicist at UCLA, says that we might be able to use Earth's natural magnetic field as a giant conveyor belt to catapult excess carbon dioxide into outer space. The CO2 must be ionized first, which Dr. Wong proposes could be done with lasers (generating less …

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Sen. Sanders' energy legislation

On the cutting edge

The Burlington Free Press has a story on some energy legislation Sen. Bernie Sanders is about to introduce: Sanders' proposed energy grants could be used by Vermont towns and counties to update building codes to require construction of energy-efficient homes and businesses, retrofit old buildings with newer technology, experiment with alternative energy, create incentives for residents to car pool or ride the bus, and organize voluntary efforts to encourage people to save energy by turning down their thermostats or replacing traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent lighting. The Senate also will vote on a Sanders amendment that would create a …

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Wind is well

An insider’s view of the wind industry

Be sure to check out a fascinating post by Jerome a Paris (who helps finance wind power projects) on the state of play in the wind industry. Here's the spoiler: Anyway, the conclusions I draw from all if this are as follows: windpower is booming, and is reaching a stage where it becomes a noticeable source of electricity in a number of countries. This is not the time to stop supporting it - it's time to make the essential part of electricity production: any kWh from wind lessens the need for coal-fired plants - or for nuclear. As such, the …

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2006: Second most extreme weather ever

And yet the media isn’t reporting it

Global warming has long been predicted to make the weather more extreme. Wouldn't it be great if there were an official government index of extreme weather -- of heat, drought, rainfall, and hurricanes -- that would let us know if the prediction had come true? Well, such an index exists: the National Climatic Data Center's Climate Extremes Index. As the figure shows, the most extreme year by far was 1998; 2006 was the second most extreme, followed closely by 2005. The fourteen least extreme years all predate 1981. The weather is becoming more extreme, as predicted: Yet my guess is …

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Catastrophic warming: Is it too late?

Scientists weigh in

Sorry to post this on the heels of "Doom and gloom blowback," but this Daily Kos summary of a new study by Hansen et al is too well done to pass over. And do note that Hansen is trying to accentuate the positive. The original paper, by the way, is called "Dangerous human-made interference with climate: a GISS modelE study" (PDF). And it's not locked down.

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