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And the Mining Seems So Safe and Clean

Congress considers legislation that would give coal a boost What if there was a liquid fuel with the potential to produce nearly twice as many greenhouse gases as petroleum? And it would cost nearly four times as much to build a processing plant for this fuel as for petroleum? You'd say no thanks. But Congress is saying yes please to this flawed fuel, commonly known as "coal." Legislation currently making its way through House and Senate committees includes federal tax credits, subsidies, and loan guarantees to the tune of billions of dollars, as well as a plan for 25-year military …

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We’ve Got Frenzy In Low Places

U.S. continues to stonewall climate progress ahead of G8 summit In the diplomatic scramble leading up to next week's G8 summit, there are two sides: the Bush administration and the rest of the world. The burning issue, of course, is climate change. Following weeks of grumbling from both sides, leaked documents show that U.S. red pens have slashed a draft from G8 chair Germany, citing "fundamental opposition" to proposals that include cutting global greenhouse-gas emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and increasing energy efficiency 20 percent by 2020. German and U.S. envoys are meeting this week to work …

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A new 'Stop the Draft' campaign!

There’s a connection between energy waste and our military adventurousness, so let’s stop the draft

This is what every utility in America should be required to provide in return for that monthly service charge that makes people who conserve energy pay more per unit of juice than people who waste it.

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Kunstler nails it

Taking on the belief that technotoys will allow the status quo to continue

James Howard Kunstler, dyspeptic critic and peak oil Paul Revere, nails the people whose approach to the twin calamities of global heating and peak oil is to spend all their time trying to cobble together the McGyver solution that saves the day, rather than trying to adapt to the new, low-energy imperative. My belief is that the more time we spend trying to find the McGuyvers, the more likely we are to respond poorly when we find that no amount of McGuyvers are going to allow us to maintain the carburban dreamscape. Most particularly, I fear that the more energy …

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Alaskan: 'I don't want to live in permafrost no more.'

Not so perma, not so frosty

Thanks to global warming, the permafrost is no longer very perma, nor very frosty. I've noted before about how the ultimate release of huge amounts of greenhouse gases formerly trapped in the tundra could create a "self-perpetuating climate time bomb." But we shouldn't ignore the severe local impacts. The New York Times has a front-page story on what global warming has done to the Alaskan village of Newtok: Sea ice that would normally protect coastal villages is forming later in the year, allowing fall storms to pound away at the shoreline. Erosion has made Newtok an island .... The village …

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Eye candy that's melting fast

Arctic sea ice and global thawing

Once again National Geographic Magazine has managed to knock my socks off, this time with its June '07 issue. Vanishing Sea Ice is journalist and photographer Paul Nicklen's touching homage to the Arctic and its wildlife through the lens of his camera: a decade-long documentary of its accelerating demise. Big Thaw, meanwhile, zooms out to the global level to tell how ice around the world is fast receding. Global warming-induced meltage is a familiar story by now, but new studies are showing that -- due to multiple positive feedback effects -- the decline is occurring more rapidly than scientists had …

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Climate change appraisal

A new website assesses property risk

Earlier this week I learned that I'm eligible, via my mother, for Dutch citizenship, which means I could potentially work, vote, and live in Holland without having to go through the hassle of visa applications. Before moving to a country that lies largely below sea level, though, I might want to check out Climate Appraisal, which, as its name suggests, is a website where you can size up the environmental hazards of your desired address. A joint project of a former banking executive and climate scientists at the University of Arizona in Tucson, the site has plenty of free information …

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Worse than a prisoner's dilemma

The cost of acting first on climate change vs. the cost of not acting

"Lose-lose: the penalties of acting alone stall collective effort on climate change" is an article the Financial Times ran a while back. While the piece gives a panoramic analysis of the international prisoner's dilemma, there are two other angles that are missing. The first is the penalties of no one acting. According to the UK's environmental minister, the economic rationale for inaction is that the first country to act risks undergoing some degree of economic hardship. This, he explains, is "the last refuge of the deniers -- the idea that it's not worth anyone doing anything unless everyone does it." …

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Picture of the week

Condi in a Tesla

I give you Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, riding in a Tesla electric car: More gape-worthy Tesla pics here. More about Rice here. (thanks LL!)

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A <em>really</em> vicious cycle

Are Americans smart enough to learn from Australia’s crisis?

What if there was a country that was like America in many ways, such as the obstinate refusal of its government to acknowledge that pursuing economic growth at the expense of the environment is simply a way to commit suicide faster, a fondness for beer, and an enormous capacity to live the high energy lifestyle as if there was no tomorrow? Could Americans learn anything from it? Bart A's always-excellent Energy Bulletin brings this chilling story about the very non-chill Australia, where a drought is putting big thermal plants out of business due to water restrictions. Is it possible -- …

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