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Climate change for the elderly

Revkin puts global warming in AARP Magazine

Andy Revkin has a couple of new pieces on global warming in, of all places, AARP Magazine. Yup, he's bringing the word to men and women of a certain age. Andy told me he went through several back-and-forths, over the course of many months, and I believe it -- AARP's known for having conservative (in the political sense) leadership and conservative (in the vernacular sense) membership. Climate change is a delicate subject in those environs. But I think the main piece came out all the stronger for being studiously apolitical. It frames climate change not as a partisan issue but …

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GM Volts into the lead

Looks like the plug-in might actually happen

General Motors is apparently serious about introducing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, which I have repeatedly argued is the car of the future (PDF). The race is now on between Toyota and GM as to who will be the first to introduce this game-changing vehicle. The Chevy Volt is to be the "legacy" of Robert Lutz, GM's vice chair of product development, according to Business Week's "Auto Beat" column. The Volt will go about 40 miles on an electric charge before reverting to being a regular gasoline-powered hybrid. Given that the vast majority of drives are under 20 miles round …

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Did I say no more CTL?

I meant just one more

There's a growing tension between the subsidy-happy proclivities of Congress and its self-imposed mandate to reduce carbon emissions. You just can't spend all the available federal dollars on ethanol and CTL and expect to reduce emissions. Bills like this one, introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), are going to bring that tension to a head: A bill about to be introduced in the Senate would push utilities to generate drastically more of their power -- 15%, compared with the current 2% -- from sources such as wind or the sun by 2020. While three similar measures have died after passing …

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O Canada!

Imagine a politician leveling with citizens about something

This is a great column from a former Winnipeg mayor: "Higher oil prices or carbon tax: Take your pick." Imagine if all politicians were as frank. Why, we might even have the kind of discourse Al Gore mourns losing in The Assault on Reason.

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Solar Pope

The name of my new rock band? Nope.

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U.S. again blocking international climate accord

Sun rises in east

I suppose everyone's heard by now that the U.S. plans to stiff Germany and the UK on climate change at the upcoming G8 summit. German and British leaders will no doubt express grave concern to the media, and then when it becomes obvious the U.S. won't budge, try to recast their utter ineffectuality as some sort of progress. One hardly knows what to say about this stuff any more. Jerome a Paris has a go at it, but doesn't offer any real proposal for how the U.S. can be dislodged from its intransigence while dead-eyed sociopaths are in charge.

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Summer reading list

Pick-me-up books needed

I was at a wedding last week, on the beach. Waves! Friends! Tecates! I was finally starting to unwind. And then I did something very bad. I picked up Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Holy moly. Ever wonder what the world would look like should we reach the global warming tipping point? Or what peak oil in full effect might mean for you and yours? Wonder no longer. A grimmer, more terrifying dystopian tale I have never read. Read it and weep. And weep some more. Because in the end, nothing is more sad than love, and this is a love …

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Bad news re: good news about bad news

The press ignores science

The bad news is that we are in quite a pickle. The good news about the bad news is that the national science academies of the G8 countries, along with those of Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, China, and India, have issued a unanimous and remarkably strong statement (PDF) about our global energy quandary. The bad news about the good news about the bad news is that the press is almost totally silent about it, at least in English-speaking countries. Among the crucial statements in this document (PDF): "Our present energy course is not sustainable." "Responding to this demand while minimizing …

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I’ll Be Back, Eh

Schwarzenegger visits Canada to talk tough on emissions It's hard to believe any country could be worse on climate than the U.S., but Canada seems to be making a run for it. Yesterday, Friends of the Earth Canada and Sierra Legal filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that their government is shirking its Kyoto Protocol pledge. "This government is not free to cut and run from its international obligations," says FOE spokesperson Christine Elwell. "You can't just do what you want." Conservative leaders, faced with the ugly fact that greenhouse-gas emissions in 2005 were about 33 percent above where …

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Brit's Eye View: Is carbon labeling a good idea?

Can a bag of potato chips point the way to saving the planet?

Peter Madden, chief executive of Forum for the Future, writes a monthly column for Gristmill on sustainability in the U.K. and Europe. Can a bag of potato chips point the way to saving the planet? In the U.K., we have started down the path of putting "carbon labels" on products. Tesco, our biggest supermarket chain, has said they will label every product they sell. The Carbon Trust, a government agency, has already produced a prototype label and is trying it out on shampoo, a fruit juice, and a bag of potato chips. Clearly we do need to measure and manage …