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And the Miliband Played On

Despite talk of cuts, U.K. carbon emissions on the rise It's too bad surging emissions aren't cause for joy. Because then the Brits would be dancing right now instead of tearing each other new ones. But alas: data show that U.K. carbon emissions rose 1.25 percent last year, to the highest level since the Labor Party took charge in 1997. Environment Secretary David Miliband said the U.K. is still on track to meet or beat its Kyoto goals, but conceded that the figures -- fueled largely by a switch from gas to coal power -- are "worrying." Activists were less …

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Say what?

CNN: Global warming "could create opportunities for pharmaceutical, chemical, biotech and healthcare companies, but present serious challenges for paper, agriculture, furniture, energy and the overall economy." Too bad for you suckers who invested in Overall Economy Inc.!

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But does he have to use the word ‘solartopia’?

This short piece from Harvey Wasserman gets pretty much everything right -- and by "right" I mean, "in agreement with me." My only quibble is that he spends too much time bashing nukes, and bashing them for the wrong reasons (wrong effective-messaging-wise, not necessarily substance-wise). I'd prefer he bash them because they're more expensive and less flexible than R&E, not for the well-hashed-over waste issue. But that's a quibble. Here's the heart of the matter: What's not being said is that the solution to the problem---the necessary transition to Solartopia, a world based on renewable energy---is also the key to …

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The man blocks Gore’s concert on the Capitol steps

One of the many stories I missed today: Sen. James Inhofe, in a characteristically petty display of foot-stomping, is blocking Al Gore's efforts to have one of his Live Earth concerts on the Capitol steps. Inhofe says it's partisan. Guess it is now. Some good quotes: Noting that many political events -- including the 1990 Earth Day celebration -- have been held on the Capitol steps, [Republican Sen. Olympia] Snowe was, her spokesman said, "genuinely disappointed" by objections from her fellow Republicans. "She thinks it's a very unfortunate message to send that somehow this country is languishing behind in the …

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We need to rethink all food based biofuels

The lion's share of biofuel bashing on Grist deals with corn ethanol, because we Americans primarily use gasoline for our cars and ethanol runs fine in them, with few modifications. However, our pals in Europe drive a lot of diesel cars and the biofuel crisis over there revolves primarily around biodiesel. I think it is time we recognize that their problem is also our problem. A comment from Pcarbo alerted me to Monbiot's latest take on biofuels. He has now gone so far as to propose a ... ... moratorium on all targets and incentives for biofuels, until a second …

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Sky Islands getting crispier

Just when you thought Arizona couldn't get any hotter, right? Yesterday's NYT article on how that state's Sky Islands, the uniquely biodiverse plateaus, are changing due to higher heat regimes is borne out not only by news of such destructive fires but also by daily observation on the ground. A friend who works for the Sky Island Alliance in Tucson says her staff, while out ripping up roads or monitoring wildlife corridors, has been noticing that species are disappearing from islands, being squeezed out by the changes. It really brings home that no matter what kind of activism we're involved …

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The perils of cooking with greenhouse gas.

The BBC has issued a pretty clear-eyed report on food production and climate change, the podcast of which you can download here. The report makes no brief for sustainable ag, but it does cogently question industrial ag's ability to "feed the world" as climate change saps water tables and population continues to grow.

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As the World Burns

House hearing addresses missing oil and gas royalties The steamiest soap opera in D.C. continues this week with a House hearing on $1 billion in uncollected oil and gas royalties. A cast of star-crossed witnesses testified to the Natural Resources Committee about the forbidden love between the Minerals Management Service and Big Oil. Handsome leading man Bobby Maxwell, an auditor-turned-whistleblower, said he was told "not to bother the oil companies." Supporting actor and ex-auditor Kevin Gambrell said he'd been blocked from collecting royalties owed to Native American tribes. But dashing U.S. Interior Assistant Secretary C. Stephen Allred rose to his …

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And Then There Were Nine

Rise in sea level could affect one in 10 people worldwide If you currently live in Colorado, Nebraska, or South Dakota, you can stop reading this story now. But if you are one of the 634 million people worldwide living in a coastal zone, be advised: you may be in deep trouble. New research using population models and NASA satellite data estimates that one in 10 people in the world -- some 75 percent of them in Asia -- live in coastal regions that will be at risk of being affected by flooding and intense storms brought on by global …

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Granma Muses

Castro breaks editorial silence to berate U.S. over biofuels policy Say you're a legendary communist leader sidelined by a secret illness. You're eager to break your months-long silence with an editorial, and you're looking for just the right topic. Do you choose ... your prognosis? Your island nation's health? Heck no. If you're Fidel Castro, you choose the U.S. infatuation with biofuels. An article printed today in the Communist Party daily Granma (not to be confused with the weekly Granpa) hints at Castro's views on ethanol and economics under the headline "More than 3 billion people of the world condemned …

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