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The first pres. candidate to make the pledge

According to an account from an appearance at Howard University, John Edwards has become the first presidential candidate to publicly pledge to the target of reducing U.S. GHG emissions by 80% by 2050. That's the baseline. Who else will step up?

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Facts alone will never cut it

I want to tear my %$#@! hair out. On Wed. night in New York City, there was a formal debate. At issue was the statement, "global warming is not a crisis." David Biello sets the scene: Arguing for the motion were the folksy (and tall) Michael Crichton, the soft-spoken Richard Lindzen and the passionate Philip Stott. Arrayed against were the moderate Brenda Ekwurzel, the skeptical Gavin Schmidt and the perplexed Richard Somerville. (Note: all the adjectives are mine.) The hosts took a poll of attendees before and after the debate. The percentage of people who thought global warming is a …

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And They’re Off

As ministers gather in Potsdam, Germans still fuming over speed-limit idea The G8 environment ministers are spending two days in Potsdam, Germany, chewing over the world's post-Kyoto possibilities with their developing-country counterparts. "We are going to speak about the barriers that have until now held back international climate-change negotiations and how to break them," said German eco-minister Sigmar Gabriel. Who, as it happens, was part of another high-profile convo about breaking barriers this week: When European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas suggested an emissions-curbing speed limit on Germany's famed Autobahn, drivers bristled at losing their "freedom," a German auto-industry trade …

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Sequester Requester

Coal sequestration a near-future necessity; one utility gets a jump start If coal's going to be viable in an emissions-regulated future, we need to hurry up and learn the how-tos of carbon sequestration, says a new study from MIT. The U.S. should take the lead and fund three to five emissions-burying demo projects within the decade, says the report; meanwhile, companies should be charged for CO2 emissions and incentives for old-school coal plants should be removed. Study coauthor John Deutch drew an analogy between carbon sequestration and nuclear waste disposal, saying, "If you don't pay attention to it at the …

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The damming question

It's been 50 years since Celilo Falls in Oregon was buried by the Dalles Dam to create 800 megawatts of power, but the memory of the great salmon runs lost live on through the tribes who migrated again this year to the spot to mourn the day. Orion Grassroots Network member group Save Our Wild Salmon opined eloquently in the Oregonian this week about the choices our society made for green power. It reminded me that there is a place near my home called Salmon Falls, on Western Massachusetts' Deerfield River, where Atlantic salmon and shad used to come in …

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What should be the cost of skepticism?

Every few months, it seems, someone comes out with the great idea about how people who are wrong in the climate-change debate should have something really bad done to them. Who can forget our very own David's, ahem, indiscretion? Or Heidi Cullen and her suggestion to strip skeptical meteorologists of their AMS credentials? Over on Roger Pielke Sr.'s Climate Science blog, guest blogger Hendrik Tennekes suggests some tit-for-tat: More than once I have dreamed of regulations that would cut the retirement pay of climate modelers in half if their forecasts proved off the mark at their retirement. Such an arrangement …

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But What About Liechtenstein?

Survey unearths international climate-change attitudes A majority of South Koreans believe global warming is a critical threat. Same with Iranians. And Mexicans. And Israelis. But Americans -- not so much, says a recent survey of more than 20,000 people in more than 15 countries. Granted, the U.S. could have been more ignorant: a solid 46 percent of Americans deemed climate change critical, and an additional 39 percent labeled it "important." Also encouraging: 43 percent of U.S. residents favor attacking global warming even if it involves "significant costs," while a mere 17 percent favor the let's-study-it-some-more approach. Chinese views were similar …

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I Think I Can’t, I Think I Can’t

Automakers tell Congress why fuel-economy improvements won't work Congress hosted a few more cranky white men yesterday, as the CEOs of Chrysler, Ford, GM, and Toyota's North American division appeared before a House subcommittee to explain why they couldn't possibly raise fuel-economy standards. Joined by the head of the United Auto Workers, the churlish chiefs pointed to the high costs of meeting a 4 percent a year raise proposed by President Bush, saying it posed a threat to jobs and retirees' health care. They also said using ethanol and regulating tailpipe emissions would be better ways to wean the U.S. …

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Take That, Iowa

New Hampshire towns send climate-change message to feds The votes are in, and the message is clear: New Hampshire is peeved about global warming. Nearly 90 towns approved a nonbinding resolution at their annual meetings this week telling the feds to act on climate change and harrumphing that presidential candidates should make it a priority in their campaigns. About 90 more will debate the resolution -- which also endorses the idea of a national sustainable-energy research initiative -- at upcoming town meetings this spring. Given its traditional first-in-the-nation primary status, the tiny state's fist-shaking is nothing to sneeze at. "There's …

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Bush to cut funding for geothermal

The Bush administration wants to eliminate federal support for geothermal power just as many U.S. states are looking to cut greenhouse gas emissions and raise renewable power output. A comprehensive new MIT-led study of the potential for geothermal energy within the United States has found that mining the huge amounts of heat that reside as stored thermal energy in the Earth's hard rock crust could supply a substantial portion of the electricity the United States will need in the future, probably at competitive prices and with minimal environmental impact.

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