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CAFE news; Obama's speech

The logjam is breaking

It appears that after a long period of haggling -- involving the bizarre tableau of Republican Ted Stevens pushing for tougher regulations -- the Senate Commerce Committee is ready to cough up a bill that would raise CAFE standards to 35mpg by 2019 (35mpg across the fleet, including light trucks). The committee is expected to vote through the proposal tomorrow; that would lead to the first floor vote on CAFE since 2002, and if passed, the first fuel-economy boost in 30 years. The bill could be better -- it's got "off-ramps" in case the requisite technological improvements are just too …

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Why do we respond to bozos?

Churchill, not Chamberlain

Why are we letting pro-fossil fuel bozos hijack the only forum that environmentalists and climate-change activists have for wrestling with the daunting task of transforming America? I posted a few practical suggestions in response to David's question, "Should we be rebutting the skeptics?" I'm going to restate one proposal -- to adopt a Craigslist-type policy allowing Grist readers to flag inappropriate posts. Gristmill is a forum for conversation and debate between climate activists. Those who are skeptical of our world-saving aims are free to express their views on any of the many sites devoted to challenging climate science; this is …

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Caveat

A few posts back I big-upped Jon Tester for killing the liquid coal mandate coal-state Republicans tried to attach to the Senate EPW energy bill (which passed committee last week). I should add, lest things get too darn cheery around here, that the bill itself is largely focused on boosting ethanol. And you know how Gristmillians feel about that. So.

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Quote of the day

From that new French dude

I want to send word to our American friends to tell them they can count on our friendship, which has been forged by the tragedies of history that we have confronted together. I want to tell them that France will always be at their side when they need her. But I also want to tell them that friendship is accepting that friends can think differently, and that a great nation like the United States should not be an obstacle to the fight against global warming, but on the contrary should take the lead because the future of all humanity is …

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What to do now?: Conclusions and recommendations

A little something to take home with you

It is within the capacity of U.S. environmentalists to refocus our energies on a tougher, more realistic climate agenda. We have the necessary resources, skills (in alumni as well as current staff and leadership), political power, and principles of action. The things we lack -- a national structure, institutional support services, strategic planning, a dedicated environmentalist core -- could be put in place if it were a priority. Cost, it must be emphasized, is not the problem. U.S. environmentalists are spending between $100 and $150 million on climate, according to an unpublished foundation report, more than enough to launch the …

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Time's a wastin'

Wind farms or poor farms?

The torpor with which we here in the U.S. are responding to strong, clear, and persistent signals that the old era -- of abundant cheap energy in a stable climate -- is ending is nothing short of astonishing. The fact that supposedly serious people could have a debate about tourism vs. offshore wind turbines is astounding. Implicit in such a discussion is the premise that tourism is going to continue even if we don't build a lot of ways to attain a lot of non-fossil energy. Perhaps the best best way to understand stories like that is to consult a …

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Carbon tax news

Could the unthinkable become thinked?

Over on MyDD, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) discusses the carbon tax bill he recently introduced. My legislation, the Save Our Climate Act (H.R. 2069), would tax coal, petroleum and natural gas at a rate of $10 per ton of carbon content. Applied when these fossil fuels are initially removed from the ground, the tax would increase by $10 each year, freezing when a mandated report by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Energy determines that carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 80 percent from 1990 levels. As far as I know, this is the first real carbon tax …

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MTR at the UN this week

Press conference on Tuesday in NYC

A delegation of grassroots groups from around Appalachia will be at the UN's Commission on Sustainable Development meetings this week to discourage further MTR abuse and advocate for alternatives (More on them here: http://www.stopmtr.org). New Yorkers, turn up for this if you can: NEW YORK CITY//MAY 8, 2007 NEWS ADVISORY A delegation of Appalachia coalfield citizen groups will hold a news event at 2 p.m. on Tuesday (May 8, 2007) in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Park to call on the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development to abolish radical forms of coal surface mining, such as mountaintop removal. Coal extraction industry …

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A123 assimilates Hymotion

Plug-in aftermarket kits just around the corner?

Business Wire tells us that A123 (what a catchy name) just bought out Hymotion, the company it had been working with to develop a plug-in kit for the Prius. The kits may be available next year for about $10,000, allowing you to go about 30 miles on a four-hour charge. Don't get too excited just yet. Putting one on your car will void the manufacturer's warranty and Hymotion presently plans to guarantee the kit for only two years, until they are confident it will last longer than that. At some point we enviros will need to step in to expose …

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