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Climate & Energy

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One of them is missing

Bad Actors and their enablers have been pushing a particular spin on the climate debate: it has "two sides," the denialists and the alarmists. What can wise people above it all in the center do but roll their eyes at the grubbiness of it all? I'd like to introduce you to one side of the debate: Only 13 percent of congressional Republicans say they believe that human activity is causing global warming, compared to 95 percent of congressional Democrats. Moreover, the number of Republicans who believe in human-induced global warming has actually dropped since April 2006, when the number was …

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Is anyone still taking this stuff seriously?

President Bush's recent pledge to raise the Renewable Fuel Standard to 35 billion gallons by 2017 dropped with a bit of a thud. David Roberts made a pretty good case that all the recent hype around ethanol may soon prove quaint: that, in essence, the ethanol craze will eventually likely crumble under its weighty political, agricultural, and technological contradictions. Maybe so. Meanwhile, though, farmers are planting a shitload of corn, dozens of ethanol plants are sprouting up across the land, and the government is planning to plow ever more cash into research on cellulosic ethanol, a technology whose commercial viability …

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Now Who’s a Moonbeam?

On heels of climate report, governments and businesses get real Heeding a call from French President Jacques Chirac, 46 nations are backing a plan to create a powerful new U.N. Environment Organization that could police climate offenders. Egregious emitters Russia, China, India, and the U.S. didn't leap up and down volunteering to join, but Chirac will keep pushing, since the "very survival of humankind hangs in the balance." Whatevs. In other news, 12 corporations including Nike, Polaroid, Sony, and IBM pledged to cut emissions totaling 10 million tons annually by 2010 as part of the World Wildlife Fund's "Climate Savers" …

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The scoop on the new IPCC climate-change report

What is the IPCC, and what's the deal with its new report? When climate change emerged as an important environmental issue in the late 1980s, the world governments' first response was to establish an international body to produce summaries of scientific knowledge of climate change. That body is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC has completed three major reports since its formation, in 1990, 1995, and 2001, and throughout 2007 will release its Fourth Assessment Report (hereafter referred to as the AR4). Humans are "very likely" heating up the planet, the IPCC concludes. Photo: iStockphoto The AR4 has …

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The 411 on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Unless you've been living under a rock -- if so, way to live simply! -- you've probably heard a smidgen about the summary of a hefty climate report released to the public today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, you've probably heard the acronym "IPCC" bandied about with some regularity in the past few years. But what exactly is this panel, and why should you care about some report it threw together? Take a closer look. Photo: iStockphoto Glad you asked. Way back in the olden days of the 1980s, even before the dirty hippies got all …

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Now We’ve Done It

Humans "very likely" changing the climate, says long-awaited IPCC report A few weeks of leaks stole some thunder, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released the first installment of its long-awaited fourth report, and the news is -- well, not news, thanks to those meddling leakers. But let's pretend. The news is out! The world's scientists say there's a 90-plus percent chance that humans are causing global warming! They say by 2100, temperatures will likely rise 3.2 to 7.1 degrees Fahrenheit, and sea levels will rise 7 to 23 inches, plus another 4 to 8 inches if polar …

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Policy-wise, that is

As Andrew mentioned, the hurricane folks are saying that hurricanes are going to be the huge controversy when the IPCC report is released. Does climate change strengthen them? Yes? No? Kindamaybe with full takebacks? Does this consensus statement say we're 51% sure while this other one says 49%? Let me ask a simple question: what policy implications follow from this debate? What difference will a clear answer make? What policy would make sense in light of the prospect of stronger hurricanes that wouldn't make sense anyway, without that prospect? I get that there's a matter of genuine scientific curiosity here. …

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You, yes you, can act to fight climate change

If the wacky weather we've been having, the suffering of endearing creatures, the possible cancellation of this year's Polar Bear Club swims, or the catastrophic melting of Arctic ice has you hot and bothered, you're not alone. Though it's easy to cower in your basement wearing your duct tape bodysuit and motorcycle helmet feel defeated, here are 10 small things, and one really big thing, you can do to change the changin' climate for the better: Sharing is caring. Sharing your bed home with others cuts back on energy use, as does living in a multi-unit dwelling, choosing a house …

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Business is already acting on the climate threat — and waiting for Washington to catch up

You don't need to look for receding glaciers or pore over the latest IPCC report to know that climate change is already happening. Just talk to Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. Captains of industry want to know what's up ahead. Photo: iStockphoto The company relies on ice bridges to move equipment and materials through the northern regions of Canada. Last winter, however, the ice never thickened enough to allow transport of its heaviest trucks, so Diavik had to pay the additional cost of shipping materials by helicopter. While a dwindling number of business associations and lobbyists still dispute the science of …

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He predicted climate change in the ’60s

With poetic license: Come gather 'round people Wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept it that soon You'll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you Is worth savin' Then you better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone For the clime, it is a-changin'. Come writers and critics Who prophesize with your pen And keep your eyes wide The chance won't come again And don't speak too soon For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. For the loser now Will be later …

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