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Wal-Mart pushes CFLs

Wal-Mart has has started a new campaign to push compact fluorescent light bulbs in their massive retail stores, according to an article published in the New York Times yesterday. Though only a reported 6 percent of homes use CFLs currently, Wal-Mart hopes to sell 100 million of the bulbs each year by 2008. "The environment is begging for the Wal-Mart business model," Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. told the Times. Just the latest in the ongoing greening of Wal-Mart. However you might feel about it.

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It’s All Sarovar

After years of controversy, India completes massive dam project One of the world's longest-running social and environmental campaigns is sleeping with the fishes as of Sunday, when the last bucket of concrete was poured on the Sardar Sarovar Dam in the Indian state of Gujarat. The project, initiated nearly 20 years ago, diverts India's fifth-largest river, the Narmada; authorities say it will provide drinking water, irrigation, and power to millions in Gujarat and neighboring areas. "India has taken a leap ahead," proclaimed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. "The dam will change the future of the country." Indeed it will, says …

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But Will They Wear Poodle Skirts?

International Polar Year returns, focuses on climate-change research Happy International Polar Year! If you didn't get us a gift yet, don't sweat it -- the fourth-ever IPY doesn't officially kick off until March, and researchers from some 60 countries will actually poke around in the icy Arctic and Antarctic for two years. The last IPY occurred in the late 1950s, meaning that "close to 60 percent of what is known about the polar regions, particularly the Arctic, comes from research carried out in 1958," says Louis Fortier of Canadian research network ArcticNet. While past IPYs focused on biological and physical …

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Since U Been Gone

Loss of wayward ice shelf linked to climate change, scientists say You know that part in Back to the Future where Michael J. Fox is holding his family photo, and the people in it are disappearing? And he feels faint, because he knows he's next? That happened in a Canadian lab recently, only a lot more slowly -- and without "Earth Angel" playing in the background. Scientists poring over satellite images realized that an ice shelf bigger than Manhattan had disappeared from its usual spot. Turns out it broke off from Canada's remote Ellesmere Island, about 500 miles south of …

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Threat Level: White

U.S. proposes listing polar bears under Endangered Species Act Maybe they saw one too many cute Coke ads, or maybe it was the court-imposed deadline. All we know is last week officials at the U.S. Interior Department proposed listing polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, in response to a suit filed in 2005 by three green groups. Melting Arctic ice has already led to starvation, cannibalism, and drowning among the world's 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears. As global temperatures rise, scientists say, the summer sea ice that the keen hunters rely on could be gone by 2040. …

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Robert Novak does it on purpose

A recent Gristmill post discussed an op-ed by Robert Novak on climate change. One argument Novak makes against environmental regulations is that they're extremely expensive. Turns out when Novak's not outing CIA agents, he's getting his facts wrong. Novak says: The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that [the McCain-Lieberman climate bill] would reduce gross domestic product by $776 billion annually. However, if you read the report he quotes you'll see that $776 billion is the cumulative and undiscounted cost of the program. $776 billion is not the cost per year. The report actually says: The peak, single-year impact on actual …

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The year, alphabetically

When it comes to global warming and the environment, everything seemed to change in 2006 -- at least in terms of public awareness. Here's an A-to-Z accounting of just some of those changes: A is for An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's scientific but surprisingly human documentary on the threat of climate change, which was expected to take in at most $6-7 million at the box office but went on to gross over $45 million, the biggest documentary of the year and the third-largest of all time. B is for biofuels, which went from becoming a hippies-only fringe product to a …

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So says Worldwatch

So says Tom Prugh. More in the latest issue of World Watch Magazine.

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‘It’s the sun, stupid’–Very bright, yes, but not getting brighter

(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: The sun is the source of warmth on earth. Any increase in temperature is likely due to changes in solar radiation. Answer: It's true that the earth is warmed, for all practical purposes, entirely by solar radiation, so if the temperature is going up or down, the sun is a reasonable place to seek the cause. Turns out it's more complicated than one might think to detect and measure changes in the amount or type of sunshine reaching the earth. Detectors on the ground are susceptible to …

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‘Historically, CO2 never caused temperature change’–Not so

(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: In the geological record, it is clear that CO2 does not trigger climate changes. Why should it be any different now? Answer: Given the fact that human industrialization is unique in the history of planet earth, do we really need historical precedent for CO2-triggered climate change before we accept what we observe today? Surely it is not far-fetched that unprecedented consequences would follow from unprecedented events. But putting this crucial point aside, history does indeed provide some relevant insights and dire warnings. During the glacial/interglacial cycles, temperatures …

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