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A Convenient Fiction?

AEI brings us the good news on climate

How about that fascinating ad in Gristmill today for the new video courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute! An Inconvenient Truth ... or Convenient Fiction? aims to present us with an alternative to the "climate extremism" that is "popular with Hollywood and other pessimistic enclaves" and seeks to assure us everything is A-OK. They're even doing screenings around the U.S. In, uh, three locations. Anyone else give this AEI spin project a spin yet? [editor's note, by David Roberts] This seems like a good time to draw attention to Grist's advertising policy, to wit: we don't screen ads for political …

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Megadroughts projected for southwest: bears

To be "environmental," in simplest terms, is to be aware of the existence of "our fellow mortals," as John Muir liked to put it. In the Southwest, where a new study for Science -- based on the results of nineteen climate model runs -- projects "megadroughts" that will be at least as devastating as the Dust Bowl, some of these mortals, such as black bears and oak trees, have already noticed changes in the climate and begun to change their behavior. There are two reports on the subject. In the first, Mike Davis, a well-known author and credentialed genius, looks …

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Bullets flying in Brazil?

A bullet train, that is

According to this article, Brazil's transport ministry is considering whether to tender bids for a high-speed train linking São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Once (OK, if) the bullet train goes into operation, travel time would be just under an hour and a half, compared with the five hours it currently takes to drive between the two cities. Initial studies for the project estimate a total investment of US$6 billion would be required. That's about how much the U.S. federal and state governments spend in a year on subsidizing the ethanol industry and the corn that goes into making it. …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

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Faint Christopher

Presidential contender Christopher Dodd endorses carbon tax The good news: Presidential contender Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) has unveiled a bold energy plan that includes a tax on corporate polluters. The bad news: Christopher who-now? Is running for what? Putting aside Dodd's snowball-in-hell odds, let's admire his goals: a per-ton fee on corporate carbon emissions that would generate $50 billion annually, to be invested in renewable energy. And hey, while he's at it, an increase in fuel-economy standards to 50 miles per gallon by 2017 and a requirement that government offices use green technology and clean-energy vehicles. "I'm going to set …

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And 92 Percent Think Heather Mills Is a Real Trouper

New poll declares environmental movement still around Just in time for Earth Day, a USA Today/Gallup poll has hit the scene to tell Americans how they feel about the environment. To wit: 60 percent of us believe that global warming is happening now, and even more of us think it will, uh, continue to happen. In true bootstrap form, most U.S. folk believe that they should be taking green actions to help the climate, in the form of CFLs, hybrids, and energy-efficient homes. Nearly 90 percent of Americans recycle, while 85 percent aim to reduce energy use. OK, so that's …

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Sensenbrenner: protecting the children from <del>global warming</del> fearing global warming

Oy

A panel of retired generals thinks global warming is an urgent national security threat. The U.N. Security Council thinks global warming is an urgent national security threat. But wait! We forgot to ask Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R)! Sensenbrenner questioned "why global warming has suddenly become an issue of national defense" and afterward accused politicians and pundits of stoking children's fears. Think of the children.

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Bush vs. Clinton on climate change

Bush is working with a much stronger consensus

One argument in defense of George W. Bush's lack of action on climate change is some variation of this: "Bill Clinton wasn't any better ... he never sent the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate." This is true. But it also ignores one important fact. The science of climate change has improved dramatically since the mid-'90s. In its 1995 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summarized our knowledge about climate change by saying ... ... the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on the climate ... This is weak brew, and given the mixed evidence connecting human …

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It’s hard out there for a skeptic

After 20 years of disproportionate media coverage, climate contrarians have started being ignored. It would be impossible to overstate the depth of my sympathy. Impossible, I tell you. Update [2007-4-19 16:17:10 by David Roberts]: As an addendum: actual climate scientists think coverage is already "too balanced." And by balanced, I'm pretty sure they mean "balanced."

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Drain Lake Powell

… before nature does it for us

Following a recent study forecasting permanent drought in the southwest U.S. in coming decades comes this news in today's Salt Lake Tribune. It's a proposal being floated to pipe some of the already dwindling Lake Powell reservoir (currently just half full) in a new direction, to three thirsty counties in southern Utah. Living Rivers' End Lake Powell Campaign says that draining Powell would actually add water to the Colorado River system, given the evaporative losses the lake suffers every day, but federal and state agencies are so far blunt to good logic, which is a shame, when restoring natural flows …

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The new energy debate: ethanol, or more ethanol?

This is what we’ve come to

This article is just plain bizarre -- a great illustration of how skewed and narrow the mainstream energy dialogue has become. It's allegedly about the new "war on oil" in the U.S. (Oh good, another war.) Apparently, though, that war consists of firing away wildly with exactly one weapon: ethanol. Here's the frame the author tries to put around the piece: [Rep. Steve] Israel [D-NY] worries the government could further derail alternative energy's progress by not allowing the marketplace to determine which technologies will come to the forefront and instead picking its own favorites to promote and fund. It is …