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What’s Produced Here Stays Here

Air Force, Nevada go all crazy with the solar energy The largest solar photovoltaic plant in North America is coming soon to an Air Force base near you -- if you live in Nevada. Nellis Air Force Base will install 140 acres of solar panels, powering 30 percent of its electricity needs and reducing electric bills by some $1 million a year. "It allows the Air Force to show its leadership in applying renewable energy and new technology to reduce our needs to use traditional forms of electric power," says Maj. Don Ohlemacher. And Nevada's got more up its solar …

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Corn ethanol: it really does suck

And cellulosic might too — plus it’s still a decade off

Yes, this is another bitter polemic against ethanol, but I want to make one point up front, because I sometimes forget to: The only concrete alternative energy/climate policy that our political class can agree on -- a plan that unites Democrats and Republicans to commit some $5 billion per year and rising -- is a clear and obvious boondoggle: a cash sieve that has done and will do much more harm than good. This is our main public intervention into the energy markets on behalf of "alternative fuel"? The opportunity costs alone are staggering. Say what you want about Amtrak, …

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Yahoo!

Yahoo! is going carbon neutral, and the founders seem to have a pretty sensible take on the issue. Also, they have an Earth Day site, FWIW.

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Material intensity

Indirect greenhouse-gas savings

(Part of the No Sweat Solutions series.) Previously I pointed out that efficiency, doing more with less, is a key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (A lot of people on Gristmill are fans of conservation, doing less with less. I have nothing against this, so long as it is a voluntary choice, but I won't be spending a lot of time on it.) Normally, when people think of efficiency they think of direct savings -- insulating homes, electric cars, and so on. That is: make the same sort of goods we make now, but more cleverly, so they require fewer …

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Music to the ears of us corn hataz

From the WSJ energy blog: Is the anti-ethanol crusade beginning to gather steam among mainstream Western publications? Two weeks after The Economist confessed, in a stunned-sounding editorial that it found itself in agreement with Fidel Castro's vehement critique of foods-as-fuels, Foreign Affairs magazine has also jumped on board. In the magazine's May edition, two professors from the University of Minnesota write that, like Castro and The Economist, they believe the growing use of biofuels may starve the world's poor by pushing up food prices for minimal environmental gains. "Washington's fixation on corn-based ethanol has distorted the national agenda," charge the …

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Responsibility

The view from Washington

So here I am in Washington (the other one) in a homey B&B just eight blocks from the White House. I came here for a number of reasons, not the least of which is attending a conference called Climate Change and International Development (which was, by the way, recorded, and it is said that videos will be available here.) It was pretty good, and the less-public strategy meeting that followed it today (at the Friends of the Earth offices) was even better. Strategically, very little could be more important than the development folks joining the climate battle. Especially if they …

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The chasm between our agenda and climate science: The problem statement

It’s time to accept dire climate realities

A review of recent climate science findings finds that Jim Hansen's bright-line standard and timeframe for global action [1.0ºC limit on further increase in global temperature / 475 ppm cap on atmospheric carbon with <10 years for global action] is, if anything, not conservative enough. A rash of recent reports identify major climate forcings wholly unaccounted for in IPCC models -- such as a five-fold increase in methane releases from Siberian peat bogs -- that support the view of rapid, discontinuous climate change predicted by Hansen. Energy market projections show that current climate policies will barely dent the ramp-up of …

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Umbra on home heating

Hi Umbra, My fiancée and I bought a house in October. We plan to green the house up as best we can, and one of our first projects will be how we heat the house. Since we didn't have any money after buying, we had to limp through this winter with an oil-powered steam boiler from 1962. Obviously not efficient at all. Plus it was having "puff back" issues so part of the time our basement was filled with lovely oil smoke. What should we do to replace this boiler? I know there is natural gas in the street so …

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Lindzen againzen

Rebuttal ad nauseum

I'm not sure there's much value left in rebutting Dick Lindzen's schtick every time it pops up. He keeps saying the same stuff, so the rebuttals keep saying the same stuff, and at this point anyone interested in the schtick or the rebuttal has a panoply of sources close at hand. Nonetheless, Newsweek's egregious bad judgment means that millions of new people are being exposed to the schtick, so, therefore and forthwith: the rebuttal, again, from RealClimate. Spread it around. This bit, which Kit also noticed, is worth repeating: Finally, we find it curious that Lindzen chose to include this …

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Disagree to Agree

U.N. Security Council hosts feisty climate debate Yesterday the U.N. Security Council held its first-ever debate on climate change, and the meat of the debate was -- well, whether the debate should be happening at all. With 55 countries speaking, Britain led the pack of those arguing that climate change threatens global security, while China led the MYOB contingent. "The developing countries believe that the Security Council has neither the professional competence in handling climate change, nor is it the right decision-making place for extensive participation leading up to widely acceptable proposals," said Liu Zhenmin, China's deputy ambassador, and countries …

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