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What the Fuqua?

Emails show that Bush administration micromanaged scientist interviews Emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that the Bush administration micromanaged media requests for interviews with climate scientists after Hurricane Katrina, aiming to downplay the influence of global warming. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration press officers were required to get clearance from the Dept. of Commerce to discuss global warming and hurricanes with the media. Commerce Deputy Director of Communications Chuck Fuqua happily OK'd interview requests with NOAA hurricane researcher Chris Landsea, who has stated publicly that global warming has little to no effect on hurricanes. In email correspondence, …

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Biz Bang

Big business increasingly acting to fight climate change More and more big companies are waking up and smelling the climate change, recognizing that it could have a notable impact on their bottom lines, according to the fourth annual survey by the Carbon Disclosure Project. The CDP, backed by large institutional investors, got responses from 360 of the Financial Times 500 major companies; 87 percent said climate change represented "commercial risks and/or opportunities," but only 48 percent had formal programs for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. A handful of firms are leading the way by offsetting their emissions in order to become carbon-neutral, …

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Gore calls for carbon freeze in major speech on climate solutions

It is "time for a national oil change," said Al Gore with a sly wink in his voice. "That is apparent to anyone who has looked at our national dipstick." "Freeze right there!" says Gore. Photo: David Lodge/WireImage This was one of the few moments of comedy in what was billed as a "major policy address" yesterday by the former veep. In an uncharacteristically formal speech to students, faculty, and a throng of top reporters gathered in a New York University auditorium, Gore -- after a year spent chronicling the climate crisis in lectures, film, and print -- turned to …

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After months of gloom and doom, Gore’s all about solutions

Against a backdrop of eight American flags -- ceremoniously arranged behind a podium emblazoned with the scales of justice -- Al Gore took the stage at the New York University Law School early this afternoon to deliver what was billed in press releases as a "major policy address on global warming." Major it was -- in terms of the media turnout, anyway. There were nearly a half-dozen cameras rolling and most major publications represented. It was also major in terms of length (over an hour of factually dense commentary, sans visual aids) and gravitas (a more somber, more serious, dare …

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Chagrin and Bear It

Melting sea ice makes polar bears starve, drown Travel agents hawking trips to the Arctic have been boasting lately of an increased likelihood that tourists will see polar bears -- because starving bears are encroaching on human settlements to scavenge for food. Polar bears have traditionally used ice floes to hunt seals, their favored prey -- but Arctic ice, in case you hadn't heard, is melting. According to new research in the journal Arctic, the spring hunting season for polar bears has been reduced by nearly three weeks in some places, causing female bears to gain up to 175 pounds …

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Nixon Goes to Reality

Rumors fly about possible new Bush climate policy First there was the tantalizing hint that President Bush's thoughts on climate change have "evolved," and that a major new energy initiative would soon be announced. Then there was the Onion-esque claim that Bush would announce a goal of stabilizing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million by the year 2106 (wouldn't our great-grandkids be pleased?). Then Bush's top environmental adviser told us to "stay tuned." And finally, "administration insiders" confirmed that a flip-flop ... er, Nixon-goes-to-China moment was in the offing. If this flurry of rumors and …

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Wigley Room

Spewing sulfur dioxide into atmosphere could slow warming, says research On earth, sulfur dioxide contributes to acid rain and harms human hearts and lungs -- but if injected into the stratosphere, says new research in Science, it could shade the sun's rays and keep global warming at bay. Hey, if volcanoes can spew it, why can't we? "I'm not suggesting we don't reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for energy," says study author Tom Wigley. "But ... can we make it economically and technologically easier by doing something that's also technology, which may be cost-effective?" According to Wigley's computer models, …

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The Magnificent 87

California's Prop. 87, which would tax oil to fund renewables, spurs big spending Proposition 87, a California ballot measure that would tax oil production and use the proceeds for research into alternative energy, is spurring some big spending. Oil companies have raised nearly all of the more than $35 million in the "No on 87" piggy bank, with Chevron donating a notable $13.1 million. The pro-87 side has raised $21.8 million, with Hollywood mogul Steve Bing contributing a cool $16.5 million or so. The measure would impose a tax of 1.5 to 6 percent on California oil producers, depending on …

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The Ice Has It

More evidence of global warming from study of Arctic winter ice A NASA scientist has wrested free of his muzzle to declare that the drastic melt of Arctic sea ice is likely caused by global warming. New research published in Geophysical Research Letters shows that for the past two winters, Arctic sea-ice growth at its peak has been 6 percent below the average peak since 1978, consistent with scientific models of human-caused global warming. Arctic summer ice reduction had already been decreasing steadily for years, with the last four summers showing record low ice cover. Lead author Josefino Comiso, a …

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Put That in Your Pipe and Spill It

BP spills in California, wants to open Alaska pipelines Beleaguered oil giant BP has admitted to yet another misdeed: a leak of 1,000 barrels of refined petro-product from an underground pipeline at the port of Long Beach, Calif. About 870 barrels had been recovered as of yesterday; authorities believe the leak did not taint water or ground soil. "We're pleased that there was no significant environmental damage," said a BP spokesflack. Yeah, we bet you are. BP executives recently appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for a wince-worthy tongue-lashing. Senators from both parties berated execs over recent …

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