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Geothermal energy

In yesterday's MIT Technology Review there's an interview with Jefferson Tester, who claims that geothermal power is a potential game-changer in the energy world. Technology Review: How much geothermal energy could be harvested? Jefferson Tester: The figure for the whole world is on the order of 100 million exojoules or quads [a quad is one quadrillion BTUs]. This is the part that would be useable. We now use worldwide just over 400 exojoules per year. So you do the math, and you know you've got a very big source of energy. How much of that massive resource base could we …

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The Bill Factor

Bill Clinton teams with cities to fight climate change Yesterday, ex-Prez Bill Clinton announced a new international effort to fight climate change. The Clinton Climate Initiative is a partnership between the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group -- a group of 22 of the world's largest municipalities -- and the Clinton Foundation. The latter will help the former pool purchasing power to get lower prices on energy-saving and alternative-fuel products. The consortium will also share knowledge about best practices on everything from energy-efficient streetlights and traffic controls to building codes and clean fuels. "The entrenched thought patterns and economic interests of …

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Umbra on writing to reps about climate change

Dear Umbra, I want to send a letter to my local representatives about global warming and how our whole city and state should take part in stopping it, but I don't know what to say or how to approach this. Please help! Hillary Schwartz Birmingham, Ala. Dearest Hillary, Hmm, I can think of a few things to say. But you might get escorted out of Alabama if you put them in a letter. Post haste. Photo: iStockphoto So on to more constructive advice. First, some general tips. A handwritten or typed letter is more effective (and prettier) than email. It's …

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Which is thicker, blood or oil? A longtime shareholder reflects

My family has been intimately involved with Exxon through the years. My great-great-grandfather Maurice Clark went into the provisioning business with John D. Rockefeller around the time of the Civil War, but ended up selling the nascent oil-refining part of the business to Rockefeller in the late 19th century. Years later, my grandmother's uncle ran Standard Oil of New Jersey, later to become Exxon; and most recently, my father spent his career working for the company in New York, London, and Rome. Never mind the shoreline -- who's gonna fix the ship? Photo: EPA Exxon has always been the reflexive …

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One Leak’s Notice

Russian pipeline leak causes oil price spike As global oil production nears its peak and developing countries just keep developing, the tension between supply and demand has become so taut that the slightest perturbation can wreak havoc. Exhibit A: this weekend, a Russian pipeline to central and Eastern Europe sprung a leak near the border of Belarus, temporarily shutting down a route that supplies an eighth of Europe's imported oil. Estimates of the amount of oil spilled ranged from about 550 gallons to 11,000; the pipeline resumed function yesterday. The incident was nothing out of the ordinary -- Russian pipelines …

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The Station Agent

Chicago Tribune series traces a gasoline fill-up to its source Told that tracking gasoline from a single gas station back to its sources was impossible, reporter Paul Salopek did it anyway. In compiling a multimedia series for the Chicago Tribune, Salopek sourced gas dispensed at a Marathon station in South Elgin, Ill., to the Gulf Coast, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Iraq. He then interviewed the varied cast whose lives were affected along the way, from the gas station manager who spends a third of her paycheck fueling her SUV to Nigeria's Ibibio people and their love-hate relationship with infrastructure-building, oil-spilling ExxonMobil. …

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Leaders agree to share technology; carbon-trading system a possibility, not a done deal

The AP overstated the extent of the climate agreement announced today between British PM Tony Blair and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (and thus Daily Grist overstated it too). Now that the deal's been officially unveiled, a few clarifications: The two didn't agree to launch a new trans-Atlantic carbon-trading market, though they will look into the possibility. Rather, they said the U.K. and California would cooperate on research into cleaner fuels and technologies. Writes the San Francisco Chronicle, "aspects of the agreement include jointly studying the economic impacts of global climate change, collaborating on technology research -- including studying the effects …

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Sub Pop Records offsets energy use

As Grist's unofficial music correspondent, I feel compelled to share this exciting news with you: Sub Pop Records announced today that they have partnered with Bonneville Environmental Foundation to purchase enough Green-e certified Green Tags to offset 100 percent of the company's energy use. Based in Seattle, Sub Pop Records has worked with bands ranging from Nirvana and Soundgarden (when they were relatively unknown) to The Postal Service, The Shins, Iron and Wine, and others. "Sub Pop has been synonymous with helping talented new artists support their passion for creating music," said Patrick Nye, director of sales at Bonneville Environmental …

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Drop It Like It’s Hot

Heat wave shuts down nuclear reactors in Europe Remember how nuclear power was going to save us from global warming? Heh. Funny story. As Europe has gotten, you know, warm lately, a handful of nuclear power plants have been forced to reduce or stop production. Seems the continent's relentless heat wave has warmed the rivers that cool the reactors. Some power producers in Germany and France have been given permission to dump hot water into rivers to avoid power failures. France, which sources more than three-quarters of its electricity from nukes, has had to import power. Bruno Comby of Environmentalists …

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Arnie on Blairoids

Blair and Schwarzenegger joining forces to fight climate change Perhaps finally sensing he's been poodling to the wrong pseudo-manly Republican, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair has decided to wag his tail for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: The two leaders are planning to create a trans-Atlantic cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide allowances. The alliance will be announced today at a meeting attended by some 25 major corporate CEOs, who plan to discuss means of moving toward cleaner technologies. The Bush administration would have sent a representative to the gathering, it really wanted to, but -- wouldn't you know it? -- there …