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Coal-bashing is hot new trend in Congress, science circles, and business world

Is King Coal about to be deposed? Climate scientists, key members of Congress, enviros, and the progressive wing of the business world are plotting a coup d'état. Regime change isn't likely to come soon, but this resistance movement could significantly alter the way the pollution-spewing sovereign wields its power. James Hansen. Photo: Arnold Adle/NASA The ringleader of this uprising is James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the world's top climate scientists. Last week he threw down the gauntlet: "There should be a moratorium on building any more coal-fired power plants," Hansen told the …

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Texas: Climate's anti-canary

The last to react

We all know and love the "canary in a coal mine" analogy, where the canary is a first warning sign of some potential catastrophe. The Arctic is a good example of a canary for climate change, since we expect (and indeed see) the effects of climate change there first. Then there's the anti-canary. Rather than being the first to react, the anti-canary is the last. When the anti-canary moves on an issue, you know that everyone else has already moved. In the climate change debate, Texas is the anti-canary. With the Governor, Lt. Governor, and other senior legislators arguing that …

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2020 Vision

E.U. adopts ambitious renewable-energy goal It's a banner day for the European Union: wrapping up a two-day summit, its 27 member states have agreed on an ambitious green-energy goal. The plan -- to use 20 percent renewable energy by 2020 -- will "establish us as a world pioneer," says German Chancellor and summit chair Angela Merkel, who brokered the deal. Two major concessions made cranky countries happy: the 20 percent will be an E.U. average, allowing national goals to vary (and providing poorer countries with a wee loophole); and the deal gives a nod to the potential benefits of nuclear, …

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Split over nuclear versus renewables threatens EU global warming pact

Spring summit underway

From an article in the Guardian: Divisions over nuclear power and renewable energy threatened to derail the EU's campaign to assume a global leadership role in the fight against climate change at the bloc's spring summit which began last night. [...] But France, backed by several east European countries, insisted carbon-free nuclear power be included within the EU energy mix and rejected [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel's proposal to make a 20 percent target for renewable energy binding on all 27 members. At his swansong summit, the outgoing French president Jacques Chirac insisted that he would only agree to binding energy …

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Is nuclear power green?

CSM investigates

Mark Clayton at the Christian Science Monitor looks into it. This describes my position quite well: But for those energy experts who have done life-cycle analysis of nuclear power, the big concern is that policymakers may be misled into believing that just because nuclear CO2 emissions are low, the cost of nuclear as an option to address climate change would be a bargain. Better, they say, to take the huge amounts of money needed for nuclear plants and use it to build lower-cost solutions that will displace more coal. "It's easy to show that building more reactors makes climate change …

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Vive la Discorde

E.U. leaders gather for summit, squabble over renewable-energy target As European Union leaders gather for a two-day summit that starts tomorrow, one question is dominating the agenda: what exactly did the Olsen twins buy on their recent Paris shopping spree? Once that's answered, the heads of state will move on to more mundane topics like emissions cuts and renewable energy. While the summit is expected to result in an agreement to cut carbon emissions 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 -- and as much as 30 percent if other nations around the world agree to cuts -- there's strife …

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The civil war among evangelicals

Over global warming, of all things

As you're probably aware, the old guard of the conservative evangelical movement has lashed out against the new guard over the subject of global warming. James Dobson, Gary Bauer, and Tony Perkins -- has America ever puked up a more loathsome triumvirate? -- are trying to pressure the National Association of Evangelicals to fire its vice president for governmental affairs Rev. Richard Cizik, who's done more than anyone else to raise the profile of global warming among evangelicals. To his credit, NAE president Rev. Leith Anderson told them to bug off. One of the most prominent figures in the new …

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A chat with Inconvenient Truth co-producer and Hollywood bigwig Lawrence Bender

Meet Lawrence Bender, the Hollywood producer who lent his big-screen savoir faire to the success of the Oscar-winning sensation An Inconvenient Truth. Lawrence Bender. It's not Bender's first brush with Oscar fame. He produced Academy Award best-picture nominees Good Will Hunting and Pulp Fiction, as well as Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, and other Quentin Tarantino blockbusters. But this was his first Oscar win -- and it couldn't have happened to a better project, he says, calling the film "possibly the apex of my career, bringing making a difference and making movies together into one." Bender is no political newbie, either. …

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Coal-fired ethanol plants

Oh, great

Look what the Twin Cities Pioneer Press discovered: The latest trend in the green world of ethanol is a surprising one: coal. Minnesota's first coal-fired ethanol plant soon will begin operation in Heron Lake, and it won't be the last. The high price of natural gas is enticing new plant owners to embrace coal power. But while it may make economic sense, the choice of this fossil fuel to make a renewable one has some people shaking their heads. Sound familiar?

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