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What’s Your Price for Flight?

European Parliament calls for jet-fuel tax to curb enviro impact of flying The European Parliament has voted in favor of a jet-fuel tax to help offset the environmental impact of air travel. The consumer cost of the fuel tax would be up to about $75 per roundtrip flight within Europe. Also, as the European Union considers making airlines join the Union-wide cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse-gas emissions, Parliament suggested that the industry enter a separate, aviation-only emissions-trading system so carriers could not simply buy up rights from other sorts of companies while continuing to pollute. The parliamentary vote has no legal …

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Gay sex and global warming

"If only gay sex caused global warming" is not only the most humorously titled, but one of the most psychologically and sociologically astute analyses of global warming I've ever seen in the confines of a newspaper op-ed.

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Bad Vibrations

Seismic movement could assist in oil production Like so much else in this crazy world, earthquakes are bad for you but potentially good for oil companies. Seismic shaking appears to increase permeability of underground rocks, leading to easier oil flow. "[T]his has practical implications for oil extraction," says University of California scientist Emily Brodsky, who with two other researchers published findings in Nature. Artificially shaking the ground, the researchers believe, could help extractors obtain oil from natural reservoirs; scientists already use vibroseis trucks (trucks that shake the ground) to take a sort of X-ray of the earth, determining the structure …

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With Our Tailpipe Between Our Legs

U.S. cars are tops in CO2 emissions The U.S. boasts 30 percent of the world's cars and is responsible for almost half of global car-caused greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a new report by Environmental Defense. American-driven cars emit 15 percent more carbon dioxide per mile than the global average (meaning, in essence, they get worse gas mileage). Plus, Americans just drive more: 29 percent above the global average. In 2004, U.S. cars and light trucks drove the equivalent of the distance to and from Pluto ... more than 470 times. Small cars in toto emit more CO2 than SUVs because …

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Club Afoot

Sierra Club sues Pentagon for holding up new wind farms The Sierra Club is suing the Defense Department for effectively halting new development of wind farms in the name of homeland security. The suit charges that the department failed to complete a congressionally mandated study on how wind turbines affect military radar by a May 8 deadline; at least 15 new wind projects await completion of the study. "If the military can have windmills and effective radar at Guantanamo, why can't we have both in the Midwest?" asked Sierra Club attorney Kristin Henry, who noted that delayed construction could make …

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The Mend Is Nigh

Some scientists look to geoengineering to stave off climate change What will it take to stop global warming? Reducing developed-world consumption and funding clean technologies in the developing world? Boooring. Human-engineered ultra-reflecting clouds, altered carbon-soaking oceans, trillions of little sunshades floating in space? Now we're talking! "We should treat these ideas like any other research and get into the mind-set of taking them seriously," says the president of the National Academy of Sciences. Geoengineering -- large-scale rearranging of the earth's environment so that we can continue to live here comfortably -- has produced such suggestions as reflecting the sun's rays …

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‘Cause I’m the Waxman

House Democrat introduces climate bill that would actually help climate For all the buzz about global warming in the U.S. popular press of late, the few pieces of legislation that have made their way to the halls of Congress have been woefully inadequate (of course, even those have failed to pass). But last week, to little fanfare, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) introduced the Safe Climate Act -- a bill that would actually reduce greenhouse-gas emissions as much as scientists say we need to in order to avoid catastrophic, irreversible changes to the climate. The bill would require the U.S. to …

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Rep. Henry Waxman’s Safe Climate Act

For weeks now, I've had an open tab in Firefox with Rep. Henry Waxman's Safe Climate Act languishing in it, waiting for my loving bloggy ministrations. Today, I finally had a look, and Ana's right -- this is a more powerful and more sensible plan that the one Kerry described yesterday. The main reason, in my view, is not so much the stronger ultimate target (80% vs. 65% below 2000 emissions by the year 2050) but the incrementalism -- precisely the problem ffletcher identified. Here's the capsule version of the plan: Science tells us that we face a grave risk …

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Olive Twist

"Climate-change farmer" plants England's first olive grove Britain's first olive grove has been planted in Devon in southwestern England -- made possible by global warming. Traditionally an iconic crop of Mediterranean regions, the olive may soon be able to flourish in more northerly climes, some specialists believe, thanks to rising temperatures. Olive entrepreneur Mark Diacono hopes that his "climate-change farm" will produce Britain's first homegrown olive oil in five to seven years. Diacono, who plans to grow his crops organically, has also planted warm-weather-loving apricots and almonds. The only question, he says, is "have I done this 10 years too …

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Kerry energy speech

John Kerry -- approaching full campaign mode -- delivered a major energy speech yesterday. It blahs on and on toward the beginning, but finishes strong. (Here's an mp3 of the speech.) Even reading his text, I imagine him delivering it and drift to somnolence. But this 'graph is choice: For evidence, look no further than the fake energy bill Congress enacted over bipartisan objections -- a monstrosity with no guiding national goal, no tough decisions, no change in priorities -- just a logrolling, back-scratching collection of subsidies for any industry with the clout to get a seat at the table …