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Climate & Energy

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Quiet riot

The green projects you don’t hear about

While the world wonders how much energy it takes Al Gore to trim his nose hairs, real progress is being made all over this gall dang country toward embracing green energy -- and not only in Moneyville. Just today, two quiet examples from on-the-rebound Massachusetts cities blipped across my radar screen. Worcester is aiming to get 20 percent of its energy from renewables by 2010, and a group called Sustainable Worcester wants to build wind turbines at the city's airport. And in the down-at-heels city of Lawrence, a condo development in an old mill building will use geothermal energy for …

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Ask a Brokeass: More hip, less hippie

On greening your roommates

I live in an apartment with roommates and will probably stay in this living situation for a few more years. How do I make the transition to a more environmentally conscious style of living without annoying them, or making them think I'm weird? For example, I really want to begin composting, but I doubt they would welcome a box full of dirt and worms indoors, no matter how hard I tried to persuade them. I'd also like us to switch over to earth-friendly cleaning supplies, dishwasher detergent, bleach-free toilet paper, etc., but these items usually cost more than the cheap …

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Who made global warming a partisan issue?

Hint: the people who deny we’re causing it

A right-wing news site called ... Right Wing News recently sent a poll to 240 "right-of center" bloggers. Sixty-three responded. There's much amusement to be had reading through the results, but let's focus on this: 4) Do you think mankind is the primary cause of global warming? Yes (0) -- 0% No (59) -- 100% Kind of reminiscent of this : Only 13 percent of congressional Republicans say they believe that human activity is causing global warming ... Which is kind of reminiscent of this: JONATHAN KARL: But what's your sense, where is the science on this? Is global warming …

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Good God, Y’all

U.N. chief says climate change poses as big a threat as war When we were in school, assemblies were a chance to see something fun, like a juggler or a movie. How times change. Two months after taking office, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave his first climate-change speech, saying all kinds of gloomy things to an audience of schoolchildren from around the world. To wit: "The majority of the United Nations' work still focuses on preventing and ending conflict, but the danger posed by war to all of humanity and to our planet is at least matched by the climate …

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Group Hug

Leading tech competitors bury the hatchet to improve energy efficiency Hold onto your geek hat: 11 leading tech companies have partnered to reduce the energy used by servers and data centers. The Green Grid -- made up of foes including Intel, IBM, Microsoft, AMD, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett-Packard -- thinks data-center efficiency "is the most significant issue facing technology providers and their customers today," and plans to whip up new energy standards and technologies. A study released this month by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab estimates that servers ate 1.2 percent of U.S. energy in 2005, and their power use …

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Yes We Ken

London mayor unveils comprehensive climate-change plan London Mayor Ken Livingstone unveiled a Climate Change Action Plan yesterday in hopes of making the English capital the greenest city in the world. Under the scheme, London will switch 25 percent of its power supply to local generation, and businesses that invest in green technology will earn merit badges, Scout-style. The U.K. plans to cut carbon emissions 60 percent by 2050, but London's leaders hope to achieve that goal within 20 years, and are setting aside $92.3 million in next year's budget to do so. "This will make London the first city in …

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Hillary's new energy bill

Decent

Today, Hillary Clinton addressed the Apollo Alliance to introduce some new legislation that would call for a Strategic Energy Fund. Here's where the fund would get its money: The legislation eliminates oil company tax breaks and ensures that they pay their fair share of royalties for drilling on public lands. The legislation also places a temporary fee on major oil company profits that exceed a 2000-2004 profit baseline. The fee would be in place for two years, and companies could offset their fee by investing in alternative energy technologies such as ethanol and wind power. The Strategic Energy Fund would …

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Hey, One Thing At a Time

NASCAR deals with switch to unleaded fuel, considers adding ethanol As the NASCAR season gears up, fans are all atwitter. No, not about the Daytona 500 scandal -- that's so last week. It's the switch to that dang unleaded! This weekend saw the first-ever NASCAR race fueled by the gas the rest of the country's been using for health and environmental reasons since the 1980s, and it wasn't pretty. Engine failures felled three of the top seven qualifiers and left drivers scratching their heads. "This unleaded fuel has sprung a little bit of a surprise on us -- a little …

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If At First You Don’t Secede

Five western states form regional climate-change partnership Citing a federal leadership void, the governors of five western U.S. states have formed a regional partnership to cut greenhouse gases and fight climate change. The Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, which includes Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and New Mexico, will create a regional target for cuts over the next six months and a market-based plan for meeting the goal within 18 months. Like the Northeast's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the partnership "shows the power of states to lead our nation addressing climate change," says California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), whom we just …

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Sealed With a Miss

Federal inspectors find hundreds of coal-mine safety violations Coal miners across the country are working in unsafe conditions, according to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. As if spending the day in methane-filled caverns wasn't dangerous enough, inspectors have found hundreds of unsafe seals, the walls built to block off mined-out areas. Two major accidents last year -- the Sago, W.V., explosion that killed 12 miners in January and the Kentucky Darby Mine explosion in May that killed five -- resulted from problems with seals. Eager to avoid a repeat of those high-profile fatalities, MSHA is lobbying to strengthen …

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