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Bench Warmers

Supreme Court to decide whether EPA should regulate greenhouse gases The Supreme Court today announced that it will rule on whether the U.S. EPA should regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from automobiles. Against the advice of the Bush administration, SCOTUS will hear a suit brought by 12 states, a number of cities, and various environmental groups against the EPA. The plaintiffs argue that the agency should classify carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons -- all planet-warming greenhouse gases -- as pollutants and thus regulate them under the Clean Air Act. A lower court sided with the administration, which argued that voluntary …

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Addicted to Oil, with Tom Friedman

I poke fun at Thomas Friedman on occasion. His platitudinous, gee-whiz, American-tourist prose, presented with a heaping helping of deep-think pretension, is a target-rich environment. But that gee-whiz persona serves him well when he's right, and he's right about energy. His Discovery Channel program Addicted to Oil, which aired Sat. night, is absolutely stellar. Catch re-runs if you can -- or, if you lack scruples, the torrent is floating around. I'm sure green geeks will find nits to pick. Friedman never digs far below the surface, and GM's Rick Wagoner, for example, gets off way too easy, especially about the …

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Au revoir, Greenland

Meanwhile, over at the L.A. Times, we find that the Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than climate models predicted. Hey, I figure, more freshwater for us! Our grandkids? Eff them.

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Fuel tax magic, part one

The following is part one of a guest essay from Charles Komanoff, an economist and environmental activist in New York City. For more on taxing carbon fuels, go to http://www.komanoff.net/fossil/. For part two of this essay, go here. ----- "Pam and Matt Keith spent Memorial Day weekend on a houseboat on Lake Oroville in Northern California. But because of high gasoline prices, the Keiths never even untied the boat from its mooring slightly offshore. When they ventured away from the shore, they supplied their own power -- in kayaks." So began The New York Times take on the start of …

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Goodell on coal gasification

My officemates are furiously packing, washing, dusting, and hauling in preparation for the Big Grist Move (you could help out by sending a few dollars our way!). I fled the scene to come home, using the excuse that somebody has to keep the blog going. So I guess I better blog about something ... On Wednesday, I had a long, fascinating conversation with Jeff Goodell, author of Big Coal. I hope we can get it up in a week or so. In the meantime, check out the great op-ed Goodell just wrote for the NYT, which echoes many of the …

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Dartmouth students ride the future

If you've been reading Gristmill -- as I'm sure you all have! -- you'll know that I just returned from a trip to cover the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. (And what a long, strange triperoo, it was!) One of the many things I didn't get to mention in my story is that I met these folks while I was there. I happened to be hanging around the straw-baled green pod when I looked out into the sea of tents and port-o-potties and noticed a big, green bus. But I soon found this wasn't just any big, …

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It’s Wicked, Wicked Real

Two new high-profile studies reaffirm global-warming science Last year, the National Academy of Sciences was commissioned by Congress to rigorously assess a notorious climate study that has become a flash point in the debate between global-warming denialists and the other 98 percent of us. The study contained a graph that's come to be known as the "hockey stick," which purports to show a spike in global average temperatures in the last 25 or so years, to the highest level in over 1,000 years. Yesterday, the NAS released its report. Though it cast some doubt on ancient temperature measurements and the …

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Sear in the Headlights

Summer in Western U.S. is off to a hot, dry, fiery start In Western states, wildfires and heat waves are getting an early start this year -- a pattern unsurprising to climate scientists, and likely to get worse. Wildfires have already burned more than 3 million acres, more than triple the average for this time of year. Meanwhile, a recent Denver heat wave was the earliest of the year since recordkeeping began in 1872; the federal Climate Prediction Center predicts above-average temperatures for Colorado through September. According to a 2004 study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the number …

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Do you know where your candidates stand on climate change?

With growing numbers of scientists declaring that the global climate crisis is approaching a point of no return, there is a huge and bewildering disconnect between our physical world and our political environment. Our government's response to the prospect of runaway climate impacts is one of paralysis. The negligence of the Bush administration is understandable. The White House has become the East Coast branch office of ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy. The fossil-fuel lobby is essentially writing the administration's climate and energy policies. As a result, climate change has become the preeminent case study of the contamination of our political system …

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An Irritating Truth

EIA predicts world will continue to guzzle energy According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, growing public consciousness of the impending worldwide energy crisis is going to ... well, have basically no effect at all. World energy demand will surge 71 percent between 2003 to 2030, predicted the EIA yesterday, and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will rise a terrifying 75 percent. Oil demand will soar 37 percent, with more than half of that increase due to demand in the U.S., China, and India. But the EIA thinks oil supply will keep up as exports rise from non-OPEC countries, and oil …

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