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A coalition plugs (ha ha) for plug-in hybrids

How did everybody miss this? Declaring the country's economy, environmental health and national security at risk, a grassroots coalition of cities including Austin, Baltimore, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle as well as electric utilities and national policy organizations today kicked off a nationwide campaign to urge automakers to accelerate development of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Click on the webcast if you want to see a bunch of stuffed shirts give speeches. Even Senator Hatch (the ultra conservative Republican from Utah) shows up late to throw in his two cents. The only real expert on the panel was Dr. Andrew …

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Billy-Come-Lately

Bill Clinton calls climate change public enemy No. 1 In a Saturday speech to the assembled corporate bigwigs and governmental muckety-mucks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, former President Bill Clinton called global warming the single most pressing problem facing the world. "It's the only thing that I believe has the power to fundamentally end the march of civilization as we know it," he said, "and make a lot of the other efforts that we're making irrelevant and impossible." He called on the attendees to support "a serious global effort to develop a clean energy future." A voice …

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Hush Hush, Keep It Down Now

Top NASA climate scientist says he's being censored by Bush admin If Bush administration officials were trying to keep NASA's chief climate scientist quiet, as he charges, they failed spectacularly. Instead they got a front-page story in The New York Times. In it, James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, charges that since a lecture in early December in which he warned of dramatic changes from global warming and called for quick reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, NASA headquarters has instructed agency spokesflacks -- some of them political appointees -- to screen his upcoming lectures, papers, and postings …

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A story on the suppression of climate scientist James Hansen

Wow. Here it is only Saturday night and already the weekend's seen two stellar pieces of reporting on global warming, from two of environmental journalism's top stars, on page A1 of their respective newspapers. First up is Andy Revkin's latest revelation on the Bush administration's ongoing defensive maneuvers against, uh, reality. In this case, reality was being described by the closest thing climate science has to a wise man: James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Administration officials have -- not officially, but clearly, in informal phone calls and memos -- let it be known that he …

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Big profits, little ethics

Exxon Mobil Corp., you may have heard, just ended the most profitable year ever, for any American corporation. Ever. To the tune of $34 billion. That means Exxon pulled down about $1,110 a second last year. Nonetheless, as Carl Pope extensively documents, the company remains one of the biggest deadbeats in the world, still digging in its heels about paying victims of the Exxon Valdez oil spill (2,000 of which are dead -- and their surviving family members have no standing in the case, and will never receive anything). Then there's the matter of oil and gas royalties, which -- …

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Mass. lawmakers pushing to join climate pact, despite Romney’s objections

Gov. Mitt Romney may not get his way on the Northeast climate pact. A handful of Massachusetts legislators are maneuvering to get their state into the most ambitious U.S. effort yet to fight global warming, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, launched in late December. If they succeed, it'll be a smarting wallop for Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who is widely expected to run for a spot on the GOP's 2008 presidential ticket. The pact, commonly called RGGI ("Reggie"), commits seven Northeastern states -- Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont -- to reducing their carbon dioxide …

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Solution Finds New Problem

Republicans in Congress reanimate efforts to drill in Arctic Refuge Iran -- the world's fourth-largest oil producer -- has threatened to cut oil exports if other nations impose economic sanctions to punish it for restarting its nuclear-power program. Some analysts say oil prices could spike to $100 a barrel if Iran stopped exports entirely. In response to this geopolitical dilemma, a handful of congressional Republicans have redoubled their efforts to ... drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A bewildered nation can only respond: What the $%@! is wrong with these people? On Wednesday, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), chair of …

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But It’s Still Friggin’ Raining in Seattle

2005 is hottest year on record, and 2006 weather is wacked We know you've been waiting with bated breath to hear the outcome of the competition between 1998 and 2005 for hottest year on record, and NASA's results are in: 2005 wins! 1998 had El Nino, but 2005 had a remarkably warm Arctic. Congratulations, 2005, on your Highest Annual Global Average Surface Temperature Award! The top five hottest years on record have all occurred in the last decade, but that's probably just a coincidence. In related news, Edmonton, Alberta -- that's in Canada -- is forecasted to reach a balmy …

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Al’s Well That Pens Well

Al Gore to publish new book on global warming The self-proclaimed "former next president of the United States" -- currently at the Sundance Film Festival (and, may we point out, looking quite natty) to promote his new documentary about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth -- has announced that he'll soon be coming out with a new book on the same subject, with the same name. The book, to be published by Rodale (of South Beach Diet, uh, fame), will serve as a sequel of sorts to Al Gore's controversial 1992 best-seller Earth in the Balance. It will cover not only …

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The Royalty Wee

Taxpayers have been getting screwed on oil and gas royalties A three-month New York Times investigation has uncovered a complex tale of oil and gas royalties, price discrepancies, accounting chicanery, and lax enforcement. But at its heart, it's the same old story: The Bush administration is essentially helping energy companies screw taxpayers. The American people own oil and gas reserves on public land; energy companies pay royalties to extract and sell them. Oil and gas prices have been rising sharply for years, but the royalties haven't -- if they had, taxpayers would have received an additional $700 million in natural-gas …