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Just because General Motors calls it green doesn’t mean it is.

Joel Makower reports that General Motors will lead a joint demonstration project "to learn more about consumer awareness and acceptance of E85 as a motor vehicle fuel by demonstrating its use in GM's flexible-fuel vehicles." The California Department of Transportation will use some flex-fuel vehicles and work with Chevron Technology Ventures to make sure there are filling stations that offer E85 (gas w/ 85% ethanol). A company called Pacific Ethanol will provide the liquid fuel. Filling stations that sell E85 will be receiving "a lucrative federal tax credit." Joel passes rather lightly over the central problem with biofuels, a problem …

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Over 150 activists send letter asking Kennedy to reconsider position

Cape Wind Associates' plan to build a big wind-power farm off the coast of Cape Cod has been dividing enviros for years, but the disagreement got a lot more heated last month when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. ran a high-profile op-ed railing against the project in The New York Times. An excerpt: These turbines are less than six miles from shore and would be seen from Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Hundreds of flashing lights to warn airplanes away from the turbines will steal the stars and nighttime views. The noise of the turbines will be audible onshore. A …

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According to Wired.

Your property value will decrease. They're ugly. You'll hear noises similar to those Nazi troops used to torture Jews with during the holocaust. They'll cause strokes. Women will menstruate five times a month. At least some people think so, according to a Wired article about the battle against wind farms in upstate New York.

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You Light Up My Strife

Solar LED lamps provide clean, cheap lighting to rural poor A handful of villagers in rural India are receiving a life-transforming technology: low-cost, solar-powered light-emitting diode (LED) lamps. Bombay-based Grameen Surya Bijli Foundation has installed the $55 lamps free of charge in about 300 homes. "Children can now study at night, elders can manage their chores better," says one father whose family received a lamp. "Life doesn't halt anymore when darkness falls." As many as 1.5 billion people worldwide light their homes after dark with dim, smoky kerosene-burning lamps, which emit air pollutants thought to cause over a million deaths …

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Freeze Tibet

Global warming liquefying the glaciers of Tibet High-altitude Tibet is known as the "rooftop of the world," but lately the roof is a bit saggy. Global warming is rapidly melting glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, water source for many of the region's rivers. This great melt -- already being felt in flooding -- could eventually cause water shortages and a variety of other troubles. Villagers in Miyon, who live near a glacier on Meili Snow Mountain at the plateau's southern end, see the changes up close. "Fifteen years ago, the tip of the glacier was about 200 meters [656 feet] …

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Forth by Northeast

Seven Northeastern states sign greenhouse-gas pact Thumbing their noses -- or whatever states have where noses should be -- at the Bush administration, seven Northeastern states have committed to cut their planet-toasting carbon dioxide emissions 10 percent by the end of 2018. New York Gov. George Pataki (R) dreamed up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and has been working since 2003 to get neighboring states on board. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont answered the call, while Massachusetts and Rhode Island dropped out of negotiations. A key tool for achieving reductions will be a cap-and-trade …

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Cool.

Here's a nifty little guide to setting up your Prius as an emergency power supply for your house. (via BB)

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McKibben and Sierra Magazine

Every column Bill McKibben writes on climate change becomes more dread-laden and portentous, but I never stop enjoying them. His latest is "Year One" in Sierra Magazine. The money clip: We will soon learn, for example, that what we've been calling "global warming" is better thought of as excess energy trapped in the atmosphere, which will express itself in every possible way. Like the Bush administration's energy bill, these manifestations will also be about "more": more evaporation in arid lands and then more flooding when it eventually rains; more wind as air pressure rises from warmer areas; more extreme heat …

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Sen. Ted Stevens: Crybaby

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has spent the last week or so -- nay, the last 25 years -- attempting to circumvent the clearly and repeatedly expressed preferences of a majority of U.S. citizens by allowing oil drilling to take place in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The latest attempt involved attaching drilling to the defense appropriations bill, in effect holding military funding hostage in the middle of an armed conflict. We have perhaps become numbed by the sheer repetition and persistence of these efforts, but it's worth pausing, stepping back, and noting just how utterly venal and anti-democratic they are. …

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Climate campaigners warm to “advanced coal” and sequestration, despite Bush backing

Bush administration officials tried their darnedest to derail the international climate-change negotiations that wrapped up in Montreal last week. But in the midst of their bombastic no-no-no-ing, they did offer up one constructive idea -- a $950 million partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy and industry leaders to build FutureGen, a "prototype of the fossil-fueled power plant of the future" -- perhaps hoping it would help redeem their negative image. Could I interest you in this lump of coal? Photo: Siemens. It didn't work. "It was an inappropriate attempt at distraction," said Greenpeace energy-policy specialist John Coequyt, who attended …