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They Did It Norway

Norway's high gas and auto taxes lead to lower gas consumption Americans, who view cheap oil as a divine birthright and throw a tantrum when gas prices exceed $2, would surely view Norway as a strange and alien land if they, ahem, knew anything about it. Despite the Scandinavian country's huge oil reserves -- it is the world's third-largest exporter of black gold -- gas prices hover around $6.66 (Satan's price!), roughly two-thirds of which is gas tax. Benighted Norwegians also pay up to $395 a year per vehicle in auto taxes, and import duties substantially jack up the prices …

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Overwhelming Scientific Consensus Grows Overwhelminger

Climate really changing, oceans reveal to researchers Hey, did you know that the globe is warming? Really and for true! A new study by researchers at NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Columbia University, published in the journal Science this week, concludes that global warming is real. Really. Lead scientist James Hansen calls the new data a "smoking gun" that confirms the earth's "energy imbalance" -- the difference between the amount of heat the earth absorbs and what it radiates into space. Seems the oceans are a key piece of the puzzle, acting as a repository for much of …

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Access of Evil

Gas drilling limited by equipment, workers -- not access to federal land To hear the Bush administration tell it, domestic energy production is limited by lack of access to federal lands. Vice President Dick Cheney is galled that "large parts of the Rocky Mountain West are off-limits." But according to government records, industry experts, and local officials, there's plenty of access for gas drilling. In fact, there's so much access that there's not enough person-power and equipment to keep up with it. The Bureau of Land Management issued a record number of gas-drilling permits last year, outnumbering the available drilling …

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Louisiana environmental advocate forced out of job by state attorney general

Stephen C. KowalWillie Fontenot (center) surrounded by ExxonMobil security guards. After scoping out an ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge last month, Willie Fontenot, a community liaison officer for the Louisiana attorney general's office for 27 years, found himself faced with the option of forced retirement or getting the boot. A longtime environmental-justice advocate, Fontenot had been accompanying a group of master's students from Antioch New England Graduate School's environmental-studies program on a tour of the neighborhood surrounding the facility, which in 1989 was the site of a massive explosion when a 500,000-gallon fuel-storage tank ruptured. He was showing the students …

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Gettin’ Busy

U.S. business getting with it on climate change Talk about how the U.S. private sector is taking global warming seriously often flirts with wishful thinking. But we are nothing if not wishful. And flirty. So here goes: It looks like momentum is gathering in the U.S. business community to forthrightly address the issue of climate change. In part due to shareholder and activist lobbying, a growing number of companies are releasing reports on the financial risks associated with warming, including American Electric Power and Cinergy, two of the nation's largest electric-power generators. Just this week, J.P. Morgan Chase, the country's …

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Texaco to Ecuador: Have You Tried a Swiffer?

Texaco haunted by dirty legacy in Ecuador At a ChevronTexaco shareholder meeting today in California, Amazonian community leaders, celebrities, and activists will confront company officials, focusing attention anew on Texaco's messy legacy in Ecuador. Twenty years of oil exploration in the nation left much of the western edge of the Amazon rainforest in ecological ruin and many villagers with unusually high rates of illness. Though Texaco fled Ecuador back in 1992, its joint venture with the nation's state oil company left behind some 600 unlined open sludge pits, compromised or destroyed about 2.5 million acres of rainforest, and released an …

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Moot Causes

Bush pushes refineries and nuke plants as solution to high energy prices Many analysts say high energy prices are the result of inefficient use of non-renewable resources. President Bush does not employ any of those analysts. In a speech today, he will propose to address the "root causes" of high energy prices by, um, increasing the inefficient use of non-renewable resources. His five proposals will likely end up in the energy bill by the time the Senate votes on it. They are: encourage the construction of oil refineries on closed military bases; encourage the construction of nuclear power plants by …

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An interview with actor and solar advocate Edward Norton

Edward Norton. Photo: WGBH. The world has known Edward Norton as a neo-Nazi skinhead, a lusty priest, a warbling romantic, Larry Flynt's attorney, and Nelson Rockefeller. There is also a far less publicized role that Norton plays every day: a dyed-in-the-wool eco-devotee on the front lines of the renewable-energy movement. In 2003, Norton teamed up with oil giant and leading solar-panel producer BP to develop the Solar Neighbors Program, which aims to get photovoltaic (PV) panels onto low-income homes in Los Angeles. Norton has brought star power to the cause with support from show-biz buddies including Brad Pitt, Salma Hayek, …

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Next: Clay Aiken Draws a Line In the Sands of Tuvalu

Hollywood celebs travel to Arctic to raise global-warming awareness Matt Petersen of Global Green spends his time pondering this weighty question: "[I]n an age and culture that's celebrity-obsessed, how do you in a smart and savvy way use the celebrity to shine the light on the science, on the facts, and on the solution?" When it comes to global warming, the answer is obvious, isn't it? Simply fly Hollywood hotties Salma Hayek and Jake Gyllenhaal to the edge of the Arctic Circle, where they -- with help from some 500 Inuit villagers -- spell out the words "Arctic Warning" on …

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Little-known facts from a country on the edge of your consciousness

293,966 -- population of Iceland3 4,117,827 -- population of Kentucky2 10 -- percentage of Icelanders who believe elves "definitely" exist4 0 -- number of successful elf surveys conducted in Kentucky 11.5 -- percentage of Iceland that is covered by glaciers1 3,240 -- square miles covered by the largest glacier, Vatnajökull1 2 -- tectonic plates visible at Thingvellir National Park5 2.5 -- centimeters a year by which those tectonic plates separate5 1,075 -- years since the world's first parliament was held at Thingvellir6 70 -- percentage of national export income derived from fishing3 2 -- years since the government announced its …

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