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Yeah, But How’s Shiloh Doing?

Climate change gets splashy coverage in USA Today and U.S. News The paradigmatically middle-of-the-road USA Today is running a series on global warming this week -- guess that means mainstream America is getting hep to the crisis. Articles cover the life of an eco-groovy family in Colorado, the greening of corporate America, and the likelihood of abrupt Day After Tomorrow-esque climate changes. Alaska gets a special designation as the "poster state" for climate problems -- apparently it's melting -- and is the subject of a three-part video series. Other features point out global warming's effects on precipitation, wildlife, and the …

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A Penny Saved Is a Penny Spurned

Bush admin looks to cut funding for energy efficiency To fund long-term research into speculative future energy sources, the Bush administration wants to cut guaranteed present-day energy savings: The proposed 2007 Energy Department budget would eliminate $152 million (roughly 16 percent) from its energy-efficiency programs. A program to improve the efficiency of heavy-duty trucks would be axed completely, as would one focused on new buildings. A technology-improvement project that saved the U.S. $9 billion on oil in 2004 would have its budget chopped by a third from 2005 levels, even though it's already saved more oil than the administration's Hydrogen …

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Media Shower: UK edition

Welcome to the (not-so-special) U.K. edition of Media Shower! First off, we have the BBC's focus on climate change chaos. Over at the BBC website, you'll find eight short documentaries (which don't want to play for me), in-depth coverage of climate change (including this guide), and a SETI@home-inspired climate change experiment. And then we have this: This commercial is part of the Friends of the Earth "The Big Ask" campaign, which is about "tackling the biggest question the world faces -- how do we stop dangerous climate change?" Doubt you'd see an ad like this here in the States.

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Adaptation

The other issue that's come up in Pielke-Roberts Mild Disagreement '06 is the relative importance of mitigation vs. adaptation, climate-change wise. A couple of issues need to be distinguished here. First, the substance: According to Roger, the "Kyoto Protocol, as is the FCCC under which it was negotiated, is in fact strongly biased against adaptation." It frames money spent on adaptation as money directly drained from mitigation (which it says would make adaptation unnecessary). I'm no expert on the FCCC, but this jibes with what I've read, and I agree with Roger that it's not a smart way of framing …

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A new reliance on coal could sap green cred from the ethanol industry

As ethanol boosterism spreads far and wide -- from Bush's bully pulpit to the New York Times to green-group press releases -- a quietly emerging trend is threatening to undermine the biofuel's environmental credibility. editorial page How green is this ethanol plant? Photo: iStockphoto. More and more ethanol manufacturers are looking to power their plants with cheap coal instead of its cleaner and increasingly expensive competitor, natural gas, thereby potentially limiting ethanol's environmental benefits. And the Bush administration is doing its part to accelerate this trend. Under pressure from a group of senators and representatives from corn- and coal-producing states, …

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The Tropic of Cancerous Growth

Warming atmosphere is expanding the tropics, study finds The globe's tropics are expanding -- and if you're thinking coconuts and palm trees, don't. Think deserts and drought. According to a new study in Science, satellite measurements show that the lowest level of the atmosphere in torrid subtropical regions on either side of the equator is heating up, and has pushed the northern and southern jet streams each some 70 miles closer to the poles since 1979. A continuation of the trend could deprive southern Europe of winter precipitation, expand deserts of the American Southwest, and nudge the Sahara Desert north, …

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They Should Volunteer to Be Penalized for That

Bush's voluntary emissions-reduction programs not amounting to much Are you sitting down? We've got some earth-shattering news: the Bush administration's voluntary programs to reduce industrial greenhouse-gas emissions aren't working. A report issued yesterday by the Government Accountability Office stated that many industry participants in the U.S. EPA's voluntary "Climate Leaders" program and the Department of Energy's voluntary "Climate VISION" program were not setting specific emissions-reduction goals or inventorying or reporting on their emissions. According to the report, as of November 2005, only 38 of the 74 participants in the EPA program had set reduction goals; an EPA spokesflack responded that …

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Umbra on canola oil

Dear Umbra, I recently saw "organic canola oil" on a salad dressing bottle. I looked up the origin of canola oil, and it looks like it is a genetic modification of rapeseed. I thought organic certification disallowed genetically modified foods. What's the scoop? Tom Grundy Nevada City, Calif. Dearest Tom, Have you noticed yet that May is food month here on floor 2B? Food and plants, in honor of spring -- and to counter last month's depressing climate-change bonanza. (Although it's been yet another weird, hot spring in purportedly rainy Seattle, and all the gardeners are irrigating already -- maybe …

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Gore’s new flick, An Inconvenient Truth, improbably succeeds

It's something of a miracle that An Inconvenient Truth, the chronicle of Al Gore's quest to raise alarm about "climate chaos," exists at all. A movie with a scantily clad Jessica Alba presenting a computer slideshow on climate science is implausible enough. Al Gore doing it, well ... even C-SPAN could be forgiven for having second thoughts. Albert Arnold Gore Jr. may be many things, but he's no penguin. And this is no Murderballian story of triumph over tragedy. It's a story of tragedy over tragedy. His sister's death of lung cancer. The near-death of his 6-year-old son. The 2000 …

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Al Gore on Today show

Hey, NBC's Today is focusing on -- wait for it -- climate change! Check out Katie Couric's interview with Al Gore. (Sigh, requires IE.)

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