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Climate & Energy

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Declaration of dependence

Factcheck.org, the website the vice president tried to make famous, has this to say about the two presidential candidates' energy plans:  "Kerry and Bush Mislead Voters With Promises of Energy Independence." The website, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, writes: Kerry focuses on conservation efforts, but most agree his plan is little more than an outline. Bush supports expanded drilling in Alaska to increase domestic oil supply, but the US has only about 3 percent of the world's oil reserves. At current rates of consumption that would only last 4.5 years. Factcheck.org seems …

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The Lion Shall Lie Down With the Dam

Bush administration tweaks dam regulations to favor industry The Bush administration has just proposed a regulatory change that would grant the hydropower industry exclusive rights to appeal Interior Department rulings on dam licensing and operation -- and deny those rights to states, Indian tribes, and environmental groups. Many privately owned dams, built before laws protecting fish and other species were enacted, will come up for relicensing in the next few years, and the administration's proposed change could save the hydropower industry many millions in environmental mitigation settlements. Some lawyers inside the Interior Department say the change may be an unconstitutional …

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The Price Is Finally Right

High oil prices raise interest in renewables, and this time it may stick Whenever the price of oil spikes, interest in renewable energy spikes along with it -- but despite the perpetual hopes of advocates, interest recedes as prices go back down. This time, though, as oil tops $55 a barrel, it may be different. Really. For one thing, although most analysts agree that the current spike is temporary, the long-term trend is clear: Global supplies of oil and natural gas are dwindling, demand is rising, and prices will trend upward. In addition, renewables are finally more than a novelty. …

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Once upon a time you dressed so fine

In a Rolling Stone interview with magazine founder and media bigwig Jann Wenner, John Kerry says that global warming would be his No. 1 environmental priority.  Asked whether he agrees with Al Gore that the time of the internal-combustion engine is ending, Kerry, ever the audacious fella, says, "I wouldn't make that kind of a bold pronouncement." Much as Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) does in Grist's interview with her, Kerry endeavors to sell his environmental plan as a jobs plan. I want American workers working; I want American cars made in America; I want American cars to be able …

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I Come Back to You Now, at the Turn of the Tide

Brits look to public-service ads and tidal power to cut carbon emissions On the heels of recent predictions that the U.K. will not meet its Kyoto targets, and a more recent report that the results of global warming will be "disastrous" for the country, Brits are casting about for new ways to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. The government is undertaking a big ad campaign in print, on billboards, and possibly on TV, warning of the dangers of climate change and urging citizens to reduce their energy use by taking such steps as buying greener cars and turning down their thermostats. Also, …

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Cross Purposes

Prominent Brit bishop booted from enviro group for advocating nuclear England's Reverend Hugh Montefiore -- member of the Church of England, former Bishop of Birmingham, and long-time champion of the environment -- has been forced to resign from the board of Friends of the Earth for arguing that nuclear power is the only viable way to avoid the oncoming catastrophe of global warming. Montefiore's argument appeared in an article in The Tablet, a Catholic weekly. He is the second prominent environmentalist to spark controversy recently with the same argument, the first being James Lovelock, independent scientist and father of the …

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That’s the Story of the Hurricane

Global warming could intensify hurricanes, some climate experts say After this year's unusually devastating hurricane season, many folks who study hurricanes were quick to reassure the public (and Congress) that normal climatic fluctuations, not global warming, were to blame. But at a press conference yesterday, a group of climatologists, including several present and past members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the hurricanes that hit Florida, Haiti, the Caribbean, and (for the first time ever) the South Atlantic -- not to mention the 20 typhoons in the Pacific -- were consistent with the extreme weather events that global …

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Don’t bet on Bush tackling climate change in a second term

RUSSIA MOVES TO RATIFY THE KYOTO PROTOCOL CALIFORNIA IMPOSES GREENHOUSE-GAS STANDARDS ON CARS NORTHEAST STATES TO IMPOSE GREENHOUSE-GAS CAP EASTERBROOK SAYS "SECOND-TERM BUSH WILL BE THE PRESIDENT WHO IMPOSES GLOBAL-WARMING CONTROLS" Could this man be a climate hero? Guess which headline is bogus? The winner gets a free transcript of the portion of the third Bush-Kerry debate when environmental issues were discussed. Believe it or not, all four of these headlines are real. Gregg Easterbrook, a senior editor at The New Republic, has once again ventured where no sensible human being would dare go, stretching credibility to the limit by …

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Startling stats on Bush’s and Kerry’s energy agendas

$13.3 million -- amount George W. Bush has received from the energy/natural resources, agribusiness, and transportation sectors during the 2004 presidential campaign1 $1.9 million -- amount John Kerry has received from the energy/natural resources, agribusiness, and transportation sectors during the 2004 presidential campaign2 40 -- number of recommendations made by Dick Cheney's energy task force to speed up energy production, including a call to reconsider drilling on public lands that were previously off-limits3 0 -- number of new domestic drilling sites Kerry plans to open4 9+ -- number of times Kerry has voted against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife …

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The Meek Shall Inherit the Dearth

Climate change threatens to reverse progress on fighting poverty Global warming will disproportionately harm the world's poorest people and "perpetuate injustices unprecedented in human history," says Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth. Such is the conclusion of a sobering report called "Up in Smoke," released this week by a 17-member coalition of environmental and international aid groups. Climate change, it says, threatens to make the Millennium Development Goals -- focused on halving world poverty by 2015 -- unattainable. When it comes to recommendations, the report pulls no punches: It says developed countries need to reduce their carbon-dioxide emissions by …

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