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On November 5th, Local Power is on the Line

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In 2011, citizens of Boulder, CO, opted to explore alternatives to their monopoly, corporate electric utility that pumps coal-fired energy into town and sucks millions in energy profits out. They won at the ballot box despite being outspent more than 10-to-1. But tomorrow they have to win again against deep corporate pockets, or lose everything they've fought for. Since November 2011, the diligent citizens of Boulder have shown that switching to a locally owned utility could nearly triple renewable energy, lower greenhouse gas emissions by half, and compete on price with their current two-faced corporate overlords. They've studied other city-run …

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The “Electrifying Movement” that Continues to Fight Coal Exports

There are a handful of decisions that are going to be made in the U.S. this decade that will be pivotal in the fate of our climate. The six proposed coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest are among them. If these terminals are approved, they will unleash one of the biggest carbon sources on the planet, by creating a new pathway for Western U.S. coal to reach Asian markets, and it will be hard to put the genie back in the bottle. That's why I traveled to Tacoma, Washington, in late October for a public hearing against the proposed …

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The Digital Life

Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that before mid-century the exponential acceleration of information technologies, robotics, medical science, and artificial intelligence will result in a “singularity”, a point at which humans will essentially merge with their technology. Such an event may seem implausible, but discoveries of how technology and humans really interact are being made every day, leading one to the conclusion that it’s not an unimaginable future - - and it may be the key to sustainable living on an increasingly overcrowded planet. Heart pacemakers and artificial hips already demonstrate the seeds of Kurzweil’s vision and innovations like Google …

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Blogger asks Court: Dismiss Libel Case Over Article Linking Cuccinelli to Coal CEO Murray

This morning, my co-counsel from the ACLU of Ohio and I filed a motion asking a federal court to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by Robert Murray, CEO of the coal company Murray Energy Corp., against our client Mike Stark. Murray has sued over this article that Stark wrote on the Huffington Post blog about Murray's campaign donations to Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.  Murray also has sued the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, and others working for her site. We believe Mr. Murray's case has no merit. All the facts alleged by Mike Stark in his article are true, and …

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West Coast Leaders Providing Trickle Up Leadership

Monday in San Francisco four elected officials boldly went where few politicians will these days – they talked openly and passionately about the urgent need to take action on climate change including putting a price on carbon.   As California governor Jerry Brown noted, “To utter the term Global Warming is deviant and radical!” But utter those words they did.  Brown was joined by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and British Columbia Premier, Christy Clark, all of whom signed the signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy.  The plan lays out an ambitious agenda including …

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2013 to be Record Year for Offshore Wind

By J. Matthew Roney Offshore wind power installations are on track to hit a seventh consecutive annual record in 2013. Developers added 1,080 megawatts of generating capacity in the first half of the year, expanding the world total by 20 percent in just six months. Fifteen countries host some 6,500 megawatts of offshore wind capacity. Before the year is out, the world total should exceed 7,100 megawatts. Although still small compared with the roughly 300,000 megawatts of land-based wind power, offshore capacity is growing at close to 40 percent a year. In 1991, Denmark installed the world’s first offshore wind …

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Utility says nuclear greener than solar – for their shareholders

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Two weeks ago, I listened – incredulously – to Minnesota’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, suggest that solar energy offers its ratepayers no value as an environmental hedge against carbon emissions or as a price hedge against natural gas fuel price fluctuations. See and share the infographic related to this post But just three days later, Xcel was singing a different tune [docket pdf] to the state’s public utilities commission.  In fact, the utility was touting the benefits of its nuclear power capacity, because (in the words of James Alder of Xcel Energy): “It provides the Company and its customers a …

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2014 Climate Movement Strategy

What should be the objectives of the US-based climate movement in 2014? Over the past few years, since the death in 2010 of cap-and-trade legislation in the US Senate and the emergence a year later of a broadly-based noKXL movement, there’s been an upturn in successful working unity among many of the groups that make up the overall climate movement. This is hopeful, and it makes possible some significant strides forward, it seems to me, between now and Election Day 2014. Election Day next year is a key marker, and I would argue that this is true whether you’re a …

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Democracy in action: 300 enviros, unionists and locals “town hall” together on proposed LNG export terminal

The first town hall meeting concerning the risks of the proposed Cove Point LNG export terminal in Maryland was held Tuesday night, October 23. It was a big and rousing success. At least 300 people attended, most of them local residents. It was held at the Southern Community Center in Lusby, Md. in Calvert County, just a few miles from where Dominion Resources wants to build an industrial terminal to export fracked natural gas -- piped in from Appalachia -- and ship it to India and Japan. The $3.8 billion facility would chill the gas to 270 degrees below zero, …

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Asheville Votes to Move Beyond Coal

Chicago. Los Angeles. Austin. Asheville. Wait, what? That's right, Asheville, North Carolina, can now join the ranks of cities that have chosen to move beyond coal. On Tuesday night the city council voted UNANIMOUSLY to move the city from coal-fired electricity toward a clean energy future. I was just in Asheville in July with my new friend Ian Somerhalder (of TV's "Vampire Diaries" fame) to speak at a rally where hundreds of people gathered to urge the city to invest in clean energy. Here's video from that rally... ...and now look at the fantastic results! This move by the city …

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