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Wendell Berry and Bill Moyers to Talk Coal, Climate This Week on PBS

Beginning October 4, PBS will air a special conversation between two of the people I admire most in the world - Kentucky farmer and author Wendell Berry, and journalist Bill Moyers. Among many other topics, these two giants of American culture will discuss issues very close to my heart: coal, climate change, and the future of Appalachia and the planet. I can't wait to tune in to Wendell Berry: Poet & Prophet. I hope you will, too. I've been a reader of Wendell Berry since I was a young woman, because he was a beloved author of two of my …

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What is Solar Worth to a Utility?

It’s an issue of national debate, but one unexpected state – Minnesota – is engaging a formal process for determining the methodology for setting the value of solar. As the first multi-utility process, it’s likely to set a precedent nationwide for what the “value of solar” will mean and whether it will aid the continued growth of distributed solar power. So what’s happening with solar in Minnesota? Starts with a Standard It starts with the recently adopted solar energy standard, which requires investor-owned utilities to get 1.5% of their energy from solar by 2020, establishes a standard, long-term contract for …

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Captain Peter Willcox Is a Hero, Not a “Pirate”

Peter Willcox has seen nearly everything. In 1985, he was captain of the Rainbow Warrior when French agents bombed it, killing one of the crew. He and I witnessed first hand the impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster in the Gulf. But he’s never seen the inside of a Russian jail, until now. Captain Willcox is one of the 30 Greenpeace crew, activists and volunteers who has been held for over 100 hours by armed Russian security services after taking part in a safe, peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling. This incident is unfolding against the backdrop of the …

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Big Clean Energy News Just Keeps Coming: “Solar is Most Economical Option,” Says Energy CEO

On the heels of last week's release of carbon pollution safeguards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which requires future power plants to deal with their climate-disrupting carbon pollution, news is rolling in from across the U.S. about massive new clean energy projects that are meeting America's energy demand – and giving dirty fossil fuels a run for their money in the marketplace. This week Xcel Energy announced it will triple the amount of solar power it offers while also adding another 450 megawatts of wind power. Here’s the best part -- they're investing in clean energy because it's the …

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How to find the greenest airline

Just three roundtrip cross-country or trans-Atlantic flights cause almost as much climate pollution as the average American household produces in an entire year. With that in mind, lots of fliers are concerned about the heavy carbon impact of their travel, and want to choose airlines that are at least operating as efficiently as possible. Eco-conscious travelers may want to take a look at a new a new report by The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), which ranks the efficiency of domestic operations by America's major largest carriers. The ranking shows that Alaska Airlines is the industry's green North Star, using fuel …

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A Community Solar Gold Standard?

Joy Hughes was living in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, a place with a “tremendous amount of solar potential,” so good that the valley’s residents were being overwhelmed by proposals for large scale solar power plants. One had a “field of things like radar dishes” and another included a “600 foot tower.” The influx of outside companies seeking solar profit led Joy to ask, “Why not just set up solar arrays that can provide power for people in the local community and offset their electric bills?” The Solar Gardens Institute was born, with a vision of helping community members …

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What the New Power Plant Carbon Standard Means for Coal

In the words of our Vice-President, this is a BFD. On Friday, September 20, the Environmental Protection Agency released draft carbon pollution standards for new power plants. If finalized as written, the draft will make it impossible to build a new, conventional, climate-destroying coal plant in the U.S. With climate-related disasters already landing on the doorsteps of millions of Americans, from Western wildfires to Superstorm Sandy, this new protection comes as welcome news. As I wrote earlier this week, despite much whining by the coal industry, the simple fact is that no one is building new coal plants anymore. A …

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Labor and Climate Justice: 60+ Environmental Justice groups appeal to AFL-CIO on eve of convention

Labor Contingent for Climate Justice at the Richmond Summer Heat Mobilization on Chevron's HQ, Aug 2013 On the eve of the annual AFL-CIO 2013 convention, over 60 environmental justice groups wrote a letter to the Labor Movement about climate change. Its a sort of tough-love letter from the Climate Justice Alliance, with sharp analyses of our shared crisis, opportunities for collaboration, and identification of the historic divisions between Labor and the Environment, ultimately calling for a movement that transcends traditional "issue fights" and sectors. Alliances between traditional labor unions and climate groups have been percolating for years, but our crisis …

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The Global Land Rush

By Lester R. Brown Between 2007 and mid-2008, world grain and soybean prices more than doubled. As food prices climbed everywhere, some exporting countries began to restrict grain shipments in an effort to limit food price inflation at home.Importing countries panicked. Some tried to negotiate long-term grain supply agreements with exporting countries, but in a seller’s market, few were successful. Seemingly overnight, importing countries realized that one of their few options was to find land in other countries on which to produce food for themselves. Looking for land abroad is not entirely new. Empires expanded through territorial acquisitions, colonial powers …

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Protecting Americans from Power Plant Pollution

On September 20, the Environmental Protection Agency will release new safeguards against carbon pollution that, if expectations are on target, will confirm something investors, governors, community leaders, and everyday Americans have been saying for a decade - in the 21st century, it just doesn't make sense to build new coal-fired power plants. To be specific, we've said that 179 times. Since 2002, an unprecedented national network of more than 100 organizations and tens of thousands of volunteers has stopped the construction of 179 proposed coal-fired power plants across the U.S. This happened in red states and blue states, under the …

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