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Winning the Climate Change Challenge

A few weeks ago, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded CO2 levels in the atmosphere at almost 400 parts per million. Many scientists predicted that in reaching this level, we would see more intense storms (like Hurricanes Irene and Sandy); droughts (like the one suffocating the middle of the US for the past year); and heat waves (the 12 hottest years on record have all been in the last 15). If we keep dumping carbon pollution into the atmosphere, many of these same climate seers predict far worse environmental, economic, and public health consequences. But there are signs that …

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Minnesota’s New (Standard Offer) Solar Energy Standard

A friend at Fresh Energy generously called me the “architect” of Minnesota’s new solar energy standard (signed last week), and although that may be a bit generous, I’d like to provide a detailed description of the nation’s newest solar energy standard. The topline: 1.5% solar standard for the state’s investor-owned utilities (with some exemptions) for a projected 450 MW of capacity installed by 2020 A CLEAN contract / feed-in tariff / standard offer for solar projects 1 MW and smaller, IF investor-owned utilities file to create the tariff. A $5 million incentive pool for solar projects 20 kW and smaller. …

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Ernest Moniz and the Growing No-Fracking Movement

It is very unfortunate that Ernest Moniz, the new Energy Secretary, is, like Barack Obama, an “all of the above” energy guy. In his first week in office last week, he said some good things publicly about energy efficiency and solar, wind and geothermal energy. The problem, however, is that Moniz is a big supporter of fracking. In the same interview linked above, he describes shale gas as a “bridge fuel,” giving us time, he says, to “develop the technology and lower the costs” of clean, renewable energy. In this short interview Moniz accurately states that there is less C02 …

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Is Governor Brown Playing 13 Tzameti With The Climate?

The Washington Post’s publication of an outrageously misleading, climate change-denying editorial by- of all people- the chair of the House Science Committee serves as another reminder of the lamentable state of our climate discourse. Few public officials are willing to confront stark climate realities, and little more than lip service is given as humanity blazes past ominous milestones like the highest atmospheric concentration of carbon in 5 million years. Even as New Jersey struggles to recover from the fossil-fueled devastation of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Chris Christie dismissed the notion that his state should prepare for future climate impacts, rejecting the …

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http://ecowatch.com/2013/lobster-boat-vs-coal-ship/

http://ecowatch.com/2013/lobster-boat-vs-coal-ship/ EcoWatch story of our effort to blockade coal ship delivery at Brayton Point in Somerset, Massachusetts last week, in our 32' lobster boat the Henry David T. 

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Dalai Lama and a Suicidal Economy

A few days ago I met the Dalai Lama.  He held my hand and embraced me.  Then I drove past the broken body of a person who had just killed himself by jumping off a building. Two days earlier I sat in a packed auditorium for the opening day of the Dalai Lama’s Spirituality and the Environment conference.  That was the same day that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose above 400 parts per million for the first time in human history. The contrast between His Holiness’ message of compassion and the damage we are inflicting on ourselves and the earth …

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Big New Investments in Wind Energy Across the Country and Around the World

After spending last weekend at the Heartland Coalfield Alliance's retreat in the Illinois coal basin region, I'm more inspired than ever. Listening to such amazing, committed people talk about their tireless work to move beyond coal was really exciting. These activists know the potential for clean energy in their region -- especially wind power. And there has been some blockbuster news about wind in recent days. Wind power is growing like gangbusters across the country, and employs more than 75,000 workers across 43 states. Just last week, Warren Buffett's Mid-American Energy Co. announced it will make a $1.9 billion investment …

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Susan Osborne Explains Why Boulder Opted for a Clean Energy Takeover

The process started in 2003 when Boulder resumed studying the option to create a municipal utility.  With a climate-action plan already in place, and a local carbon tax already financing conservation and clean energy, the once nascent issue became a serious option in Boulder. Creating a municipal utility would allow for more control over the grid, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and an increase in clean energy production.  As former Boulder mayor Susan Osborne described, Boulder didn’t set out to “blaze a trail” for local ownership of its electric utility, but for a growing number of cities across America considering municipalization, …

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Minnesota’s Landmark Clean Energy Standard Charts Course Beyond Dirty Energy

Minnesota energy has begun a new chapter. Minnesota has taken a first step in outlining the next big leap forward in the state's sustainable energy future. Pushed by more than 60 environmental, labor, business, youth, and faith groups, the jobs omnibus bill -- expected to be signed by Governor Mark Dayton -- includes a Clean Energy and Jobs package that sets a standard of 1.5 percent solar by 2020 with a broader goal of reaching 10 percent by 2030. This is a great start for a state that is in position to lead the Midwest into the clean-energy economy. I remember …

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Let’s Not Trawl a National Treasure

Alaska’s Bering Sea is home to one of the most remarkable places in the world, “the Grand Canyons of the Sea.” These canyons are over a mile and a half deep and home to fish, crab, skates, endangered seals, orcas, and humpback whales.  It’s a truly remarkable ecosystem that starts with the fragile corals and sponges on the seafloor. Tragically, this ecosystem is under threat from industrial fishing fleets that carve up the corals and sponges with their trawl nets.  Bottom-tending fishing gear--especially trawl nets--destroys fragile corals and sponges that provide this essential habitat, including spawning and nursery areas for …

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