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Newly discovered super-advanced biocarbon device: anchovy poop!

(At the Northwest Biocarbon Initiative we are constantly on the hunt for ways to improve the carbon storage capacity of natural systems.   One of my partners in the project, Rhys Roth, came across this new scientific study on the importance of fish poop.  One way to help remove the carbon load in the Earth's atmosphere!  Patrick Mazza) Filed under: NBI, biocarbon, solutions, carbon, natural systems   By Rhys Roth I love pizza, but the anchovies?  Not so much.  Little did I know that by skipping the anchovies I may actually be helping protect https://grist.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpEarth’s  natural CO2 cleansing system.  Anchovy poop, …

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Uniting Against Coal Exports in the Pacific Northwest

A coal train in the Pacific Northwest. Photo by Paul K. Anderson. There's been a lot of buzz about coal exports lately, but if I was a betting woman, I'd say the smart money is on these coal industry pipe dreams never becoming a reality. That's because local communities that would receive the brunt of the pollution from transporting all that coal are standing up and saying no, one after another. Communities across the Pacific Northwest continue to band together in opposition to coal export terminals and the massive increase in rail traffic that would come with it. Especially breath-taking …

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Arctic Sea Ice in Free Fall

By Emily E. Adams and Janet Larsen The North Pole is losing its ice cap. Comparing recent melt seasons with historical records spanning more than 1,400 years shows summer Arctic sea ice in free fall.  Many scientists believe that the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in the summertime within the next decade or two, and some say that this could occur as early as 2016.  The last time the Arctic was completely free of ice may have been 125,000 years ago. Between March 20 and September 16, 2012, the Arctic lost ice covering 11.8 million square kilometers—an area larger than …

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Thoughts on economic growth and energy slaves

I've lately become intrigued by the idea of "energy slaves" a deliberately unsettling way to highlight how unusual the last 200 years have been in terms of energy and economic growth. Suppose you were a wealthy white farmer in the antebellum South and owned 10 slaves. Assume you have no other access to energy beyond their muscle power. If you monopolize the fruits of their collective labor, you get a 10x force multiplier: the output of 11 men, harnessed to the sole benefit of one. That means you churn butter ten times as fast, harvest cotton ten times as fast, …

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Powerful New Series Reveals the True Cost of Coal

The first time I watched this is powerful new video, it stopped me in my tracks. It's the debut video for our latest project, a photo series from Sierra magazine called "The Cost of Coal." I think you'll agree -- the stories and images of these families who are facing the loss of their homes, loved ones, and lives to coal pollution are unforgettable. And while I was especially moved by the images from my home state of West Virginia, the real tragedy is that stories like these are being repeated across our nation. The Cost of Coal is new …

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Big Coal Wins Latest Battle to Blast Historic Blair Mountain

Is nothing sacred to coal companies in Appalachia? In a jaw-dropping display of contempt and disregard for the communities and landscapes where they mine coal, three coal companies back in 2009 challenged the listing of West Virginia's Blair Mountain on the National Register of Historic Places. The companies, including mining behemoths Alpha Natural Resources and Arch Coal, opposed the listing of Blair Mountain as a historic site because it could interfere with their plans to conduct mountaintop removal mining operations on the Spruce Fork Ridge battlefield, site of the "largest organized armed uprising in American labor history," and the most …

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Will Obama’s Poll Decline Finally Break the Silence on Climate?

Four years ago, when Barack Obama was running against John McCain for the Presidency and when the climate crisis was not as severe as it has become, both Obama and McCain were in agreement that 1) it existed and 2) action should be taken on it. As importantly, they both spoke about this issue throughout the campaign. Obama’s program back then, put forward in early August 2008, projected 1 million plug-in hybrid cars by 2015, a commitment to energy efficiency, investing in an upgrade of the national utility grid, weatherizing one million homes annually, a 100% auction—with no freebies for …

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Average Size of Solar in the United States: Small

It often seems like big progress on clean energy only comes in big pieces, but in solar power the sweet spot is small.   The following infographic from ILSR shows that the average size of installed solar PV in the U.S. is just 34 kilowatts, enough to power about 7 homes.  

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LA Chooses Clean Energy Over Coal

This week, we won a major victory when the Los Angeles City Council approved the L.A. Department of Water and Power's plan to invest in clean energy, rather than continue to ship customer’s money out of state to buy coal (LA shipped $500 million out of state last year alone). This move will create more than 5,000 jobs in energy efficiency and rooftop solar and boost the local economy. At a time when so many cities are struggling with crumbling infrastructure and stretched budgets, it is heartening to see LA chart a bold new course in order to meet its …

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At the debate, listen for the climate silence

When the candidates face off in today's debate, every word they utter will be scrutinized for gaffe-ability, flip-floppiness, and sound-bite-ification. But when it comes to climate change, it's what they aren't saying that deserves our undivided attention. Even with the urgent reality of global warming rapidly outpacing scientific predictions, both candidates have been disturbingly silent about the two central facts of this immediate, massive, and unprecedented problem.

Fact No. 1: Climate change is already wreaking havoc in the U.S.

In the past four years, Americans have been struck by a barrage of climate-fueled disasters. From record heat waves to increasingly powerful storms, harvest-destroying droughts to unprecedented flooding, the impacts of climate change are now squarely being felt within our borders. But neither candidate has "connected the dots" in clear, straightforward language. Obama's reluctance has been particularly notable: In recent speeches about Hurricane Irene, the Colorado wildfires, and this summer's drought, the president made no mention of how climate change is exacerbating these "natural" disasters. This is a huge missed opportunity, as polls show that increasingly, extreme weather is (finally) convincing many Americans that climate change is upon us.

Fact No. 2: To avoid catastrophic warming, we have to keep 80 percent of known coal, oil, and gas reserves in the ground
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