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Election 2012

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Critical List: Romney’s down with coal; Iran starts up a nuclear plant

Mitt Romney, in a desperate attempt to fit in, says he wants to burn more coal. Iran's making nuclear power. There’s no way that could go wrong! But worldwide, renewables are beating out nuclear in terms of installed capacity. Two people have died already in the more than 60 wildfires ravaging Texas. A Vermont company thinks it can expand the capacity of the grid by more accurately measuring the heat of power lines and letting utility companies know, based on those measurements, whether they can run more power through their lines. Students, don't buy an iPad if you're only going …

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Critical List: Rick Perry loves nuclear waste; oil spills in Alabama

Rick Perry wanted to expand a nuclear waste site, owned by one of his donors, but a state commissioner objected. Guess what happened to the state commissioner. No, he wasn’t killed, Jesus! But Perry did offer him another job, in order to bribe him away from the waste commission so he could be replaced. Beijing's going to put congestion fees in place, a policy that New York City has failed to get past suburban commuters. Ah, democracy. Will you be living under high water stress? Some businesses, like the insurance industry, believe in climate change. But that doesn't mean they're …

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Why the hell does Michele Bachmann want to drill for oil in the Everglades?

Michele Bachman wants to drill for oil "whether that is in the Everglades or whether that is in the Eastern Gulf region or whether that is in North Dakota." Even Republicans think this is kind of nuts, because even Republicans are willing to agree that the Everglades has some nice stuff that it'd be darn shame to ruin forever. But for Bachmann, it's a "wonderful treasure trove of energy that God has given us in this country." If you're thinking, oil in the Gulf … ok; oil in North Dakota … sure, I read that New Yorker article; but … …

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Texas likely to have multi-year drought; Rick Perry likely to deny its cause

Texas' over-the-top, economically devastating, record-breaking drought is likely to turn into a grinding, multi-year drought, reports Kate Galbraith in the Texas Tribune. That could put it on track to compete with the state's worst-ever dry spell in the 1950s, which in turn can barely compete with the prehistoric mega-droughts Texas used to experience. In other words, Texas is a dry state with a delicate climate, and climate change is only going to make things worse. "We can't say with certainty whether this particular drought is in and of itself a product of climate change," said David Brown, a regional official …

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Critical List: East Coast prepares for Irene; Inhofe gets on Romney’s case

With Hurricane Irene on its way, New Yorkers head to Trader Joe's and make jokes (I think they're jokes?) about the proper amount to tip delivery guys who come out during a hurricane. Why does a super-walkable condo building in Denver include eight floors of parking spaces? (Answer: There's no good answer.) So weird: Even Sen. Jim Inhofe wants Mitt Romney to stop waffling on climate change. This may be the only issue Inhofe and environmentalists have ever agreed on. To solve its pollution problem, China's using logic generally favored by house cats: stick your head under a blanket, because …

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Critical List: Conflicts connected to climate; some green collar jobs are also white collar jobs

Conflicts across the world can be connected to climate phenomena like El Niño. Mitt Romney: so wimpy on climate issues, it hurts. Some green jobs require an MBA. Drivers are still cutting down on miles, even though gas prices are creeping downward. An energy consulting group says the EPA and Cornell professor Robert Howarth both made erroneous assumptions that led them to overestimate the amount of methane that hydrofracking releases. The SEC is digging into fracking, too. The financial watchdog wants information about fracking chemicals and environmental impacts. Vermonters want solar projects, not wind projects, which they say would damage …

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Huntsman slams Perry on climate, Bachmann on gas prices

Last week, Jon Huntsman began to call out Gov. Rick "Four Pinocchios" Perry and others in his party for being anti-science. He started with the tweet above, which went viral. On ABC's "This Week" with Jake Tapper on Sunday, Huntsman went even further, explaining that being anti-science would harm his party -- and America's future: TAPPER: These comments from Governor Perry prompted you to tweet, quote: "To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy." Were you just being cheeky or do you think there's a serious problem with what Governor Perry said? …

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Jon Huntsman speaks out on climate change

In a tweet last week, Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman made the apparently super-controversial claim that he "trust[s] scientists on global warming." This weekend, he went a step further, telling ABC's Jake Tapper that his opponents' opposition to the idea of climate change is wrongheaded and extremist. Huntsman:  The minute that the Republican Party becomes the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012. When we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs …

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Why Michele Bachmann thinks she can get gas under $2 a gallon

Michele Bachmann isn't crazy -- she's just horribly misinformed. At least in this particular instance: When Bachmann promised that if she became president, gas would be under $2 a gallon, her statement was entirely consistent with the voodoo alternate energy universe she and countless right-wing conspiracy theorists happen to inhabit. The only reason I even know this is that I've occasionally had run-ins with this alternate plane of reality, in which otherwise rational people truly, fervently believe that America has enough oil within its borders to last the country for centuries, but a liberal cabal led by the EPA is …

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Finally, PolitiFact calls out GOP candidate on climate

Science? Who needs it?Photo: IowaPolitics.comAt long last, mainstream media begins to pay attention to the flat denial of basic climate science being pushed by right-wing Republican presidential candidates. Last year, my work on Climate Zombies -- climate-denying candidates running for Congress -- earned me a snippet on a New York Times blog, but most mainstream media ran stories presenting climate science as an issue with two sides. Things have been changing as the media realize that people who deny climate science also deny other scientific realities. PolitiFact, the independent fact-checking website, finally took on a Republican candidate for president over his claim …