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Good news: New EPA boiler regs include output-based standards

Finally the day you've all been waiting for has arrived: EPA has released its new boiler emissions rules for hazardous pollutants! (The cool kids call it "the boiler MACT.") Most review and discussion of these rules so far has been silent on the most significant aspect: they introduce output-based emissions standards. As Grist readers know, I've been preaching the virtues of output-based standards for years now -- this is a wonky subject, but one greens would do well to understand. Output-based standards have been adopted by several states, but somewhat haphazardly, in part because of a lack of consistent EPA …

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Mistakes economists make, climate/energy edition

Economist Tyler Cowen has a list of mistakes made by liberal and conservative economists. They are largely of the intellectual, "you're doing economics wrong" sort. I'm more interested in Ezra Klein's subsequent list of mistakes economists make in their interactions with journalists and the political class. These are the ones that really grind my gears and often motivate my endless Twitter disputes with economists. (More fun than it sounds!) It's worth reading them all, but a couple jumped out as particularly germane to the world of climate/energy policy. If a policy makes sense only in the presence of a secondary …

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Japan is not a nuclear conflagration right now. Would we be so lucky?

President Carter leaving 3 Mile Island.Photo: The National ArchivesJapan has declared a state of emergency at the Fukushima nuclear reactor -- but thanks to good engineering, there's been no radiation leak and there's no risk of one. With more than 50 nuclear plants in the earthquake-vulnerable country, things would have been way worse without earthquake precautions in place. Does U.S. infrastructure have that kind of protection? Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, the top government spokesman, said the nuclear power plant developed a mechanical failure in the system needed to cool the reactor after it was shut down. He said the …

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The Climate Post: While Congress debates climate science, China and Europe move ahead

This picture is out of date. The race begun long ago, but the guy on the right is still pacing around trying to decide whether he should start.Republicans are far more skeptical of "global warming" than of "climate change," a study led by a University of Michigan psychologist found. Among Democrats, on the other hand, about 85 percent believe the planet is getting hotter and weather getting weirder, no matter which label you use. Meanwhile, in the U.S. Congress, hearings continued about a bill to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from protecting the environment -- specifically, "from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking …

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Climate activist Tim DeChristopher talks about his guilty verdict

Photo: (C) 2011 Daphne HougardDearest readers, I had the good fortune of sitting down to chat by phone with climate activist Tim DeChristopher the other day. I wanted to hear how he's doing and how he's feeling about being sent to the clink. Ever joyous in his resolve to stand up for what he believes in, Tim said, "I’m feeling surprisingly good for being a newly convicted felon." For those of you new to this story, Tim DeChristopher is one of my all-time heroes because of the creative, articulate actions he has taken to fight the political and economic forces …

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Watch Jon Stewart give Rand Paul a logic spanking on environmental regulations

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul went on Jon Stewart's show armed with talking points about environmental regulations. Bad move, Rand. Watch (starting around 1:50) as Jon Stewart gets him to admit that government regulations have made a huge positive difference for the environment: The Daily Show - Exclusive - Rand Paul Extended Interview Pt. 3Tags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook   Treehugger's summary gets right to the point: Now, the most important thing to keep in mind here is how Paul keeps repeating the refrain that "things are a lot better now" for the …

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Oil prices soar in spite of sharp increase in U.S. production under Obama

U.S. oil production last year rose to its highest level in almost a decade ... As a result, analysts believe the U.S. was the largest contributor to the increase in global oil supplies last year over 2009, and is on track to increase domestic production by 25 percent by the second half of the decade. Domestic oil production is soaring, but so are global prices. It should be obvious that yet more drilling can’t have any significant impact on oil prices -- particularly since the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has been making that precise point for years now. The …

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James Howard Kunstler: The old American dream is a nightmare

Photo: Charlie SamuelsThe Great Depression gave rise to hobos and Hoovervilles. The Roaring Nineties brought us what New York Times columnist David Brooks termed "bobos in paradise." Now our current round of layoffs and foreclosures has unceremoniously transferred millions of folks from the "affluent" to the "afflicted" category, exiling them from Brooks's mythical exurban Eden. But instead of setting up tents, these newly poor live in a perpetual state of nestlessness, couch-surfing, or flitting from one basement rec room to the next. And rather than revisiting Hooverville, they've given our national landscape the barely-lived in, already abandoned suburban ghost towns …

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More drilling won’t help

We have a problem we can't drill our way out of.Photo: arbyreedCross-posted from the Center for American Progress. Unrest in Libya and Egypt is driving up oil prices, stirring concerns that gasoline could hit $5 a gallon by summer. Like a smoker's persistent cough, it's another warning to change our ways. America sends nearly $1 billion daily overseas to purchase oil [PDF], which is nearly half the trade deficit. Nearly 20 percent of our oil imports come from the Persian Gulf, where instability causes roller coaster prices. "Drill, baby, drill" won't get us out of this mess. We have only 2 percent of world …

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How does China’s 12th Five-Year Plan address energy and the environment?

China's got ambition.Cross-posted from the World Resources Institute. The post was written by Deborah Seligsohn, WRI's principal advisor on climate and energy in Beijing, and Angel Hsu, doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. The draft of China's much-anticipated 12th Five-Year Plan was released this Saturday, March 5 at the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC). The plan will actually be brought to a vote at the close of the session later this week. While there may be some changes to the plan, in past years these have not been large. The 118-page draft …