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Critical List: U.S. nuclear plants leak radioactive materials; Big Oil is the bad guy in Cars 2

Three quarters of nuclear power plants in the U.S. have leaked radioactive tritium. The White House promised to put solar panels on its roof by the end of spring but didn't. Come on -- the environmental community can’t even get a symbolic gesture now? Throw us a bone, dude! Global warming was supposed to save a few lives by creating milder winters in which fewer people would freeze to death. But by 2040, deaths from heat waves will outstrips lives saved in the winter. Growing meat in a lab is waaay more energy efficient than growing meat in factory farms. …

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The small-c conservatism of U.S. power companies

Photo: Gerry BaldingLast week I put up a piece on "what the U.S. power industry thinks about the future of the U.S. power industry," reposting results from a survey of U.S. power utility managers and executives. Just in case you're not inclined to read through hundreds of words of survey results and charts (what's wrong with you?!), I thought I'd pull out a few take-home lessons. The main lesson -- the meta-lesson, if you will -- is that the U.S. power sector remains, on average, extremely conservative. I don't mean ideologically conservative, but small-c conservative: biased in favor of the …

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NY Times lets dirty energy soil its op-ed page

Robert Bryce.Cross-posted from The Great Energy Challenge. Just as the traditional news media began its current freefall of layoffs, staff cuts, closures, and substitution of ideology for journalism, The New York Times, thank goodness, decided to double down on good (albeit not perfect) journalism. That's why it’s baffling to see a dirty-energy front-group operative, Robert Bryce, getting a seat last week next to Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof on the Times’ opinion page, with a piece of pro-dirty energy propaganda, without having to say if he’s paid by dirty energy. I remember from journalism school that opinion pages are run separately from the news …

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How oil and gas companies that deny climate change are adapting to it anyway

Next to agriculture, the industry most vulnerable to climate change is, arguably, the extraction of the very fossil fuels that are causing it, says Michael Cote at GOOD. And while this industry is spending millions to deny that climate change even exists and to block efforts to deal with it, it's also going to need to spend billions to cope with its effects. Sure, climate change sucks harder than a collapsed star, but at least it's leading to ironies so vast that only particles of sputtering dumbfoundedness can escape. With climate change come the obvious gotchas: Not all drilling platforms …

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Your tax dollars subsidize the sh*t out of coal

If you're a fan of a certain dried-leaves-boiled-in-water-related political party, you might believe that renewable energy is the recipient of huge amounts of government largesse, and that the first thing we should do once we get our guy or gal into office is slash all that wasteful spending. But wait! It turns out coal gets way, way more subsidies for electricity generation. The situation is almost as ugly as this graph, which looks like Claudia Kishi's sweater drawer.

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Humanity's energy dilemma in three easy charts

For 60 years, BP has been gathering data for its widely respected Statistical Review of World Energy, a yearly compendium of info on global energy use. In 2011, for the first time, it published a forward-looking analysis to go with: the BP Energy Outlook 2030. The Outlook combines long-term energy trends with educated guesses about the course of economic growth, policy, and technology, resulting in BP's "judgment of the likely path of global energy markets to 2030." The document can thus be read as a distillation of what today's elites expect in the next 20 years. And what they expect …

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Is natural gas becoming a cover for the same old dirty fossil fuels industry?

One of the great ironies of the transition to renewable energy is that it's going to require a great deal of fossil fuels to build all those wind turbines, solar panels, and smart grids -- because we simply don't have enough renewables already in the mix to bootstrap them up to the level we need to continue even a semblance of our 21st century civilization. So why not make that transition with the "cleanest" fossil fuel available, goes the argument -- namely, natural gas. So far so good. But lately, in op-eds in places like The New York Times and …

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Why does American Electric Power hate your children?

.bbpBox80268799235993601 {background:url(http://a0.twimg.com/images/themes/theme1/bg.png) #C0DEED;padding:20px;} p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata{display:block;width:100%;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid #fff;border-top:1px solid #e6e6e6} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author{line-height:19px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author img{float:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px} p.bbpTweet a:hover{text-decoration:underline}p.bbpTweet span.timestamp{font-size:12px;display:block} AEP really is coordinating their PR today. WV, OK and IN media all have stories about costs of EPA compliance. http://t.co/Zgvsgkrless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplySean Casten SeanCasten This morning American Electric Power is waging a not-so-secret -- and not terribly subtle -- campaign to build sentiment against EPA regulations that would force it to shut down or clean up its oldest, filthiest coal-fired power plants. One of the …

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A three-step plan to solve the fossil fuel crisis

(from Fake Science) Brilliant in its simplicity. Even better: Since we may be approaching the carbon levels that killed the dinosaurs in the first place, we could just let the fossil fuels we burn kill the cloned dinos all by themselves.

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Three energy developments that are changing your life — and not in a good way

This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom's kind permission. Here's the good news about energy: Thanks to rising oil prices and deteriorating economic conditions worldwide, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that global oil demand will not grow this year as much as once assumed, which may provide some temporary price relief at the gas pump. In its May "Oil Market Report," the IEA reduced its 2011 estimate for global oil consumption by 190,000 barrels per day, pegging it at 89.2 million barrels daily. As a result, retail prices may not reach the stratospheric …