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Fossil Fuels

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Fossil fuel industries kill and injure an awful lot of their workers

Oil production and oil refining has killed 77 workers and injured over 7,000 in the last 40 years.Cross-posted from the Center for American Progress. This post was coauthored by Valeri Vasquez, special assistant for energy policy at the Center for American Progress. On the one-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the Massey coal mine explosion in West Virginia, we are reminded how dangerous our dependence on fossil fuels can be. A large cost of our reliance on these energy sources is the death or injury of workers in these industries. Transitioning to cleaner energy technologies such …

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Rachel Maddow helps us all feel more informed, terrified about deepwater drilling

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy Here's Rachel Maddow last week, having a conversation with an anthropomorphic personification of human malevolence known as Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement director Michael Bromwich. (Seriously, the dude is grim. Does the Bureau not have a magical nonthreatening pansexual spokesthing they can send out to talk to the media?) Bromwich had some scary things to say about the recently-rekindled deepwater permitting process. Among other things, he doesn't know nor apparently particularly care why drilling in U.S. waters has such a relatively high fatality rate. …

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Goldman Environmental Prize winners give the rest of us a kick in the pants

It’s like the Oscars for the Patagonia set. Every April, just before Earth Day, San Francisco’s environmental community comes together at the city’s Opera House to laud six grassroots activists from around the globe, whose stories enrage and inspire. The prize offers recipients $150,000 to use as they see fit and international recognition that confers respect on their endeavors, pressures their local governments to act, and even bolsters their personal safety. This year's ceremony was particularly poignant as it was the first without prize founder Richard Goldman, who died last fall at age 90. Goldman and his wife Rhoda founded …

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Japan could rebuild faster with renewables, says report

In the wake of severe natural disasters, how is Japan going to get its electrical infrastructure back online? The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability has an answer, and it's anything but business as usual. By deploying a mix of renewables and energy efficiency technology, they argue, Japan's need for electricity could be met three years sooner than through nuclear and conventional fossil fuel power. All told, Japan's earthquake and tsunami have knocked out at least 15,000 megawatts of electricity generating capacity -- that's greater than the total summer peak demand for all of New York City. The plants that …

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Natural gas from fracking is worse for climate than coal, says new study

Photo: Erland HowdenNatural gas obtained through "fracking" -- the increasingly common process of splitting open underground deposits with high pressure chemicals -- now has an even bigger strike against it than its potential to contaminate regional water supplies. Fracking, it turns out, yields more global warming per unit of energy than coal -- at least 20 percent more, and possibly up to twice as much. Those are the bombshell findings of a new study [PDF] released by a trio of scientists at Cornell University. It turns out that after the fracking process, when the high-pressure drilling fluid is flowing back …

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FX’s ‘Justified’ features mountaintop-removal mining controversy [VIDEO]

One of the best new shows to hit TV in years is Justified, on FX. For one thing, it's got one of my favorite actors, Timothy Olyphant, doing a variation on the strong, silent, badass type he played in Deadwood -- this time as a U.S. marshal. Timothy Olyphant on FX's Justified. Justified is about a culture that is virtually absent from national popular entertainment: Appalachia. It's set in Harlan County, Ky., and portrays the hardscrabble life there with a degree of empathy that surprised me when I first watched. (The entertainment industry is not known for its sensitivity to …

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350.org and 1Sky merge into one mass climate movement

Let's get together -- yeah, yeah, yeah.We environmentalists hear this periodically from friends and family and other concerned citizens: "I wish there weren't so many groups. It's confusing. I don't know who to volunteer for. Wouldn't it work better if you all got together?" This isn't quite as obvious as it sounds. Different groups have sprung up at different times to fill different niches. You wouldn't look out at a marsh and say, "It would be much nicer if there were just one kind of frog to keep track of." Diversity has some very real purposes. But there are moments …

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America’s energy use, in one nifty chart

Periodically, it's nice to step back and get reacquainted with some energy basics. There's no better way to do it than with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's famed (or oughtta be famed) energy flow charts. Here's the most recent, from 2009 (click for larger version): Chart: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory I'm not going to ruin the pretty picture with a bunch of wonk talk. Just a few basic things that are worth noticing: 1. Holy sh*t we waste a lot of energy! I mean seriously. Look up there in the top right -- "rejected energy." Well over half of the raw …

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Paul Ryan’s Big Oil budget halts energy innovation

Rep. Paul Ryan.Photo: Gage SkidmoreCross-posted from the Center for American Progress. House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) proposed fiscal year 2012 budget resolution is a backward-looking plan that would benefit Big Oil companies at the expense of middle-class Americans. It retains $40 billion in Big Oil tax loopholes while completely eliminating investments in the clean energy technologies of the future that are essential for long-term economic growth. This budget would lock Americans into paying high, volatile energy prices. It would ensure that millions of clean energy jobs are created oversees -- not here in the United States. It is …

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Future of Pennsylvania is dystopian wasteland studded with natural gas wells

Time's cover story "Could Shale Gas Power the World?" is all about how we're going to get ourselves out of our current energy crisis by turning the Marcellus shale formation into a hydrocarbon war zone pockmarked with loud, noxious natural gas wells. The reserves in question happen to be underneath some of the most densely populated portions of America, including Pennsylvania and New York. Extracting the gas beneath this land requires fracking, which has been implicated as a threat to drinking water supplies and local air quality. Things are pretty bad around fracking wells already, but full exploitation of this …