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Geoengineering could boost crop production, says study

Adding tiny, sunlight-blocking particles to the upper atmosphere -- a.k.a. the “artificial volcano” approach to geoengineering -- could help crops avoid the effects of global warming, lowering temperatures so that they're more to plants' liking, says a new study appearing in Nature Climate Change. (Here's the press release.)

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Ex-employee says BP fired him for trying to clean up oil

In November 2011, BP fired an employee named August Walter, who had been working on clean-up of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Now, Wilson says the company fired him because he wouldn't help gloss over its clean-up shortcuts. He’s suing BP in federal court.

BP and the Coast Guard are working on the clean-up together, and there's a plan they're supposed to follow. Walter says BP was not following the plan correctly and also hadn't made enough progress to meet scheduled deadlines.

Read more: Oil

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Climate change danger: Arsenic in the water supply

Droughts, climate change, and resource-intensive dairy farming have joined forces to make Mexico's Laguna Region, once well-stocked with ponds, into a semi-arid semi-wasteland. Oh, and the drinking water is full of arsenic and it's giving everyone cancer. Is this the most cheerful post we've ever written? Maybe!

Read more: Climate & Energy

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How two guys turned recycled coffee grounds into a gourmet mushroom empire

Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez were recent grads who were supposed to go into investment banking, but they became obsessed with the idea that mushrooms could be grown in old coffee grounds, reports Sarah Stankorb at GOOD. Faster than you can say "triple bottom line" they'd interested their local Whole Foods in their first batch of mushrooms -- grown in a bucket in the basement of Velez's fraternity.

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What did Obama say about energy last night?

We at Grist List know more or less how your State of the Union experience went last night: You intended to watch it, but oooooh, you forgot there was a new Downton Abbey episode you hadn't watched yet. You started watching the speech, but booooooring! You changed the channel/zoned out/got distracted by YouTube. Or you watched the speech but your drinking game involved a word that no one thought would come up. But then it did! Like a million times! Ugh, now you are hungover.

To help y'all out, we have condensed here the most important energy-related bits of the speech:

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Critical List: Obama boosts clean energy; Bingaman energy standard coming soon

"I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy," President Obama said in his State of the Union.

He didn't talk about fighting climate change, though. The state of the union is: unsurprised.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman says he'll release his proposal for a clean energy standard in the next few weeks.

Durban could actually turn out to be the most successful climate conference yet.

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Boehner invites pipeline pals to State o’ Union

As the camera pans around the Capitol chamber for President Obama's State of the Union address, see if you can spot the representatives from the state of Oil: four avid supporters of the Keystone XL Pipeline who will attend the speech as the guests of House Speaker John Boehner.

Read more: Climate Change, Politics

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Use of wood for home heating explodes as oil prices climb

Good news for biomass-based energy enthusiasts: Heating with wood is making a comeback. If tree carcasses are good enough to power the trucks of energy-starved North Korea, they're good enough for homesteaders in Maine! And more to the point, heating oil has gotten super expensive.

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Chinese firms selling solar panels for less than cost

Here comes that trade war over solar panels we've been hearing about -- the one that will have unfortunate consequences for the domestic rollout of solar power.

A forthcoming study by the federal government could finally set this snowball in motion. The study reveals that Chinese solar panel makers are selling their wares at a loss, either because they have the cash reserves to take the hit or because their government is propping them up, reports Kevin Bullis at Technology Review.

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Giant companies get real about climate adaptation

Who’s got billions of dollars and isn't going to wait for the GOP to arrive in the 21st century before they drop a significant portion of it on preparing for our climate-changed future? These guys, according to Marc Gunther at GreenBiz: