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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Clean energy investment tops $1 trillion

Somewhere, sometime in the past few weeks, the trilionth dollar to be invested in clean energy made its way into the budget of some co-generation plant, wind farm, solar company, or electric vehicle innovator. To be more specific, this is the trillionth dollar to be invested since Bloomberg New Energy Finance started counting in 2004. Here's what the group's analysts know about this mysterious investment: Like the recent birth of the world's seven billionth baby, it is impossible to pinpoint with certainty the one trillionth dollar of investment. However it is almost certain it took place during the last two …

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Jon Huntsman, how could you?

Dear Jon Huntsman, You were the only Republican candidate to stand up for a truth that will have an immeasurable impact on every generation of humans from now until the earth crashes into the sun and the universe forgets what love even was. When you cravenly reversed yourself on climate change, you broke my heart. Sure, it was the only way to make yourself look even a little like a viable Republican candidate, but Jon, do you really want to be a Heather? Did what we shared mean nothing to you? Have fun explaining to your grandchildren that they have …

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Critical List: Huntsman goes right on climate change; the Mob goes green

Among Republican presidential candidates, denouncing climate science is like a bug. They all have it now. Even Jon Huntsman. Ban Ki-Moon is not particularly hopeful about the prospects of success at Durban. Justifiably. Britain is losing three-quarters of its butterfly species. Katharine Hayhoe is a climatologist and evangelical Christian, which means she spends a lot of her time speaking with Christian colleges and church groups about why climate change is a matter of fact, not faith. The Mob is going green.

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Hungary destroys 1,000 acres of Monsanto maize

Genetically modified seeds are banned in Hungary. So when government regulators found that 1,000 acres of maize had been planted with genetically modified seeds, they just plowed the suckers under. You stick it to the Monsanto, Hungary! Leaving aside the fact that this sort of sweep-the-checkers-off-the-board move is always kind of badass, this is also some amazingly thorough government regulation. For starters, they were willing to take collateral damage -- only some of the seeds on those 1,000 acres were Monsanto-born Frankenmaize, but they destroyed it all despite the fact that it was too late to plant more. Also, these …

Read more: Food

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Bad guys bicker over Gulf oil spill

Apparently today is the day we talk about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill? The White House released its year-in-the-making report about what needs to be done for cleanup ("more better things"), and now it looks like BP is still trying to palm off blame. They're claiming that Halliburton, which produced the cement used to seal the faulty well, hid evidence that their product was defective. BP has apparently gotten sick of paying for cleanup efforts, because they've filed papers in a New Orleans federal court that accuse Halliburton of hiding computer modeling evidence that would have shown their cement …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil

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Prius is the only survivor of $3 million car crash

A car crash in Japan that's being hailed as the most expensive ever, even though it totally wasn't, totaled eight Ferraris, a Lamborghini, and three Mercedes...es. (Ugh, I just looked it up and Mercedes looks like a fifth-declension noun with the nominative plural "Mercedes," so I can't even make up a cutesy Latinate plural, WHATEVER LATIN.) Nobody was seriously injured, so you can feel free to point and laugh a little bit at the 1 percent getting their fancy toys smashified (to the tune of an estimated $3 million, no less). Here's where it gets really funny, though: The crash …

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White House goals for cleaning the Gulf: Fix stuff

After the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, the Obama administration decided to dig deep into the environmental problems that faced the Gulf Coast and, in the way of governments everywhere, set up a task force to study the issues. This week, that task force released its report. According to the report’s introduction, the president's directive to study these issues was "an important commitment to the Gulf Coast community that went beyond the crisis of the moment and recognized the decades of significant and persistent decline the region has endured." In other words, a bunch of people just spent a year figuring …

Read more: Politics, Pollution

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Solar-powered tanning salon. Really.

This is real. Comedian Kyle Kinane spotted it while driving through the wasteland of unconquerable vacuity known as Southern California. The place is called Sunlounge, and it has a website and a Yelp page full of catty reviews from people who love to tan. Sunlounge says it gets 15 to 30 percent of the power it uses from solar panels on its roof. Here is a diagram of the energy transformations involved. Sunlight      ↓ Solar Panels      ↓ Inverter      ↓ Tanning bed      ↓ High-maintenance customers' burgeoning melanomas Needless to say, at least three of those steps are completely superfluous. Next time, …

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Poor nations demand stringent emissions deal, unicorns

At the ongoing climate talks in Durban, South Africa, 48 of the world's "Least Developed Countries" demanded that world governments sign an ambitious climate deal. By “ambitious” we mean it commits them to a level of atmospheric greenhouse gases lower than what's currently in the atmosphere. There’s a rider requiring free Pegasuses (Pegasi?) for all able-bodied children under the age of 12. The consortium "includes drought-prone states such as Ethiopia and Mali, those with long flat coastal zones such as Bangladesh and Tanzania, and Himalayan mountain states including Bhutan and Nepal for whom melting glaciers pose serious dangers," as well …

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Amazon deforestation decreasing … but not for long

Despite reports of localized deforestation and violence against rainforest activists, a study on deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon found that the number of square kilometers disappearing each year has hit a record low. But politics has a way of screwing up progress like this, and Brazilian politicians are voting today to weaken the forest code that contributed to the deforestation decline. Man! These guys might as well be American politicians. Nature reports that agricultural interests have backed the legislation, since trees do tend to get in the way of farming. But so does civilizational collapse, and as researchers have discovered, …