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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Critical List: EPA comments on Keystone XL coming soon; Moscow catches the green bug

The EPA is going to release its comments on Keystone XL soon. Also, John Kerry's on the case. America at last launched a NASA satellite to observe the weather and climate of all the earth. And Al Gore rejoiced. No pesto for you! Pine nuts are the latest food to carry salmonella. Environmental laws aren't only killing jobs, they're giving criminals free rein over borderlands, says Congress. Moscow catches the green bug.

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Leaded gas goes the way of the dodo

The sign on the gas pump saying "unleaded" will soon be a quaint anachronism, like the sign on the plane saying "No Smoking." A successful push by the Natural Resources Defense Council to phase out leaded gas worldwide is rushing leaded gas towards the same fate as smallpox -- total elimination by a public health campaign. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), working with NRDC in the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, today announced toxic lead has been removed from gasoline in more than 175 countries worldwide – representing near-global eradication. A new, independent scientific analysis shows the result …

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Facebook is building a renewable-powered mini-town in the Arctic

Facebook is building a server farm in northern Sweden, on the edge of the Arctic circle. The average temperatures there are so cold that they won't need to use anything but the outside air to cool 600,000 square feet of servers. But even so, the server farm will use as much power as 16,000 homes. In effect, Facebook is building its own little city for its servers. Fortunately, Facebook has picked its site well: The server farm will be close to a hydropower plant that produces twice as much electricity as the Hoover Dam. The dam on the nearby Luleå river …

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Solar and wave power solution: Fill the ocean with balls

Designer Phil Pauley wants to coat our oceans with floating solar cell-covered balls. Their buoyancy could also make them viable as a wave-power system. It's purely conceptual at this stage, and with good reason: Until recently, wave power hasn't fared well as an alternative energy. Anything that goes in the ocean is subject to immense forces (water being so much denser than air) plus "fouling," which is the inevitable accretion of biological material, from the microscopic on up to barnacles, that eventually encrusts most ocean-going debris so thoroughly that it eventually sinks. So while these marine solar cells would probably …

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Would you wear fish-skin shoes? Manolo Blahnik thinks you would

Designer Manolo Blahnik, who makes wildly expensive footwear, is launching a line of shoes made with sustainable or recycled material, like "raffia, cork and tilapia skins." Ooh, this is a good idea! What about tin foil? What about banana skins? What about Kleenex boxes? They are already practically shoes! In all seriousness, it's kind of cool (and kind of greenwashy) to incorporate discarded material into your luxury goods. Bring the idea of reuse to the 1 percent, you know? But I can't honestly believe status-conscious Manolo Blahnik customers would wear tilapia shoes. Tilapia is so cheap! Have you no shoes …

Read more: Living

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Watch a robot ride a bicycle

Man, it's not enough that robots take over all our jobs -- now they have to steal our commute?

Read more: Biking, Cities

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Is the Keystone XL pipeline actually worse than the alternatives?

Believe it or not, intelligent, informed people who are passionate about preserving a livable climate disagree about whether or not the Keystone XL pipeline is a target worthy of environmental ire. Keystone XL has been called "game over for the climate" by none other than NASA climate scientist James Hansen, and Bill McKibben (full disclosure: he sits on Grist's board) has gotten himself arrested in order to stop its construction. Protests against Keystone XL have been popping up all over. But an important piece by Lloyd Alter in (of all places) Treehugger points out that tar sands oil is already …

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Flooding hits Italian countryside; climate change will bring more torrential rains

Americans may not care about weather-related disasters in places like Tuvalu, but it's possible that mudslides and flooding devastating some of Italy's most beautiful tourist ares will make a blip on the country's collective radar screen. (How will we prove we're cultured if Italy's one big mud pile?) Six people have died and hundreds more have been evacuated from Tuscany and Liguria. Hard-hit towns include Cinque Terre, the terraced city that makes you look automatically sexy and European in your tourist pictures. Italy's president, Giorgio Napolitano, did something totally crazy in response to this disaster: He went on television and …

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Democrats ask for investigation into Keystone XL

Congressional Democrats decided to stop being polite and start being real about the Keystone XL approval process. Twenty representatives had already petitioned Secretary of State Clinton to look into the issue, and now 14 members of Congress are calling for the State Department's inspector general to investigate. Given that at least some of the problem seems to come from inside the State Department, this is a little peculiar -- they're asking the IG to look into whether the relationship between State and TransCanada was too close for regulatory comfort. They're also requesting a re-review of the environmental analysis, which has been …

Read more: Uncategorized

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Critical List: Senators call for Keystone XL investigation; orangutans to take over islands

A group of senators asked the State Department inspector general to investigate improper influence on the Keystone XL decision. After Keystone XL protesters pushed Obama on the issue during a Colorado speech, the president said, "We're looking at it right now, all right? No decision has been made." Getting to Amsterdam-style bike nirvana requires more than just bike lanes. Laws, regulations, and enforcement all contribute. The Department of Interior is still investigating polar bear scientists and wants one to take a polygraph. We won't give the planet to the apes, but we're willing to hand over a few Indonesian islands.

Read more: Climate & Energy