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Grist List: Look what we found.


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State Dept. might reroute Keystone XL

The State Department seems to be seriously weighing a change in the path that the Keystone XL pipeline would take. A change in the route would be a victory for the pipeline's opponents, but only a partial one. There are two main environmental concerns connected to the pipeline project. One is the potential for spills in environmentally sensitive areas. Routing the pipeline around those spots would address some of those concerns. (For whatever reason, State didn't even consider that there might be more than one pathway the pipeline could take before enviros started objecting to the project.) The other concern …

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Oil and gas reps suggest using counterinsurgency tactics on fracking opponents

It's obvious that the natural gas industry has no love for opponents of fracking in places like Pennsylvania. But recordings from an industry meeting reveal that the industry's animosity goes a little deeper than mere irritation -- they think of opponents as an "insurgency" that should be handled with techniques developed to fight terrorism in the Middle East. Sharon Wilson, who directs Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project, provided the recordings to CNBC. They're from an oil industry conference held last week in Houston. In the recordings, one communications director says that his company has "several former psy ops folks …

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Baby boomers are the worst for the climate

At what age does a person do the most damage to the climate? According to a new study, between about 45 and 80. Starting at birth, a person’s carbon dioxide emissions sprint up and up and up, until they hit their peak at age 65. But by 80, a person's emissions are down to 13.1 metric tons. That's about the same amount of emissions they were creating at age 45. Another way of looking at this is that as people get older (and, presumably, make more money) they just keep consuming more stuff. But then they retire and have less …

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Critical List: Humanity is locking in dangerous climate change; California has 1 GW of solar

The International Energy Agency says that within the next five years humanity is likely to fritter away its last chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. Also, the world's still giving more support to fossil fuels than renewable energy—six times as much, when measured in state subsidies. The Obama administration wants to open up offshore areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska for drilling in the next five years. An asteroid came within 202,000 miles of Earth, which in space terms is very, very close—closer than any other piece of space rock has been in more than 30 years. China …

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Ethanol is making crap food more expensive than ever

If you're a fan of Uno's pizza, O'Charley's, White Castle, or, god forbid, P.F. Chang's, you have only our government's stubborn love of ethanol subsidies to blame for the increasing cost of your favorite meals, report the gumshoes at Nation's Restaurant News. If you’re not a fan, though, don’t go celebrating with a delicious home-cooked meal just yet. It's actually even worse if you're buying your food at the grocery store and cooking at home. But even though the diversion of corn for ethanol use is contributing to higher food costs throughout the country, the restaurant industry is not passing …

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Dalai Lama supports nuclear power, disses wind and solar

In a news conference in Tokyo, the Dalai Lama told his increasingly anti-nuclear hosts that nuclear power is an important solution for underdeveloped countries still grappling with basic energy poverty. His talking points were almost identical to those of stateside nuclear advocates, including discussions of the risks of nuclear accidents compared to other everyday risks. The Wall Street Journal reports: … [H]e warned that no amount of preparation can completely rule out danger. Riding a car, eating a meal, and even sitting in the very venue of the news conference always comes with a degree of risk: “There is still …

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Climate change solves missing persons case

Texas woman Brenda Kay Oliver has been missing since July 12, 2008, when she disappeared without a trace. Now her beige 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo has been discovered in a drought-lowered lake in Martins Mill, Texas. Investigators don’t believe foul play was a factor in her death. But you don't need a smoking gun to know that climate change was a factor in her discovery.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Solar companies fight to the death

Are we done mourning the death of Solyndra yet? Because, according to solar executives, it's just going to be the first victim in a Highlander-style fight among solar companies to prove who is best. One Chinese exec predicts that two-thirds of solar companies could disappear by 2015. Part of the story here is that certain companies in the industry are seriously winning the future. Just six manufacturers dominated panel sales in this year's second quarter, accounting for 55 percent of the market, according to Bloomberg. This isn't a problem for the industry as a whole, or for consumers -- only …

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Study: Climate-related events cost the health-care system $14 billion

A new study, spearheaded by the Natural Resources Defense Council and published in the current issue of Health Affairs, puts a price tag on climate-related health effects -- and it is steep. All told, the study says, climate change-related events have burdened the U.S. health-care system with $14 billion in costs, and accounted for 1,689 premature deaths, 8,992 hospitalizations, and 21,113 emergency room visits. The study considered costs associated with smog pollution, heat waves, hurricanes, wildfires, mosquito-borne diseases, and flooding. Some of these cases of death, injury, and disease aren't necessarily related to climate change; there have been flooding deaths since …

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How the EPA and states are failing to keep air clean

NPR and iWatch News* have a monster report out about the ways the Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators have failed to crack down on air polluters. Here's the takeaway point: While some business and political leaders, including President Obama, increasingly warn of the impacts of overregulation on the foundering economy, many ordinary Americans face health risks from hazards that could have been limited through better policing. The report documents how the EPA and state regulators recognize pollution problems and identify "high priority violators" but do not crack down quickly enough to keep communities safe and free of health problems. …

Read more: Pollution