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Grist List: Look what we found.


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How climate change denial lets the fuel industry run politics, in one handy chart

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the climate change denial machine. Two sociologists, Riley E. Dunlap of Oklahoma State and Aaron M. McCright of Michigan State, have analyzed the patterns of influence and disinformation that power climate change denial in the United States. Some of their findings: No component of the denial machine is untouched by the fossil fuels industry. And by powering that central echo chamber, corporate interests and the fossil fuel industry have been able to strongly influence American politics. Nonetheless, it is reasonable to conclude that climate change denial campaigns in the U.S. have played a crucial role in …

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U.S. might meet its climate targets — by accident

How bad is the economy? So bad that we might actually meet our greenhouse gas emissions targets, laid out in 2009 at Copenhagen, by accident. Here's a chart, produced by Shell Oil's climate change advisor, explaining it visually. On the left is how much greenhouse gases we pumped into Mother Nature's climate hole in 2005. The second column shows the effects of our massive recession. (For example: America's use of oil has dropped to the point that we now use the same amount we used in 1996.) The third column shows an impending wave of retiring coal-fired power plants. If …

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Germany has so much wind energy, they'll pay you to take it

How much will switching to renewables raise your utility bill? How about NEGATIVE ALL OF IT? In Germany, wind and solar projects have regularly been generating so much surplus energy that utilities are paying consumers to take it off the grid. High winds -- although not that high, only 15 mph -- led to negative-price wind energy for nine hours on July 24, bringing Germany's total to 31 hours of below-zero-cost energy this year.  The companies hate this, obviously. Bloomberg's reporting about the phenomenon is all "OH GOD WIND CAUSES ECONOMIC DOOM": The gross margin at a coal power plant after …

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World's second tallest structure will power 100,000 homes a day with hot air

If a clean energy project in the Arizona desert goes forward, the second tallest structure on Earth will be a 2,600-foot solar updraft tower, which could last 80 years and generate 200 MW of electricity each day -- using only hot air. (Insert your own joke about how we could power Cleveland with Bill O’Reilly.) The tower works on the principle that hot air rises. In this case, it rises through the tower, turning turbines as it goes. The tower uses no water, and it works pretty much all the time, unlike wind and solar projects. (At night, the ground …

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Take a video tour of UMD’s prize-winning Solar Decathlon house

The Chesapeake Bay's sad state has yielded on positive result: the bay ecosystem inspired the  University of Maryland's "WaterShed" house, which won the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon over the weekend. You can take a tour of the house above. WaterShed features solar panels, a green roof, a rain harvesting system, solar thermal water heating, sink and shower water filtration, "constructed wetlands" instead of gardens, and an indoor waterfall (!) that helps control humidity. It won the architecture competition and received a perfect score on "energy balance." It also came in second on market appeal. And unlike some of the …

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Coal energy drink keeps you going — until it all runs out

Brought to you by the comedians at the Renewable Energy Accountability Project.

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Critical List: Green jobs program flounders; India calls Monsanto out on biopiracy

Oof. Only 10 percent of people the Labor Department trained for green jobs have found work. Using solar energy to extract oil must be the ultimate example of greenwashing. In Afghanistan, networking generators together can relieve 7,900 fuel trucks of their duties and keep soldiers from risking their lives to bring oil into the country. India's accusing Monsanto of biopiracy for stealing eggplant and creating a GM version without permission. America's not the only country guilty of underwriting fossil fuel consumption: In 2010, subsidies lowered fuel prices by $110 billion more than they did in 2009, according to the International …

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Graphic: The sad state of American forests

The New York Times has an interactive infographic about the state of forests worldwide. Here's North America. The orange area has been decimated by the mountain pine beetle -- warmer winters mean the beetles live longer and simultaneously make the trees more vulnerable. And the bright red spots lost between 20 and 88 percent of their forested area between 2000 and 2005. (Lighter red areas lost less than 20 percent.)

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U.K. plants think it's spring again

Anyone who was sighing "Oh, to be in England, now that spring is here" back in April get another shot now. The weather has been so unseasonably warm that flowers are starting a second blooming season. Robert Browning would be psyched. The U.K. has been having some wackadoodle weather for a while now. First there was a drought, then an August cold snap that had autumn leaves showing up early, and now a second spring that's flummoxing the royal gardeners: "It is a very unsual year...I've been gardening for 30 years and have never seen anything like this," said [Royal …