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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Japan (shockingly!) gives up on further nuclear power

Once irradiated, twice shy: Japan is giving up on plans for future nuclear reactors after the disaster at Fukushima. The country had planned to build 14 more reactors by 2030, aiming to provide 50 percent of its electricity supply with nuclear power. Now, those plans are off the table, says Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Of course, new reactors might -- or might not -- have fared better in a natural disaster than the slightly antiquated Fukushima Daiichi plant. But regardless of the technical details, there's a huge public opinion barrier to get past. And public opinion seems to be …

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Nine of the 10 loudest climate-denying scientists tied to Exxon

Climate change deniers like to point out that they have scientists on their side, too. But an analysis of more than 900 papers supporting climate skepticism showed that about 20 percent of those papers came from the same 10 scientists, and nine of them, according to The Carbon Brief, have ties to ExxonMobil. Eight of the scientists were directly connected to organizations that took money from Exxon, and one other only showed up on papers written with an Exxon-affiliated scientist. Only one of those 10 could claim to be independent of the oil giant. (He or she probably had other …

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Tired of the climate change battle? How about a climate change RAP battle?

Is that global warming, or am I just flushing in embarrassment? This awful/awesome rap about anthropogenic climate change lets actual climate scientists take the stage for once -- and then proceed to make fools of themselves. We learned several things from the video: There's no denying this: Climate change is real! (real real real) Climate scientists are really, REALLY white. No, I mean like, they are worse rappers than Flight of the Conchords. By a significant margin. Also, maybe not everything sounds better autotuned. On the other hand, you gotta give them props for going balls to the wall. How many …

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Critical List: Biofuels kinda suck, biomass kinda sucks, Toys ‘R’ Us embraces solar

The Fish and Wildlife Service has promised to evaluate the endangered status of 251 species in the next six years, if only so those pesky enviros will be quiet for a bit. The country's largest rooftop solar-energy field will be installed in New Jersey, at a Toys "R" Us distribution center. No word on when the Barbie Dream House will go green, though. Three senators released a bill that would cut subsidies to oil companies. Don't pat yourself on the back for flying on a plane that uses biofuels: If the fuel comes from palm oil grown on land converted …

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The bike economy is booming

We don't want to underestimate Americans' ability to buy things they don't use, but bike sales were up 9 percent this quarter. There was an even bigger jump -- 29 percent -- in sales of road bikes, implying that people are using their new vehicles to commute. Gas-powered scooter sales went up even more -- those are still gas-powered, duh, but a hell of a lot more environmentally friendly than a car. Is this because of $4-a-gallon gas? It's too early to tell, but it seems reasonable. Then again, it could be because of increased bike-friendliness. The federal government has …

Read more: Biking, Cities

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Two hours of your work day goes to paying for your car

Americans work 500 hours a year -- two hours every work day -- just to pay for their cars, says James Schwartz of the blog The Urban Country. That's 12 and a half working weeks. Basically, you only work to pay your rent, feed your family, clothe yourself, buy iPad apps, etc. through about the end of September. The rest of the year, your ass belongs to your car. Schwartz based his calculations on the average car-owning household, which has more cars than working adults -- 2.28 cars and 1.147 full-time wage earners on average. Jesus, no wonder our economy …

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Penguins are losing ground in Antarctica

Although climate change guarantees that all penguins are screwed in the long term, some are more screwed than others. On the Antarctic peninsula, Adélie penguins have lost almost 90 percent of their population over the past three decades -- while the population of gentoo penguins, which don't need ice to survive, has grown by 14,000 percent, according to The New York Times. South of the Antarctic Peninsula, though, in the Ross Sea, the Adélie penguins are having a bit of a renaissance. Human-caused environmental f*ckery is actually increasing the ice cover in this area, for the moment; winds shifted by …

Read more: Animals

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Peabody Coal’s new site is too awful to be believed, but some of you believed it anyway

Hey, did you hear about Peabody Coal's unconscionable new site, Coalcares.org? They're offering free Dora the Explorer and Justin Bieber-branded inhalers to kids living near coal plants! They have a "Kidz Koal Korner" with these cartoon characters called "Puff" and "Ash," and they say clean energy will kill you, and they want to make kids think asthma is cool because coal pollution causes asthma! It's like something out of the Onion! It almost reads like a spoof site! It ... oh. Yeah, if you retweeted an angry tweet or signed a hasty petition (ETA: Which was apparently part of the hoax, …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Coal

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U.S. finally catching up to rest of world on solar

In the U.S., solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are, somewhat unexpectedly, suddenly the belle of the renewable energy ball -- and their dance card is wide open. There is now more solar PV capacity planned for the immediate future than any other renewable you can name. Wind, solar thermal, geothermal -- it's like they all showed up at prom in powder-blue tuxes and Trump hair, and now they can't get a date with an investor. More than four gigawatts of solar PV are "in development" as of the end of 2010, which is almost as much as the entire sun-baked country …

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Saudi Arabia scrambling to get off own oil, build 5 gigawatts of solar power by 2020

What do you do when you're basically a giant welfare state whose stability depends on keeping the money tap open, yet your population is set to double and your electricity consumption to triple by 2032? If you're Saudi Arabia, the answer is build renewable energy as fast as you can. The first volley is a goal of 5 gigawatts of solar power by 2020. That's an enormous amount of generating capacity to build in just 9 years -- fully a third of Germany's entire installed base. The idea is that replacing the country's current energy mix with renewables will free …