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Climate change too slow for Hollywood, too fast for the rest of us

It's always been hard to get people to take global warming seriously because it happens too slowly. Not slowly in geological terms -- by century's end, according to the consensus scientific prediction, we'll have made the planet warmer than it's been in tens of millions of years. But slowly in NBC Nightly News terms. From day to day, it's hard to discern the catastrophe, so we don't get around to really worrying. Something else -- the battle for Fallujah, the presidential election, the spread of SARS, the Jacksonian mammary -- is always more immediate, and evolution seems to have engineered …

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Schwarzenegger’s “Green Hummer” plan sparks cultish following

Does this look green to you? The Hummer has come to be associated with a number of things -- steroid-addled egomaniacs, over-compensating suburban dads, the highway to global-warming hell, even Monica Lewinsky's antics in the Oval Office ... But eco-friendly driving isn't one of them. Unless, of course, you travel in the "Green Hummer" underground, quietly developing in California thanks to the former steroid-addled egomaniac himself, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). The Governator claims to have traded in his Hollywood-powered ego for an eco-empowered worldview. Early in his gubernatorial campaign last year, Schwarzenegger presented a convincing motive for cleaning up California's …

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Christian leaders challenge Bush’s environmental policy

Almighty God, your word of creation caused the water to be filled with many kinds of living beings and the air to be filled with birds ... Thank you for seeds and soil, green stem and air. For fruit on the vine, then falling fruit rotting on the moist ground, then new seed again ... We pray for your wisdom for all who live on this earth that we may wisely manage and not destroy what you have made for us. Goin' to the chapel. Photo: Cumberland Presbyterian Church. So spake a reverend at Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tenn., …

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Marianne Horinko, high-ranking EPA official, steps down

The language is increasingly familiar: "I'm leaving at this time in order to spend more quality time with my family. ... I realize that I need to devote more time and energy to being [a] wife and mom." Marianne Horinko. Photo: U.S. EPA. Yep, another beleaguered Bush appointee at the U.S. EPA bites the dust. Christine Todd Whitman flew the coop last spring, and yesterday one of her right-hand women -- Marianne Lamont Horinko, the assistant EPA administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response -- announced that she will follow suit on June 1. Horinko served as …

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Demetrio do Amaral de Carvalho champions East Timor’s environment

De Carvalho. Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize. East Timor is the world's newest country. Once a Portuguese colony, the tiny Southeast Asian nation covers half of a 300-mile-long coral island. When Portugal withdrew from the island in the mid-1970s, East Timor became a disputed territory, and for decades it was devastated by civil war and Indonesian military occupation. When the East Timorese people voted for independence in 1999, Indonesian-backed militias looted and burned throughout the island, killing residents and forcing an estimated 500,000 people from their homes. In late 1999, Portugal and Indonesia both agreed to the United Nations' assumption of …

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Study finds mandatory caps work better than voluntary programs to limit pollution

Smokestacking the deck? Photo: USGS. This just in, from the Department of Near-Tautologies: Mandatory emissions caps rein in power-plant pollution more effectively than voluntary programs. That's the conclusion being drawn from a report on the environmental records of the 100 largest electricity companies in the U.S., released last week by an alliance of bottom-liners and tree-huggers, including the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc., New Jersey's largest utility. Some folks might regard that conclusion as a no-brainer, but those folks don't work for the Bush administration -- it's …

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The Hydrogenator

California Governor Gives a Boost to Hydrogen Infrastructure California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is trying to kick-start the so-called hydrogen revolution. Yesterday, he signed an executive order establishing a public-private partnership aimed at building a network of some 200 hydrogen fueling stations in the state by 2010, at an estimated cost of $100 million. (California is in dire financial straits, so the money is expected to come from private investment and federal funds.) If successful, the plan could mark a metamorphosis in transportation, but there's no shortage of skeptics. A recent study by the National Academy of Sciences predicted it …

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New “quiet” snowmobiles in Yellowstone are anything but

A vroom with a view. Photo: Greater Yellowstone Coalition. You might think a winter job in the snowy recesses of Yellowstone National Park would guarantee perks along the lines of, say, peace and quiet. Au contraire. In light of a recent study conducted for the National Park Service, many Yellowstone employees are being advised to don hearing protection fit for a rock-and-roll roadie -- all thanks to the relentless drone of snowmobiles in the park. "The Bush administration tried to assure us that in the snowmobile issue, like so many others, technology is the answer -- that simply upgrading engine …

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An interview with Bush’s point person on species and parks

Craig Manson. Craig Manson is the man President Bush selected to protect America's critters. And like many top dogs in this administration, he's not exactly considered a good friend of the environmental community. As assistant interior secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks, Manson implements the Endangered Species Act, determines the direction of the National Park System and the Fish and Wildlife Service, and oversees some 30,000 employees. Manson took a roundabout path to his post within the Bush administration, via the Air Force, a law practice, the California Department of Fish and Game, and a judgeship in the Superior Court …

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