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Apocalyptic Pentagon report on global warming could spur action on Capitol Hill

We're having a heat wave ... Image: NOAA. A hair-raising Pentagon report [PDF] on the potentially imminent and colossal national security threat posed by climate change has been making its way around the Internet since its release in late January, and this week it picked up considerable speed. Fortune magazine was the first major news outlet to cover the report; the "Climate Collapse" feature in its Jan. 26 issue raised many an eyebrow in business and Beltway circles. Then, this past Sunday, a somewhat more histrionic article on the report ran in the British Observer and has been swirling through …

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Garbage Cans and Garbage Can’ts

Federal Court Rules EPA Incineration Emission Standards Insufficient Federal standards governing emissions from garbage incinerators are inadequate and must be rewritten by the U.S. EPA, ruled the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., yesterday. The controversy over incineration emissions began in the 1980s, when garbage incinerators became common nationwide. The EPA issued a set of rules regulating these emissions in 1995. Industry attacked the rules, arguing that large and small incinerators should be governed by different standards, and the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the rules in 1996. In 2000, the EPA issued a new set of rules, which …

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Nader’s presidential bid is eliciting heated rhetoric from enviros

See Ralph run. Ralph Nader -- that alternately beloved and begrudged gadfly -- buzzed back onto the political scene Sunday with an announcement that he intends to mount yet another presidential campaign. Mainstream environmentalists, among others desperate to oust President Bush, were not amused. Speaking on Meet the Press, Nader sounded a familiar battle cry when he vowed to take on the "two-party duopoly" and "corporate-occupied territory" in Washington, D.C., where donkeys and elephants "are ferociously competing to see who's going to go to the White House and take orders from their corporate paymasters." But corporate-occupied as it may still …

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Apocalypse Later

Pentagon Report Details Apocalyptic Climate Change Scenario Major European cities are submerged and become uninhabitable. Famine spreads across the globe. Countries race to develop nuclear capabilities to fend off invaders seeking food and resources. China and India devolve into chaos. The U.S. becomes a large fortress to prevent an onslaught of millions of refugees. "Once again, warfare would define human life." 1950s B movie? Wild-eyed leftist fantasy? No, this is a scenario described in a secret Pentagon report commissioned by legendary defense strategist and uber-hawk Andrew Marshall (dubbed "Yoda" by colleagues for his extensive experience and influence). The report on …

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Bush plan to overhaul CAFE standards is a mixed bag

Clean up the bus, gus. Photo: NREL. The Bush administration has taken to singing the clean-car gospel lately, but it's not quite hitting all the notes. Last month, U.S. EPA chief Mike Leavitt joined Detroit kingpins in a splashy D.C. conference to trumpet the arrival of new vehicles and fuels that reduce sulfur emissions -- a notable achievement, but what Leavitt was passing off as a Bush administration success was in fact an initiative launched under President Clinton. Days later, Leavitt announced additional funding for the Clean School Bus USA program -- some $60 million to replace pre-1991 school buses …

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A More Perfect Union

Sierra Club and Auto Workers Unite Against Bush Fuel-Economy Plan Bush's new fuel-economy plan is even ticking off the United Auto Workers union. The UAW has often been at odds with enviros over auto efficiency standards, but now it's teaming up with the Sierra Club to fight the administration's proposal. In a joint op-ed published in The New York Times this week, the heads of both groups make the case that the plan would threaten the livelihoods of thousands of Americans working in plants that manufacture small cars and would increase pollution and worsen the nation's dependence on foreign oil. …

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Barton Fink

Big Recipient of Industry Money to Head House Energy Committee With Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) retiring at the end of this year, the plum leadership spot on the House Energy and Commerce Committee is poised to go to Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), a true friend of the energy industry if ever there was one. Barton has received more campaign contributions from the energy sector than any other single House member -- $1.6 million since 1989, when the Center for Responsive Politics began keeping records, the group said in a report this week. His biggest contributor in the current election cycle …

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North Dakota “reduces” pollution by measuring it differently

From Badlands to worse. Photo: NPS. To Theodore Roosevelt, a man who battled chronic asthma, the remote Badlands of North Dakota were as beloved for their fresh air as for their dramatic views and big game. "Wildflowers and sagebrush spiced the clean, dry North Dakotan breeze. Roosevelt's asthmatic lungs rejoiced in this air, as did his soul in the sheer size and emptiness of the landscape," Edmund Morris wrote in The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. Now ol' T.R. is probably spinning -- or wheezing -- in his grave. Just before Valentine's Day this year, the Bush administration gave the North …

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Science Friction

Top Scientists Accuse Bush Administration of Distorting Science The Bush administration, reeling from a series of unflattering stories and unfavorable poll numbers, took another kick in the pants yesterday when 60 of the world's most influential scientists -- including 20 Nobel laureates and 19 recipients of the National Medal of Science -- accused the administration in an open letter of systematically distorting scientific research and misleading the public about the likely results of its policies. In an accompanying report, the Union of Concerned Scientists detailed numerous instances in which the administration has suppressed scientific results, gagged its own science officials, …

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Ethanol and Mirrors

Bush Administration Extends Contentious "Dual-Fuel" Rules In a move that will make it easier for automakers to meet fuel-efficiency standards without actually improving the fuel efficiency of their vehicles, the Bush administration announced yesterday that it will extend for four years a system that gives auto manufacturers credits for producing "dual-fuel" vehicles that can run on either gasoline or an ethanol blend. Environmentalists criticized the move, pointing out that only 1 percent of dual-fuel vehicles actually do run on an ethanol blend, in part because fewer than 200 of the 176,000 gas stations in the country offer it. Enviros also …