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Assessing my predictions from last year

At the end of last year, I made 20 predictions for 2007. As a pundit in good standing I am, of course, unaccountable for my predictions. (How do you think we all stay employed?) Nonetheless, it's worth looking back and seeing how the predictions panned out, drawing sweeping conclusions from the things I got right while minimizing and excusing the things I got wrong. Let's see how I did! Al Gore will a) win an Oscar, b) announce that he is not running for president, c) continue his efforts at grassroots movement building, and d) announce plans for a sequel …

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The Sustainable Ag Coalition delivers its assessment

Ferd Hoefner of the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has been involved in farm bills since the mid-1970s, working behind the scenes to try to snatch farm legislation from the paws of agribusiness. So when he delivers his assessment on how things went, he does so from the perspective of long memory. His insights are particularly important now, as sustainable-ag and food-justice advocates figure out what's in the Senate version that's worth fighting for. And there is plenty more fighting to be done. Early next month, the process of reconciling the Senate and House versions will begin. And then the final version …

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My opinion, and an industrial soybean farmer’s

Speaking of the farm bill -- and who isn't -- y'all should check out an interview I recently did with something called the Lambert Report. Check out the big ol' Monsanto ad in the upper right corner. And look what they juxtaposed my answers with: those of a dude who used to be president of the American Soybean Association.

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What about the RPS in Texas?

So Senate Republicans managed to kill the Renewable Portfolio Standard in the energy bill. One question: who was the big-government, nanny-state liberal who forced one of the nation's largest and most successful RPSs on the poor, unwitting state of Texas? Hint: As Governor of Texas in 1999, he signed the RPS into law and later moved to the District of Columbia to pursue other opportunities, like threatening to veto a bill that would have treated all Americans like Texans.

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Press peddles Republican talking points on energy bill

I'm seeing this kind of thing all over the place: Faced with stiff Republican opposition that is backed by Bush's veto threat, Democrats made misstep after misstep in trying to pass this energy bill. It was too ambitious. It tried to force utilities to increase production of renewable energy in the face of fierce opposition by the utility industry group, and it included a tax package that the White House has long indicated it would not support. Second, Republicans also felt like they were left out of the negotiating process in reconciling the House and Senate versions of the bill. …

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Notable quotable

"We seek your leadership. But if for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way." -- Kevin Conrad, U.N. delegate from Papua New Guinea, during contentious last-minute climate talks in Bali. Conrad's blunt declaration was met with applause.

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Professor Andrew Light laments the unnecessary line in the sand the U.S. has drawn in Bali

This is a guest essay from Andrew Light, an environmental ethicist and professor of philosophy and public affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle. He attended the Bali meetings as an observer and participant in a side event. The essay comes to us from Nusa Dua, Indonesia. ----- I must admit, I clapped. I was probably among the loudest. A line in the sand. Photo: iStockphoto With the negotiations here in Bali for the U.N. conference on climate change facing an apparent intractable deadlock going into their last day, I was in a standing-room-only auditorium to hear former Vice …

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Countries strike climate deal in Bali

Apparently they've reached some kind of agreement at Bali. Sounds like the last 24 hours have been a real white-knuckler: BALI, Indonesia (CNN) -- The United States made a dramatic reversal Saturday, first rejecting and then accepting a compromise to set the stage for intense negotiations in the next two years aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. The U.N. climate change conference in Bali was filled with emotion and cliff-hanging anticipation on Saturday, an extra day added because of a failure to reach agreement during the scheduled sessions. The final result was a global warming pact that provides for …

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It’s time to throw down on the home court

Post by Richard Graves and Erin Condit-Bergren, U.S. youth delegation. Nusa Dua, Bali. We have been sitting outside the closed conference rooms where delegates from around the world engage in the grueling process of working out an international climate policy, line by line. Campaigners, delegates, and journalists mill about, trading rumors and whispering strategy. Everyone has been working nonstop for two whole weeks, and it all has come down to this one long session. The milling crowd reflects nothing of the nuance of the international negotiations, which will determine the future of international climate change policy. Instead, the din reveals …

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Agriculture is drunk on corn-based ethanol

Thomas Dobbs is Professor Emeritus of Economics at South Dakota State University, and a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food & Society Policy Fellow. ----- American agriculture is becoming addicted to corn-based ethanol, and the economic and environmental effects of this addiction call for some intervention! The explosive growth in U.S. ethanol production from corn is having worldwide ramifications. December 6 articles in The Economist ("Cheap no more" and "The end of cheap food") trace the impacts of ethanol production on prices of other crops and on food. Rising crop prices can benefit farmers not only in the U.S., but also farmers …

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