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Act two

Second ‘major economies meeting’ this month in Hawaii

You know, there's something I don't get about these kabuki "major economies meetings" Bush is holding. Obviously, in reality it's about creating the illusion that Bush is doing something on climate. But usually when something is done purely for looks, there's some sort of plausible cover story, a purported rationale that can be put out to the media. But the Bush administration has always said that all countries should determine their own strategies for addressing climate change, and that carbon targets should be aspirational, not mandatory. In fact, that's exactly what the "major economies" concluded after their first meeting. So …

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Schwarzenegger:

Why aren't Republicans being asked about climate change?

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Hillary Clinton brings an environmental issue to the fore in Nevada

Hillary Clinton is taking pains to make sure all Nevadans know her views on -- gasp! -- an environmental issue: She would stop plans to store nuclear waste at the state's Yucca Mountain repository. "This is not just, 'We're in Nevada, so we'll talk about an issue Nevadans care about,'" Clinton assured voters. "This is an American issue." Yucca Mountain was discussed in Nevada's recent Democratic debate; Clinton is running a radio ad in the state telling listeners that Barack Obama, who has also pledged to close Yucca Mountain, is less committed to closing the site than she is. In …

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Sebelius as VP?

Can the Kansas governor show toughness under assault from Big Coal?

A certain faction of young progressive bloggers is fond of the notion of Barack Obama picking Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as his running mate. She is a successful, popular, progressive governor in a red state, and has shown a real talent for bringing people together to produce practical results. That would compliment Obama's core message. (Then again, she's a woman, and if this race has demonstrated anything, it's that misogyny is alive and well in America.) What fascinates me about Sebelius is that, unlike almost any other U.S. politician, she is taking the coal industry on directly by blocking coal …

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Should I wait or should I go now?

Is it important to push climate legislation through this year?

Now that Congress is back, there's been a mini-flurry of stories about the prospects of climate legislation this year. See Politico here and here, a really superb analysis of Lieberman-Warner's chances by Darren Samuelsohn (sub rqd), and another E&E story today on trade groups panicking. Politico's reporting is characteristically sloppy, but it does get at one interesting dynamic. Big green groups are somewhat at odds over climate legislation in the short term. On one end, Environmental Defense is pushing like gangbusters to get something done this year. They are all about bargaining and cajoling and wooing and keeping the issue …

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Damage control

The widening war between activists and coal

According to AP, at least 48 coal plants are being contested in 29 states: From lawsuits and administrative appeals against the companies, to lobbying pressure on federal and state regulators, the coordinated offensive against coal is emerging as a pivotal front in the debate over global warming. Music to my ears. Naturally, the industry forecasts an apocalyptic future where ponies eat puppies and rainbows cry tears of blood: Industry representatives say the environmentalists' actions threaten to undermine the country's fragile power grid, setting the stage for a future of high-priced electricity and uncontrollable blackouts. Uncontrollable blackouts?! That would suck. You …

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Canada announces new fuel-economy regs to match or exceed U.S. standards

At the Montreal International Auto Show, Canada's transport minister announced the country will be setting new fuel-economy regulations that will match or exceed the U.S. fuel-economy standards signed into law in late December. The Canadian standards will be phased in starting in 2011 and by 2020, cars and light trucks sold in the Great White North will have to average at least 35 miles per gallon (or 6.7 liters per 100 kilometers). The country's current vehicle average is about 27 mpg. British Columbia and Quebec have expressed interest in exceeding the new requirements by adopting California's embattled standards, which would …

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Cellulosic ethanol: It might be a bust

Thus spake Chairman Peterson of the House Ag Committee

David already pointed to it, but it bears repeating: House Ag Committee Chairman Colin Peterson, a tireless champion of ethanol and any other big-ag project he can get his mits on, has declared that cellulosic ethanol could well never "get off the ground." At best, he declared, cellulosic ethanol stands at least 10 years away from commercial viability (exactly what cellulosic boosters have been saying for three decades). Wait a minute. Ethanol's champions have long claimed that we should indulge corn-based ethanol its obvious weaknesses, because the corn-based brew is a mere bridge fuel to the real environmental panacea: cellulosic …

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Myth me?

Alberta premier heads to D.C. to preach the virtues of tar sands

Kevin Grandia has the skinny on Alberta (it's in Canada) Premier Ed Stelmach's visit to D.C. to shill for tar sands and to fight "the myth that the environmental cost of the oilsands is too high." Below is Stelmach with a very perspicacious polar bear: