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Pollution

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Sarah Palin loves the smell of emissions in the morning

Sarah Palin is still being coy about whether she's going to run for president, but as usual, she's enjoying whatever attention she can get. Her latest stunt: Hopping on the back of a Harley to ride with 400,000 bikers through D.C., like she was Hell's own angel. Palin's take on the ride? Pollutalicious! "I love that smell of the emissions," she told Fox News. The bike event, Rolling Thunder, is an annual Memorial Day ride to the Vietnam Memorial, organized by Vietnam vets to draw attention to missing and captured service members. But hey, why make a respectful statement about …

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Critical List: No more nuclear power in Germany; angry moose attack

Germany plans to close its nuclear reactors by 2022. Electricity generation in 2010 created more carbon emissions than ever before. Canada just looooves tar sands. So much that the country sorta kinda forgot to mention to the U.N. that pollution from the oil-sands industry increased by 20 percent in 2009. European countries are banning imported cucumbers, after an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant E. coli infected more than 1,200 people in Germany. Sixteen people have died so far. Man, even phallic vegetables aren’t funny this morning. Food prices may double by 2030, Oxfam reports. In Brazil, a third anti-logging rainforest activist was …

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Cancer is now the leading cause of death in China

As China's pollution soars, so do rates of cancer. This post was written by Janet Larsen, director of research for the Earth Policy Institute. Additional resources at http://www.earth-policy.org. Cancer is now the leading cause of death in China. Chinese Ministry of Health data implicate cancer in close to a quarter of all deaths countrywide. As is common with many countries as they industrialize, the usual plagues of poverty -- infectious diseases and high infant mortality -- have given way to diseases more often associated with affluence, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer. While this might be expected in China's …

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Down with coal! The grassroots anti-coal movement goes global

The article was coauthored by Bob Burton (CoalSwarm, Australia), Christine Shearer (CoalSwarm, U.S.), Cynthia Ong (LEAP, Malaysia), Jamie Henn (350.org, U.S.), John Hepburn (Greenpeace, Australia), Joshua Frank (CoalSwarm, U.S.), Justin Guay (Sierra Club, U.S.), Kate Hoshour (International Accountability Project, U.S.), and Mark Wakeham (Environment Victoria, Australia). In Thailand, 10,000 people call on their government to quit coal.Photo: Athit Perawongmetha of GreenpeaceIn the United States and Europe, the triple whammy of recession, cheap alternatives, and aggressive anti-coal campaigning has helped halt the expansion of coal use. Since 2004, plans to build more than 150 coal plants in the U.S. have been …

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Greener cars and fuel mean fewer deaths tied to vehicle emissions

Cars idling in traffic lead to more than 2,200 premature deaths each year, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health. But lower vehicle emissions and cleaner fuels have been driving down that number for past decade, and the number of deaths will continue to decrease until about 2025, the study says. Here's a graph from the study showing projected premature deaths connected to congested traffic from 2000-2030: What happens in 2025? Presumably, increased emissions from congestion begin to overtake gains from greener fuel and car design. The study was funded by a coalition of transportation …

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Bombshell: High and rising price for carbon pollution emerges as credible deficit reduction strategy

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation funded six groups from across the political spectrum to put forward plans addressing our nation's fiscal challenges. All the plans are here. The Center for American Progress (CAP) plan, "Budgeting for Growth and Prosperity" [PDF], brings the deficit below 2 percent of GDP within six years and fully balances by 2030. The CAP budget does so while boosting clean energy research and deployment funding roughly $10 billion a year -- and instituting a high and rising CO2 price. The plan achieves the CO2 reduction targets from the 2009 House climate and clean energy jobs bill …

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Worried about radiation in breast milk? Still best to keep breast-feeding

How can we best protect the wee ones?For survivors of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, there have been so many concerns: access to clean water and food, the need for shelter, the threat of disease. It's the same awful list that accompanies natural disasters around the world -- but with one big difference. In Japan, survivors also face the ongoing threat of radiation released by six reactors at the Fukushima Daiishi nuclear power plant. Under circumstances still not fully understood, the cooling systems at Fukushima lost power after the earthquake and tsunami. Large amounts of radioactive materials were blown hundreds …

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How industrial agriculture makes us vulnerable to climate change, Mississippi floods edition

An "ephemeral gulley" that carried soil and agrichemicals from an Iowa farm toward the Gulf of Mexico during a 2010 storm. Photo: Environmental Working GroupNancy Rabalais, marine scientist and executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, is probably our foremost authority on the vast, oxygen-depleted "dead zone" that rears up annually in the Gulf of Mexico, fed by fertilizer runoff from large Corn Belt farms. (I interviewed her for my podcast last year.) In a report on the PBS Newshour blog, Rabelais delivers some bad news: Floods in the Mississippi River watershed this spring are washing tremendous amounts of …

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What to do about ‘plastic soup’ in the ocean

Is there a less appetizing phrase than “plastic soup”? (Don’t answer that.) The New York Times Green blog reports on what happens to plastic in the oceans -- it turns into a soup of seawater and plastic particles -- and what we can do about it. The answer, basically: Try to stop putting so much plastic in the ocean, jackholes. The canonical image of ocean debris involves bags clogging waterways, fish trapped in six-pack holders, and other visible trash. But in fact, even a major trash nexus like the Atlantic garbage patch looks mostly like clear water until you trawl …

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U.S. marines save lives by ditching bottled water

You probably already know that bottled water is kind of the worst thing ever, but did you know it's getting people in supply convoys blown up? Like other heavy, bulky things our troops have to truck in (primarily fuel), bottled water makes Marines vulnerable to attack by improvised explosives. They don’t even have the luxury of waiting for the BPA to kill them. Afghanistan has water, but a lot of it is contaminated by raw sewage. One solution is the the Lightweight Water Purification System, which "fits in a Humvee and can produce up to 125 gallons of potable water …