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Grid Security and Renewable Energy: Too Much Information, or Not Enough?

Grid authorities have been pushed to address physical attacks on the grid by recent reports of grid insecurity, most of which are not public. Detailed information about electric grid infrastructure is classified for homeland security. Read More

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Four Climate Change Facts To Keep the Senate Up All Night

Tonight more than two dozen Members of Congress from the Senate Climate Action Task Force will be holding the Senate floor to discuss global warming. A number of them are expected to participate throughout the night. Here are some startling climate facts that keep me up at night: Read More

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A Tipping Point for Palm Oil, Deforestation, and Peat?

History is happening all the time, but usually without us realizing it. Only rarely do we experience a change so dramatic that we know that what’s happening today will be remembered fifty or a hundred years in the future. The kind of thing that you’ll tell your grandchildren about. This is especially the case for so-called “tipping points,” celebrated in both scientific and popular writing. Usually, you only realize that something was a tipping point after you’re well past it. But sometimes…

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Many World Heritage Sites are Predicted to Fall Victim to Climate Change

Hot on the heels of news that recent extreme rainfall has caused walls to collapse at ancient Pompeii in Italy, comes a new study showing that hundreds of other iconic places listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites are threatened by sea level rise. Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, Mont Saint Michel in France, Leptis Magna in Libya and the Tower of London are all identified as vulnerable to rising sea levels. Read More

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What’s the Big Idea in President Obama’s Budget? Building Resilience to Climate Consequences.

To Washington insiders, the release of the president’s budget is a rather ho-hum event. Congress has all but abandoned any adherence to the official budget process, but President Obama this week did submit to Congress a proposed budget as required. Although this budget does not have the force of law, it does give him the chance to recommend important initiatives. His proposal for a Resilience Fund should be a conversation starter. Read More

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Is Palm Oil-Driven Deforestation the Secret Ingredient in Your Favorite Products?

Like most Americans, I’m really devoted to the products I buy. I’ve been using Old Spice since I was 15 and entered my “Frank Sinatra” phase, on a bad day nothing cheers me up quite like a bowl (or six) of Lucky Charms or Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and seeing a Taco Bell sign or McDonald’s golden arches on a long car trip never fails to reinvigorate me. For better or worse, we Americans have developed an attachment to these brands and the companies that make them. Read More

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How the EPA Can Set a Strong, Flexible Power Plant Carbon Standard

A draft of the EPA’s carbon standards for existing power plants is due on June 1, 2014. There’s been a general call for flexibility in the design of these standards, which the EPA has committed to. Great River Energy Cooperative, Minnesota’s second-largest electric power supplier, recently proposed a regional carbon cap accompanied by a fee as one possible way to meet the upcoming standards. It’s a positive step, showing leadership and highlighting the importance of diverse regional approaches for getting significant, cost-effective reductions in carbon emissions. Read More

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Palm Oil: To Boycott or not to Boycott?

I get asked a lot whether you should stop buying products with palm oil altogether. The answer is “no,” for three major reasons.

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The Facts About Peat Soils in Sarawak, Malaysia

As you may have seen, there has been a lot of news from the palm oil industry in recent months, with companies like Hershey’s, L’Oréal, Kellogg’s, and Unilever committing to source deforestation- and peat-free palm oil.  But it’s the announcement by Wilmar, the largest trader (and one of the largest producers) of palm oil, that is likely to have the greatest impact on the palm oil industry. Read More

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Climate Change in Maryland: The Health of the State’s Economy Depends on How We Respond

According to a new report from the Labor Network for Sustainability, Maryland’s working people are already suffering the consequences of climate change and many jobs may be under threat in the future. Read More

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