Influence the debates

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Many readers will remember the "coincidental" circumstances in the primaries that one of the sham fronts of the coal industry sponsored the debates and hardly any questions were asked, among hundreds, about how to solve the environmental issues facing America and the world.

Now, we're going to have only three presidential debates, and I want to do my little bit to ensure that doesn't happen again. I'd like you to, too.

Green people

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No, not Martians, of course, but what to call them otherwise? I'm referring to people who are working in the fields of sustainability, efficiency, renewability, etc. I run across a lot of them, and they've all got ideas, perspectives, and stories. So I've decided to try to introduce a few of them via a series of miniprofiles of a type I used to do at the Globe. They're mini because not only are they short, but all the questions, and most of the answers, are 10 words or less. Here's the first one:

From Tom Friedman

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Why would Republicans, the party of business, want to focus our country on breathing life into a 19th-century technology — fossil fuels — rather than giving birth to a 21st-century technology — renewable energy? As I have argued before, it reminds me of someone who, on the eve of the I.T. revolution — on the eve of PCs and the Internet — is pounding the table for America to make more I.B.M. typewriters and carbon paper. “Typewriters, baby, typewriters.”

Why all this nuclear love?

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I've heard it said several times that no matter who wins the election, we're going to have a cap-and-trade system that will put a price on carbon emissions, because both candidates support it. But I struggle to believe that McCain will actually be willing to see energy prices rise through an act of government — even if it would begin to reshape the nation's energy use away from fossil fuels and toward renewable sources.

Of apparently more certain agreement are both camps' endorsement of nuclear.

So how DOES France do it?

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It's laughable to hear the party of Freedom Fries and other sneers and smears cite France as a paragon, but that is, of course, what happens in the realm of nuclear energy. With both candidates saying they support nuclear-plant development, it's a fair question to ask: What is France's experience?

They have almost 60 plants nationwide. Only the US has more: 104.

Duly noted

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I'm not above using Wikipedia as a source, but I've never written, or rewritten, an entry, and always try to remember that though it is an awesome compilation of information, it can be manipulated, at least in the short term, and should never be trusted as a sole resource.

It is from that perspective that I pass along word, via ecogeek, of, introduced yesterday by Jimmy Wales, the guy behind Wikipedia and many other little wikis.

Carbon sequestration trial in Germany

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Using Swedish technology, a utility plant in Spremberg, Germany, near the Polish border, has begun capturing the carbon released by the burning of coal for electricity.

First, the lignite coal is being burned in pure oxygen, which makes the effluent cleaner — still carbon-laden but with less sulphur, mercury, and other elements typical to coal burning.

The effluent is then compressed until it is liquid, and injected underground into naturally occurring caverns.


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