Canadian government thinktank warns that renewables will gut market for Canada's dirty oil

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For a decade, Canada's previous petro-tory government prosecuted scientists who publicly reported their results without first passing them through the party's commissars, almost as though reality had a well-known left-wing bias and couldn't be trusted. Read the rest

Tar sands production in Canada pretty much shut down by Fort McMurray wildfire

Flames rise in area south of Fort McMurray, Alberta May 3, 2016.  [Reuters]

Almost all of Canada's tar sands production has been shut down by a raging wildfire in Alberta's Fort McMurray region.

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Australian MP sets river on fire

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Jeremy Buckingham, a Green Party MP, took a dingy out on Queensland's Condamine River, about 220km west of Brisbane, and set the river on fire with a barbeque lighter. Read the rest

Smart radiator covers let New Yorkers keep their windows closed

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Becky Stern writes, "I recently investigated my building's new smart radiator cover installation and found a company bringing steam heat into the 21st century and allowing residents to keep their windows closed when the heat is on!" Read the rest

Bitcoin transactions could consume as much energy as Denmark by the year 2020

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The numbers in this study are very back-of-the-envelope and assume a worst case: widespread adoption of Bitcoin and not much improvement in Bitcoin mining activity, along with long replacement cycles for older, less efficient mining rigs. Even the best case scenario has Bitcoin consuming a shocking amount of electricity.

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Meet the Commercial Energy Working Group, a lobby group that won't say who it lobbies for

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Though they are legally required to disclose the names of any members or donore who give them more than $5K, the Commercial Energy Working Group -- which lobbies against energy sector regulations -- refuses to name any of its backers. Read the rest

Citing climate change, Obama rejects Keystone XL Oil Pipeline construction plan

Obama, Biden, and Kerry, speaking about the Keystone XL oil pipeline November 6, 2015.  REUTERS

In a decision that environmental activists see as a hard-won victory, President Obama today announced he is rejecting the request from a Canadian company to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The news ends a seven-year review process that was a focal point in the debate over the Obama administration's climate policies.

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Nuanced profile of the Oklahoma County where "no one believes in climate change"

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Oklahoma native John Sutter visited Woodward County, Oklahoma. At first, he could find no one who'd admit to believing in anthropogenic climate change, not even the headmaster of the local academy, who paid out of his own money to erect a statue of a little girl on a stegosaurus' back with a plaque that read, “A dinosaur like this roamed the Earth 5,000 years ago.” Read the rest

Naomi Klein, David Suzuki, Leonard Cohen, Donald Sutherland and Ellen Page's vision for a better Canada

The Leap Manifesto calls for a Canada remade as "a country powered entirely by renewable energy, woven together by accessible public transit, in which the opportunities of this transition are designed to eliminate racial and gender inequality." Read the rest

Vivienne Westwood drives a tank to David Cameron's house

The doyenne of punk design drove the tank to the UK prime minister's house in Chadlington, Oxfordshire to carry out a spoof "chemical attack" in protest over new fracking licenses in 27 residential areas (but not near David Cameron's home). Read the rest

Soylent's new liquid form is kind of spermy, and the guy behind it is sort of creepy

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“The first space colonies will have no coal power plants,” says Rob Rhinehart. “I am ready.”

Four of USA's top solar states are on the east coast

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California may be the first US state to generate more than 5% of its electricity from utility solar, but runner-up North Carolina leads the four east coast states that comprised last year's top solar states. The top ten: Read the rest

Why it takes so long to improve solar technology

"Scientists have a new, promising material for solar panels!" At NOVANext, Tim De Chant explains why an announcement like that doesn't mean you get a new solar panel next year ... or even next decade. Read the rest

Bipartisan budget deals require sacrifices. Here's one.

Yay, Congress passed a budget bill! Boo, it gutted energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs! Read the rest

'Frack U., Mexico!,' a parody video on natural gas fracksploitation

Boing Boing pal Ejival in Tijuana, Mexico points us to this political parody video, "Frack U."

"It’s absolutely funny and sad, because its true," Ejival says. "Mexico passed legislation last week that opens the energy sector to foreign investment, and of course the capitalist media was very happy. God help us."

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Chernobyl's deadly Elephant's Foot

This is a photo of the Chernobyl "Elephant's Foot", a solid mass made of a little melted nuclear fuel mixed with lots and lots of concrete, sand, and core sealing material that the fuel had melted through. The photo was taken in 1996. At that point, the Elephant's Foot had cooled enough that a human being could stand directly in front of it for an hour before receiving a lethal dose of radiation. When the Foot was first discovered, shortly after the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl power plant, it delivered a lethal dose in just five minutes. You can read Kyle Hill's interesting history of the Elephant's Foot at Nautilus. And be sure to check out this 1991 video that shows how people were able to rig up robotic camera systems to safely take photos of the thing (though, as Hill points out, not all the photos of Elephant's Foot were taken safely). Read the rest

Amazon Prime Air: drone-based 30 minute delivery

Jeff Bezos took to 60 Minutes to announce Prime Air, a drone-based 30-minute delivery system for densely populated areas that comes with its own video design-fiction illustrating how it might work. The vision is an exciting one, but the designfic elides some important questions like the regulatory framework under which thousands (millions?) of drones might share the sky as businesses compete to do airborne delivery; whether that framework would be sufficient to actually maintain public safety (hello midair drone collision over a busy highway with attendant plummeting shrapnel into the path of speeding cars!); and what the energy and carbon footprint of drones would be, especially with comparison to conventional delivery logistics.

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