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NASA’s New Images Map Out Carbon Emissions

The map reveals large carbon dioxide concentrations around South America and Southern Africa

The map reveals large carbon dioxide concentrations around South America and Southern Africa. Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Time for Action: Why the President Needs to Say No to Keystone XL

350.org writes that Obama must deny the federal permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

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As Halloween approached last year, climate activists like myself were down in the dumps. For the first time since 1988, climate change had gone completely unmentioned in the presidential debates. Despite 2012 being the warmest year on record, breaking over 17,000 temperature records across the country, it looked like nothing was going to break through the 'climate silence' that had come to dominate our political system.
Then came Hurricane Sandy. Suddenly, in the most devastating of ways, climate change was back on the agenda. Mayor Bloomberg made his unexpected endorsement, BusinessWeek ran a cover saying in big black letters “It’s Global Warming, Stupid,” and low and behold, three months later during his inaugural address, President Obama finally used his rhetorical skills to make the case for climate action.
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” boomed the President to thunderous applause from tens of thousands of people gathered on the Mall. For a guy who had all but failed to mention global warming during two years of on-and-off campaigning, Obama suddenly sounded like the climate champion we had been waiting for.
But if we’ve learned anything from the last four years, it’s that talk comes cheap. This term, climate activists aren’t going to be satisfied with a few nods to green jobs and promises to put solar panels on the White House (although, it would be nice if the administration actually got around to fulfilling that commitment). This time, we need to see some action.
That starts with a clear to-do left over from last term: denying the necessary federal permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
The fight over Keystone XL has fired up the climate movement more than any other cause of the last few years. And with good reason: according to our nation’s top climate scientist, NASA’s Dr. James Hansen, fully developing the Canadian tar sands would mean “essentially game over” for the climate. As 350.org founder Bill McKibben has said, “Keystone XL is the fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet.”
Defusing that bomb is going to take real work. The fossil fuel industry’s influence in Washington was on full display a few weeks ago when 53 senators signed a letter supporting Keystone XL—as it turned out, they’d taken $551,000 from the industry, 340 percent more than the pipeline’s opponents. Getting President Obama to stand up to this Goliath is going to take putting a lot of 'Davids' in the streets.
Which is why here at 350.org we’re partnering with our allies at the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Hip Hop Caucus, CREDO Mobile, and many, many (many) others to organize “Forward on Climate” the largest climate rally in US history, on February 17, to push President Obama to show his climate leadership and say no to the Keystone XL pipeline. If you can make it to Washington, DC, come: this is going to be a historic event. If you can’t, be sure to track down a solidarity event in your city.
Saying no to Keystone XL is smart politics for the President. If he does the right thing and denies the Keystone XL pipeline, Obama will surely piss off the fossil fuel industry, but last time I checked the Koch Brothers weren’t exactly “on-side” to begin with. On the flip-side, he’ll provide a huge jolt of momentum to the environmental movement and young people across the country who are clamoring for climate action. The President will need the movement to be fully mobilized if he’s serious about living up to his inaugural rhetoric.
Once he gets the public fired-up and ready to go on climate, there are lots of things the President can accomplish, from strengthening pollution controls, to investing in renewables, to clearly and compellingly making the case for a price on carbon. Now’s the time to strike: according to recent polling from Yale, public support for climate action is at an all time high. But it all starts with saying no to Keystone XL.
It’s great to see President Obama ending the climate silence. Now it’s time to walk the talk.
Join the Forward on Climate Rally on February 17. \n
This month, challenge a neighbor to GOOD's energy smackdown. Find a neighbor with a household of roughly the same square footage and see who can trim their power bill the most. Throughout February, we'll share ideas and resources for shrinking your household carbon footprint, so join the conversation at good.is/energy. \n
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How to Host the Greenest Olympics Ever

In order to make such a gigantic event as sustainable as possible, there's only one answer: Don't keep moving it.

It’s possible to dream up thousands of small ways to make a gigantic event like the Olympics more sustainable. A London-based group, for instance, asked architects to design a solar-powered information booth that would highlight recycled materials. The winner, announced this week, took its design from the Olympics’ iconic ring logo and used recycled steel. The second-place design involved floating balloons that would suck carbon dioxide from the air. Another runner-up would have crafted a running track, bent into a building of sorts, from the recycled soles of Nike shoes.

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Low-Carbon Agriculture: Brazil Shows the Way

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Amidst the depressingly deadlocked climate talks in Cancun, a side event dedicated to agriculture and climate change provided at least one positive story. Gustavo Mozzer, a scientist with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), a government agency, described the country's Low-Carbon Agriculture Program, which he claimed would "cut direct farm carbon dioxide emissions by 170 million tons a year, and save as much again by curbing the invasion of rainforests by farmers."

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