Is it in our national interest to overheat the planet? That's the question Obama faces in deciding whether to approve Keystone XL, a 2,000-mile-long pipeline that will bring 500,000 barrels of tar-sand oil from Canada to oil refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.

— Jeff Goodell

The most courageous Jeff Goodell quotes to discover and learn by heart

In reality, studies show that investments to spur renewable energy and boost energy efficiency generate far more jobs than oil and coal.

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Ethanol doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, nor is it cheaper.

12

The biggest tab the public picks up for fossil fuels has to do with what economists call 'external costs,' like the health effects of air and water pollution.

12

In reality, Republicans have long been at war with clean energy.

They have ridiculed investments in solar and wind power, bashed energy-efficiency standards, attacked state moves to promote renewable energy and championed laws that would enshrine taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels while stripping them from wind and solar.

12

One of the big questions in the climate change debate: Are humans any smarter than frogs in a pot? If you put a frog in a pot and slowly turn up the heat, it won't jump out. Instead, it will enjoy the nice warm bath until it is cooked to death. We humans seem to be doing pretty much the same thing.

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Compared to coal, which generates almost half the electricity in the United States, natural gas is indeed a cleaner, less polluting fuel. But compared to, say, solar, it's filthy. And of course there is nothing renewable about natural gas.

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But Big Oil and Big Coal have always been as skilled at propaganda as they are at mining and drilling. Like the tobacco industry before them, their success depends on keeping Americans stupid.

10

Extracting oil from the tar sands is a nasty, polluting, energy-intensive business.

9

From the industry's point of view, the problem is not that coal companies blast the top off mountains, turning the area into a moonscape and polluting the air and releasing toxic chemical into what's left of the local streams and aquifers. It's that the people who live near the mines are too cozy with their cousins.

9

Nobody disputes that cheap natural gas would be a good thing for the economy.

The question is, is this a sustainable new development that can be counted on for decades to come, or simply a 'bubble' brought on by a land grab and drilling frenzy?

8

You think the weather is weird now? Just wait.

A new MIT study, just published in a peer-reviewed journal, projects that the Earth could see warming of more than 9 degrees F by 2100 - more than twice earlier projections.

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So if you want to know how Exxon Mobil can make $10 billion profit in 90 days, just look around. The whole world was built for them.

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About Jeff Goodell

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Coal boosters like to tout coal as cheap and plentiful - well, not anymore. At least not in China.

8

If we drill the hell out of everything, including protected public lands and fragile regions like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, America can emerge as an 'energy superpower.'

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The coal industry is an even larger part of the Australian economy than it is of the American, and it has an enormous amount of political power.

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Australia is the only island continent on the planet, which means that changes caused by planet-warming pollution - warmer seas, which can drive stronger storms, and more acidic oceans, which wreak havoc on the food chain - are even more deadly here.

7

Mark Ruffalo, aka the Incredible Hulk, is the natural gas industry's worst nightmare: a serious, committed activist who is determined to use his star power as a superhero in the hottest movie of the moment to draw attention the environmental and public health risks of fracking.

6

Geoengineering - the deliberate, large-scale manipulation of the earth's climate to offset global warming - is a nightmare fix for climate change.

5

Climate scientists have long pointed to the Southwest as one of the places in the U.S. that is most vulnerable to global warming impacts, especially drought. And if there's one thing that even climate denialists don't dispute, dry things burn.

4

Not since the days of George W. Bush's 'Clear Skies' and 'Healthy Forests' initiatives has America been presented with a project as cravenly corporate and backward-looking as the Keystone XL pipeline.

3

Have we failed to slow global warming pollution in part because climate and environmental activists have been too polite and well behaved?

3

One thing you can say about nuclear power: the people who believe it is the silver bullet for America's energy problems never give up.

2

Bloomberg's $50 million is not going to revolutionize the electric power industry. But his willingness to fight is already inspiring others to see Big Coal differently.

1

Nowhere has the political power of coal been more obvious than in presidential campaigns.

0

Climate change is a global issue - from the point of view of the Earth's climate, a molecule of CO2 emitted in Bejing is the same as a molecule emitted in Sydney.

0

You gotta love Rick Perry's swagger. The Texas Governor is out there in the Iowa cornfields, unabashedly going to toe-to-toe with President Obama, doing his best to instantly cast himself as the big dog in the Republican pack.

0

Some studies have shown that natural gas could, in fact, be worse for the climate than coal.

0

Among all the tests President Obama faced in his first term, his biggest failure was climate change.

0

In the world of energy politics, the sudden vanishing of the word 'coal' is a remarkable and unprecedented event.

0

This Dewdrop World is a beautiful, courageous, intimate film about love and loss. It may also be the deepest meditation on climate change that I've ever seen.

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With nine degrees of warming, computer models project that Australia will look like a disaster movie. Habitats for most vertebrates will vanish. Water supply to the Murray-Darling Basin will fall by half, severely curtailing food production.

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When it comes to global warming, coal is the gorilla in the room.

0

Bill Gates is a relative newcomer to the fight against global warming, but he's already shifting the debate over climate change.

0

In the U.S. alone, weather disasters caused $50 billion in economic damages in 2010.

0

It may be too late for West Virginia to save itself from the ravages of Big Coal. But it's not too late for America.

0

Although most Americans don't know it, the U.

S. gets more oil from Canada than it does from the entire Middle East.

0

When it comes to energy, cost isn't everything - but it's a lot. Everybody wants cheap power.

0

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who also happens to be the 10th richest person in America, with a personal fortune of some $18 billion, likes to pick a fight - especially fights where the line between good and evil is particularly stark.

0

In the United States, we do a pretty good job of protecting iconic landscapes and postcard views, but the ocean gets no respect.

0

If you think Wall Street firms have it good, you haven't looked closely at Big Oil.

0

In the Arctic, things are already getting freaky.

Temperatures have warmed three times faster than the global average.

0

Bloomberg is famously impatient with beltway politics and believes that to get anything done you need to work from the ground up.

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It's not all Obama's fault: His plans to rebuild America's energy infrastructure have been hampered by the recession, and his efforts on global warming have been stymied by Tea Party wackos and weak-kneed Democrats in Congress.

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Obama wants to be thought of as the president who freed us from foreign oil.

But if he doesn't show some political courage, he may well be remembered as the president who cooked the planet.

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Americans don't pay much attention to environmental issues, because they aren't sexy. I mean, cleaning up coal plants and reining in outlaw frackers is hugely important work, but it doesn't get anybody's pulse racing.

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Obama's record on climate issues is not all bad.

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Some studies suggest that the Arctic Ocean may be ice-free by the end of the century.

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Maybe more climate activists will think about the climate change not as an international problem to be resolved in an air-conditioned meeting hall, but as a guerilla war to be fought in the streets.

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President Obama is in no danger of being judged by history as an eco-radical.

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