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Green Roundup

The latest environmental news from around the Web:

The EPA’s endangerment finding on what health risks greenhouse gases may pose passed a White House review, Greenwire reports (via NY Times). This is a biggie. It opens the door to tighter regulation of anything that emits greenhouse gases, from cars to power plants. As I posted in Jan., one possible result of the endangerment finding is allowing states to tell automakers how fuel efficient their cars need to be.

Old friend Sarah Palin has resurfaced, apparently with a new outlook on global warming. At an Anchorage hearing with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar – he’s traveling the U.S. as part of the administration’s research into offshore oil and gas leases – the one-time skeptic said, according to the LA Times, that “The dramatic decreases in the extent of summer sea ice, increased coastal erosion, melting of permafrost, decrease in alpine glaciers and overall ecosystem changes are very real to [Alaskans].” But before you go thinking she’s completely changed, understand that Palin is saying this as an argument FOR drilling.

The Automotive X Prize announced 111 teams have been registered for a shot at the $10 million purse, which will be split among the best energy-efficient vehicle designs. This ongoing contest won’t be settled until next year, with firm start and end dates coming this summer. Some of the more interesting details about the registered teams, whose cars will have to get at least the equivalent of 100 mpg: Singer Neil Young has a group; no major automakers are involved, other than India’s biggest, Tata Motors; and all-electric go-getter Tesla is shooting for a piece of the action.

Solar energy has huge upsides, but one big drawback: you need the sun. Cloudy days and nighttime tend to get in the way. So if you can eliminate that sticking point, it’s all plusses. Or so figures Calif. utility PG&E, which signed a deal with Solaren to get 200 megawatts of energy straight from space, where solar power surges round the clock. The CNet report says Solaren’s satellites capture energy and beam it back to Earth as radio frequency, which is then converted to electricity. Apparently all this space-agey stuff will take a while, because PG&E isn’t planning on getting it until 2016.

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“Green Roundup”