Climate Crossroads Blog
Posted by: Brian F. at 2:42PM PST on March 31, 2009
Congress has provided a plethora of asinine sound bites over the past week.
Here, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) says the science is not there. He's a long-time ignoramus of the scientific consensus. Inhofe's comments came today in reaction to a bill that was introduced in the House.
Here's Sierra Club's press release regarding the bill:
Posted by: Carl Pope at 8:47AM PST on March 31, 2009
The news that the Obama administration is insisting that General Motors Chair Rick Wagoner step down as one of the conditions for continued federal support comes as no surprise. But there is a danger that everyone will miss the real lesson. What happened to GM is the poster child for what really created the economic crisis -- short time horizons. GM, Ford, and Chrysler all actually knew (and admitted in private conversations with the UAW) that their business model -- high-margin, low-fuel-efficiency SUVs built on outmoded technology platforms -- wasn't sustainable. But every year they told themselves that, while they had only a decade to catch up technologically with Japan and Europe, they could do the job in ten years. And every year, they gave themselves another year to begin.
This morning's New York Times calls Wagoner a "steady optimist", but the flaw here wasn't Wagoner's personal temperament -- it's an American business culture that has taught that short-term shareholder value, not long-term product leadership, is the test of management. The Big Three have been just as short-term focused as the banks, even though they're in a business where it takes years to bring new models to markets -- not the months in which an investment bank can change strategy and unload its positions. It was the ability of Toyota and Honda to think ahead that enabled them to take so much market share away from the Big Three prior to this economic crisis -- so that the American manufacturers were already in deep financial trouble, even in good times.
Posted by: Brian F. at 12:48PM PST on March 30, 2009
More pearls of wisdom from our esteemed elected officials. This time, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) reveals that cutting CO2 emissions will deprive plant life of precious food.
Posted by: Paul Scott at 11:07AM PST on March 30, 2009
I just got back from Space X, Elon Musk's rocket factory in Hawthorne, CA where the unveiling of the much anticipated Tesla Model S was held. In a word - WOW, this is a gorgeous car!
Lots of rumors have been floating around for the past two years about the Model S, so I expected something close to what I saw, but the actual car exceeded my expectations.
First, the styling is sleek without being too flashy (see the Fisker Karma for my definition of too flashy). The drag coefficient is a very respectable .25, less than even the Tesla roadster. This will come in handy if you want to take her up to a top speed of 130 mph. 0-60 is a screaming 5.5 seconds, not bad for a family car. They will also offer a "sport version" with a 0-60 under 5 seconds. Do NOT let your teenager drive this car!
The big news for me was that the Model S will be offered with three different sized battery packs: 160 miles; 230 miles; 300 miles. The base priced model of 160 mile range is going to sell for $57,400, and after the $7,500 federal tax credit nets out at $49,900. No news on the price of the longer range models, but I can guarantee that the 160 mile model will be their biggest seller. There's very little need for the longer range car, so why pay (presumedly) thousands more and carry the extra weight around? BTW, the base model will weigh in around 4,000 lbs.
I asked Tesla's Chief Technical Officer, J.B. Strauble, whether they would be using the same battery tray for all three options and he confirmed they would.
Posted by: Brian F. at 8:47AM PST on March 30, 2009
Meet Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). How does he know that the current climate change is just a natural process? Well, we all speak English instead of Norwegian, don't we?
During the Little Ice Age, both the Vikings and the British adapted to the cold by changing. I suppose that one possible adaptation response of Viking retrenchment and British expansion is that we’re conducting the hearing today in English instead of Norwegian.
Posted by: Brian F. at 1:07PM PST on March 27, 2009Who's Got Obama's Right Ear?
Posted by: Brian F. at 12:58PM PST on March 27, 2009
That's Allison Chin, Sierra Club President, behind Obama's right ear. The pic came from this story.
Posted by: Brian F. at 10:24AM PST on March 27, 2009"A Number of Amusing Details Here"
Posted by: Brian F. at 9:51AM PST on March 27, 2009
This is what scientists across the country got in their email inboxes this week from the Cato Institute. As you can see, it's a prototype of an ad that Cato is putting together. All of those "Name Here"'s will be replaced with the names of scientists who feel Obama is off-base with his concerns about global warming. (Good luck!)
The ad will presumably be published in major newspapers at a later date. For a closer look, here's the pdf.
The scientists who make up RealClimate.org decided to post it on their blog and proceeded to debunk every facet of Cato's argument. The whole blog post is worth a read. Here's a snippet:
Posted by: Brian F. at 9:40AM PST on March 26, 2009
Posted by: Brian F. at 10:12AM PST on March 25, 2009
A new Pew Research Center survey shows that nearly 60 percent of Americans support a cap on carbon emissions, which causes anthropogenic global warming. They also support making companies pay for their emissions, even if it means higher energy prices. Here's the complete survey (pdf).
Posted by: Paul Scott at 9:34AM PST on March 25, 2009
I was invited to a breakfast meeting yesterday morning with three representatives of Nissan who wanted to discuss their new all-electric sedan. Two other Plug In America members joined me for what turned out to be a very pleasant and enlightening discussion.
I have to mention that, while PIA holds regular meetings with Toyota reps, we are held at arm's length when it comes to their plans for an EV or PHEV Prius. Not so with the Nissan folks. They were very forthcoming with most, but not all, information and quite enthusiastic about the Nissan EV program.
Nissan has partnered with NEC (Japan) to make their LiIon batteries, and they wanted me to be clear that it was Nissan's LiIon intellectual property that NEC was manufacturing for them. A point of pride I noted. Also, the batteries are in production now, so that may give Nissan the ability to beat many of their competitors to market with large numbers of cars. They are also planning to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. as soon as feasible.
When asked about specifics of the performance and battery capacity, they were not permitted to say, but they did say it was designed from the ground up as an EV (this is key, IMO) and would carry 5 passengers at highway speeds with a range of about 100 miles.
(Photo from the L.A. Times)
Posted by: Brian F. at 9:31AM PST on March 20, 2009
The White House has announed plans for a veggie garden. From the blog ObamaFoodorama:
Related: Crossroads has a White House petition group here.
Posted by: Brian F. at 9:09AM PST on March 20, 2009
A quick review of this past week's happenings in the blog world
This week, we start with mountain top removal, which is getting a lot of attention lately. One of the best sources for MTR news is the Charlston Gazette. In the ongoing war between Big Coal and the people who'd rather not see mountains get blown to bits, the Gazette's blog Coal Tattoo is a must-read. The latest news is that the White House is going to step into the fray.
President Barack Obama’s top aides will be making a decision “very soon” about what they will do about mountaintop removal, according to congressional testimony today from Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Speaking of mountains, these guys celebrated St. Patrick's Day by calling Congresspeople all day long and telling them to end MTR.
Here's an uplifting story about a planned coal plant that met its demise in Nevada.
In other news, the human health toll of climate change is very real and needs serious attention, according to WHO.
Check out this guy. He just got through a whole calendar year of being car-less after scrapping his Nissan.
In other doings...
Obama was in California to talk about green cars and the "garage of the future."
Spring is arriving super early in the UK.
And finally, Van Jones has a new job as green jobs czar. Here he chats about his new post.
Posted by: Carl Pope at 3:06PM PST on March 19, 2009
Washington, D.C. -- That's how long it's been since I've had energizing, affirmative conversations about solving America's environmental challenges with policy makers here. Even during the Clinton administration, after Newt Gingrich pulled off his Congressional coup the tone and mood became constrained and defensive -- the politics of limits, not solutions.
Well, it was sunny, breezy and gently spring-like in D.C. this week -- both outside and in the corridors of the government. Startlingly contrasting conversations with two Cabinet secretaries -- Energy's Steve Chu and Agriculture's Tom Vilsack -- had in common the freshness of this new and long-awaited season. Previous energy secretaries, whatever their resumes or aspirations, have ended up presiding over the Department of Kilotons, bogged down in the management morass of the nation's troubled, toxic, and tangled nuclear-weapons complex. Bill Richardson, for example, as secretary, had the distasteful task of flying to Paducah, Kentucky, to admit to former employees of the department's weapons-manufacturing facilities that their government had poisoned them and then lied about it.
But Steve Chu seems inclined to create a Department of "Negawatts" -- Amory Lovins's term for energy productivity, efficiency, and conservation -- the cheapest and safest of all forms of energy.
Posted by: Bruce Nilles at 11:03AM PST on March 19, 2009
Utilities and coal companies would like you to believe that if we don’t build new coal-fired power plants, we will all have to spend the rest of our lives shivering in the dark. But in the news this week, we find a very different story about what really happens when energy companies look beyond coal: they invest in clean, renewable energy instead.
Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission denied a proposal by Alliant Energy to build a coal-fired power plant. Now, the company has decided to invest that money in clean energy – specifically, wind power.
In a story with an incredible headline – “Denial of Coal Plant Blows Utility Toward Turbine Deal” – Alliant Spokesman Rob Crain says, "The PSC expressed concern over carbon, and we listened."
The coal industry has been spending millions of dollars to convince us they’re the cheapest and easiest way to keep the lights on. They tell us that change is costly, and they want you to believe that clean energy is not a viable alternative and that greenhouses gases aren’t a concern.
And yet here is a utility doing just the opposite – listening to what the public, the science, and decision makers are telling them.
Alliant in Wisconsin isn’t the only example of a switch from coal to clean energy. In February we wrote about the Highwood plant in Montana switching to wind power and natural gas.
Posted by: Food Dude at 9:09AM PST on March 19, 2009
Starting last year, the second consecutive drought year here in California, my wife and I began placing a sizable metal mixing bowl in the kitchen sink to capture gray water for use in our garden. As soon as the bowl filled up, we'd "decant" it into a bucket outside on the deck. (We live in the city and lack a plot of earth of our own, so we garden in big earthen pots.) I was blown away at how fast the bowl filled up, and how many trips I was making out to the deck just in the course of preparing one meal!
Despite getting 20 days of rain this February, we're on track for our third drought year in a row in San Francisco, and mandatory water rationing is already in place in some Bay Area counties. An article in today's S.F. Chronicle acknowledged as much and suggested that "it's time to look around and alter how we use the water we do have."
The author mentioned the bowl-in-the-kitchen-sink method my wife and I are already using, but went further by suggesting 10-gallon paint buckets with lids and handles to collect gray water from both the kitchen and the shower. (I can report from experience that even a much smaller pail-full is more than sufficient for a clean-as-a-whistle toilet flush.) And for those whose abode can accommodate a rain barrel, there's no reason these can't be used for long-term storage of water collected from indooor use, as well as from the skies. (Watch a short video on installing a rain barrel here.)
For urban- and suburban-dwellers who actually have a yard to work with, another water-saving idea that was pioneered in this country nearly 20 years ago but whose time seems to have truly arrived is the rain garden, which serves the dual function of collecting water and providing an attractive sustainable landscaping element. A rain garden conserves municipal water resources by reducing the need for irrigation.
According to the Rain Garden Network, a rain garden is simply "a shallow, constructed depression planted with deep-rooted native plants & grasses, located in your landscape to receive runoff from hard surfaces such as a roof, a sidewalk, and a driveway." By holding runoff for a short period of time, it naturally recharges the groundwater, and studies show that rain gardens reduce the amount of runoff pollution reaching local creeks and streams by up to 30 percent.
More information can be found at Healthy Landscapes, Native Rain Garden, and Blue Thumb, to name just three online resources. You can also find rain garden resources in your area by entering "rain garden" and your home state or city into your search engine.
Posted by: Brian F. at 1:56PM PST on March 18, 2009
Posted by: Brian F. at 10:22AM PST on March 18, 2009
How green is your seafood? Take this quiz and find out. There are a lot of things that may surprised you.
And for the next time you go to a seafood restaurant, an excellent resource is the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide.
And if you're searching for sustainable recipes in general, Crossroads has an awesome food section.
Posted by: Brian F. at 1:29PM PST on March 17, 2009
Ken Salazar's Interior Department, which has embraced the idea of offshore drilling in the past, changed course today. Salazar, who is open to the drilling mantra, instead emphasized using the waters for cleaner alternatives.
Posted by: Brian F. at 1:17PM PST on March 17, 2009
Some scientists have the "climate change blues."
Posted by: Brian F. at 4:41PM PST on March 16, 2009
"We are cooling. We are not warming. The warming you see out there, the supposed warming, and I am using my finger quotation marks here, is part of the cooling process. Greenland, which is now covered in ice, it was once called Greenland for a reason, right?"
--- RNC Chairman Michael Steele.
Hat tip to The Daily Dish.
Posted by: Carl Pope at 3:06PM PST on March 16, 2009
San Francisco -- In some ways it's amusing to watch the seething indignation and shock from Republicans over the idea -- being floated by the Obama administration and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid -- that a revenue-generation auction of carbon permits might be adopted by the Congress as part of the federal budget process.
The formal name for this budget process is "reconciliation," and it was adopted by the Congress back in 1974. Since that time, Congress has broadened its applicability, but its original function was quite simple: To ensure that, if a simple majority of the Senate wanted to adopt legislation that would generate federal revenues and hence reduce the deficit, a filibuster could not prevent such a revenue-increasing measure from passing.
In 1996 the Republican Congress broadened "reconciliation" to ensure that a majority of the Senate could also pass a bill that made the federal deficit worse. And in 2001 the Bush administration took advantage of that broadened reconciliation provision to pass the Bush tax cuts, which totaled $1.6 trillion dollars. Reconciliation was also used by the Bush administration and its allies in Congress to pass two other major tax-cut bills that Bush supported.
Now the Obama administration comes along and suggests that we ought to start reducing the deficit.
President Obama wants to require oil and coal interests to obtain permits for the pollution they emit.
Posted by: Brian F. at 12:29PM PST on March 16, 2009
Not only do we face losing the polar ice caps, we're on the verge of changing the world map and displacing a countless number of people.
Here's "Global Warming 101," by National Geographic.
Posted by: Paul Scott at 9:36AM PST on March 16, 2009
OK, this is a perfect situation. Think is a well known and respected EV company with a couple thousand cars on the road. They need financing to set up a production facility.
Michigan is a state overflowing with well trained and talented auto workers who are out of work.
The stimulus bill has billions available to set up production facilities where we can marry Think with an American workforce and begin getting thousands of great commuter cars on the road. Every single one of them will replace a gas burner.
If Michigan can't swing this, I know California can. The future belongs to efficiency, and no vehicle is more efficient than EVs. Those jobs will go somewhere, might as well be here in our country.
I encourage all of you to forward this email to your Senator and Rep and ask that they help make this happen. Hey, I think we should get Gavin Newsome and Villaraigosa to fight over it. San Francisco vs. LA.
Oh, and be sure to tell them you want battery manufacturing, too. Let's get this show on the road!
Posted by: Brian F. at 10:06AM PST on March 13, 2009
This video uses Google Earth for a closer look at CO2 emissions in the U.S.
The research and results were part of a project spearheaded by folks at Purdue University. For more information on this project, go here.
Posted by: Brian F. at 9:58AM PST on March 13, 2009
A quick review of this past week's happenings in the blog world
This week, RealClimate.org gave direct advice to young climate bloggers out there.
Your aim to clarify the science (or policy options or ethical considerations or simply to explain your views) is a noble endeavor and we wish you luck and wide readership. But do be aware that you are dipping your blog into sometimes treacherous waters.
Among the suggestions: own up to your mistakes, prepare to be attacked by other bloggers, and, "if you get noticed by the propagandists, wear that attention like a badge of honor.”
It also suggests avoiding World War II metaphors, to which Grist disagrees.
Silly. You should probably avoid Nazi metaphors, but in fact WWII is the only plausibly-close metaphor for the scale of effort needed to stabilize at or below 450 ppm and preserve a livable climate.
Speaking of Grist, there are a lot of comments and reactions at this blog post regarding the notion that the Chevy Volt's battery is an eco-bust. This is in reaction to a Carnegie Mellon University study, which concludes, "large-capacity PHEVs sized for 40 or more miles of electric-only travel are not cost effective in any scenario, although they could minimize GHG emissions for some drivers."
Here's more background. The study
found that small-capacity plug-ins that get less than 20 miles per charge are more efficient than conventional hybrids. And it said that large capacity hybrids like the Volt that go 40 miles or further on a charge are never cost-effective, because the batteries cost and weigh too much.
A car with the Volt's range, according to the study, would also be extremely uneconomical traveling fewer miles as it hauls around battery capacity it doesn't need.
GM doesn't like the study. No kidding. Here's the rebuttal.
In other news, if you go to bed at night and you find yourself dreaming of complete energy independence, here's an ambitious plan to achieve that dream by 2021.
Speaking of energy, Israel is going solar.
Believe it or not, a Greenpeace staffer finds Fox News cordial during an interview.
And finally, since we have bike-sharing programs, Treehugger asks, why don't we have scooter-sharing programs? I think it's a great idea!
Posted by: Brian F. at 10:20AM PST on March 12, 2009
Turn off your iPod for just one second and take a look at the AirPod.
The AirPod can travel up to 137 miles (220 kilometers) on a single 46-gallon (175-liter) tank of compressed air, producing zero emissions on the road, according to the company.
Posted by: Carl Pope at 8:35AM PST on March 12, 2009
Yesterday morning AT&T, which operates the largest fleet of vehicles in the world, said it would spend up to $565 million over ten years on alternative-fuel vehicles for its corporate fleet, a move aimed at cutting costs while promoting cleaner transportation fuels.
The Dallas-based telecommunications provider will purchase 8,000 vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) for its fleet of installation and repair vans and replace about 7,100 passenger cars with hybrid models. The company will deploy 800 new CNG and hybrid electric vehicles in 2009. "It's good for the environment, it reduces our reliance on foreign oil …and it gives a big boost to America's alternative-fuel industry, creating the opportunity for new clean-energy jobs," AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said.
That's exciting, even wonderful, news. But the backstory is less cheerful. My sources indicate that AT&T was prepared to make an even larger commitment to CNG, but that the domestic auto industry wasn't willing to meet the customer demand -- and AT&T wanted in this economic moment to buy domestic. It's ironic that at the Wall Street Journal conference I attended in Santa Barbara last week Ford chief Alan Mulally kept repeating as his mantra "We give our customers what they want," and specifically cited that as why he wasn't taking Boone Pickens up on his challenge to make more use of natural gas as a fuel to back out dirtier foreign oil. Now it turns out that Ford has one of the world's largest customers beating on its door for less oil-dependent vehicles, and Ford isn't willing to meet the demand.
That fits with the rest of the recent pattern. The auto companies are lobbying hard, effectively with taxpayer money, that they can't do more to reinvent themselves and improve fuel efficiency. Recent lobby filings show that GM and Chrysler, both of which are operating only because of federal funding, have spent lavishly on slowing down technological innovation: GM about $3.9 million and Chrysler about $3.4 million.
Everyone keeps acting like nationalization would be the worst thing in the world for America's troubled industries -- banking and automobiles -- but at least if we nationalized them they wouldn't spend our money to slow down progress!
Posted by: Bruce Nilles at 10:05AM PST on March 11, 2009
The news from Greenwire today is excellent and unprecedented – a leaked Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) document shows that the agency “is fast-tracking its response to the Supreme Court's 2007 climate decision with plans to issue a mid-April finding that global warming threatens both public health and welfare.” (Greenwire article is here)
This is very big, very historic, very exciting news – this action by EPA will set the stage for the first-ever national regulation of CO2 in US history. This so-called endangerment finding is the first step the Obama administration must take to start regulating global warming pollution from cars, coal plants, and other sources. Once again, it is clear that the Obama Administration is serious about fighting global warming.
EPA is planning to issue the endangerment finding on April 16, followed by a 60-day public comment period and two public hearings.
Posted by: Paul Scott at 10:11AM PST on March 9, 2009
More electric trucks! I love that this market is blooming.
Fleet vehicles are perfect for EVs since the routes are very predictable and tend to be within 100 miles per day. It's easy to spec out a battery pack with enough kWh for a given size of truck to hit 60-80-100 miles, whatever the given fleet buyer needs. The longer the range, the more expensive, so you get only what you need.
Along with Tedd Abramson's Zero Truck in San Diego and Smith Trucks in London, we now have EVI (I keep wanting to write that as EV1:~). The more the merrier, the market for these is going to explode soon with Obama's stim plan and its tax of $7,500 to $15,000 for electric trucks.
Many of the companies that have fleets of trucks have buildings that are perfect for solar. Add a solar PV system big enough to offset the building's energy needs and charge the trucks, too, and you've just eliminated a whole lot of pollution, kept a lot of money from going out of the country and to the oil companies, and added value to your building. Sounds good to me.
As someone who rides a bike and a motorcycle in traffic, any time you can remove an internal combustion engine from spewing crap out its tailpipe and in your face, it's a good thing. Trucks especially.
Posted by: Brian F. at 10:35AM PST on March 6, 2009
The U.S. Geological Survey today said that Alaskan erosion doubled between 2002 and 2007. If you're wondering what that looks like, check out the above video.
Coastal erosion has more than doubled in Alaska — up to 45 feet per year — between 2002 and 2007 along a 40-mile stretch of the Beaufort Sea. This recent erosion, which resulted in the loss of several cultural and historical sites, may represent a short-term episode, or it may represent the future pattern of coastline erosion in the Arctic. These shifts are potentially a result of changing Arctic conditions, including declining sea ice extent, increasing summertime sea-surface temperature, rising sea level, and increases in storm power and corresponding wave action. A study was published in the current issue of Geophysical Research Letters and can be viewed at http://www.agu.org/journals/gl/gl0903/2008GL036205/. Additional information, including images, can be found at http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2141. You can also contact Benjamin Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907) 440-7404.
For the video, a hat tip to dotearth.
Posted by: Paul Scott at 9:46AM PST on March 6, 2009
This is one of the first times I've seen kWh cost in a story on batteries. Ironically, it concerns an apparently faulty study by Carnegie Mellon engineers on the economics of the Volt.
Upon inspection, it's been revealed that the study used a price of $1000/kWh as the cost of the battery packs. Given the kWh capacity on the Volt is 16 kWh, this is a rather high price, unless the battery lasts beyond 7-8 years which looks likely. The goal is a ten year battery.
While some LiIon batteries cost $1000/kWh, it's generally acknowledged that this is a much higher price than what we'll see once the large scale manufacturing plants are on line. As a matter of fact, Toyota just released a story today about their lithium ion (LiIon) plant coming on line this year.
So clearly, the price will drop. Some companies are already saying they are down to $500/kWh and some are saying they can hit $250/kWh eventually.
Considering the federal government is now offering a full $7,500 tax credit for buying an EV, this means the first round of product will be quite affordable.
It needs to be mentioned that the well tested nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries that are in all the hybrids in the world, as well as our RAV EVs, will continue to be used. And once the patent with Chevron Texaco expires in 2014, we should see a resurgence of its use.
Posted by: Brian F. at 9:00AM PST on March 6, 2009
A quick review of this past week's happenings in the blog world
We'll start with this well-argued blog entry on the lack of empathy in the climate change debate. Rarely, when arguing with a climate change denier, do we emphasize the very real human toll of global warming's consequences:
It's hard to feel empathy toward George Will. Bloggers continue to tear into Will's deceptive Washington Post op-ed columns. Sen. John Kerry has joined the chorus and has all but challenged him to a duel: "I know George Will well, I respect his intellect and his powers of persuasion -- but I'd happily debate him any day on this question so critical to our survival."
Moving on...I just can't ignore how cool this story is: Google Earth lets you monitor space junk that's orbiting around the planet.
Speaking of outer space, Climate Feedback, a blog at nature.com, reports that the loss of NASA's rocket that was meant to measure climate change has left scientists grieving. But there's hope that NASA will pick up the pieces and do a do-over.
Here's an idea: Carbon footprint barcodes for your groceries.
Great news! Here's a report that more than 32 million green electric cars will be on the roads by 2015.
Posted by: Bruce Nilles at 3:00PM PST on March 5, 2009
Just a few weeks ago we discussed a controversial court decision that could unleash a new wave of mountaintop removal coal mining permits. Now, it’s time for you to take action, and film star Ashley Judd has joined us in sending out the call for help far and wide.
In the past 24 hours, almost 30,000 people have answered that call, asking the Obama Administration to step in and protect the mountains, streams and people of Appalachia.
On our special web site you can ask the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to freeze the permitting of any new mines. Action-takers can also request that the EPA provide long-term protection for the waterways and communities of Appalachia by initiating a rulemaking process to prevent the use of mining waste as fill material.
In the wake of the devastating February court decision, Ashley Judd teamed up with the Sierra Club to step up the campaign to end mountaintop removal coal mining. With a new personal letter, video and this online “take-action,” Ashley Judd is asking the Obama Administration to prevent the issue of new permits to bury streams, and to end mountaintop removal once and for all.
Posted by: Bruce Nilles at 9:21AM PST on March 5, 2009
This weekend I experienced something amazing. More than 12,000 youth activists took part in PowerShift 2009, and one of the hottest issues all weekend was coal – how to stop using coal and switch to clean energy.
This was a historic convergence on Washington, DC, and I was honored to be a part of such a powerful event that brought together so many great young leaders. It’s clear to anyone who attended PowerShift that he movement to move America away from coal is powerful, growing, and fired up.
Young people from every part of the U.S. and affected by every part of the dirty coal cycle attended – from Appalachia where mountaintop removal coal mining devastates communities and the environment, to American Indian reservations where water is polluted by the mining and burning of coal, and states across the nation where coal-fired power plants spew their pollution and greenhouse gases.
Posted by: Food Dude at 9:48AM PST on March 3, 2009
I don't take a lot of taxis, but I admit that when I do hop in a cab, speed and convenience are my motivation, not my carbon footprint. So I perked up while walking through downtown San Francisco this week when a Green Cab zipped by, sporting a spiffy green-and-white paint job and a checkered logo.
The company was founded in 2007 by eight veteran cabbies who were tired of getting pathetically low gas mileage in their company-issued cars.
Posted by: Paul Scott at 9:31AM PST on March 2, 2009
I was able to catch a screening of the new documentary, "Fuel" and was very impressed. This is a great companion film to "Who Killed the Electric Car?".
Posted by: Carl Pope at 8:50AM PST on March 2, 2009
Chicago -- Last December workers at Republic Windows launched a sit-in when their employer, citing the loss of line of credit, shut down their factory without notice. The workers, with the backing of their union, eventually got the back pay they were owed, but not the jobs. A few days later Robin Roy, a friend of mine whose wife is Cathy Zoi, the Director of Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, came to see me about his new job -- with a company called Serious Materials. Robin was excited about Serious Materials' breakthrough line of super-insulated but very low-cost windows.
Robin showed me how, at his company's price point, it's now cost-efficient in areas with very hot or cold climates to replace existing windows with new ones with insulation values up to R 11. I asked him the routine green-tech question: "You guys are a small company, how will you get to scale?"
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