TOM MURPHY – In this post, I offer a rosy vision for what I think we could accomplish in the near term to maximize our chances of coming out shiny and happy on the tail end of the fossil fuel saga.
SEBASTIAN BLANCO – EVangelist Peder Norby, who has been having more fun driving and writing about his Mini E than anyone at BMW probably thought possible, recently wrote a most interesting post comparing electricity usage to produce gasoline to the electricity needed to drive an electric car. The short version: “It takes more electricity to drive the average gasoline car 100 miles, than it does to drive an electric car 100 miles.”
CLIFF BOYER – A great New Yearâ€™s resolution would be to take the 5% Solution pledge to reduce your carbon footprint 5% in 2011. Scientists say that 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the safe limit to support human life on earth. Right now we are at 388 parts per million (check out Bill McKibbenâ€™s web site at www.350.org for more information). The need to act is becoming more urgent every day. We canâ€™t rely on the federal government to address this issue meaningfully anytime soon. It is up to each and every one of us to take the steps necessary to change our behaviors and make conscious and deliberate choices about how we individually impact the environment.
SPACE MART STAFF — Billed as the world’s first mass-produced electric car, this month’s launch of the Nissan Leaf is expected to send a jolt through an auto industry racing to build greener vehicles. The Leaf — short for Leading Environmentally-friendly Affordable Family car — has enjoyed a crescendo of industry buzz, last month becoming the first electric vehicle to win European Car of the Year.
ERIK LINDBERG — The August issue of â€œThe Progressiveâ€ featured a series of essays on â€œthe Big Spillâ€ in the Gulf of Mexico, with the intention, I believe, of bringing our oil addiction into the foreground of political dialogue. In his article, â€œEnergy Extremism,â€ Michael Klare thus asks a vital question about the end of the oil age. It is a question that has been painfully absent from any sustained dialogue: â€œHow, then, should progressives respond to the current [energy] crisis?â€
SUZY KIST — Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC), an industry leader in tidal, river and deep-water ocean current energy technology and projects, announced on August 18 that its Beta Power System, the largest ocean energy â€œpower plantâ€ ever installed in U.S. waters, has successfully generated grid-compatible power from tidal currents at its Cobscook Bay site in Eastport, Maine.
MICHAEL BURNHAM — Westward pioneers halted their wagons in Portland, OR 150 years ago, but today’s politicians and planners aim to make recession- battered Portland the starting point for green-economy trailblazers. Mayor Sam Adams and General Electric Co. executives are forging a first-of-its-kind partnership that will include retrofitting drafty buildings with energy-saving technologies and helping local startups sell their clean-technology products abroad.
SARAH HODGEDON — There is no doubt that the human race must wean itself from dependence on oil if it is to survive and avoid the worst aspects of global warming. The Sierra Club has devised an imaginative way to bring this message to Congress as an Independence Day celebration. Read more…
CHRIS NELDER — As the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster continues to unfold, the peak oil community has a â€œteachable momentâ€ in which it can illuminate the reality of our energy plight. The public has had a crash course in the challenges of offshore oil, and learned a whole new vocabulary. They are more aware than ever that the days of cheap and easy oil are gone. What they do not yet grasp are the challenges in transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables.
JOHN MICHAEL GREER — It has been nearly four decades now since the limits to industrial civilizationâ€™s trajectory of limitless material growth on a limited planet have been clearly visible on the horizon of our future. Over that time, a remarkable paradox has unfolded. The closer we get to the limits to growth, the more those limits impact our daily lives, and the more clearly our current trajectory points toward the brick wall of a difficult future, the less most people in the industrial world seem to be able to imagine any alternative to driving the existing order of things ever onward until the wheels fall off.
PHIL CARVER — The Senate is now considering the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill, titled the American Power Act (APA). It has several improvements over H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey bill that passed the House in June 2009.
SARA STROUD — Carsharing is on the rise, but it must be more scalable to have a real impact on easing traffic congestion and cutting carbon emissions, according to cleantech investor Sunil Paul. Thatâ€™s the idea behind Spride Share, a San Francisco-based carsharing startup that came out of stealth in late April and is backed by Paulâ€™s early-stage venture fund Spring Ventures, which has funded cleantech startups such as Nanosolar and algal fuel company Solazyme.
UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS — Ask a Scientist: S. Tompkins from Charlotte, NC, asks “How does the global warming pollution from cars compare to other major sources such as a coal power plant?” and is answered by Clean Vehicles Senior Engineer Jim Kliesch.
DINA FINE MARON – The Pentagon announced April 30 it is dropping its opposition to the development in eastern Oregon of what’s being touted as the world’s largest land-based wind energy project.
ROGER VALDEZ — Itâ€™s not often that I actually see an energy efficiency program at work on the ground. But last Friday I got the chance to visit a family in Portland whose home had been retrofitted through the Clean Energy Works Program.
J. MATTHEW RONEY: Even in the face of a worldwide economic downturn, the global wind industry posted another record year in 2009 as cumulative installed wind power capacity grew to 158,000 megawatts. With this 31 percent jump, the global wind fleet is now large enough to satisfy the residential electricity needs of 250 million people. Wind provides electricity in over 70 countries, 17 of which now have at least 1,000 megawatts installed.
PHYSORG.COM: A new University of California, Davis, study by a top ecological forecaster says it is harder than experts thought to predict when sudden shifts in Earth’s natural systems will occur — a worrisome finding for scientists trying to identify the tipping points that could push climate change into an irreparable global disaster.
ENERGY NEWS: Google Energy is now fully authorized to buy and sell energy at market rates. Are you going to be able to buy power from Google? Not exactly, butâ€¦
RAY LAHOOD: Today, I want to announce a sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning.
LIZ GALST: Last month, Tami and Randy Wilson of Harrisburg, Pa., may well have become the first homeowners to ever sell a carbon credit theyâ€™d generated at home. The family saved one metric ton of carbon by reducing their energy use and installing solar panels on their roof.
TED GLICK: Thereâ€™s a famous quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: â€œFirst they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.â€ However, according to Wikipedia, it may be that this concept was first expressed by a U.S. labor leader, Nicholas Klein of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, in 1914.
KATE GALBRAITH: The solicitations have been flooding peopleâ€™s mailboxes lately: pay a bit more on your electricity bill for 100 percent clean wind power. Or, the fliers say, buy â€œgreen power certificatesâ€ to offset your global warming emissions.
VALERIE TALIMAN: Nearly 400 Native leaders, scholars, elders and Tribal College students from across the country, joined by scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), came together at a watershed gathering, the Native Peoples Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop II, to formulate a collective response to the far-reaching impacts of climate change on Native lands and communities.
SOLAR POWER: Homeowners in a Southeast Portland neighborhood have banded together to buy and install solar panels, knocking significant chunks off the price through high-volume purchasing. The 6-month-old Solarize Portland program has wildly exceeded expectations.
CLIMATE CHANGE: The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will more than wipe out any reduction in carbon from the government’s proposed climate measures …
BOB JENKS: Portland General Electric (PGE) announced January 14, 2010 that, rather than attempt to upgrade its Boardman coal fired power plant and operate it until 2040 or longer, it now wants retire the plant in 2020. A number of folks in the Northwest have been working to stop PGE from investing $500 million in new pollution control and operating the plant indefinitely into the future. Investing that kind of money in a pulverized coal plant makes little sense for the planet and is a big financial risk to customers.