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Every year 24,000 people die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Every year 38,000 heart attacks occur because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Every year 12,000 hospital admissions and 550,000 people suffering asthma attacks result from power plant pollution.

Every year, coal-fired power plants release 48 tons of mercury nationwide.

Power plants release over 40% of total U.S. C02 emissions, a primary contributor to global warming...

...and yet the coal industry wants you to believe that building more coal fired power plants in Michigan is a good idea!

...and now utilities want to burn (as biomass) our trees that capture and store harmful carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we need to live

 

News | JOB LISTINGS

NO NEW POWER PLANTS REQUIRED in Michigan: Michigan Public Service Commission reports!

The Michigan Public Service Commission has issued what could well turn out to be death notices for Michigan coal-fired power plants. I say “could well turn out to be” because the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will make the final decision on each plant; MDEQ asked the MPSC to determine whether there was actually a demand for the electricity from either one. MPSC said, “No, they don’t need that power.

Michigan Ranked the 7th. Worst in the United States when it comes to Air Pollution From Power Plants
The American Lung Association estimated that particle pollution from power plants kills approximately 13,000 people a year. [No doubt Michigan will receive a worse pollution score if the Wolverine power plant in Rogers City is built.]

House Republicans Massively Chop Funding for Wildlife, Clean Water and Air
The Republican-led House Appropriations Committee has approved a restrictive spending bill for Fiscal Year 2012 that allows uranium mining on public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon, prohibits funding for the U.S. EPA to set greenhouse gas standards, and exempts oil and utility companies from the Clean Air Act. The EPA's budget would be cut by $1.5 billion and the Interior Department would take a $715 million hit under the bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee

San Antonio Utility Increases Order to 400 MW of Solar
CPS, the municipal utility in San Antonio, Texas, is making a strong play for favorite utility of the year. The city has a 14 MW plant up and running, contracts for another 3 plants of 10 MW each, and an oversubscribed standard offer contract program for another 10 MW.

100% Renewable Energy Possible by 203o
A new two-part study published in the journal Energy Policy (part 1, part 2) claims it's possible and affordable for the world to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. The renewable sources of energy the researchers' calculations focused on included wind power, solar power, waves and geothermal energy, even as some question if solar power is worth the expense. According to PhysOrg, achieving 100 percent clean energy would require building about 4 million 5-megawatt wind turbines, 1.7 billion 3-kilowatt roof-mounted solar photovoltaic systems, and around 90,000 300-megawatt solar power plants.

Renewable Energy Passed Up Nuclear in 2010
Annual renewables capacity additions have been outpacing nuclear start-ups for 15 years. In the United States, the share of renewables in new capacity additions skyrocketed from 2 percent in 2004 to 55 percent in 2009, with no new nuclear coming on line. “In the United States, even though nuclear and wind technologies produced a comparable amount of energy during their first 15 years (2.6 billion kWh for nuclear versus 1.9 billion kWh for wind), the subsidy to nuclear outweighed that to wind by a factor of over 40 ($39.4 billion versus $900 million).” Total investment in renewable energy technologies has been estimated at $243 billion in 2010.

Governor Granholm Joins the Pew Foundation to Promote Clean Energy Policy
The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today that former Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm will serve as a senior advisor in their efforts to promote clean energy policies that create jobs, stimulate innovation, spur investment and enhance America’s competitiveness in the global clean energy race. Gov. Granholm will travel the country to demonstrate the economic opportunities of advancing policies that make cars cleaner, industry more efficient and renewable energy more accessible and affordable.

Another Big Win for Koch Tea Party Funding – New Hampshire Trashes Polluter Controls
New Hampshire’s newly elected veto-proof Republican majority is swiftly consolidating the pro-pollution agenda provided by oil billionaires Charles and David Koch, the heads of Koch Industries. The New Hampshire House passed HB 519 by 246-104 on Wednesday, repealing its membership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), after a successful robocall campaign fronted by Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, one of the national Tea Party groups created by the oil billionaires. The legislation under attack funds clean energy. The Koch brothers have an income of $20 billion from dirty energy.

Fearing for his children's health, Mayor Calvin Tillman is leaving behind his government position and getting out of Town
Dish, Texas is a town consisting of 200 residents and 60 gas wells. When Tillman's sons repeatedly woke up in the middle of the night with mysterious nosebleeds, he knew it was time to move -- even if it meant leaving his community behind. Mayor Tillman reveals that when it came down to family or politics, the choice wasn't a tough one to make. Around the country, similar reports of nosebleeds can be found among residents living near hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," sites, though the energy companies insist that their methods are safe.

American Petroleum Institute To Begin Direct Political Donations
One of the biggest oil lobbying organizations now plans to directly back political candidates. The American Petroleum Institute (API) -- the main U.S. trade association for the oil and gas industry -- recently announced that beginning in the second quarter of this year, it will take a turn towards direct political donations. API, who has companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron among its 400 members, spent about $7 million last year on lobbying efforts alone. One of the greatest concerns, as Think Progress reports, is that API runs committees that set oil industry standards.

Administration Seeking Momentum for Clean Energy Standard
Obama's clean energy outline favors sources like wind, solar and nuclear over "clean coal" and natural gas. Those fossil fuel energies, which emit some greenhouse gases, would receive "partial credits" under a clean energy standard that may allow utilities to trade energy credits earned by using low-carbon power sources, according to a White House fact sheet. The plan also calls for tightened efficiency standards on things like household appliances, and includes the Home Star program, a $6 billion proposed program to encourage homeowners to save energy through insulation, new mechanical systems and retrofits. Those programs could offset higher energy prices and create jobs, supporters say.

Seeing REDD: Why a Much-Hyped Carbon Offset Program May Do More Harm Than Good
REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is being pushed by the United States as a way for industries and Northern countries, industrialized nations, to avoid actually reducing their emissions at the source. So, countries and companies can continue polluting by saying that they’re protecting forests somewhere else that will supposedly sequester the carbon that they’re putting out into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, there’s absolutely no credible science behind the notion of offsets. So, in fact, what’s going to happen is, because they’re not reducing their carbon emissions, global warming will continue, which will inevitably damage, destroy and completely eliminate forests, eventually, if global warming isn’t stopped.

Brazil's deforestation rate down
Cutting down trees and clearing forests — known as deforestation — releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the trees rot and are burned. The fewer trees cut down, the better it is for the environment. "This looks like the area that has moved the most forward at the meeting," said Linda Krueger of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Last week, Brazil announced that deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon declined 14 percent from August 2009 to July 2010

Wi-Fi Makes Trees Sick, Study Says
Radiation from Wi-Fi networks is harmful to trees, causing significant variations in growth, as well as bleeding and fissures in the bark, according to a recent study in the Netherlands. All deciduous trees in the Western world are affected, according to the study by Wageningen University. The city of Alphen aan den Rijn ordered the study five years ago after officials found unexplained abnormalities on trees that couldn't be ascribed to a virus or bacterial infection. In the Netherlands, about 70 percent of all trees in urban areas show the same symptoms, compared with only 10 percent five years ago. Besides the electromagnetic fields created by mobile-phone networks and wireless LANs, ultrafine particles emitted by cars and trucks may also be to blame. These particles are so small they are able to enter the organisms.

Grant would help pay for energy efficiency
TRAVERSE CITY — A $40,000 grant is available for cities, villages and townships to help with energy efficiency. The deadline to apply is Dec. 1 at 4 p.m. The grant is offered through the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments and is available to incorporated cities, villages and townships in Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee and Wexford counties. The money can be used for planning and implementation at public buildings. For more information and application instructions, go to www.nwm.org.

Water Wars: How New Power Plants Will Suck Our Water Sources Dry
Solar and wind alternatives use almost no water to produce electricity--an advantage that today's "clean-coal" hucksters and nuclear speculators don't want you or your Congress critters to realize. Indeed, their lobbyists are pushing hard at both national and state levels to get regulatory breaks and taxpayer subsidies to let these voracious giants keep mainlining our nation's water.

Swedish king awards Michigan governor
STOCKHOLM — King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden on Thursday honoured Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm with the Order of the Polar Star for her work to promote a clean energy economy. As the automotive capital of the U.S., Michigan has experienced severe job losses due to the financial woes of the auto sector, and Granholm's state has instead begun to look into new manufacturing areas, such as the production of wind turbines. "My strategy as governor has been to diversify our economy and move into new sectors, particularly sectors that we can be very successful in such as manufacturing the products that will lead our nation, and our world, to reduction of reliance on fossil fuels," she said.

Kilimanjaro's Rapid Glacier Melting Quickened by Deforestation
Report lead author Nicholas Pepin, from the University of Portsmouth, suggested to New Scientist, "extensive local deforestation in recent decades has likely reduced this flow of moisture [up the mountainside], depleting the mountain's icy hood." In conclusion the report itself notes, "long-term ice retreat at the summit of Kilimanjaro therefore is most likely to be influenced by changes in local land-use as well as more regional free-air changes."

Right Mix Of Trees Fights Global Warming
Cities in the United States have lost more than 20 percent of their trees in 10 years. Richard Smardon, Ph.D., is an Environmental Planner at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, attributes the disappearing trees to more construction around the country. Dr. Smardon says one huge benefit of trees is that they store so much carbon, which is good for the environment. He explains, "The more carbon we store in the tree, the less goes into the atmosphere." Dr. Smardon and forester Allan Drew, Ph.D., have found the perfect mix of trees for Syracuse, New York, a combination that packs a hefty environmental punch.

U.S. can't afford to wait any longer on switch to clean energy | COMMENTARY
The cry "Drill, baby, drill" has been answered with "Spill, baby, spill." And for what? To feed an economy that thrives on carbon-based fuels when a clear alternative exists? We can do better. Last year, 15 retired flag-level officers, admirals and generals who had commanded fleets and combatant commands, analyzed the effects of climate change and our country's addiction to oil on our national security for the nonpartisan Center for Naval Analysis. They concluded that our continued rate of use was unsustainable and that the effects of its use were both real and served to accelerate the scarcity of natural resources that often cause our military to become engaged in everything from humanitarian relief to combat. The same month that the CNA report was released, McKinsey & Co. published a report funded by environmental groups and energy, automotive and technology companies titled "Pathways to a Low Carbon Economy." They find that the right combination of incentives and investment by both the private and public sectors would yield a 55% reduction in atmospheric CO2 (from 1990 levels) by 2030.

Fracking puts state at risk for another disaster | COMMENTARY
The shale fracking leases expressly grant and subordinate the water rights of landowners to the companies. When a landowner sells oil and gas rights and signs a lease, the leasing company has a preferred right under the common law of property to use all the land surface and water necessary to exploit and extract the gas. Meanwhile, no one -- neither the state nor landowners -- has mapped or assessed the areas from which these massive quantities of water will be withdrawn or where contaminated water might be discharged. Deep shale fracking may be appropriate in certain places and under proper conditions, but the rights and interests of Michigan's citizens, along with the public trust in our shared water commons, is far too valuable to be handed over to private interests without stringent limitations. The foundation of our state's quality of life and economy are at stake, and the premature transfer of the public's interest in water and land for private exaction violates the public trust.

BP Scores Stimulus Money
BP is benefiting from a $308 million federal grant for a power plant seven miles from the western edge of Bakersfield. More than half of the money, $175 million, is coming from stimulus funds. The rest is coming from another federal program. The stimulus portion alone ranks as the second biggest award in California to a corporation and among the largest in the country benefiting private interests, according to data reported to the government by stimulus recipients. Hydrogen Energy California is a 50/50 partnership owned by BP and Rio Tinto and registered to a BP address. Customers of Southern California Edison will be footing even more of the project's bill after a ruling last year by the California Public Utilities Commission. The commission ruled that the electric utility could boost consumer rates to cover up to $30 million, which will be passed on to the BP-Rio Tinto joint venture for feasibility studies. The joint venture spent $92,000 lobbying the commission. [EDITOR: So here we have two companies with absoloutely horrible enviornmental records working together using taxpayer funding. This is shameful. More on Rio Tinto ... CLICK HERE]

US food waste worth more than offshore drilling
More energy is wasted in the perfectly edible food discarded by people in the US each year than is available in oil and gas reserves off the nation's coastlines. Recent estimates suggest that 16 per cent of the energy consumed in the US is used to produce food. Yet at least 25 per cent of food is wasted each year. Michael Webber and Amanda Cuellar at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin calculate that this is the equivalent of about 2150 trillion kilojoules lost each year. That's more than could be gained from many popular strategies to improve energy efficiency.

U.S. Senators Introduce Renewable-Energy-Storage Legislation
U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Jeanne Shaheen, D.-N.H., have introduced legislation to offer tax credits for the creation of renewable-energy storage. The Storage Technology of Renewable and Green Energy Act of 2010 Act (STORAGE 2010) would offer up to $1.5 billion in tax credits to support grid-connected energy-storage projects. The act offers a tax credit for three categories of energy-storage facilities and will also provide tax credits to businesses and homeowners who install energy storage on their own properties to help serve their own energy needs or capture energy from on-site renewable-energy generation. Specifically, the act will provide a 20% tax credit of up to $30 million for storage systems connected to the electric grid. The bill will also provide a 30% tax credit of up to $1 million to businesses and a 30% tax credit for homeowners for on-site storage projects.

The U.S. Needs a New Energy Policy ... Now
If the ecological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico tells us anything, it is that we need a new national energy policy—a comprehensive plan for escaping our dangerous reliance on fossil fuels and creating a new energy system based on climate-safe alternatives. Because our current energy path leads toward greater reliance on fuels acquired from environmentally and politically hazardous locations, no amount of enhanced oversight or stiffened regulations can avert future disasters like that unfolding in the gulf. Only a dramatic change in course—governed by an entirely new policy framework—can reduce the risk of catastrophe and set the nation on a wise energy trajectory.

Big Oil Makes War on the Planet
Our addiction to oil is now blowing back on the civilization that can't do without its gushers and can't quite bring itself to imagine a real transition to alternative energies.

Water Samples from Gulf Oil Spill ... DEADLY! | VIDEO
Oil and water samples were taken from both the Shores of Grand Isle and from 20 miles out. The preliminary analysis was done at an academic analytical chemistry laboratory. Looking for the likely pollutants from the deep water Horizon Oil spill. It was focused on the detection of benzene and propylene glycol. Benzene and other highly toxic contaminants were very low however the concentration of propylene glycol is 430 parts per million. The level of this toxin is 150-times the level known to kill most fish and propylene glycol is just one of many ingredients found in Corexit. In short, the Gulf is being poisoned by BP's usage of the dispersants. It is extremely dangerous for people to swim in this water or even to breathe the sea spray.

BP: Bribing Professors and Scientists
For the last few weeks, BP has been offering signing bonuses and lucrative pay to prominent scientists from public universities around the Gulf Coast to aid its defense against spill litigation. BP PLC attempted to hire the entire marine sciences department at one Alabama university, according to scientists involved in discussions with the company's lawyers. The university declined because of confidentiality restrictions that the company sought on any research. The Press-Register obtained a copy of a contract offered to scientists by BP. It prohibits the scientists from publishing their research, sharing it with other scientists or speaking about the data that they collect. "We told them there was no way we would agree to any kind of restrictions on the data we collect. It was pretty clear we wouldn't be hearing from them again after that," said Bob Shipp, head of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama. "We didn't like the perception of the university representing BP in any fashion." With its payments, BP buys more than the scientists' services, according to Wiygul. It also buys silence, he said, thanks to confidentiality clauses in the contracts.

The Effect of Power Plants on Local Housing Values
May 2010—Compared to neighborhoods with similar housing and demographic characteristics, neighborhoods within two miles of plants experienced 3-7 percent decreases in housing values and rents with some evidence of larger decreases within one mile and for large capacity plants. In addition, there is evidence of taste-based sorting with neighborhoods near plants associated with modest but statistically significant decreases in mean household income, educational attainment, and the proportion of homes that is owner occupied.

Owner of Exploded Rig Is Known for Testing Rules
Transocean is the world’s largest offshore drilling company, but until its Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April, few Americans outside the energy business had heard of it. It is well known, however, in a number of other countries — for testing local laws and regulations. In Norway, Transocean is the subject of a criminal investigation into possible tax fraud. In the United States, a federal bankruptcy judge recently found that one of Transocean’s merger partners had repeatedly abused the legal system to try to avoid potential liability in a pollution case in Louisiana. Transocean is also the target of tax inquiries in the United States and Brazil.

G8 (The Eight Leading Industrialized Nations) Declaration Recovery and New Beginnings
Recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should not exceed 2 degrees Celsius, we also call for the full and effective implementation of all the provisions of the Accord, including those related to measurement, reporting and verification thereby promoting transparency and trust. In this context, we are putting in place our respective fast-start finance contributions to help address the most urgent and immediate needs of the most vulnerable developing countries and to help developing countries lay the ground work for long-term, low-emission development. We express our commitment to cooperate actively and constructively with Mexico as the President of the sixteenth meeting of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties on November 29 - December 10, 2010. We support related initiatives, including the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Advisory Group on identifying long-term public and private financing, and the Paris-Oslo Process on REDD+. We want a comprehensive, ambitious, fair, effective, binding, post-2012 agreement involving all countries, and including the respective responsibilities of all major economies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

View the Exciting and Lively Traverse City Light & Power Board Meeting from 6/22/10
Traverse City Light and Power is finally exploring their opportunities. Start watching at 57-minutes into the meeting where Jim Carruthers brings up some points and asks some questions that the community wants and needs answers to. Light and Power appears to be putting their focus on building a natural gas fueled power plant at the Village (the former State Hospital grounds). TCL&P will now have to address the health risk emissions pose to the residents of the Village, as well as the patients and staff of Munson hospital. Placing combusion and emission sources near populated centers is not healthy. Residential values also fall near power generating plants. All factors that will need additional consideration.

Biomass signatures pass halfway point
17-Jun-10—TRAVERSE CITY—Organizers of an effort to give city residents the right to vote on plans for a wood-burning power plant said they've collected more than half the signatures needed to reserve ballot space. Former Traverse City Mayor Margaret Dodd recently began circulating a petition in hopes of getting a city charter amendment on the November general election ballot. The amendment would give city residents the right to vote on Traverse City Light & Power's plans for a biomass plant. A separate petition by Dodd seeks to give voters the right to amend the charter and bring Light & Power operations back under the city commission's control. Light & Power is run by its own seven-member board, though it once was a fully-contained city department.

Voters deserve chance to vote on biomass plant
June 15, 2010—After absorbing the hundreds of comments concerning Traverse City Light & Power's proposal to spend $30 million to build a biomass energy plant here, we're left with the powerful impression that a substantial proportion of city residents — if not a substantial majority — oppose the plan. Former Mayor Margaret Dodd is circulating a petition that would allow city residents to decide in November if the city charter should be amended to give residents the right to vote on plans for the biomass plant. If the proposal is approved, voters presumably would be asked at some later date to actually say yes or no to a plant. While that process may seem long and convoluted, it's a smart way to avoid the prospect of voters coming out overwhelmingly against a biomass plant but later finding out they don't have the authority to make anyone do anything. Dodd & Co. also are circulating a second petition to ask voters if Light & Power, which once was just another city department, should be brought back in house. While there are plenty of pros and cons to that one, there is no reason for it not to make the ballot now, with the expectation of vigorous debate later. Given the two-step process, signing the petition is a no-harm, no-foul kind of decision. Sign now, argue it all later.

Letters from Our Readers: The quote in this piece by Light and Power Direction Ed Rice, suggesting that it is better if decisions about"major power generation" are not made by the people is breathtakingly arrogant. If such decisions really WERE left up to people, we wouldn't be in Iraq... we wouldn't have as much climate warming... we wouldn't have the Gulf oil spill... I'm old enough to remember the oil crisis in the 70's and the enthusiasm for wind and solar that existed then. If "the people" had been able to direct our energy policy since that time, we'd now be reaping the benefits of 40 years of innovation and investment in truly clean energy, instead of the utter s**t of an energy policy we have now. Mary Booth, PhD.

US Commanders Want Deployable Renewable Energy Generation
The U.S. military is increasingly pursuing opportunities in renewable energy systems as a way to reduce energy costs, shorten supply lines, and improve force protection, according to a report by Defense Industry Daily.

The Wrong Kind of Green
As the Washington Post reports today, the major conservation group The Nature Conservancy faces "potential backlash as its supporters learn that the giant oil company and the world's largest environmental organization long ago forged a relationship that has lent BP an Earth-friendly image and helped the Conservancy pursue causes it holds dear." The Nation's Johann Hari recently investigated financial ties between environmental groups and environmentally unfriendly corporations for the magazine, offering a wider lens on the relationship between BP and the Nature Conservancy. Hari's piece appears below.

Repower American Roundtable | Audio
Last night Repower America hosted a roundtable at the college which included speakers from students to manufacturing consultants. The health implications of energy production is seldom considered when proposing the construction of new power plants. Dr. Laura Shea tells us why it ought to be.

The Oil Drum: Deepwater Oil Spill - A Longer Term Problem, Personnel | Opinion
As you have probably seen and maybe feel yourselves, there are several things that do not appear to make sense regarding the actions of attack against the well. Don't feel bad, there is much that doesn't make sense even to professionals unless you take into account some important variables that we are not being told about. There seems to me to be a reluctance to face what cannot be termed anything less than grim circumstances in my opinion. First of all...set aside all your thoughts of plugging the well and stopping it from blowing out oil using any method from the top down. Plugs, big valves to just shut it off, pinching the pipe closed, installing a new bop or lmrp, shooting any epoxy in it, top kills with mud etc etc etc....forget that, it won't be happening..it's done and over. In fact actually opening up the well at the subsea source and allowing it to gush more is not only exactly what has happened, it was probably necessary. So you have to why make it worse?...there really can only be one answer and that answer does not bode well for all of us. It's really an inescapable conclusion at this point, unless you want to believe that every Oil and Gas professional involved suddenly just forgot everything they know or woke up one morning and drank a few big cups of stupid and got assigned to directing the response to this catastrophe. Nothing makes sense unless you take this into account, but after you do...you will see the "sense" behind what has happened and what is happening. That conclusion is this: The well bore structure is compromised. It's a race now; a race to drill the relief wells and take our last chance at killing this monster before the whole weakened, wore out, blown out, leaking and failing system gives up it's last gasp in a horrific crescendo.

An Oil-Eating Microbe That's Been Around Since 1989 Could Single-Handedly Clean Up BP's Entire Oil Spill
It turns out there's a natural oil-eating microbe that can be reproduced by scientists. It feeds on crude oil and when it runs out of oil to eat, it simply dies and is safely consumed by marine life. There are two shots of scientists testing the microbe in both controlled and real-world environments. So we ask BP: Why the heck aren't you using this to clean up the oil in the Gulf of Mexico?

Deforestation Leads to Earthquakes and other disasters
Geologists working in Haiti say they've been able to trace the exact location of the earthquake fault that gave way on January 12th and killed more than 200,000 people. They've also discovered that decades of deforestation in Haiti actually contributed to the earthquake's toll along the coastline to a surprising chain of events. As people in the highlands chopped down much of Haiti's forests over the years, that unleashed a huge amount of sediment that has washed down the rivers and into the coastal base, actually building up deltas composed of loose and weak dirt.

Changing the Climate for Justice
April 20—Welcome to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth—a massive meeting organized by the Bolivian government in response to the resounding failure of the United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Copenhagen last year. The world’s governments were unable to find enough common ground in Copenhagen to hash out even a weak treaty to control carbon emissions. News reports largely caricatured developing countries at the talks as pawns in China’s chess match with the United States and Europe. But organizers of this week’s meeting see it differently: Copenhagen entirely ignored the question of climate justice—and the debt wealthy nations owe the world for the resources they depleted during their own development.

Beware of Sewage Sludge Being Marketed as Fertilizer
Only 1 percent of the hazardous materials in sludge are regulated. Most national and local gardening shops around the country sell sludge-based fertilizers. One option is Milorganite, a fertilizer advertised as “organic biosolids.” Say what? “Biosolids” is a euphemism for sewage sludge. It was created in the early 1990s by the “Name Change Task Force” of the Water Environment Federation (WEF). Once known as the Federation of Sewage and Industrial Wastes Associations, WEF is the sewage industry’s main lobbying and public-relations organization. The deceptive wording has not changed one startling fact: Sewage sludge contains hazardous materials, such as dioxins, PCBs, phthalates, brominated flame retardants and toxic heavy metals. But “biosolids” certainly sounds nicer than “toxic waste.” The propaganda campaign was a success: “Biosolids” now appears in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. In Toxic Sludge Is Good for You, John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton argue that America would have benefited from completely rethinking waste treatment. Beginning in the mid-1800s and continuing today, combined sewer systems—where storm water, household sewage and industrial waste are mixed together—discharge massive amounts of polluted water, most of it “treated,” into rivers, lakes and oceans. When the wastewater is “treated,” toxic sludge—a product of wastewater treatment—is produced. Not putting human waste into the sewer in the first place would have allowed its use as a fertilizer to enrich agricultural soil.

Forests + Climate Change + Pine Beetle = Death
"The pine beetle infestation is the first major climate change crisis," Doug McArthur, a professor of public policy at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, told IPS. "The pine beetle has survived the warmer winters due to global warming. The result is the rapid cut of forests to salvage the wood, which could, within seven or eight years, result in some communities being without a forestry industry which has sustained many regions for decades. This could very well be only the beginning of the implications of climate change for forests in North America and other parts of the world. Logging in beetle-infested areas has contributed to the current situation by leaving older trees susceptible to the insect. [J&E Editor: In a cruel irony, biomass burning contributes to global climate change, which encourages pests. We are killing our forests three times over with greenhouse gases, deforestation, and pestilence. We must move beyond biomass burning. It is a flawed and failed concept.]

Study Indicates that Trees Are Soaking Up Greenhouse Gases
Scientists have concluded that increased tree growth has resulted largely from the increase in carbon dioxide, a major factor in climate change. Trees are now known to play a vital role in countering global warming because they absorb and store carbon dioxide, the leading heat-trapping gas. Geoffrey G. Parker, a co-author of the paper and an ecologist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Md., said his research indicated that the local forests were adapting to the rise in carbon dioxide by absorbing more. “My guess is that they are already sopping up some of the extra carbon,” he said. [J&E Editor: This is why we need to protect our tress and plant many more. They are literally our lifeline.]

Energy sector poised for innovation
This country runs on innovation. The American success story -- from Ben Franklin's bifocals to Thomas Edison's light bulb to Henry Ford's assembly line to today's advanced microprocessors -- is all about inventing our future. The companies we ran, Microsoft and DuPont, were successful because they invested deeply in new technologies and new ideas. Currently our country is neglecting a field central to our national prospect and security: energy. Despite talk about the need for "21st-century" energy sources, federal spending on clean energy research -- less than $3 billion -- is also relatively small. Compare that with roughly $30 billion that the U.S. government annually spends on health research and $80 billion on defense research and development. There is vast opportunity in energy. Prices are declining in solar energy and wind, and they could fall further with new technology. There is a critical need for better electricity storage technologies to enable electric vehicles and very-large-scale renewable energy.

Confessions of a Former Oil Industry Consultant | an interview
Jeremy Leggett has undergone quite a few large career changes, from oil industry consultant to Greenpeace scientist to solar power entrepreneur. A geologist by training, he worked with the oil industry until his studies brought him face-to-face with the growing evidence of climate change.

Science stunner: Vast East Siberian Arctic Shelf methane stores destabilizing and venting
NSF issues world a wake-up call: "Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.” Methane release from the not-so-perma-frost is the most dangerous amplifying feedback in the entire carbon cycle. Research published in Friday’s journal Science finds a key “lid” on “the large sub-sea permafrost carbon reservoir” near Eastern Siberia “is clearly perforated, and sedimentary CH4 [methane] is escaping to the atmosphere.” Methane is is 25 times as potent a heat-trapping gas as CO2 over a 100 year time horizon, but 72 times as potent over 20 years! Half the land-based permafrost would vanish by mid-century on our current emissions path

A Retiring Utility CEO Looks to the Future
Roger Duncan, general manager of Austin Energy, spoke at a renewable energy conference Feb. 23. “Where I think you’re going to get most of the new generation coming online will be a battle between wind and natural gas.” I think the biggest change we’re going to see and it will just start to emerge this decade but it will be in the future decades, is going to be on the building side. The current trends you hear the most talk about is zero energy buildings and the smart grid.

100 Percent of Fish in U.S. Streams Found Contaminated with Mercury
In a new study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), every single fish tested from 291 freshwater streams across the United States was found to be contaminated with mercury. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that builds up in the food chain at ever higher concentrations in predators such as large fish and humans. It is especially damaging to the developing nervous systems of fetuses and children, but can have severe effects on adults, as well. The pollutant enters the environment almost wholly as atmospheric emissions from industrial processes, primarily the burning of coal for electricity. It then spreads across the plant and settles back to the surface, eventually concentrating in rivers, lakes and oceans, where it enters the aquatic food chain.

100% Green Power by 2020
A report to be released in the first half of this year finds that Australia can use solar and wind power to produce 100 percent of its electricity in 10 years using technologies that are available now. The study is being compiled by the Victoria–based advocacy group Beyond Zero Emissions and is based on the research of engineers and scientists. Australia now gets nearly 80 percent of its power from coal plants. Only 1 percent comes from wind power; less than half of 1 percent comes from solar energy. "We're in a state of complete stagnation [on clean energy] at the moment," Wright told SolveClimate. The report calls for 40 percent of power to come from wind turbines. Concentrating solar power (CSP) plants, with molten salt to store energy (something we have in good supply exhausted Michigan gas wells), would form the backbone of the scheme, providing 60 percent of total electricity.

Follow the Money Report
TCL&P “Integrated Resource Plan” Written by Company that Received $21-Million Federal Dollars to Develop Biomass
March 9, 2010 (PRNewswire Firstcall) - Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, R.W. Beck, has been awarded a blanket purchase agreement by the Department of Energy's Biomass Program. The BPA's period of performance expires Sep. 30, 2015 and has a ceiling value of $21 million. [Editor: Does this sound like a consulting company that can relate to the needs of our small city electrical utility? Did TCL&P go on a very expensive long distance shopping trip to hire somebody that would give them the IRP they wanted to purchase; an ”“Integrated Resource Plan” that promoted biomass?]

    Related Article: Contract Award - SAIC / R.W. Beck - US Air Force
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    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck awarded $955-Million dollar blanket purchase agreement from EPA
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Nets $288-Million Deal with EIA (The award is an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract)
    Related Article: Contract - SAIC / R.W. Beck - $25 Million - GSA
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    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Wins Army Corps of Engineers $10 Million For Support Services
    Related Article: Naval Air Systems Command secures SAIC / R.W. Beck support for $29-Million
    Related Article: Contract - SAIC / R.W. Beck - $70 Million - Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Wins $196-Million Contract for Space and Naval Warfare Systems
    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Wins Major Biological Support Deal
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    Related Article: SAIC / R.W. Beck Wins $196-Million Contract for Space and Naval Warfare
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Michigan Tribes Working to Protect Forests in Ceded Areas of Michigan
Michigan Tribes are developing new forest management plans that protect forest biodiversity. Tribal Council needs to realize that most members exercise our treaty rights all over MI and in the UP too. Tribes need to also develop their own energy resources and quit subsidizing some outside energy provider that threatens our forests, treaty rights and tribal revenues that benefit all Tribal Members! The map indicates our treaty area targeted for hardwood logging operations that may be in opposition to a Tribal Forest Management Plan.

Could transparency make up for a lack of a carbon cap?
The new Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, which took effect last month, requires industrial facilities that release 25,000 metric tons of CO2-equivalent a year to measure and report their emissions. (For comparison, that’s roughly what 2,200 average U.S. households emit annually.) Initially the rule will affect about 1,200 sites—including factories that produce chemicals, cement, iron, and steel. A facility can stop reporting if it emits less than 25,000 tons for five years or less than 15,000 tons for three years. The emissions data collected will be made public starting in March 2011. Affected companies will find themselves in a searchable database—and maybe in the headlines too. The data could well become fodder for “the biggest polluters in Area X” local and national stories.

Time to Shape up or Step Aside
I am going to tell you something about being a parent that I think is relevant: When my children do something naughty, do I yell at them and take away some privileges? Or do I offer them a candy in exchange for halting their naughtiness? Welllll- some would advocate the candy approach, but what happens when they realize that the outcome of their naughtiness is to receive candy? Of course they can't wait to be naughty again! That is your approach to dealing with polluting corporations; reward them with permits to pollute and a new paintjob.

EPA: Greenhouse gases endanger human health
WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded greenhouse gases are endangering people's health and must be regulated, signaling that the Obama administration is prepared to contain global warming without congressional action if necessary. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson scheduled a news conference for later Monday to announce the so-called endangerment finding. Under a Supreme Court ruling, the so-called endangerment finding is needed before the EPA can regulate carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases released from automobiles, power plants, and factories under the federal Clean Air Act. The EPA has begun the early stages of developing permit requirements on carbon dioxide pollution from large emitters such as power plants.

   

Related Article: The Right Solution

    Related Article: Public Health professionals urge State Senate to protect residents

Stimulus Bill Pours $54 Million Into Wine Train Project -- and Creates 12 Jobs
A company won a $54 million contract to build new structures for the Napa Valley Wine Train tourist attraction. The result? 12 new jobs and "pork barrel" accusations.

Sack Goldman Sachs Cap-and-Trade pdf
The revolving door between Washington and Wall Street has produced a new scheme to fleece the public: “Cap-and-trade” Permits to emit a “capped” amount of carbon dioxide will be traded on Wall Street by big-time players like Goldman Sachs. Here, in essence, is how it worked. Congress passed a law, Title IV of the Clean Air Act, capping sulfur emissions from power plants at 50 percent of 1990 amounts. Utilities reducing emissions more than half could sell excess reductions to other utilities, which then did not need to reduce pollution. What is needed is not a cap/floor, but a system designed to wind down the pollution in accord with the public good, not the polluters’ profits.

Michigan Republican Candidate for Governor Puts Environment at the Top of His Agenda
Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder is ratcheting up the case that he knows the balanced path to that future and can get Michigan there as its next governor. "The state must become a conservation leader again because Michigan's citizens value the natural environment over Lansing's worn-out political environment." Snyder said, "Politicians are jeopardizing our resources and compromising our reputation as a leader in environmental stewardship. ...Public and private partnerships provide a sustainable funding model to stem the tide."

Indian tribe sees bright future in solar energy
January 13, 2010—A poverty-stricken Indian tribe that holds the sun and nature's other gifts sacred sees a brighter future for itself in solar power. The 3,000 members of the Jemez Pueblo are on the verge of building the nation's first utility-scale solar plant on tribal land, a project that could bring in millions of dollars. Experts say tapping into the sun, wind and geothermal energy on Indian land could generate the kind of wealth many tribes have seen from slot machines and blackjack tables.

Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative to Purchase Natural Gas Fired Power Plant
Michigan—FirstEnergy Corp. said Thursday it has reached an agreement in principle to sell a Michigan power plant to Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative Inc. after concluding it was no longer a strategic fit. The sale is expected to close in the first quarter. Financial terms were not disclosed. FirstEnergy, an Akron-based diversified energy company, built the 340-megawatt plant in 2002 in Sumpter, Mich., to serve customers in northwest Ohio and participate in the Michigan marketplace. The plant has four natural gas combustion turbines.

White House Plan Would Increase Clean Energy Tax Credit
December 16, 2009 WASHINGTON — The White House is proposing to expand by $5 billion a clean energy tax credit, as part of a push to spur job growth. The proposal, unveiled Wednesday by the office of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., is the latest Obama administration effort to tackle the high level of joblessness, while also encouraging investment in wind, geothermal and solar projects in the United States.

America's Greenest City
Grand Rapids—On a sunny afternoon in Grand Rapids, a group of earnest, middle-age folks is gathered in a conference room, looking at slides of wind turbines and charts about wasteful energy use. A full-bearded man, who looks as if he's just back from a nature walk, talks about his plans to build a home showcasing the latest in low-impact design. At the front of the room, the speaker asks, pep-rally style, "What's the most effective source of renewable energy today? Conservation!" Grand Rapids leads the nation in the number of LEED-certified buildings per capita. In 2005, Mayor George Heartwell pledged that more than 20% of the city's power would come from renewable sources by 2008; it hit that target a year early, and Heartwell upped the target to 100% by 2020.

Planning for Peak Oil
Randy Udall says the rapid expansion of oil dependence cannot go on for another 50 years in the United States. He shares stories of ingenuity in the face of oil depletion. Also, Bryn Davidson talks about planning resilient cities.

Time to Worry About Our Planet
Once again, however, the nations of the world, led by our richest and most privileged, have shown amazing resilience for maintaining selfish national interests to the peril of our whole planet. Instead of agreeing on the facts that have been established by the IPCC, leaders who are unwilling to share the fruits of centuries of unbalanced exploitation of the world's natural resources are refusing to admit responsibility for climate change's adverse effects. The IPCC's evidence that climate change is in large part man made and that has adverse effects for the world's most vulnerable people is strong, almost unavoidably obvious.

Bronx Hydrogen Station Completes Cluster for Equinox Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Drivers
2009-12-10 New York—With today’s opening of a Shell Hydrogen station in the Bronx, drivers of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles now have a third New York City area location to fill their pollution-free crossovers. General Motors, Shell Hydrogen and the Department of Sanitation in New York City (DSNY) completed the long-awaited cluster of stations that will make it easier for participants in Project Driveway to travel longer distances without fear of running out of hydrogen fuel that powers the demonstration vehicles.

Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition United States Movement
Rob Hopkins reminds us that the oil our world depends on is steadily running out. He proposes a unique solution to this problem -- the Transition response, where we prepare ourselves for life without oil and sacrifice our luxuries to build systems and communities that are completely independent of fossil fuels.

A Look Inside Buffett's Battery Bet
China's green-tech firms are often not all they're cracked up to be. To undercut its Japanese competitors, which deploy expensive robotic arms to make uniform battery cells, BYD reverted to manual assembly lines with inexpensive labor. The result was cheaply produced batteries of inconsistent quality.

Wake Up America
Asia Light Years Ahead of the US in Clean Tech Investment
Asia is investing hundreds of billions of dollars more than the US in clean technology, according to a new report by two research institutions. In the future, the US may be importing trillions of dollars of needed clean technology (and losing countless jobs to Asia) as a result. 18 votesBuzz up! In total, the report showed that China, Japan, and South Korea will invest about $509 billion in clean tech over the next 5 years, whereas the US (with our greenest President in decades, maybe ever) is only expected to invest $172 billion (about 3 times less) — this is assuming the climate and energy legislation in Congress passes. If the US were to invest the same percentage of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as South Korea, it would invest almost $140 billion per year ($700 billion over this five year period)!

The label should read “Made in Detroit”
China Buys 80 Very High Speed Trains (236 mph) for $4 Billion
The Chinese Ministry of Railways has announced that it will buy 80 "very high speed trains" from Bombardier's Chinese joint ventre Bombardier Sifang to add to China's fast-growing network of high-speed rail. The ZEFIRO 380 trains are both very efficient (more on that below) and very fast, and should help make transportation in China greener, especially if train trips displace plane trips. Bombardier is a French manufacturer. $300 Billion to be Invested in High-Speed Rail Through 2020 The contract is estimated at 27.4 billion Chinese Renminbis ($4 billion US, 2.7 billion euros). But this is only part of it. As Alex recently wrote, "China is investing over $300 billion in high-speed rail through 2020, in a bid to speed ahead of the rest of the world's train systems." [Editor: This is just another reminder that we need a high-speed rail system in North-America. It might not make sense everywhere, but there are many major cities that could certainly benefit from modern high-speed train links.]

China's High Speed Rail Will Leave U.S. in the Dust
While it attempts to kick-start its struggling auto industry, the U.S. is talking about building a high-speed rail network with an initial $8 billion in stimulus funds. Meanwhile, China is investing over $300 billion in high-speed rail through 2020, in a bid to speed ahead of the rest of the world's train systems. The numbers alone are head-spinning: 16,000 miles of new track by 2020, requiring 117 million tons of concrete just to construct the buttresses on which the tracks will lie. Top speeds from Beijing to Shanghai will approach 220 miles an hour, halving the current travel time to four hours. This year China Railway Company plans to hire 20,000 young engineers.

China Pulls in Green Energy Investment
"China has not been sitting idle" in either the manufacturing or the deploying of renewable energy technologies, Pernick said. China already leads the world in making solar-water heaters, and its list of solar-photovoltaic manufacturers has grown to include heavy hitters such as Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE: STP), China Sunergy (NSDQ: CSUN) and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. (NYSE: YGE), he said. China stands third, behind Japan and Germany, in terms of its share of photovoltaic-manufacturing capacity, according to a Worldwatch Institute report released in November. China now has more than 50 domestic wind turbine manufacturers, the Worldwatch Institute said.

Dyesol and Merck collaborate in dye solar cells
Merck is one of the world leaders in the development and production of ionic liquids which are key raw materials used in DSC electrolytes. Merck has patented intellectual property and vast know-how in the field of ionic liquids and is a leading supplier of materials for allied applications such as liquid crystal displays. DSC technology can best be described as ‘artificial photosynthesis’ using an electrolyte, a layer of titania and ruthenium dye deposited on glass, metal or polymer substrates. Light striking the dye excites electrons which are absorbed by the titania to become an electric current many times stronger than that found in natural photosynthesis in plants. Compared to conventional silicon based photovoltaic technology, Dyesol’s technology has lower cost and embodied energy in manufacture, it produces electricity more efficiently even in low light conditions and can be directly incorporated into buildings by replacing conventional glass panels or metal sheets rather than taking up roof or extra land area.

U.S. Energy Information Administration: Statistics and Analysis
The Renewable Energy Annual is a series of annual publications on renewable energy by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The 2007 edition presents five reports, accompanied with data tables, text and graphics covering various aspects of the renewable energy marketplace.

2009 Long Term Reliability Assessment
NERC’s annual ten-year reliability outlook, the Long-Term Reliability Assessment, provides an independent view of the reliability of the system, identifying trends, emerging issues, and potential concerns. NERC’s projections are based on a bottom-up approach, collecting data and perspectives from grid operators, electric utilities, and other users, owners, and operators of the bulk power system. Improvements to the 2009 report include more extensive data validation and more granular data on generation and transmission. Highlights of the 2009 report include: Economic Recession, Demand-Side Management Lead to Decreased Demand, Higher Reserve Margins

Clean-Energy Programs Booming at Community Colleges
For many students enrolling in alternative energy programs at community colleges, it's not about some greater environmental ethos. It's about jobs. That message has resounded at Lansing Community College where some students are former employees of now-shuttered General Motors Co. plants. Enrollment in the school's alternative energy programs has spiked this year, accounting for the campus's largest growth area. Over the last year alone, the college has outfitted 75 to 100 former GM employees -- mostly from factory lines -- with alternative energy skills. The jobs are out there for alternative energy graduates, Berghorn noted. Close to 100 percent of the graduates have been able to find work.

Public Health professionals urge State Senate to protect residents with strong energy legislation
June 18, 2008 – Public Health professionals from across Michigan today endorsed clean energy legislation under consideration by the State Senate that takes crucial steps toward improving the health of Michigan’s air and water. “We expect our State Senators to side with public health and modern, clean energy solutions, not with Big Energy,” said Dr. Ted Schettler, Science Director at the Science and Environmental Health Network. “We are at a crossroads in Michigan where we can take steps to reduce childhood asthma and other diseases, or we can turn our backs on these solutions.”

Groups Petition EPA to Set Greenhouse Gas Limits Under Clean Air Act
Two environmental groups petitioned U.S. EPA today to set national limits for greenhouse gases using the Clean Air Act. The Center for Biological Diversity and 350.org petitioned (pdf) the EPA to designate greenhouse gases as "criteria" air pollutants, which would require EPA to establish allowable nationwide concentrations for the gases. "It's time to use our strongest existing tool for reducing greenhouse gas pollution -- the Clean Air Act," said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute. "For four decades, this law has protected the air we breathe -- and it's done that through a proven, successful system of pollution control that saves lives and creates economic benefits vastly exceeding its costs."

As emissions increase, carbon 'sinks' get clogged
In the race to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, scientists have been looking to forests and oceans to absorb the pollution people generate. Relying on nature to compensate for human excesses sounds like a win-win situation -- except that these resources are under stress from the very emissions we are asking them to absorb, making them less able partners in the pact. Consider it the latest inconvenient truth about climate change. Now, a global society of conservation biologists has launched a lobbying campaign, asking key decision-makers -- from the Danish officials chairing next week's climate talks in Copenhagen to U.S. lawmakers -- to push for steeper emission cuts to ensure that humans do not exhaust forests' capacity to store carbon in the decades to come.

Global Automakers Launch Website Focused on CO2 Reductions
Today, global automakers launched a new website called www.DrivingSustainability.com to focus on the need for an integrated, economy-wide approach to CO2 reductions. A National Program is a priority to automakers because a national fuel economy program allows manufacturers to average sales nationwide, so customers in all 50 states can continue to buy the types of vehicles they need for family, business and leisure. A National Program also avoids conflicting standards from different regulatory agencies, and it gives automakers much needed certainty for long-term product planning. In addition, a National Program delivers overall greenhouse gas reductions equal to or better than those that would be realized under separate programs by different regulatory bodies.

Here is GM's position: "The 15th Conference on Parties on Climate Change December 7-18 in Copenhagen will likely produce an outline of the next international agreement on limiting greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions and reducing global temperature increases. "The challenge for the Conference is to turn the actions and policies of developing and developed countries into an agreement that recognizes the need for 'common but differentiated' commitments, and gives all nations confidence that global climate goals will be met. "We believe this challenge can be met, and that advanced technology is the key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while meeting society's other goals. The key as we see it is energy diversity – which for an automotive company means being able to offer customers vehicles powered by a variety of energy sources and advanced propulsion systems that can both displace petroleum and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "GM views the need to promote energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as both a business necessity and part of our obligation to society. The company has a globally integrated strategy to meet the world’s growing demand for its cars and trucks, while lessening these products’ impact on the environment. "In addition to an international agreement, GM also supports a new, more comprehensive and forward-looking national strategy that ensures we’re working on things that will really make a difference in reducing oil consumption and CO2 emissions in the U.S."

Copenhagen summit: Is there any real chance of averting the climate crisis
As one of the first pioneers to bring global warming to the political arena with his 1988 Congressional testimony, Hansen also used this week's announcement to criticize world leaders who have politicized climate change since its acceptance into mainstream policy decisions. "We don't have a leader who is able to grasp it and say what is really needed. Instead we are trying to continue business as usual," said Hansen. The NASA scientist has been quoted to call cap and trade "no more appropriate to fight climate change than a V2 rocket was to get to the moon." He has also been deeply critical of the policies of the Obama administration in general, calling Obama's efforts "half-assed" in a recent interview with The Guardian.

The REAL Story of Cap & Trade | WATCH THE VIDEO
The Story of Cap & Trade is a fact filled look at the leading climate solution being discussed at Copenhagen and on Capitol Hill. Host Annie Leonard introduces the energy traders and Wall Street financiers at the heart of this scheme and reveals the "devils in the details" in current cap and trade proposals: free permits to big polluters, fake offsets and distraction from what’s really required to tackle the climate crisis. If you’ve heard about cap and trade, but aren’t sure how it works (or who benefits), this is the film is for you.

EPA Attorneys Speak Out
Also see: The Real Solution

Cap-and-trade mirage
Supporters of the climate bill passed by the House and the similar bill under consideration in the Senate -- including President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders -- say that the cap-and-trade approach would guarantee greenhouse-gas reductions. But this claim ignores the flaws inherent in both bills that would undermine even their weak emissions-reduction targets and would lock in climate degradation.

Cap and Trade Emissions Control Plans Have Poor Track Record
The most studied program was the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market (RECLAIM) program by the South Coast Air Quality Management District to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx) emissions through a cap and declining balance set for more than 350 of the largest polluting facilities in Southern California. RECLAIM has the longest history and practical experience of any locally designed and implemented air emissions cap-and-trade program. An audit of the nine-year RECLAIM record by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in November 2002 found that the program did not come close to living up to expectations

The Right Solution to the Carbon Emissions Problem
A critical choice is in progress. The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a climate bill this past June, and a similar bill was introduced in the Senate in late September. Both bills rely on a Cap-and-Trade with Carbon Offsets approach. Based on our 20+ years each as public sector environmental attorneys, we believe enactment of this type of bill would lock in climate degradation; it would enrich carbon offset investors, but fail to create the shift in incentives needed to begin the clean energy revolution. We urge you to contact your representatives.

MUST READ
Cap and Trade vs Carbon Fees: Wall Street against you, the consumer?
Wall Street financiers and the Obama Whitehouse are promoting a scheme that is sure to cost ordinary ratepayers plenty. It's called cap and trade, and it is another way for investors and speculators to take more money out of our a already empty pockets. | WATCH THE VIDEO

100% Electric - Zero Air Pollution (ZAP)
ZAP is a leading distributor of affordable, efficient, 100% electric vehicles in the United States and has established a network of licensed automobile dealers throughout the United States. In January 2009, ZAP unveiled a high performance electric roadster called the Alias which is planned for deliveries in late 2010.

OLED Lighting
Not only are OLEDs super efficient, but these 'lamps' do not contain any 'bad' metals such as mercury, which is present in efficient CFL lamps. So OLEDs are really the future lighting source, when all things are considered. Because OLEDs can be flexible, or even transparent, exciting new OLED lamp designs are possible.

TOP 25 Green Energy Leaders
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published a list of the Top 25 American users of green power: organizations that generate their own renewable energy, buy it from suppliers, or purchase offset credits to compensate for their traditional energy use. Here they are

No quick switch to low-carbon energy
To combat climate change, the world's entire energy system needs a major overhaul before the middle of the century. But can we build new energy supplies that quickly? Some argue that with the right incentives we can see similar rates of change in the energy system as have been seen in information technology. So most of the debate focuses on how much the transition will cost and who will foot the bill. Here, we argue that cost is less important than the rate at which existing low-carbon energy technologies can be physically deployed. Because the scale of the energy system is so huge, it takes time to build the human and industrial capacity to achieve substantial deployment.

Oil Industry Comes Up With Their Version of a Federal Energy Bill
Not surprisingly, the industry's bill requires expedited oil drilling everywhere -- Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain, fish-rich Bristol Bay, and on the Florida Gulf Coast and Panhandle. This would be accomplished by rescinding, waiving, or limiting federal laws, state authority, and people's ability to protect these areas, while expediting judicial review of federal leasing and permitting decisions. My guess is that, after spending $80 million on public relations and lobbying last year, the American Petroleum Institute felt Americans were ready to believe their industry scribes. Too bad they didn't just name it the "No Future Act of 2010." That might have tipped off the more gullible Americans as to exactly where this bill would take us. The oil industry is a dying industry. If America clings to it, we will go down as well. Our future health and well-being depend on creating new industries in solar, wind, tidal, and algae biofuels.

Leading the Way for Electric Cars
Is saving $40,000 at the showroom enough to get drivers behind the wheel of an electric car? With a program in the works to add easy access to charging stations, Denmark is about to find out. Now the biggest Danish power company is working with a Silicon Valley start-up in a $100 million effort to wire the country with charging poles as well as service stations that can change out batteries in minutes. The government offers a minimum $40,000 tax break on each new electric car — and free parking in downtown Copenhagen. By revamping the power grid, Dong Energy, Better Place’s partner and the biggest utility in Denmark, wants to power the anticipated fleet of electric cars with wind energy, which already supplies nearly 20 percent of the country’s power. With Better Place and the smart grid working together, cars would charge up as the winds blow at night, when power demand is lowest. Charging would soak up the utility’s extra power and sharply shrink the carbon footprint of electric vehicles.

House Passes Climate Bill
On a 219 to 212 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the landmark American Clean Energy and Security Act, the most important environmental and energy legislation in our nation's history. You helped! The bill that emerged from the House has the fundamental structure we need to significantly reduce carbon pollution while growing the economy. It puts strong cap on emissions and reorients our energy market to make low-carbon power the goal. It ensures that utility rates will stay affordable and a competitive playing field for U.S. companies. Today’s vote opens the door for President Obama to sign comprehensive climate legislation into law this year.

Climate and Capitalism in Copenhagen
Beginning in the second week of December, representatives to the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen will wrestle with the challenge of climate change. This week, influential actors in the World Trade Organization Seventh Ministerial Conference taking place in Geneva are trying to push for a conclusion to the nine-year-old Doha Round of trade negotiations. The two meetings are at cross-purposes and their juxtaposition highlights a profound reality: The world has to choose between free trade and effective climate management. This globalized economy has been transportation-intensive, greatly dependent on ever-increasing long-distance transportation of goods. For instance, a plate of food consumed in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles from source to table. Transportation, in turn, is fossil-fuel intensive, accounting in 2006 for 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and 23% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

The Billings Gazette: Highwood coal plant dropped for natural gas/wind
Billings, Montana—Blaming regulatory uncertainty and environmental lawsuits, developers of the Highwood Generating Station near Great Falls are halting work on the planned coal-fired generating plant for now and are going to build one powered by natural gas with wind turbines for additional power.

Climatologists under pressure
Stolen e-mails have revealed no scientific conspiracy, but do highlight ways in which climate researchers could be better supported in the face of public scrutiny. Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real — or that human activities are almost certainly the cause. That case is supported by multiple, robust lines of evidence, including several that are completely independent of the climate reconstructions debated in the e-mails.

We only have months, not years, to save civilisation from climate change
Saving civilisation is going to require an enormous effort to cut carbon emissions. The good news is that we can do this with current technologies. Plan B aims to stabilise climate, stabilise population, eradicate poverty, and restore the economy's natural support systems. It prescribes a worldwide cut in net carbon emissions of 80% by 2020, thus keeping atmospheric CO2 concentrations from exceeding 400 parts per million (ppm) in an attempt to hold temperature rise to a minimum. The eventual plan would be to return concentrations to 350 ppm, as agreed by the top US climate scientist at Nasa, James Hansen, and Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC.

Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States
Compiled over five years by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, this report is the go-to source on how climate change is already affecting the United States, including forecasts for how it could get much worse. The report summarizes the science and the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. It focuses on climate change impacts in different regions of the U.S. and on various aspects of society and the economy such as energy, water, agriculture, and health. It’s also a report written in plain language, with the goal of better informing public and private decision making at all levels.

Realistically Speaking
The realists are actually the climate activists, who understand that if you give people in a market economy the right incentives they will make big changes in their energy use and environmental impact. The fantasists are the burn-baby-burn crowd who hate the idea of using government for good, and therefore insist that doing the right thing is economically impossible.

Redefining What’s Possible for Clean Energy
Out of our garages came the innovations that launched the information technology and biotech revolutions. From those beginnings, we have built a trillion-dollar IT economy and a biotech industry. As investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders, we recognize a similar economic opportunity in clean energy technology. And this prospect isn’t just about economic growth. Our security and prosperity and that of future generations depend on energy independence and a stable climate, which clean technology can ensure.

Factoring People Into Climate Change
Family planning is a toxic subject in too many places, best buried as a malingering relative of Malthusian population "control." Governments, which dominate these huge confabs, and the people who work independently in the field, down at village level, disagree sharply on the perils of omitting women and their reproductive choices when the future of the earth is at stake. "Rising population and climate change need to be considered together in an integrated policy," according to Inter Press Service. Reflective of the NGO view was Kulvashi Devi Hurrynag, a women's rights activist from Mauritius, who said that countries must recognize the "synergies between family planning, sexual education, development and environmental equilibrium."

Effects of Concentrated Ambient Particles and Diesel Engine Exhaust on Allergic Airway Disease
This report describes a study to investigate the suggested association between exposure to traffic-derived pollution and increases in symptoms of airway diseases, including exacerbation of asthma. Dr. Jack Harkema and colleagues assessed the effects of two pollutant mixtures, concentrated ambient particles (CAPs) and diesel exhaust, on airway inflammatory and allergic responses.

Air Pollution and Health: A European and North American Approach (APHENA)
This report describess a unique collaboration among investigators from Europe, the United States, and Canada using existing data from three geographic areas and supported by HEI in collaboration with the European Commission. APHENA offered a large and diverse data set with which to address methodological as well as scientific issues about the relationships between PM10, ozone, and mortality and morbidity that were the subject of lively debates at the time the project was launched.

Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES)
Now released by the Coordinating Research Council (CRC) at www.crcao.org, reports on the most rigorous emissions testing ever done for new heavy-duty diesel engines that were developed in response to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Heavy-Duty On-Highway Diesel Rule of 2001.

American Cancer Society Study Linking Particulate Air Pollution and Mortality
This report describes a recent analysis of the original ACS cohort, a large ongoing prospective study of mortality in adults that started in 1982 and has played a central role in the setting of National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM) pollution in the U.S

Nobelist Krugman attacks “junk economics”
Climate action “now might actually help the economy recover from its current slump” by giving “businesses a reason to invest in new equipment and facilities”

2008 Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards for the State of Michigan
The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance analyzed the potential electricity savings that the State of Michigan could achieve through the adoption and implementation of an energy efficiency portfolio standard (EEPS) and a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in 2008. The purpose of this analysis is to explore the potential long-term impacts of the energy efficiency and renewable energy policies in Michigan and to illustrate the scale of the potential savings. Various scenarios for energy efficiency and renewable energy have been proposed in Michigan, through legislative activity, by the advocacy community, and by influential groups like the Midwestern Governors Association. They differ in percent goal for efficiency and for renewables and in the ramp-up schedule to reach those goals. The energy impact from these various possible scenarios is compared and contrasted below to help Michigan evaluate the plans and choose a path toward a clean energy future. As Michigan moves to adopt a new generation of energy legislation to address the myriad challenges that lie ahead, it can look to energy efficiency as the first. It is always less expensive (to the rate is to extract it, generate it, build it or buy it, and transport it from where it is produced to where it is needed.

The End of Cheap
Housing prices are collapsing. The price of gasoline at the pump is skyrocketing. Soon the price of everything based on oil will skyrocket. The value of the US dollar is plummeting. Jobless rate hits a 22 year high. Meanwhile the son of the US Senator who sponsored the landmark, $10 billion Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 (sponsored by Senator Al Gore Sr.) tells us that we face environmental catastrophe if we don’t curb greenhouse gasses caused in part by building and using the highways his father funded. How did we get into this mess? Any chance these things are related? And, once we understand the answer to those questions, how can we get out of it and point instead to where we would rather be heading?

The 10 Worst Corporations in 2008
Although it is too dangerous, too expensive and too centralized to make sense as an energy source, nuclear power won't go away, thanks to equipment makers and utilities that find ways to make the public pay and pay. The "stranded cost" deal gave Constellation (through its affiliate BGE) the right to charge ratepayers $975 million in 1993 dollars (almost $1.5 billion in present dollars). Deregulation also meant that, after an agreed-upon freeze period, BGE was free to raise its rates as it chose. In 2006, it announced a 72 percent rate increase. For residential consumers, this meant they would pay an average of $743 more per year for electricity. Building nuclear plants is extraordinarily expensive (Constellation's planned construction is estimated at $9.6 billion) and takes a long time; construction plans face massive political risks; and the value of electric utilities is small relative to the huge costs of nuclear construction. For banks and investors, this amounts to too much uncertainty - but if the government guarantees loans will be paid back, then there's no risk. Or, stated better, the risk is absorbed entirely by the public. That's the financial risk. The nuclear safety risk is always absorbed, involuntarily, by the public.

It's Not About the Fuel
Those of us who care about energy and environmental policy have a bad habit: the lazy but rhetorically convenient tendency to refer to energy issues as if they were fuel issues. From solar to coal to uranium, we have developed a shorthand that uses these words to describe a whole fuel-chain, from raw fuel extraction/recovery to end-use consumption. But the language is dangerous. What matters is efficiency -- true, fuel-agnostic efficiency, applied equally to every possible fuel-chain we know. Not because efficiency is an alternative to any given fuel, but because any other energy policy is ultimately unsustainable

Energy Reform Meets Opposition at State Capitol
An energy reform package at the State Capitol is receiving strong opposition. Seven former members of the Michigan Public Service Commission say the bills have a serious flaw. The package of bills will lead to an increase in rates for residents across the state. The commissioners say the bills take away their ability to regulate electric rates and help keep rates down. Eric Schneidewind, former chair, MPSC: "This legislation harms every single business and residential customer in the state, and only really benefits two companies, Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison." Sharon Parks with the Michigan League for Human Services, says rates could go up as much as 28%. "It's the wrong thing to do when people across the state are struggling to make ends meet."

Grand Rapids Mayor Heartwell: Yes We Can!
Probably the biggest economic opportunity facing Michigan these days is energy innovation. Making components for wind turbines, solar panels, and other equipment that generates electricity without burning fossil fuel is already proven to be the most effective short-term strategy to prop up the state's struggling manufacturers, create jobs for unemployed factory workers, and stimulate new investment and revenues in local communities. That strategy can serve an incredibly large, new global market for new technologies and services that keep energy rates affordable, the climate stable, and the world at peace. Mayor Heartwell sees that as a huge opportunity that Michigan cannot afford to miss.

Public Health professionals urge State Senate to protect residents with strong energy legislation
June 18, 2008 – Public Health professionals from across Michigan today endorsed clean energy legislation under consideration by the State Senate that takes crucial steps toward improving the health of Michigan’s air and water. “We expect our State Senators to side with public health and modern, clean energy solutions, not with Big Energy,” said Dr. Ted Schettler, Science Director at the Science and Environmental Health Network. “We are at a crossroads in Michigan where we can take steps to reduce childhood asthma and other diseases, or we can turn our backs on these solutions.”

Wanted: A Climate Bailout
What a difference an emergency makes. Scare people enough and $700 billion can materialize almost overnight. The White House can repudiate its core economic philosophy--government should leave markets alone--within hours. Congress, where spending bills sometimes wait years to reach the floor, can pass one of the costliest laws in its history within days. Even the endlessly fickle media can provide 24/7 news coverage, making the emergency the topic on everyone's mind. When will we see this same sense of urgency devoted to the greatest emergency of our time? You wouldn't know it from our politicians or TV shows, but the climate crisis is even more serious than the financial crisis. The financial crisis, while painful and severe, can be resolved, given time and wise policies. The climate crisis, not so. The earth's climate system has tipping points beyond which no return is possible. Yet there is a very real danger right now that sliding oil prices will lull the public into an even deeper complacency. We are now in danger of passing a third tipping point--the descent into cataclysmic, irreversible climate change. The United States and the world need to launch a climate rescue plan that is at least as ambitious as the financial rescue plan. We need a massive shift of government incentives and funds away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency, solar and wind power, and other low-carbon alternatives.

High Court Case Tests Power Plants' Water Rules
The U.S. Supreme Court hears an important environmental case Tuesday, testing whether utilities must use the best technology available to minimize harm to the nation's waterways. At issue is the physical impact on fish and the financial impact on companies. The states point out that the utility plants sit on state lakes and rivers and use their water for free. In Rhode Island, for example, the Brayton utility plant takes in a billion gallons of water a day, killing every living thing in the water, says state Assistant Attorney General Tricia Jedele. Environmental lawyer Reid Super adds that utility plants are enormously profitable. "The company never said it couldn't afford it," Super says. "They just said they didn't want to do it."

10% of U.S. Domestic Energy Now Renewable
That's right, ten percent of the energy produced in America is now renewable! It's certainly good news, but not actually as good as it might seem. We're only talking about American energy here...so while that counts almost all of the coal, it doesn't include a pretty huge chunk of the oil. But it does point out that renewable energy is already a substantial portion of American's energy production picture. The biggest piece of that 10% is now biomass and biofuels, followed by hydroelectric (a chunk of the renewable energy pie that has not and will not grow any further.) Wind is a different story however. While it's still a tiny piece of domestic production (still less than a percent) it's growing faster than any other energy source, 50% up over last year in the first half of this year alone. Solar and geothermal finish up the renewable source list with a truly tiny piece of the pie...but both offer even more opportunity for growth than wind power. Renewables are simply best way to get energy domestically, and now with 10% of our energy (and rising) coming from these sources, the sun is looking that much brighter.

U.S. Renewable Energy Growth Accelerates
Wind energy is leading the way with 19,500 MW of installed capacity at mid-year, including more than 1,000 MW added in the last six months. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) second-quarter report [PDF] predicts that total additions for the year will come to 7,500 MW, boosting U.S. wind capacity by 45 percent. This year's surge in installed wind capacity will likely enable the United States to surpass Germany as the world leader in wind power by the end of the year. Germany has installed more than 22,000 MW of wind power, almost 24 percent of the world total.

Picken's Plan
America is in a hole and it's getting deeper every day. We import 70% of our oil at a cost of $700 billion a year - four times the annual cost of the Iraq war. On January 20, 2009, a new President gets sworn in. If we're organized, we can convince Congress to make major changes towards cleaner, cheaper and domestic energy resources

The End of Cheap
Housing prices are collapsing. The price of gasoline at the pump is skyrocketing. Soon the price of everything based on oil will skyrocket. The value of the US dollar is plummeting. Jobless rate hits a 22 year high. Meanwhile the son of the US Senator who sponsored the landmark, $10 billion Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 (sponsored by Senator Al Gore Sr.) tells us that we face environmental catastrophe if we don’t curb greenhouse gasses caused in part by building and using the highways his father funded. How did we get into this mess? Any chance these things are related? And, once we understand the answer to those questions, how can we get out of it and point instead to where we would rather be heading?

Renewable Energy Basics
The United States currently relies heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for its energy. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable, that is, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, renewable energy resources—such as wind and solar energy—are constantly replenished and will never run out.

New Energy Finance Sees 2009 as Year of Consolidation for Clean Energy
With Barack Obama now firmly installed in the White House - after a historic U.S. election that felt like it lasted decades - we can now declare that 2009 has truly begun. The investment surge of recent years was just starting to ease the bottlenecks when the credit crunch arrived to put the squeeze on demand. The result will be a dramatic and permanent change to the dynamics of the industry. No more silicon shortage; no more extended turbine waiting lists. Now buyers with cash to spend hold all the power. Prices will plummet towards marginal costs, and the world is going to be stunned at how cheaply the best companies can deliver clean energy and still make a profit. This is very good news for developers with access to funds. There is a strong core of demand for clean energy based on firm mandates: renewable portfolio standards, renewable fuel standards, building codes, efficiency regulations and the like. There are also markets where clean energy can provide strong economic returns, even in a period of lower energy prices. Generally, these are still underwritten by a web of regulation and government support — feed-in tariffs, green certificates, subsidies, tax credits, carbon finance and so on — and this will be the case for some time. However, as the cost of clean energy now plummets, it will increasingly win on an unsubsidized basis, as it already can in the case of Brazilian ethanol, the best wind farms and many energy efficiency applications.

Quit Coal

SAY NO TO COAL

Coal Kills

Coal Causes Disease

Coal Costs Taxpayers

Coal Pollutes the Environment

Coal Contributes to Climate Change

Burning Coal is a Seriously Stupid Idea!


Working to make Michigan the Leader in Solutions - not pollution