Sunday, 29 March 2009

Geothermal Heats Up At The Geysers

Welcome to The Geysers

The Geysers, comprising 30 square miles along the Sonoma and Lake County border, is the largest complex of geothermal power plants in the world. Calpine, the largest geothermal power producer in the U.S., owns and operates 15 power plants at The Geysers with a net generating capacity of about 725 megawatts of electricity - enough to power 725,000 homes, or a city the size of San Francisco.

Click image to enlargeThe Geysers meets the typical power needs of Sonoma, Lake, and Mendocino counties, as well a portion of the power needs of Marin and Napa counties. In fact, The Geysers satisfies nearly 60 percent of the average electricity demand in the North Coast region from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. The Geysers is one of the most reliable energy sources in California delivering extremely high availability and on-line performance and accounts for one-fourth of the green power produced in California.

Children can have their faces painted, pan for gems, do a scavenger hunt or enter a recycled art contest. Electric and hybrid cars as well as a solar oven will also be on display!

Reservations are required for the plant tour bus tour. Please call 987-4270 with any questions or to reserve a seat on the bus.

News and Special Features

Watch the KQED Quest story, "Geothermal Heats Up."

In the Mayacamas Mountains, located 72 miles north of San Francisco, naturally occurring steam field reservoirs below the earth's surface are being harnessed by Calpine to make clean, green, renewable energy for homes and businesses across Northern California.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Renewable Power Solutions Awarded First State of California-approved Exclusively Solar Apprenticeship Program

Exclusively Solar Apprenticeship Program in California

Renewable Power Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of solar energy installation services for residential, commercial, non-profit and governmental buildings, announced today that it has been awarded the first exclusively solar apprenticeship program by the State of California. The company has partnered with the San Jose Metropolitan Education District's Central County Occupational Center to organize the in-classroom portion of the program.

"As the renewable energy industry, and solar panel installations in particular, are poised for explosive growth in the years ahead, we felt it was necessary to address standards of workforce qualification and ultimately the quality of solar installations. These standards will provide the industry with the necessary and systematic training for a successful future of the solar workforce."
The State of California apprenticeship program allows for learning while earning, combining training on the job with related and supplemental instruction at school. The new program developed by Renewable Power Solutions provides accredited training to individuals seeking a career in the photovoltaic industry. The curriculum includes on-the-job learning, classroom teaching and homework. The program requires the successful completion of 4,000 hours to achieve photovoltaic journeyman status and will typically take up to two years to complete.

Glen Forman, acting chief of the Division of Apprenticeship Standards, added, "DAS offers an earn-while-you-learn model for talent development. It is an age-old solution to workforce training that fits for today's innovative businesses. Partnering with business, DAS creates standards to establish uniform skill sets for positions within an industry, helping to strengthen California's workforce."

According to John Fox, director of CCOC, "The Central County Occupational Center, a unit of the Metropolitan Education District, is looking forward to partnering with Renewable Power Solutions to serve as the Local Education Agency for the solar apprenticeship program."

Nuclear Dilemma

Saturday marks the anniversary of an event that changed the direction and history of American electricity generation. Thirty years ago, the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island suffered a partial core meltdown in Unit 2 when a stuck valve allowed coolant to escape. The accident on March 28, 1979, sparked safety concerns that effectively shut down an industry many had touted as the answer to America's future energy problems. 

Since the TMI accident, only one nuclear power plant has been built in the United States. The high cost of building nuclear plants, coupled with concerns about their safety, made this futuristic technology all but extinct. But concerns about nuclear power are now being replaced by concerns about global warming.

A number of prominent scientists and politicians - including President Barack Obama - insist nuclear power must play a role if the United States is to wean itself from foreign oil and reduce carbon emissions. Nuclear already a plays a significant role in the production of electricity. Nearly 20 percent of the nation's electricity is produced by nuclear power plants; 34 percent of Pennsylvania's electricity supply is derived from nuclear power. In 2008, TMI's Unit 1 set an operating record.

A spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute said nuclear power plants are operating more efficiently than ever because of technical improvements in turbines and generators. To that end, TMI plans additional improvements, as evidenced by last week's announcement that Exelon, which now owns TMI, intends to install two new 510-ton generators. Nuclear power plants also are staying online longer than previously forecast. TMI is expected to apply for a permit extension to operate through 2034. 

Citing safety improvements and 30 years of accident-free domestic operation since TMI, proponents argue that nuclear power plants are safe. Nuclear and coal-powered plants supply nearly half of the nation's base-load electricity supply. If the United States is to meet reduced carbon emissions goals and expand electricity capacity, nuclear has to be part of the equation. Preparations are now being made to build four or more nuclear power plants within the next 10 years. Some of these plants are expected to be sited at existing facilities. Nuclear power generation is not carbon-free - it emits about one- fourth as much pollution as coal-fired plants. As the debate over greenhouse gases grows, however, nuclear power looks greener all the time. Surveys show that more than half the public favors building more nuclear power plants. Nuclear might have even greater support if not for the waste it produces. And that is what this debate ultimately must be about. Spent fuel rods have a radioactive half-life of hundreds of years. With the Obama administration's decision not to pursue Yucca Mountain, Nev., as a national repository for spent fuel rods, the question is where these rods will be stored. 

Currently spent fuel rods are stored in high-security casks at nuclear power plants. Although nuclear industry officials contend that the casks are safe, the fact that radioactive materials are stored at each of the 104 nuclear facilities in the country poses an enormous security risk. NEI officials say that removing Yucca Mountain from the discussions is sensible - that they now can look into alternatives such as regional repositories. Reprocessing the fuel, which could be used to generate additional energy, also is a possibility.

The promise posed by nuclear power generation - to supply much more of the nation's electricity while cutting carbon emissions - is enormous. But before that can happen, officials and politicians must craft a publically supportable permanent solution for the radioactive waste these plants produce. Until that occurs, this space-age technology will remain bottled up.

Source: Intelligencer Journal

It happened 30 years ago: Three Mile Island accident

Three Mile Island accident

Three Mile Island 
Three Mile Island
A partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg, PA, occurred thirty years ago today, on March 28, 1979. The cooling system in one of the nuclear reactors failed, causing overheating and a partial melting of the uranium core. Backlash from the incident brought protests and demonstrations against nuclear power; some 200,000 attended a rally in New York City. Nuclear plant production came to a halt in the US and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission established stricter guidelines and safety measures on the plants already in existence.


"None of us are nuclear experts, but we know that if there is a melt-down and breach of containment, that's clearly the most odious thing that could happen." — William Scranton 

Question of the Day

Can an improperly managed nuclear power plant explode like a nuclear weapon?
No, it cannot. No mismanaged nuclear plant, no nuclear plant accident of any kind, can cause a massive nuclear explosion like the blast of a nuclear weapon. To understand this, begin with the idea that fissionable material requires a certain minimum amount (critical mass) of it to be brought together to spontaneously initiate fission, to make it go critical. In a nuclear weapon, the subcritical masses are driven together and held together for an extremely short interval of time by conventional explosives. The result of driving and holding the critical mass together is that it goes critical and instantly right through that to supercritical. This causes the nuclear chain to build exponentially and the number of fissions per unit of time goes through the roof. Boooooom. Maximum fission burn and big yield. 

In a non-bomb situation, subcritical masses of fissionable material are brought together without being blasted together. They achieve criticality and fission begins instantly. Enough fissions will occur to generate enough heat to separate the critical mass to make the whole thing go subcritical. That will be the only goal of the fission reactions — to separate the critical mass into something subcritical. ... More

Friday, 27 March 2009

Green Investing: Towards a Clean Energy Infrastructure

CEO Climate Policy Recommendations

CEO Climate Policy Recommendations to G8 LeadersCEO Statement 
Forum Partner companies lead business input into the Gleneagles Dialogue on climate International business leaders, together with governments and climate specialists, have drawn up a comprehensive set of business recommendations on a post-2012 framework for global climate policy. The “CEO Climate Policy Recommendations to G8 Leaders” will help inform G8 leaders’ climate change discussions at their Hokkaido-Toyako summit this July.
The recommendations are received by the Japanese government just ahead of the G8 Summit. The statement is the result of 16 months of high-level consultation among senior CEOs – Industry Partners of the Forum – from a range of companies and countries. The statement was circulated among a wider group of Forum Partner firms; it invites their CEOs to join the endorsing group.

The CEO statement is international businesses’ input to the G20 Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development. It is a pragmatic and practical leader-level document that contains clear messages and suggestions on issues of mitigation, technology, finance and adaptation. It also outlines ideas on long-term and intermediate international goals and supports bold action from the leaders of the major economies.

A Steering Board consisting of the following World Economic Forum Industry Partner companies guided development of this CEO statement for the G8: Alcoa (USA), AIG (USA), Applied Materials (USA), Basic Element (Russian Federation), British Airways (UK), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Duke Energy (USA), Electricité de France (EdF) (France), Eskom (South Africa), Petrobras (Brazil), RusHydro (Russian Federation), Royal Dutch Shell (Netherlands), Telstra (Australia), Tokyo Electric Power (Japan), TNT (Netherlands), Vattenfall (Sweden).

The process was coordinated by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The Pew Centre on Global Climate Change served as a resource partner.

Green Investing Report PDF (2.9 MB)

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Gartner Says Too Many Enterprises Are in Denial About Carbon Management

Survey Indicates That Less Than 20 Per Cent of Enterprises Worldwide are Considering Carbon Pricing

A high proportion of IT professionals responsible for "green IT" programs are unsure whether their enterprises are considering carbon pricing, according to Gartner, Inc. A recent Gartner survey found that 36 per cent of respondents that were responsible for green IT programs in enterprises said it was possible, or they didn’t know, if carbon pricing was influencing their organization’s planning for the next 24 months.

A total of 45.7 per cent of respondents said that carbon pricing was not influencing their organizations planning, while 18.3 per cent said it was influencing their organization’s planning for the next 24 months.

The survey results indicate that for most countries, the percentage of enterprises planning ahead for carbon pricing goes beyond those obliged to consider it under established regulations. However, Gartner advised IT management teams that haven’t already done so, to start building the processes and information systems to gather the necessary data as this can be time-consuming and organizations are likely to be subject to carbon reporting and pricing in the future.

In an international survey completed in December 2008, Gartner asked 626 enterprises about their plans for carbon reporting and pricing, and current and future implementation of carbon reporting, tracking or management systems. The respondents represented an even spread of sectors and company sizes from 1,000 to more than 10,000 employees.

“While the number of enterprises using or planning to use carbon tracking systems exceeds those legally required to do so, given the inevitable requirements to support carbon reporting in the future, the percentage of enterprises preparing is low,” said Simon Mingay, research vice president at Gartner. “Regardless of actual or anticipated regulations, midsize and large enterprises should at least be building carbon information systems, because, whether in a developed or developing economy, pressure will come down the supply chain to be transparent about carbon emissions.”

The Obama administration is now talking about a carbon cap and trade scheme, along the lines of the EU ETC and Australian CPRS in which enterprises are obliged to buy and/or sell tradable carbon certificates —– trading at €12/metric tones as of March 2009, but anticipated to rise as carbon allowances get squeezed. This kind of scheme and others such as the U.K.’s Carbon Reduction Commitment result in a price being placed on a metric tones of carbon.

The survey provided some noteworthy responses from individual countries when respondents asked if the possibility of carbon pricing is influencing their organization’s planning for the next 24 months. The U.K. and France recorded some of the lowest percentages at 7.9 per cent and 10.5 per cent, respectively, while in India and China, 21.1 per cent and 20 per cent of enterprises, respectively, indicated that carbon pricing was influencing planning. Gartner analyst said this is particularly surprising for the U.K. given that the country’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) goes into effect in 2010 and is estimated to affect 5,000 enterprises.

Gartner also asked the same respondents about their carbon reporting, tracking and management systems, as well as their intentions to implement or extend such systems. The results showed that, as a region, Western Europe is best prepared, with 32 per cent saying that they have some kind of system in place — twice as many as the Asia/Pacific region or the U.S. However, there were some stark contrasts with 2.6 per cent of French enterprises, compared with 74.4 per cent of German enterprises having such systems in place. Most of those enterprises with systems in place had in-house developments (mostly spreadsheets).

A further question asked of the respondents was whether they would be implementing or extending carbon reporting, tracking or management software during the next 18 months. The results showed that most enterprises are not yet thinking about how carbon pricing or reporting requirements will affect their business and have no plans to implement a carbon reporting, tracking or management system to give them visibility of their greenhouse gas emissions in this period.

“This apparent lack of preparation, and the inevitability that most enterprises will come under increased scrutiny from customers, investors, partners, key stakeholders and, eventually, regulators, should come as a wake-up call to policymakers, boards, senior leadership teams and CIOs,” said Mr. Mingay.

Australia has made the most rapid progress overall in this area in the last 15 months, and Gartner expects that to continue during the next 18 months. The proportion of enterprises anticipating implementing carbon management tools during the next 18 months in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region was low at 17 per cent and the U.S. was slightly more than 18 per cent.

“Enterprises all over the world need to get more serious about greenhouse gas reporting,” Mr. Mingay said. “Despite the lack of specific regulations, midsize and large enterprises in developed economies need to recognize that they will be paying for their emissions at some point — it’s just a matter of when, how much and through what kind of mechanism. Regardless of the recession, enterprises will find themselves under increasing pressure from stakeholders, including investors and customers, to be more transparent about emissions and reduction programs.”

Additional information is available in the Gartner report “Too Many Enterprises Are in Denial About Carbon Management.” The report is on Gartner’s Web site at

G.E.’s Green Chief: Bullish on Clean-Tech Future

G.E.’s Green Chief: Bullish on Clean-Tech Future
Steve FludderLibrado Romero/The New York Times“We expect the demand for new orders is going to pick up in the near future,” said Steve Fludder, a G.E. vice president.

Steve Fludder, the vice-president of General Electric’s “Ecomagination” unit, which concentrates on developing green technologies, expressed optimism Wednesday that deals would start flowing again in the wake of the stimulus bill — but said that his business was still feeling the force of the financial crisis.

“I don’t think that we can declare victory per se,” Mr. Fludder said in an interview with Green Inc. and The New York Times.

The Ecomagination unit, which has been growing about 20 percent a year since its inception in 2005, and which currently pulls in annual revenue of $17 billion, will be hard-pressed to make its $25 billion target next year, Mr. Fludder indicated. “I think the $25 billion, which was a target that was set long before anybody knew this economic crisis was coming, is under pressure next year,” he said.

In the wind turbine business — an example of an industry hard hit by the crisis — the company has experienced a drop in demand for new orders, Mr. Fludder said, adding, “We expect the demand for new orders is going to pick up in the near future.”

Mr. Fludder also foresees growth potential in carbon capture and storage technologies, as well as nuclear power.

Coal will continue to be a major source of energy for some time, he said — and the technology for removing carbon emissions associated with coal-fired power is available. The issue, he said, is making it cost-effective. (Other experts have drawn similar conclusions.)

Mr. Fludder also foresees growth in the nuclear power business in the United States, despite the decades-long drought in new plants. “Look at what nuclear power provides,” he argued. “It provides energy independence; it provides cost-effective baseload power generation; and it provides carbon-free power.”

In the meantime, Mr. Fludder emphasized the importance of energy efficiency. The G.E. airplane engine that will go into the delayed Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be 14 percent more fuel-efficient than its predecessor, which is in the Boeing 767.

As for the most exciting addition to Ecomagination’s portfolio, Mr. Fludder singled out wastewater treatment technology — which provides homes and businesses with the ability to recycle wastewater and use it in toilets and on lawns (G.E. has such a system in place in a Battery Park apartment complex in New York City).

“I liked it so much I put one of those in my house,” he said.

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Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500

From Gary Hamel’s Management 2.0:

facebookGetty Images

The experience of growing up online will profoundly shape the workplace expectations of “Generation F” — the Facebook Generation. At a minimum, they’ll expect the social environment of work to reflect the social context of the Web, rather than as is currently the case, a mid-20th-century Weberian bureaucracy.

If your company hopes to attract the most creative and energetic members of Gen F, it will need to understand these Internet-derived expectations, and then reinvent its management practices accordingly. Sure, it’s a buyer’s market for talent right now, but that won’t always be the case — and in the future, any company that lacks a vital core of Gen F employees will soon find itself stuck in the mud.

With that in mind, I compiled a list of 12 work-relevant characteristics of online life. These are the post-bureaucratic realities that tomorrow’s employees will use as yardsticks in determining whether your company is “with it” or “past it.” In assembling this short list, I haven’t tried to catalog every salient feature of the Web’s social milieu, only those that are most at odds with the legacy practices found in large companies.

Most of the industrial pioneers who created “modern” management—individuals like Frederick Taylor, Frank Gilbreth, Henry Ford, Alfred Sloan, and Donaldson Brown—were born in the 19th century. These bold thinkers would no doubt be surprised to learn that their inventions, which included workflow optimization, variance analysis, capital budgeting, functional specialization, divisionalization, and project management, are still the cornerstones of large-scale management systems.

It is difficult for contemporary observers to appreciate the profound impact these revolutionary breakthroughs had on the organization of economic life in the early decades of America’s industrial revolution. In 1890, nine out of ten white males worked for themselves, and the ones who didn’t were referred to disparagingly as “wage slaves.” At the time, the average manufacturing company had four employees, and few factories had more than 100 laborers. Yet within a generation, Ford Motor Company would be making half a million cars a year, Sears, Roebuck & Company would be operating a continental-scale distribution system, and US Steel would be able to boast of a billion-dollar market value.

This transition from an agrarian and craft-based society to an industrial economy required an epical re-socialization of the work force. Unruly and independent-minded farmers, artisans and day laborers had to be transformed into rule-following, forelock-tugging employees. And 100 years on, this work continues, with organizations around the world still working hard to strap rancorous and free-thinking human beings into the strait-jacket of institutionalized obedience, conformance, and discipline.

But now, for the first time since the early 20th century, we may be on the verge of another management revolution, and it may turn out to be just as unsettling as the one that spawned the industrial age. There are three forces at work that make such a metamorphosis likely; three discontinuities that may end management as we know it.

The first of these is a bundle of dramatic changes that have made the business environment substantially less forgiving. Companies around the world are struggling to cope with a wildly accelerating pace of change, an onslaught of new, ultra-low-cost competitors, the commoditization of knowledge, rapidly increasing customer power, and an ever-lengthening menu of social demands. Traditional management models that emphasize optimization over innovation and continuity over change simply can’t cope with these unprecedented challenges.

The second driver is the invention of new, Web-based collaboration tools. For the first time in centuries, human beings have a new way of organizing themselves, via online, distributed networks. Markets and hierarchies, heretofore the two principle technologies for coordinating human effort, finally have a robust new competitor. In the coming decades, we can expect the Web to transform organizational life every bit as dramatically as it has already transformed life outside the workplace.

The third driver is the mash-up of new expectations that Generation Facebook will bring to work in the years ahead. If you’re part of the first generation in history to have grown up on the Web, you don’t think of the Internet as something “out there”—a tool you employ to reserve a hotel room, buy a book, or send a note to grandma. Rather, the Web is something you’re perpetually in—as ubiquitous and transparent as water is to fish. As a child of the digital age, the Web is the operating system for your life, the indispensable and unremarkable means by which you learn, play, share, flirt, and connect.

Over the coming decades, these forces will mostly destroy management as we know it. In my next posting, I’ll outline some of the ways this might happen.

Readers, for now, are there any other big trends that you think might compel a comprehensive overhaul of our legacy management practices? If so, please briefly describe these forces and the impact you believe they’ll have on the way we lead, manage and structure our companies.

1. All ideas compete on an equal footing.
On the Web, every idea has the chance to gain a following—or not, and no one has the power to kill off a subversive idea or squelch an embarrassing debate. Ideas gain traction based on their perceived merits, rather than on the political power of their sponsors.

2. Contribution counts for more than credentials.
When you post a video to YouTube, no one asks you if you went to film school. When you write a blog, no one cares whether you have a journalism degree. Position, title, and academic degrees—none of the usual status differentiators carry much weight online. On the Web, what counts is not your resume, but what you can contribute.

3. Hierarchies are natural, not prescribed.
In any Web forum there are some individuals who command more respect and attention than others—and have more influence as a consequence. Critically, though, these individuals haven’t been appointed by some superior authority. Instead, their clout reflects the freely given approbation of their peers. On the Web, authority trickles up, not down.

4. Leaders serve rather than preside.
On the Web, every leader is a servant leader; no one has the power to command or sanction. Credible arguments, demonstrated expertise and selfless behavior are the only levers for getting things done through other people. Forget this online, and your followers will soon abandon you.

5. Tasks are chosen, not assigned.
The Web is an opt-in economy. Whether contributing to a blog, working on an open source project, or sharing advice in a forum, people choose to work on the things that interest them. Everyone is an independent contractor, and everyone scratches their own itch.

6. Groups are self-defining and -organizing.
On the Web, you get to choose your compatriots. In any online community, you have the freedom to link up with some individuals and ignore the rest, to share deeply with some folks and not at all with others. Just as no one can assign you a boring task, no can force you to work with dim-witted colleagues.

7. Resources get attracted, not allocated.
In large organizations, resources get allocated top-down, in a politicized, Soviet-style budget wrangle. On the Web, human effort flows towards ideas and projects that are attractive (and fun), and away from those that aren’t. In this sense, the Web is a market economy where millions of individuals get to decide, moment by moment, how to spend the precious currency of their time and attention.

8. Power comes from sharing information, not hoarding it.
The Web is also a gift economy. To gain influence and status, you have to give away your expertise and content. And you must do it quickly; if you don’t, someone else will beat you to the punch—and garner the credit that might have been yours. Online, there are a lot of incentives to share, and few incentives to hoard.

9. Opinions compound and decisions are peer-reviewed.
On the Internet, truly smart ideas rapidly gain a following no matter how disruptive they may be. The Web is a near-perfect medium for aggregating the wisdom of the crowd—whether in formally organized opinion markets or in casual discussion groups. And once aggregated, the voice of the masses can be used as a battering ram to challenge the entrenched interests of institutions in the offline world.

10. Users can veto most policy decisions.
As many Internet moguls have learned to their sorrow, online users are opinionated and vociferous—and will quickly attack any decision or policy change that seems contrary to the community’s interests. The only way to keep users loyal is to give them a substantial say in key decisions. You may have built the community, but the users really own it.

11. Intrinsic rewards matter most.
The web is a testament to the power of intrinsic rewards. Think of all the articles contributed to Wikipedia, all the open source software created, all the advice freely given—add up the hours of volunteer time and it’s obvious that human beings will give generously of themselves when they’re given the chance to contribute to something they actually care about. Money’s great, but so is recognition and the joy of accomplishment.

12. Hackers are heroes.
Large organizations tend to make life uncomfortable for activists and rabble-rousers—however constructive they may be. In contrast, online communities frequently embrace those with strong anti-authoritarian views. On the Web, muckraking malcontents are frequently celebrated as champions of the Internet’s democratic values—particularly if they’ve managed to hack a piece of code that has been interfering with what others regard as their inalienable digital rights.

These features of Web-based life are written into the social DNA of Generation F—and mostly missing from the managerial DNA of the average Fortune 500 company. Yeah, there are a lot of kids looking for jobs right now, but few of them will ever feel at home in cubicleland.

So, readers, here’s a couple of questions: What are the Web-based social values that you think are most contrary to the managerial DNA one finds inside a typical corporate giant? And how should we reinvent management to make it more consistent with these emerging online sensibilities?

Ask Your Questions on the Economy

Your Questions on the Economy

The White House is open for questions.
We invite you to participate in our community-moderated online town hall. Submit your own question about the economy and vote on submissions from others. We also encourage you to include a link to a video of yourself asking your question (ideally 30 seconds or less), but text submissions are all you need. Come back on Thursday to watch the President answer some of the most popular submissions live at

UPDATE: The online town hall will be at 11:30 AM Eastern, the voting will close at 9:30 AM.

Please sign in to vote on questions and suggest your own.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

US to review global warming health threat

Barack Obama reviewing suggestion that global warming is threat to public health – bringing possible end to George Bush's 'era of denial'

bush climate change G8 carbon emissions

A protest against George Bush's 'denial' of climate change at last year's G8 summit. Photograph: AP

The White House is reviewing a suggestion by the US environmental agency that global warming is a threat to public health and welfare.

Such a declaration by the Environmental Protection Agency would be the first step to regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the US Clean Air Act and could have broad economic and environmental ramifications.

The Supreme Court two years ago directed the EPA to decide whether greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, pose a threat to public health and welfare because they are warming the Earth. If such a finding is made, these emissions should be regulated under the Clean Air Act, the court said.

"I think this is just the step in that process," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, noting the Supreme Court ruling.

But several congressional officials, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the EPA is moving to declare carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases a danger to public health and welfare and views them as ripe for regulation under the Clean Air Act.

Such a finding "will officially end the era of denial on global warming", said Ed Markey, a Democrat whose Energy and Commerce subcommittee is crafting global warming legislation. He said such a finding is long overdue because of the Bush administration's refusal to address the issue.

Many business leaders argue as did President George W Bush that the Clean Air Act is ill suited to deal with climate change and that regulating carbon dioxide would hamstring economic growth.

"It will require a huge cascade of (new clean air) permits" and halt a wide array of projects, from building coal plants to highway construction, including many at the heart of Barack Obama's economic recovery plan, said Bill Kovacs, a vice-president for environmental and technology issues at the US Chamber of Commerce.

But Abigail Dillen, an attorney for environmental group Earthjustice, dismissed the dire economic warnings from business groups about carbon dioxide regulation.

"It's to their interest to say the sky is falling, but it's not... The truth is we've never had to sacrifice air quality to maintain a healthy economy. The EPA has discretion to do this in a reasonable way."

An internal EPA planning document that surfaced recently suggests the agency would like to have a final endangerment finding by mid-April. But officials say regulations would involve a lengthy consultation process.

When asked about the EPA document on Monday, Gibbs emphasised that "the president has made quite clear" that he prefers to have the climate issue addressed by Congress as part of a broad, mandatory limit on heat-trapping emissions.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Energy and the environment

The energy challenges the United States of America faces are severe and have gone unaddressed for far too long

President Obama and Vice President Biden have a comprehensive plan to invest in alternative and renewable energy, end the US addiction to foreign oil, address the global climate crisis and create millions of new jobs.

The Obama-Biden comprehensive New Energy for America plan will:

  • Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.
  • Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined.
  • Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars -- cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon -- on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America.
  • Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.
  • Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Energy Plan Overview

Provide Short-term Relief to American Families

  • Crack Down on Excessive Energy Speculation.
  • Swap Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to Cut Prices.

Eliminate Our Current Imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within 10 Years

  • Increase Fuel Economy Standards.
  • Get 1 Million Plug-In Hybrid Cars on the Road by 2015.
  • Create a New $7,000 Tax Credit for Purchasing Advanced Vehicles.
  • Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
  • A “Use it or Lose It” Approach to Existing Oil and Gas Leases.
  • Promote the Responsible Domestic Production of Oil and Natural Gas.

Create Millions of New Green Jobs

  • Ensure 10 percent of Our Electricity Comes from Renewable Sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.
  • Deploy the Cheapest, Cleanest, Fastest Energy Source – Energy Efficiency.
  • Weatherize One Million Homes Annually.
  • Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology.
  • Prioritize the Construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.

Reduce our Greenhouse Gas Emissions 80 Percent by 2050

  • Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
  • Make the U.S. a Leader on Climate Change.

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Future Power Generation promotes geothermal energy solutions in particular and alternative, renewable energy creation in general in order to mitigate energy risks and dependencies on non renewable fossil and nuclear energy solutions. Geothermal energy describes the energy that is stored deep inside of our planet. This is one of the sources Future Power Generation are aiming for. Geothermal power is one of the best, most secured and at long term most cost efficient way for generating electrical power, without any harm to our environment and without destroying next generation´s resources. 
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