Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Guest Post: Tesla’s Powerwall – Fueling a Cleaner Future?

[Periodically we publish guest posts that we believe are of general interest.  The item below is from Beth Kelly]:

Affordable solar power has been a dream of the environmental movement for years. The digital revolution—which has seen computing become remarkably smaller, faster, and cheaper with each passing year—had, until now, outpaced all other industries in terms of dramatic breakthroughs. But with solar technology progressing at the rate it is today, some believe that the clean tech industry is less than 20 years away from meeting all of the world’s energy needs.

Of course, the world’s energy needs will keep increasing, so these estimates are something of a moving target. But several factors are spurring a wider accessibility of solar power, coming together to deliver cost-effective solar energy solutions to ordinary, everyday people. Elon Musk, the bold multi-hyphenate entrepreneur who has already made his mark in the e-payment and space exploration industries, is also devoting a large percentage of attention to the business of “renewables” and clean power. His grand visions of a new world of energy have brought a new battery storage unit out of the shadows of developmental research and into the wider consumer landscape.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Big Oil, Big Lies (an encore post)

[editor's note: This encore post was prepared three years ago, but it perhaps has new resonance topical given the oil industry's latest pr nonsense about smog]
The American Petroleum Institute's Campaign to Stop Life Saving Clean Air Protections

Big Oil, Big Lies

API is nothing if not consistent.  On February 10, 2012 Howard Feldman, API’s Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, stated that forthcoming EPA clean air measures “could constitute a veritable tsunami of added requirements that could put some refineries out of business.”[1]  This is not the first time API has opposed cleaner air for America, and here, as with countless past health protections, API has employed the same model: issue outlandish, groundless statements predicting certain economic harm to industry while completely discounting the actual harms to human health and the environment that its obstructionism would perpetuate.   

History, however, shows the exact opposite to be true: EPA’s rules have proven beneficial for both our environment and our economy.  Indeed, EPA estimates that the 1990 Amendments will have prevented over 230,000 premature deaths and led to economic benefits of approximately $2.0 trillion by 2020.  API’s obstructionist strategies stand in stark contrast to these important public health and environmental benefits, and, if successful, these strategies represent an unmitigated disaster for American families.      

Don't be bamboozled by latest oil industry attack on proposed smog standards

Dear friends,

 I know a lot of you have not been on the job as long as some of us.  But I do want to make sure you have some context over the latest pricey oil industry effort to attack EPA’s proposed smog standards.  Please don’t be bamboozled.
Here is the reality – and there are a few brief citations below:  For the past 45 years, the oil industry has consistently opposed tougher clean air standards. Industry has generally made the same broken-record type arguments which basically boil down to claiming the air is clean enough, we are already making progress, yada yada yada.   

But industry has consistently lost these battles.  Check the record for yourself – the oil industry fought against the Clean Air Act in 1970, which provided the basis for smog standards. (Industry also argued against taking lead out of gasoline—something it doesn’t like to talk about much now!)  It fought against smog standards in 1979 (even though the EPA at the time was weakening earlier standards).  It fought against smog standards set in 1997.  And it fiercely opposed smog standards set in 2008 – the very standards industry appears to brag about today. 

Yes, we have made progress, but it’s been in spite of industry opposition.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Great Letter from Anti-Hunger and Environmental Groups About the Folly of the Corn Ethanol Mandate

May 13, 2015
The Honorable Michael Bennet
United States Senate
261 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Bennet,
Recently, you signed a letter urging Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to “craft targets for domestic biofuels that reflect Congress’ intended goals for the RFS”. In 2007, Congress expanded the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) with the expressed goals of increasing the production of “clean renewable fuels” and “protect[ing] consumers.”
Respectfully, the organizations below are concerned that the RFS has thus far failed to deliver on its most basic goals, and in the process triggered consequences that have negatively impacted our environment, American consumers, and people around the world.
To date, the RFS has primarily incentivized increased production of corn ethanol. In fact, corn ethanol accounted for 83% of the overall volume mandate finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2013, the most recent year in which final renewable volume obligations were issued by EPA.1 The remainder was mostly comprised of imported sugarcane ethanol and domestically produced biodiesel.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Will NAM Ever Publish Comments Critical of its Smog-Loving Nonsense?

The polluter crowd at NAM has put up a new blog posting underscoring its opposition to tougher new smog standards.


Our friend, NRDC's John Walke, has put up a few salient comments, but at this point, they are still awaiting "moderation." So here they are:

Incredibly, your leading Wyoming example ignores high smog levels in WY’s Upper Green River Basin due to oil & gas activities. See http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1060016205.

Second, the post contradicts NAM’s own VP, who admits smog levels will be cut to below 70 ppb just by following already-adopted measures. See http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/jwalke/the_national_association_of_ma.html

Third, currently unknown technologies may be necessary to meet safer smog health standards in some counties facing bigger challenges, but it is utterly false to contend this will be required “throughout the country.” (NAM’s VP admits “all but nine counties” nationwide will have smog levels “at or below 70 parts per billion by 2025″ just be carrying out adopted measures.)

History shows that better technologies have developed to deliver safe air quality to Americans. And even these more challenged counties will have as long as *twenty-two* years to meet tighter standards.

NAM is opposing safe air for all Americans. NAM is opposing the unanimous conclusion by independent medical and scientific advisors to EPA who understand that the current smog standard is unprotective. These advisors have unanimously concluded this unprotective standard needs to be strengthened to between 60 and 70 ppb to protect all Americans. No surprise that there is no mention of any of that in this post.