Friday, June 29, 2007

Congressman Al Wynn Passes Energy Amendment

The Energy and Commerce Committee adopted an amendment offered by Congressman Albert Wynn, right, Chairman of the House Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, to a comprehensive, energy efficiency package. The Energy and Environmental Block Grant (EEBG) amendment (H.R. 2447) creates a $10 billion energy efficiency block grant program, modeled after the hugely successful HUD Community Development Block Grant Program. The EEBG program would provide formula-based grants to cities, counties, and States to help address the problem of global warming at the local and neighborhood level. The EEBG legislation, will now be included as part of the energy efficiency package reported out of the full Energy and Commerce Committee for later consideration by the House.

The underlying energy legislation, once passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law, will improve the nation's energy efficiency; increase reliability and economy in electricity supply, transmission, and distribution; provide loan guarantees for projects that avoid, reduce or sequester air pollutants or greenhouse gases, and that employ new or significantly improved technologies; increase the availability of renewable fuels through promotion of renewable fuels infrastructure; and encourage the domestic development and production of plug-in hybrids.

The program distributes one-time planning grants to local and State governments to support development of an Energy Efficiency and Climate Protection Strategy, with annual grants available upon Federal approval of activities set forth under the Strategy. While no match is required, any recipient of funds must submit a report to the Secretary within two years of receiving initial funding and annually thereafter, describing the energy efficiency gains and greenhouse gas reductions.

House Ways & Means Passes Energy Tax Package

Update: On 8/4/2007, pursuant to the provisions of H. Res. 615, the text of H.R. 2776, as passed by the House, was appended at the end of the text of H.R. 3221 as new matter.

The House Committee on Ways and Means, led by Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), left, voted 24 to 16 in favor of H.R. 2776 the “Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Act of 2007. The bill will now head to the House floor for final passage.

The bill 1) extends the placed-in-service date for four years (through December 31, 2012) for qualifying facilities: wind; closed-loop biomass; open-loop biomass; geothermal; small irrigation hydropower; landfill gas; and trash combustion facilities. 2) extends the 30% investment tax credit for solar energy property and qualified fuel cell property for eight years (through the end of 2016, 3) authorizes $2 billion of new clean renewable energy bonds for public power providers and electric cooperatives, 4) The bill removes the caps on the credit for residential solar property (currently capped at $2,000) and residential fuel cell property (currently capped at $500 per half kilowatt of capacity, 5) bill establishes a new credit for each qualified plug-in vehicle. The base amount of the credit is $4,000, 6) creates a new production tax credit of 50 cents per gallon for cellulosic alcohol, 7) extends for two years (through December 31, 2010) the $1.00 and 50 cent per gallon production tax credits for biodiesel and the small biodiesel producer credit of 10 cents per gallon, 8) increases the 30% alternative refueling property credit (capped at $30,000) to 50% (capped at $50,000, among others.

Presidential Debate Missed Environment & Energy

The presidential debate at Howard University, moderated by Tavis Smiley, did not have any questions on environment and energy at a time when these issues are being debated in Congress. There were no questions on environmental justice either. There was not one question on global warming and the potentially devastating effects on the African American community. Moreover, one of the candidates, Bill Richardson, is a former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Republican candidates will address issues of importance to African Americans in September. That should be interesting. Maybe they will address energy and environmental issues. We do not see how these candidates can address environmental justice. They ignore the issue. AAEA has approached Senator John McCain to sponsor our Environmental Justice Act of 2007. We have yet to receive a response.

Tavis, if you need some questions, AAEA would be happy to provide you with some.

EPA Proposes Tougher SMOG Rules

EPA recommended tougher standards on ozone, the principle component of smog, on June 21. It is EPA's first new recommendation since 1997 for ground-level ozone and would reduce current smog standards by 11 - 17 percent. EPA measures smog by calculating the concentration of ozone molecules in the atmosphere over an eight-hour period. The current standard is 84 parts per billion. EPA is proposing reducing that to between 70 and 75 parts per billion.

EPA is taking public comment for 90 days and settle on a final number by March 12, 2008. EPA is also requesting comments on alternate standards, including keeping the current one or reducing it further to .060 parts per million. EPA monitors 639 counties nationwide, and if the standard went to 75 parts per billion, 398 counties would be out of compliance, and if it went to 70 parts per billion, 533 counties would be out of compliance.

States with noncompliance areas could lose federal highway funds. EPA is required by the Clean Air Act to review standards on ozone and other pollutants every five years. It did not happen five years ago and the American Lung Association filed a lawsuit taht led to a settlement with EPA to propose revised levels for smog.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

AAEA Opens Midwest Office

James Moseley has agreed to be the Director of the AAEA Midwestern Office. Mr. Moseley is an energy expert and we have known him for many years. His expertise will bring an important new presence to our 'Small But Powerful' organization. Now AAEA can directly address the nuclear, coal and ethanol issues facing the Midwest, the USA and the rest of the world.

The timing could not be better for this addition to the AAEA family. There is a presidential election going on. A national energy bill is being debated. Global warming could have significant effects on our nation's food crops. There is also the issue of ethanol possibly driving up the price of food and its addition to our energy mix for transportation independence. Welcome James. And thank you for helping us.

Christie Todd Whitman Is Fighting Back

She just waited too long to quit. She should have quit instead of parroting the conclusion of 'the scientists' that the air in Lower Manhattan was 'safe to breathe.' We know what New Source Review (NSR) is but not many members of the public do. She quit over the NSR issue. AAEA also opposed the NSR reg proposal but because of different reasons than Whitman's. We knew it would lead to more litigation instead of cleaner air. AAEA suported the Clear Skies Initiative because we believed (and still believe) that not only would it be superior to NSR, which only spawned litigation, but would lead to clearner air because it was modeled after the universally agreed upon success of the Acid Rain Program.

Earlier this week, Gov Whitman testified before a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the Post 911 air issue in Lower Manhattan. Whitman is a fighter. Again, she should have used common sense instead of 'the scientists.' No way was that ouside air safe in Lower Manhattan for at least months and probably longer indoors. However, we respect that she did not pursue Marsha Coleman Adebayo as her predecessor Carol Browner did in the EPA racial discrimation case. And that picture of her with Secretary Powell is better than the one of her frisking an alleged perp in New Jersey. (The Washington Post/photo edited)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

River Terrace Community Questions Mayor Fenty on Air

The River Terrace Community Organization (RTCO) recently held a meeting at the River Terrace Elementary School, where Urban Protectors President George Gurley and energy consultant A. Bernard Jones (with Norris McDonald at left and Mayor Fenty at right) briefed them on clean air issues related to the PEPCO powe plant across the street. RTCO President Doris Bishop opened the meeting with a prayer from Rev. Cornelia Dickens and Sgt. Howard Ragin have a crime report. ANC Commissioner Warees Majeed also gave a report to the community.

The Benning Road PEPCO plant has been controversial for years to the River Terrace Community. The community believes the plant has caused significant health problems.

AAEA worked with George Gurley in 1990 to host the first national Earth Day event in Washington, DC to coincide with the National Earth Day event on the National Mall. Reveerend Jesse Jackson and Mayor Marion Barry addressed the gathering, which was held at the River Terrace Elementary Schoo.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

President Bush Tours Nuclear Plant in Alabama

President Bush's aggressive support of nuclear power places him at the head of the fight against global warming. He is the Commander In Chief of Climate Change Mitigation. He gets little credit for this leadership in the maintream media and no credit from the mainstream environmental movement. As the first environmental organization to support nuclear power and still the only environmental organization in the United States actively working to promote this emission free technology for producing electricity, AAEA can understand President Bush's vision in this area.

President Bush spoke in Athens, Alabama about the advantages of nuclear power and then toured Unit 1 at the Browns Ferry nuclear power facility.

Friday, June 22, 2007

AAEA Poll: Who Would Be Best Environmental President?

AAEA in no way endorses the results of these polls. The results are independent and based on anonymous voters.

We asked the question above in a poll with two groups of candidates and the results (6-22-07) are interesting. Feel free to vote. The polls are in the bottom right column. Al Gore is leading with 50%, Barack Obama and John Edwards are tied for second sharing 13.6%, Rudy Guiliani is in third with 9.1%, Al Sharpton (he will get in out of frustration with Obama not addressing 'black' issues), Mike Huckabee and Bill Richardson are in a three-way tie for fouth with 4.5% each and John McCain and Hillary Clinton are bringing up the rear with 0% each.

In a separate poll (polls only hold 10 spots, thus this second poll), Dennis Kucinich is leading with 42.9%, Christopher Dodd is in second with 21.4%, Mitt Romney is in third with 14.3% and there is a three way tie for last place among Sam Brownback, Mike Gravel and Tom Vilsack with 7% each.

The polls will be open until the nominations are completed. So vote early and vote often.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Michael Bloomberg, Global Warming & Nuclear Power

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg does not put much value on political party labels but he is serious about global warming because he supports nuclear power. Well, he has not been a big supporter but he has not opposed it either. And he has Indian Point nuclear power plant in his backyard and it is the favorite whipping boy of every politician within 50 miles of the facility. None of the naysayers have a clue as to how to replace IP's 2,000 megawatts (enough for 2 million homes) of emission-free-produced electricity. Support for nuclear power is AAEA's litmus test for determining seriousness about the threat of global warming.

Here is what Mayor Bloomberg has said about the mystical power source:

“There are a lot of people who want to shut down the nuclear plant, but they have never offered any realistic alternatives – even as they at the same time want to fight global warming. You just can’t have it both ways!" (NEI)

Mayor Bloomberg has also issued a plan for improving environmental and energy matters in New York. A few highlights: 1) create a financing authority that would assure the completion of major projects like the Second Avenue subway, 2) New authorities to push for improved energy efficiency in new buildings and for the replacement of energy-guzzling power plants, 3) construction of platforms over railyards and highways to create land for housing, 4) open 290 schoolyards as playgrounds, 5) eliminate city sales taxes on energy-efficient hybrid vehicles, 6) increase the number of bike paths, 7) cultivate mussels to suck pollution out of the rivers.

Mayor Bloomberg also has an Energy Policy Task Force, established in July 2003, which is headed by the New York City Economic Develop Corporation and has 16 members including leading energy experts in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, as well as representatives of environmental and community groups.

Finally, Mayor Bloomberg is promoting 'congestion pricing' to increase the price for vehicles to enter Manhattan. AAEA does not support using price to achieve environmental and energy efficiencies.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Senate Finance Committee Approves $32 billion Energy Tax Package

Update: (6-21-07) The tax package failed on a Cloture vote. Only one more vote was need to invoke Cloture and some members were not present, so this measure might be revisited in the Senate and added to the June 21-jpassed H.R. 6, Clean Energy Act of 2007, which now moves to a Conference Committee with the House to hammer out a reconciliation.

Senator Max Baucus, right, is Chairman of the Senate Finace Committee, which just passed a $32 billion tax package (Energy Advancement and Investment Act of 2007) that includes incentives for renewable fuels and alternative vehicles. The package would be financed by taking away some ot the oil and gas incentives. And you are worried about high gasoline prices now! The package specifically includes incentives for renewable electricity initiatives, including credits for solar, wind and microturbine projects. The package also has incentives for biofuels, increasing refinery capacity and refining more fuel from oil shale and tar sands. (Committee Press Release)

The House also has additional energy legislation pending: 1) House Committe on Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahalls Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007 (H.R. 2337) and 2) House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Committee Chairman John Dingell Discussion Draft.

Coal-to-Liquid Amendment Liquidated

The Senate voted 61-33 against an amendment to Senater Majority Leader Harry Reid's bill, S. 1419, the "Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007," that called for $200 million to build coal-to-liquid plants and $10 billion in loans for sequestration of carbon dioxide from the plants. This was a good amendment from, particularly the sequestration subsidy.

The Senate also rejected 55-39 an amendment to create a fuel mandate program rquiring production of 6 billion gallons of liquid coal fuel by 2022. This is of course a complement to the construction and loan supports. This retreat simply reduce the mix of energy available to the most dynamic economy on Earth. It also avoids carbon dioxide capture technology.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Birdwatcher Since 1997

By Norris McDonald. I became a birdwatcher in 1997 after moving to Highland Beach in Annapolis, Maryland. The house had a creek and lake in the back and the Chesapeake Bay in the front. Not only did I have free crabs all summer from the traps in the back, I also had a bird sanctuary. Herons, Red- Wing Black Birds, Egrits and more. Just watching the herons do their thing was fascinating, not to mention the excruciating noise they make when startled at night. This also reminds me of the racoon that could open my trash can no matter how I secured it. I also had two Swans in winter that adopted the lake. I believe they were Mute Swans, targeted for extinction by state agencies that saw them as a danger to submerged vegetation. Sometimes I would canoe, kayak or paddle boat (all in the basement) out to greet them in the lake.

Now I am in the sterile suburbs. I hate the sterile suburbs. But there are birds everywhere, even at National Harbor where love-eagles George and Martha lived their dramatic lives. Eagles are plentiful along the Potomac River. My backyard has once again become a bird sanctuary. I have a United Nations of birds back there now that I put up a bird feeder and started a vegetable and rock garden. I hung the bird feeder from the mulberry tree. All manner of birds feed during the month-long berry season of the tree. I even saw a squirrel climb down the rope to get to the bird seed.

I keep the grass (organically weeded) in the front and back yards low so the birds can walk and feed. Robins, Red Birds (Cardinals), Blue Jays, all types of Black birds (the birds are more integrated than the community), Starlings, Grackles, and more. The feeder has Wagner's Finches Delux and boy does it work. Their claim of attracting finches and other smaller songbirds is accurate. I get a plethora of small perching birds. The colors are awesome. Warblers, blue birds, bunting, and sparrows, among others. When my work gets crazy I can go back to the rock garden and sit on a tree stump and watch the birds eat the worms from the rings I make with a pitchfork around the rocks. Very relaxing. So please world. Send me to my bird sanctuary often.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Religious Environment of Mitt Romney, Mormons & Blacks

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830 and Mormons consider him a prophet of God. Smith was okay on Blacks. No crazy curse mythology. In fact, he was a champion of black equality. There are about 200,000 black Mormons in the world today; about 150,000 in Africa, and the rest scattered throughout North America, Brazil, and the Caribbean.

His successor, Brigham Young, chose a racist and inaccurate interpretation of the Revelation description of Cain's curse. He took the 'mark' of Cain to mean black skin. Nowhere in Revelation or anywhere else in the Bible is this stated. Being cursed according to this idiot meant Blacks were banned from the priesthood and from entering Mormon temples. Brigham Young believed that Blacks were "Canaanites" (descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham, the son of Noah) and were under the "Curse of Canaan" (i.e. Noah cursed Canaan and his descendants to serve his brothers Shem and Japheth and their descendants). Brigham Young believed that Ham, the son of Noah, married a Cainite woman, thus preserving the Cainite bloodline through the Flood, and Blacks are the descendants of Ham and his Cainite wife. The lengths some whites go to justify their racism. In Evolution Theory atheists place us closer to the apes to justify institutionalizing our socioeconomic disadvantage. YIKES.

So where does Mitt Romney stand on all of this? Remember that the exclusion was removed when a revelation was revealed to the president of the Mormons in 1978. The Mormons have never, however, rejected their belief in the validity of the curse. Like all Mormons today, Mitt now adheres to the 1978 revelation. But what if there is another revelation in 2008? Stay tuned.

(See Harry Alford's View in The Washington Informer)

The Washington Post Wrong To Reject Coal-To-Liquids

AAEA supports coal-to-liquids as a reserve for our military and as a tool to reduce oil imports. Our dependence on imported oil poses a great environmental risk because it can lead us to war. Although we believe global warming is the most important environmental issue facing the world, an escalating war leading to nuclear exchange is not very far behind climate change. As such, we believe coal-to-liquids, like the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, is a hedge against military actions based on our oil addiction. So The Washington Post artlcle calling it a boondoggle for big coal is a cop out. The Washington Post is not carbon neutral either. If only we could get oil from Post-to-liquids. Now there is an energy strategy.

Adopting coal-to-liquids will also put pressure on Congress and the public to establish a nationwide carbon dioxide pipeline system that will be necessary to sequester large amounts of the gas from every section of the country. Why talk about sequestration before adopting such a pipeline? This pipeline is also key to sequestering CO2 from coal burning power plants. If we are to keep so much of it out of our little 90 mile high atmosphere, then we must have the capacity to move it around regardless of its end use or storage.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Is Nick Rahall The Silver Surfer On Energy Legislation

Congressman Nick Rahall, left, replaced Richard Pombo as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. Chairman Rahall is surfing the energy legislation tide like the Silver Surfer in the new Fantastic Four movie. Mainstream environmentalists love him (right now). Traditional environmentalists will turn on him because of his support for coal-to-liquids (CTL). But Chairman Rahall is proposing to roll back the energy production (drilling, more refineries, more transmission lines) supports in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Chairman Rahall has hired some committee staff right out of the mainstream green groups. Rahall's bill includes "a new national policy on wildlife and global warming," that assists species in adapting to global warming, which will lead to the government managing every acre with flora and fauna. In essence a super Endangered Speices Act based on the danger of global warming. (Wall Street Journal)

The Congressional Black Caucus voted unanimously in favor of his energy bill Clean Energy Act of 2007 (H.R. 6).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Changes at the Congressional Black Caucus

There are 42 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) with two nonvoting members. Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, right, is Chairwoman.

Harold Ford, Jr. lost his race for the U.S. Senate. Major Owens retired and was replaced by Yvette Clarke. Cynthia McKinney was defeated by Hank Johnson.

Keith Ellison joined the CBC from Minnesota as the only Muslim member of Congress.

Juanita Millender-McDonald died on April 22, 2007. Her seat is currently (6-13-07) vacant, pending a special election. The primary will be held on June 26.

Environmental Policies of a Clinton & Rice Ticket

We fantasized about an Obama/Powell ticket, now let's see about a Hillary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice ticket. What a primry choice this would be. We think the tickets would be comparable. But what about the environmental policies of the ladies?

Hillary is a good political moderate in the mold of her husband. However, Bill did virtually nothing to promote improved environmental policies. He kept Gore in check too. Hillary has introduced environmental justice legislation and serves on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. She would probably be very good on environmental issues based on her handling of the global warming issue. She is reasonable. Condi knows every head of state in the world and would be good in negotiating a 'real' global warming agreement among nations.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Environmentalists Bragging About 'Taming' Obama

Grist Mag is reporting that some traditional environmentalists have forced Senator Barack Obama to back off of support for coal-to-liquids. Message to Senator Obama: If you do not agree with EVERTHING the mainstreamers take as dogma, they will be dissatisfied with you. They can take your 'clarification' as surrender because they desperately want to control you, but we know you run by logic and science. So be prepared to lose some extremist votes. Clean coal will be needed to feed the energy thirst of our super power. Why do you think they call it 'super?' The Center supports CTL based on national security and believes such production should be directed primarily to and for the military.

Senator Obama's coal-to-liquids legislation is reasonable, particularly from a national security point of view. This fuel should be developed, if for no other reason than, to serve as a secure reserve for our military. Germany fueled its insane war machine on coal liquefaction in its final days. AAEA supports your bill and we appreciate your 'clarification:' Senator Obama will not support the development of any coal-to-liquid fuels unless they emit at least 20 percent less life-cycle carbon than conventional fuels. AAEA also supplements Senator Obama's clarification: CTL producers should be required to finance nuclear plants, solar power and wind turbines as carbon dioxide offsets.

Finally, Senator Obama should ask the mainstream environmental movement why it insists on maintaining its status as the most segregated sector of American society. Since he was targeted for special attention, he should target this segregated sector to address its racism.

Environmental Policies of an Obama & Powell Ticket?

Xyborg from the U.K. says Senator Barack Obama would have nothing to lose by picking former Secretary of State Colin Powell as his running mate. You have to read what he wrote on this.

Yes, but what kind of environmental and energy policies would such an administration promote? Our guess is that they would reflect Obama's balanced approach. What next Xyborg: Hillary should pick Condoleeza Rice? Now that would be a presidential election. We bet their energy and environmental policies wouldn't be bad either.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Energy Legislation Moving Inside Beltway

The House and Senate have passed and are considering additional energy legislation. President Bush is promoting his energy proposal too and could veto H.R. 6 over provisions that would outlaw gasoline price gouging and would subject OPEC to U.S. antitrust laws. The Senate vote on H.R. 6 was almost enough to override a presidential veto. AAEA opposes both of these provisions too.

The House passed an energy bill, Clean Energy Act of 2007 (H.R. 6) by a vote of 264-163 on Jan 18. The bill shifts $14 billion in oil industry subsidies toward renewable energy and energy efficiency. The bill includes: 1) Strategic Energy Efficiency & Renewables Reserve, a fund for alternative fuels. Funding would come from amending legislation to require companies to pay royalties on deepwater production if oil or gas prices reached certain thresholds. The GAO estimates the omission of such royalties since 1998 and 1999 has cost the government nearly $2 billion. 2) Raising taxes ("YIKES") on domestic oil producers and spend the money to subsidize ethanol, solar energy, and wind power. 3) Renegotiation of oil company public lands royalty contracts or pay a $9 per barrel royalty fee from these leases or lose rights to bid on future leases on federal lands. 4) Rescinding $5-$6 in oil company tax breaks included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 The Congressional Black Caucus voted unanimously in support of H.R. 6. Update: This bill was replaced by the House Speaker's bill that was passed on Sept 5, 2007 (see description below).

The Senate passed the Clean Energy Act of 2007 (H.R. 6) by a vote of 65 to 27 on June 21. Major items in the bill include 1) increasing fuel efficiency standards for cars, trucks and SUVs to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, 2) mandates the use of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022, with more thatn 20 million gallons coming from cellulosic ethanol, 3) half of new cars mandated to run on an 85% ethanol blend by 2015, 4) set new efficiency standards for appliances and lighting, 5) outlaw "unconscionably excessive" prices for gasoline and 6) subject OPEC members to U.S. antitrust laws..

The House is currently (6-14-07) considering additional energy legislation through the Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007 (H.R. 2337), which is sponosred by Nick Rahall, Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. The bill passed out of Committee on June 13 on a vote of 26-22. The bill would override the recent Supreme Court decision giving the EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. It would also effectively block efforts by California and 11 other states to regulate and reduce greenhouse gases from vehicles. The legislation has not been adopted.

Update: The House passed H.R. 3221, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007, introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on Sept 5, 2007. The bill seeks to move the U.S. toward greater energy independence and security, developing innovative new technologies, reducing carbon emissions, creating green jobs (H.R. 2847), protecting consumers, increasing clean renewable energy production, and modernizing our energy infrastructure, and to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for the production of renewable energy and energy conservation. House Tax Committe Chair Charles Rangel's bill (H.R. 2776) added to the end of Pelosi bill.

House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell is also moving a global warming/energy plan called the Discussion Draft, which is being considered by Chairman Rick Boucher's Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality (Energy & Commerce Committee). The bill includes energy efficiency, information enhancement, smart grid and demand response, loan guarantees and loan guarantees for coal-to-liquid projects.

Senater Majority Leader Harry Reid's bill, S. 1419, the "Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007, passed out of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee on May 2 on a 20-3 vote and was transmorgrafied into H.R 6 for Senate floor consideration. Titles in the bill include: biofuels for energy security and transportation; energy efficiency promotion, carbon capture, storage research, development and demonstration; public buildings cost reduction, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards; price gouging; and energy diplomacy and security.

President Bush is promoting a Twenty-in-Ten program that proposes to cut gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles by 20 percent over the next 10 years. The Bush plan includes 1) Increasing the supply of renewable and other alternative fuels by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require the equivalent of 35 billion gallons of renewable and other alternative fuels in 2017 – nearly five times the 2012 target included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. 2) Reforming And Modernizing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards For Cars And Extending The Current Light Truck Rule. 3) In Response To The Supreme Court's Ruling, The President Directed Cabinet Agencies To Take The First Steps Toward Regulations Based On "Twenty In Ten" (On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court ruled EPA must take action under the Clean Air Act regarding greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles). 4) Signed an Executive Order requiring coordination among federal agencies tasked with the development of any regulations affecting greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. Coal-to-liquids is also a part of the president's 20-in-Ten Initiative.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Gasoline Prices In Brazil Much Higher Than In USA

AAEA President Norris McDonald recently visited Sao Paulo, Brazil and noticed that although gasoline prices are higher than in the USA, ethanol prices are comparable. A litre of gasoline was about 2.50 reais (real), which is about $5 per gallon in the U.S. Ethanol was about 1.50 real or $3 per gallon in the USA. Ethanol (the alcohol produced by fermenting sugar) sells at between a third to half of the price of gas. Gas sold at the pumps in Brazil is 25 percent ethanol whereas gas sold in the US, China, Australia and Canada is 10-15 percent ethanol. Presently the use of ethanol as fuel by Brazilian cars is about 40% of the fuel that would be needed to run the fleet on gasoline alone. In 2005, Brazil consumed 2,000,000 barrels of oil per day, versus 280,000 barrels of ethanol. (USDOE)

Regular car engines will run fine on a 10 percent blend of alcohol and gasoline. Flex car engines run on either ethanol, gasoline, or any combination of the two. Ethanol engines use 25 percent more ethanol per mile than gasoline. The US has about 4 million flex cars, but there are 14 states without one ethanol pump according to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition. Brazilian drivers can fill up with ethanol at 29,000 filling stations. In the USA, there are only 1,200 gas stations that sell the E85 fuel — a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. (American Lung Assoc)(Christian Science Monitor)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Religion and Global Warming

Preachers presented testimony on global warming before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committe this week. Some want Congress to limit emissions of greenhouse gases to protect the poor but others say reduction programs will hurt the poor. The pro presenters cited Jesus' admonition to protect the "least of these." The National Council of Churches called for a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.

Of course other evangelicals said a cap and trade program would hurt the poor because it would slow job growth and increase energy costs. Other control opponents said emissions limits would hurt developing nations and such programs place the environment before the needs of the poor. (The Washington Post)

Humans are planetary managers and we have to control emissions. Our little 90 mile high atmosphere was not designed to contain an unlimited quantity of man-made industrial and vehicle emissions. We promote plug-in (lithium ion battery) fuel cell (hydrogen) hybrid electric vehicles and nuclear power plants as principle mitigation tools.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

China & Darfur Environment Different From U.S. and Iraq

There are aggressive calls from certain factions in the West to 'force' China to put pressure on Sudan to end the genocide in Darfur. As much as we want to end the insanity in Darfur, China will not initiate a fight with a supplier. China is only interested in the oil and not the internal politics of Sudan (or any other country). Sudan exports about 300,000 barrels of oil each day (CIA Factbook). China knows that sanctions and embargoes could end China's direct access to much needed oil. China is also importing resources from several African countries, such as Nigeria, and does not get involved in their internal politics either. They just want the resources with minimal intrusion. China probably knows that if they get in for a penny it could lead to getting in for a pound (like us in Iraq). So China punts and says the United Nations should solve any such conflicts.

It appears that the same people calling on China to do more to save Darfur are the same people opposing our intervention in Iraq. Did sanctions stop Iraq from selling oil? No. And they will not stop Sudan. Why would China voluntarily give up direct access to the oil it needs for a symbolic action that would be inconsequential? And they know they might not win in the competition to get the oil through the back door. Moreover, China does not have a history of invading other countries for any reason. Basically, the Chinese are only interested in expanding their super power status (they are using the 'developing nation' moniker to their advantage). One thing is certain, although the environment in Darfur is despicable, do not look to China for a solution. The only nation-building they are going to do is their own. And if you do not want us in Iraq, do not tell President Bush or Chinese President Hu Jintao to go nation-build in Sudan.

G-8: China, United States, India & Global Warming

The G-8 is an informal international forum of industrialized democracies whose presidents and prime ministers meet to discuss issues of mutual or global concern.

The G-8 includes the 1) United States, 2) United Kingdom, 3) Russia, 4) Japan, 5) Germany, 6) Canada, 7) France and 8) Italy.

The G8 has been inviting 1) China, 2) India, 3) Brazil, 4) Mexico, & 5) South Africa to its summit meetings to evolve G8+5 strategies to mitigate global warming. China and India are signatories to the Kyoto Protocol but are not subject to the emissions caps because they are labeled as developing nations, which is ridiculous.

The G8+5 will discuss a blueprint of the post-Kyoto framework that would serve as the background paper for global negotiations to begin under U.N. auspices in December 2007 and to conclude by 2009. They have agreed in principle to:
limit global carbon dioxide emissions to somewhere between 450 and 550 parts per million compared to the present level of 379 parts per million, in order toframe emission targets according to historical responsibility and developmentneeds, establish a carbon market, linking the European emissions trading schemewith others emerging across the globe and give a focus on research anddevelopment, energy efficiency, and means of adapting to the unavoidable effectsof climate change.