Ruling protects Clearwater River and Forest

Clearwater River near Greer

Clearwater National Forest  Highway 12     visitidaho.org

Over 100 miles of a 2-lane highway between the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers, scenic and federally protected rivers, several companies want to try to drive a 322 ton evaporator.  In response to a lawsuit brought by the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Rivers United, a federal district court judge has ruled that there must first be a study of the environmental, economic and tribal impacts.

The companies want to take the evaporator from Lewiston, Idaho to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada. They had ignored objections from the Forest Service and started the transport without approval. In August over 150 people blocked the highway for three hours. The Nez Perce issued a statement opposing the shipment because of risks to treaty-preserved resources, tribal commerce, health and welfare.

In Alberta, the evaporator would be used to process oil.Over two billion barrels of water is pumped yearly from the Athabasca River, and superheated to wash oil out of the sands, and much of that dirty water ends up in tailings ponds that now cover 66 square miles of what was virgin boreal forest.  The process requires a great deal of energy, to scoop out the tar sands, heat, separate and transport them. If the value of damage to the forest and water resources were included in the price of oil, our transportation costs would be lower if we develop electric vehicles instead, and solar and wind energy to charge them.

http://www.allgov.com/news/controversies/judge-blocks-shipment-of-mega-load-oil-field-equipment-through-scenic-national-forest-land-130917?news=851146

http://www.allgov.com/news/us-and-the-world/tar-sands-oil-extraction-uses-more-water-than-entire-city-of-toronto-130809?news=850812

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Cars that burn up the roads

Two articles appeared next to each other on the front page of the WSJ on August 18: ‘US Car Plants Shift to Top Gear,’ and ‘Decade of Drought Threatens West.’

We need to connect the dots.

The manufacture of 60 million new passenger vehicles in 2012 worldwide, 99% of them burning gasoline or diesel, guarantees us more extreme weather disasters.

With rising carbon emissions making the atmosphere warmer, increasing storm surges, floods, droughts and wildfires will destroy infrastructure, water resources, homes, and jobs.

The federal government gives tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles and installation of solar panels that can be used to charge them, and also requires automakers to increase energy efficiency.  This is great, but we should do more.  A carbon fee should be imposed to make purchasers of fossil fuels to pay more of the actual costs of using those products.  Taxpayers now pick up the tab for spill clean-up, disaster aid, flood insurance, crop insurance and military protection of oil shipments.

A tax on oil, coal and natural gas at the wellhead, mine or point of entry, increasing each year, up to $100 per ton, with revenue returned to households would help level the playing field and allow more profitable production of clean energy alternatives.   With a tariff on goods from other countries not imposing a carbon fee, we could also encourage worldwide adoption of clean energy.

Pikes Peak conquered by Winning Electric Motorbike

Go Electric!  Lightening Motorcycle’s electric sportbike won the race up Pikes Peak this year. It beat the next closest competitor, a gas powered Ducati, by a full 20 seconds. The 12 mile track climbs 4720 feet to the top of one of Colorado’s 14,000 foot high peaks.  

Businesses Profit from City Solar

Lancaster CA has just updated its building code. Starting in 2014, all new single-family homes will have to include a solar system of at least 1.0 kW. The Republican mayor of Lancaster, R. Rex Parris, says the city wants to be the first to produce more electricity from sunlight it uses.

The city bought and installed solar panels on the roofs of 25 Lancaster schools that are now paying 35% less for electricity. Other solar installations have gone up on city hall, an arts center, stadium, and parking lots. There is a plan to create electric storage potential with more electric vehicles and batteries.

To get a permit to install solar in Lancaster takes 15 minutes.

 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/us/lancaster-calif-focuses-on-becoming-solar-capital-of-universe.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0

Free Investment Advice from an Expert

Jeremy Grantham, Chief Investment Strategist for GMO, an Management Firm that oversees more than $100 billion in investments, announced his opposition to the Keystone Pipeline in an interview with Charlie Rose Mar 11, 2013. Grantham is known for having predicted the last several financial crises.

Grantham says that climate change is a numbers issue; the rise of .8oC in temperature is obvious, we can see spring arriving earlier, and know that it took additional carbon in the air to make that happen. Grantham continues, explaining the problem with continuing to burn fossil fuels is that we can only emit 565 gigatons of carbon into the air before world temperatures reach “2oC which is considered the boundary, below which we might limp our way through.” But in fuel reserves there is five times that much, “enough to cook our goose and guarantee our grandchildren starve to death in floods and all.”

Every previous human civilization expanded, then met limits of available resources and collapsed. Grantham describes two gifts that our civilization has that give him hope. The first is our ability to limit birth rates, and the fact that when people get richer, they choose to have fewer children. A shrinking population puts less pressure on finite resources.

The second gift is alternative energy technology, solar, wind, geothermal, new grid, and batteries which give us the ability to “move fairly seamlessly” to using the renewable resource of energy from the sun which never runs out. “If you can capture the sun’s energy, you can keep civilization going.”

Then he added, “Science will not guarantee to save us it will only give us a possible out.”

Listen to the interview at :

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/12812

Washington State Clean Energy Leader Governor Inslee

Governor Jay Inslee spoke at the Washington Clean Technology Alliance conference on Clean Energy. Jan 28, 2013:
To hear his remarks go to http://americansecurityproject.org/blog/2013/gov-inslee-speech-at-clean-energy-conference-in-seattle/
The following is a condensed, approximate transcript of what he said.
“This is the season. Clean energy technologies are becoming mature. Last Saturday I went to the launch of world’s largest long liner fishing ship; it is 20% more efficient than other ships like it. It is made by welders, machinists, and carpenters, and it is in the water today. Everywhere I look in Washington State, there is work in green technology. Dave Curry in Spokane has a new way to store energy in batteries. In Marysville they are making new tougher solar panels. We have a maturation of these innovations. This is a time to speak up about the successes.
A superstorm targeted the media center of the world. It demands attention. There have been terrible fires in the Cascades, and oyster growers have had to move part of their operations to Hawaii. The public is ready, poised and ready.
My election is a mandate, and now we have a partner in Washington DC.
The military is committed to move ahead. They are developing net zero training bases. A jet flew over sound barrier on biofuel; they call it the green hornet.
We do not have any other choice. The Chinese are not waiting for us. Germans and Portuguese are not waiting for us. This is an opportunity, not an entitlement. Time demands that we move.
We have a period of opportunity. We are going to push the envelope, here in Washington. We did that in commercial aircrafts and we led the world. We did it in software and we led the world. Now is the time to lead the way in clean energy.
Policy is important in pushing the envelope. Here is what we are going to do in the State of WA.
First, incentivize small but meaningful ways to generate capital with tradable R& D tax credits which can be traded to help people start their own business even before get revenue. A couple of other states, including New Jersey, have tried this and it has succeeded.
Businesses need to get started; waiting for permits is not good. Time is money, we need to streamline the permit system.
We have 600 students waiting to get into engineering school. We need their skills. So we will build an educational system that prepares people to work in high tech so when need computational scientists, we can get them. We need to build an outstanding educational system, and invest more in public research institutions.
Products need to move, so we need to increase freight mobility and at the same time reduce carbon pollution throughout the system in all modalities. We will expand incentives for renewable energy, and build a transportation system designed to reduce carbon intensity across Washington State.
I want everyone here to help me. It is time.”

Wake-up call duly noted. Now what?

Extreme climate predictions most accurate, report finds, according to a Seattle Times/Washington Post article “ The world could be in for an increase of some 8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, resulting in drastically higher seas, disappearing coastlines and more severe droughts, floods and other destructive weather.  Such an increase would substantially overshoot what the world’s leaders have identified as the threshold for triggering catastrophic consequences.”

Response

Ok, so, what do we do? Personally, live a lower carbon lifestyle – dance more, drive less, plant more, purchase less, insulate your home, wear sweaters, vacation near home, skype your distant friends & family, and lobby for policy solutions.. Locally, get institutions to invest in green energy instead of fossil fuels, (see 350.org) and install energy saving technology, tell your friends and neighbors what you are doing and invite them to informational events. Nationally, lobby for a carbon tax and rebate (see Citizens Climate Lobby), for an end to subsidies for fossil fuels, against oil pipelines and natural gas fracking, and for increased government incentives for investment in solar, wind, water, geothermal, wave, and tidal energy, efficiency technology, smart grid, electric vehicles and batteries.
A green energy economy is possible. The Jacobson and Delucchi plan,, explains how investment in solar, wind, water, geothermal, wave, and tidal energy, combined with energy reducing technology, smart grid, electric vehicles and batteries can supply most our needs. They suggest replacing all new energy with these by 2030, and replacing pre-existing energy by 2050, resulting in consumer costs similar to what we are spending today.
The energy from burning oil, coal and natural gas allowed us to build a civilization, with research facilities, and communication devices that allow us to make a transition to safe, affordable clean energy. Those who are afraid that sustainability will not help the economy are misinformed. It is precisely to save our loading docks, airports, highway system, computer capabilities, and the health of people who run this infrastructure that we need to stop investing money in last century’s fossil fuel energy and build American energy industries that will free us from the monopoly of fossil fuels and also save our mountains, trees, agriculture, water supplies and shorelines.
https://greenismoney.wordpress.com