Monday, April 6, 2009

Surpreme Court Rules on EPA's Power

The supreme court recently decreed that the EPA (environmental protection agency)could make its own rulings on whether protecting fish and other aquatic life is worth the cost required to upgrade the plants causing the pollution under the clean water act. While this direct ruling resulted in the retrofitting of 500 plants it has massive implications in how it will be used as a precedent for future rulings. The act of allowing the EPA to have increased direct regulation of corporations is a big legal step and could prove to have major consequences for the environmental policy of the future.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Threat of Global Warming is Real

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
ThreatDown - Icebergs!
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

The beginning of this threat down is important, clearly though, the number one threat is the most important, and is destroying the moral fiber of our nation.

Progress for Global Warming in Bonn

In Bonn, Germany a multinational conference on climate is being held. This venue will serve as the proving grounds for Obama administration and its climate change team to prove themselves. As the biggest emitter of global warming gases (U.S. And china account for 1/2 of the worlds emissions, and the U.S. Produces 4 times what China does per capita.) the United States is responsible for setting the global tone on global warming and the Obama administration is seeking to do just that. Many other countries are waiting on the United States to follow through with their promises on global warming reductions before they pursue more aggressive agendas themselves. Debates rage hot in Bonn as the United States, for the first time in its history, will make corporations report there emission levels. Further, we are stepping up to this challenge by setting aggressive goals of reducing our emissions by 15% (this represents 1990 levels) by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

While the plans for emissions are met with abundant optimism over seas they aren't catching on as well at home. Facing criticism ranging from the classical concern that it will stifle the economy, to the fear that cap and trade policies will increase taxes, and increased energy costs for consumers.
On a side note these polar bears, despite there seemingly cheery appearance, are not fans of global warming.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The rebirth of electric vehicle

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, but what policies have helped to spur this development or are being in created in response to it? In San Francisco 3 EV charging stations are being installed next to city hall, as was reported by cnet. This local policy is a good reflection of how public policy is shaped by consumer interest and trends. As our energy crisis worsens more and more resources are being put into the production of EVs and there practicality, affordability and overall awesomness are rapidly increasing. This last point is exemplified by the Tesla Aero EV (pictured below) which does 0-60 in under 3 seconds, faster than a Lamborghini.

While San Francisco is hardly a representation of the American public it is still a good first step in public policy towards the creation of a more sustainable country.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stimulus Package Specifics

Of the 787 billion spent on the stimulus package 38 billion along with 20 billion in tax incentives is going into energy. Here is a brief list of how that will be spent:

A three-year extension to the tax credit for wind

$4.5 billion in direct spending to modernize the electricity grid with smart-grid technologies.

$6.3 billion in state energy-efficient and clean-energy grants and $4.5 billion to make federal buildings more energy efficient.

$6 billion in loan guarantees for renewable energy systems, biofuel projects, and electric-power transmission facilities.

$2 billion in loans to manufacture advanced batteries and components for applications such as plug-in electric cars.

$5 billion to weatherize homes of up to 1 million low-income people.

$3.4 billion to the Department of Energy for fossil energy R and D, such as storing carbon dioxide underground at coal power plants.A tax credit of between $2,500 and $5,000 for purchase of plug-in electric vehicles

It will now be interesting to see how this money is actually distributed. It seems that a lot of it while under the guise of "clean energy" will just go to propping up large companies. For example the 2 billion to manufacture batteries will no doubt just go into Detroit's pocket books. Hopefully this will all get enacted as written but as has been proven time and time again writing the legislation is the easy part, lets hope it gets enacted.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Geen Energy's Role in the Stimulus Package

Throughout his campaign Obama stressed the importance of cutting our supply on foreign oil and creating clean, green options to our addiction of oil but is he following through with his stimulus package? Of the 825 billion in spending 10s of billions will go towards green initiatives there is the hope that the stimulus package will create 460,000 new green jobs. The Majority of these jobs will be created through the weathering of some 2 million homes as well as providing tax breaks for the harnessing of alternative clean energy. The LA times called the stimilus plan into question claiming that it was losing steam and that the planning hadn't been done to impliment much of the outlined spending on green intiatives. See below,0,922149.story

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Obama on Clean Energy

The second half gets into political degridation of Mccain and away from policy, no need to watch it.

In this video, put out over the summer, Obama talks about what he proposes to do with his clean energy initiatives and what kind of new energy he will pursue. This begs the question how will we go about harnessing these powers to provide realistic suppliments, if not substitutions to a gas and coal powered economy.
Here are some cool solutions to these problems.
Solar via the science channel show Ecopolis:

A cool new innovation plus a good basic explanation of solar energy, plus an adorable accent.