Friday, April 20, 2012

Catnip 4/20/12


I don't think the A's were thinking about renewable energy jobs when they created this slogan, but for me, it was like a sign (ha!) that this is the Bay area team I must adopt. Besides, I live in Oakland, I'm ten minutes by train from the stadium, and the tickets are a lot cheaper and easier to get than the Giants. So, let's go A's. The Coliseum may be a 60s era concrete montrosity, but it's got a great view of the hills from the upper deck and it's not a bad place to see a ball game. I look forward to spending time there this summer...

Some environmental links for Earth Day:

ICYMI, all the major environmental groups endorsed President Obama on Wednesday. The Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action and Environment America are on-board for the President's re-election, and with good reason: "League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski described the presidential election as 'a clear choice between someone who’s going to be a champion and someone who’s best buddies with Big Oil and climate deniers.'" While it's no surprise that environmentalists would get behind the President, this is the first time the groups have endorsed in concert.

Word this morning is that Democrats are now pressuring President Obama to relent on the Keystone Pipeline project. "With gas prices sticking near $4 a gallon, unemployment high in many states and demonstrable support for the project in numerous polls, many Democrats — especially those from states where pipelines are commonplace — are beginning to sound almost indistinguishable from Speaker John A. Boehner, who called Mr. Obama 'increasingly isolated' in his opposition to expanding the project." Other Keystone news: TransCanada suggested an alternate route through environmentally sensitive areas of Nebraska this week.

Problem with the Republican talking points on Keystone: A report from The Nation shows the pipeline will not create the number of jobs the GOP likes to claim, and it will do nothing to lower gas prices - it may even increase them.

Mother Jones takes a look at the money that dirty energy is spending to influence this election season, and it's scary. $16.75 million so far this year has bought them "5 out of 7 general election commercials airing in key swing states" are concerning energy., and usually those ads are very misleading. (see: Keystone, above)

A new report shows that Americans are starting to link weather extremes to climate change. The study was conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, and found that "a solid majority of the public feels that global warming is real, a result consistent with other polls that have asked the question in various ways. When invited to agree or disagree with the statement, “global warming is affecting the weather in the United States,” 69 percent of respondents in the new poll said they agreed, while 30 percent disagreed." Another important stat to note: 35 percent of the public reported being affected by extreme weather in the past year.

The EPA lays down the law on fracking: "The regulations — which would also target emissions from compressors, oil storage tanks and other oil-and-gas sector equipment — would cut 95 percent of smog-forming and toxic emissions from wells developed with fracking, the EPA said."

Hybrid and electric cars saw record sales in March, as consumers looked for relief from the gas pump and new models caught the buyer's eye. "Consumers bought a record 52,000 gas-electric hybrids and all-electric cars in March, up from 34,000 during the same month last year. The two categories combined made up 3.64 percent of total U.S. sales, their highest monthly market share ever, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank." The new Toyota Prius models are doing well, as are electrics from Nissan and GM. The Volt sold a record 2,289 in March, and sales of the Leaf doubled to 579.

Floating wind turbines in the Great Lakes? It's a possibility. Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center, Grand Valley State University, and blade manufacturer Energetx Composites are seeking federal funding for tests that would keep the turbines out of sight of land and take advantage of the stronger winds away from shore. A new project in Japan would bolt turbines to barges to put them out in the deep waters of the Pacific. While offshore technology is still expensive, countries like Great Britain and South Korea are leading the way on testing the turbines that will eventually make them economically feasible.

Today is the two-year anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf, and wouldn't you know it, all the little sea critters are coming up deformed or missing altogether. Nope, no problem here, drill baby drill, right?

Renewable energy now.

The beat goes on...