The Global Citizen: energy
Is the idea of 'achieving energy security' an attainable reality or will it remain a mere proposal?
For those who deeply believe in the importance of energy security and want to see the United States take on a leadership role in the field of renewable energy, the American Power Act, the bill introduced yesterday, might represent a critical step towards making energy security a big priority and as leaders in this emerging field. The American Power Act addresses major topics which include: the expansion of the nuclear power industry, carbon capture and sequestration, and revenue sharing for states that want to conduct more offshore oil and gas production. The bill articulates the goals of reducing carbon emission by 17% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. Furthermore, the bill offers multiple tax credits as incentives to encourage truck and heavy-duty fleets to use natural gas in addition to encouraging manufacturers of vehicles to create cleaner vehicles and adopt more energy efficient production methods.
What effect will the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have on the American Power Act?
Due to what has happened in the Gulf, the American Power Act permits coastal governments to veto exploratory oil drilling up to 75 miles from their shores.
-A guest blog written by former intern Komal Hiranandani-
Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) have plans to unveil a comprehensive climate change bill in the Senate next weak, tentatively called the "American Power Act." Running on the heels of Earth Day celebrations, this Senate Bill follows the passage of the House's H.R. 2454 Waxman-Markey Bill in June last year.
A lot has happened between then and now. President Obama attended the Copenhagen climate summit in December, which acknowledged the scientific need to prevent climate change, acknowledged the assistance needed for developing countries to transition to clean energy economies, and saw the U.S. agreeing to pledge aid to developing countries for this purpose. However, the summit failed to produce the binding agreement across nations to take specific measures to fight this threat. The U.S. Senate debated the Kerry-Boxer climate bill that tried to follow H.R. 2454, but this moved fizzled out as Senators refused to come together and other issues clogged the agenda.
A coffee-powered car, dubbed the "car-puccino," went on a 250-mile road trip yesterday from London to Manchester. The vehicle, powered by nothing more than coffee beans, burned the equivalent of more than 10,000 espressos during its journey.
The car is part of a showcase for alternative fuels at the annual "Big Bang: UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair." It is the creation of engineer Jem Stansfield, presenter of the BBC show 'Bang Goes The Theory.' The car, formerly destined for a scrap heap, began as a 1988 VW Scirocco bought on eBay for £400 (roughly $600). A furnace built into the back of the car roasts coffee grounds to generate flammable vapors that fuel the engine.
The car was cheered through the streets as it battled endless traffic jams and eventually made it to Manchester last night. The journey took approximately 17 hours and was interrupted by some hiccups along the way, as well as for a coffee refueling stop every 60 miles. The UK's Telegraph reported, "by lunchtime it seemed more likely to be using decaf." Francesca Bennett, a member of the team responsible for the car, responded by saying: "It's not the most reliable form of transport, but we knew that.This is the first time this has been done and it wasn't about reliability. It was about energy and making people think about how they use it."
The global community has a moral obligation to reduce its greenhouse gases. Climate change talks in Copenhagen are set to begin in slightly over 46 days. And yet the United States is far from passing any legislation that would truly curb our greenhouse gas emissions below the scientific recommendations of 25-40 percent of 1990 levels. The House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. This bill, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill, proposes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by only 17 percent of 2005 levels, or in other words: 4 percent of 1990 levels.
Ron Brownstein has an interesting article in The Atlantic (October 2009) that describes California's efforts to create sensible energy regulation and promote green technologies:
On July 10, the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosted a summit on energy security. Experts from a variety of government agencies and organizations discussed the different ways that America can attain a cleaner, more diverse, and more sustainable energy economy. Although the speakers tended to disagree on how the United States can achieve energy security, all agreed that the future must involve a dramatic expansion of renewable energy production. The devil, of course, is in the details.
Former President Jimmy Carter spoke at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 12. During the hearing it seemed the panel's main goal was to hear what Carter had to say about the current climate crisis and how it affects United States foreign relations.
It turns out that the pursuit of energy efficiency isn't just some newfangled political fad thought up by climate scientists and mechanical engineers... it's in our genes! According to a team of researchers at the University of Arizona, humans learned to walk upright because doing so uses less energy than traveling on all fours. This is a fun fact, all by itself, but I can't help thinking... maybe pursuing an energy efficiency revolution is the next phase of human evolution?
This just in - The Senate Finance Committee just approved a $29 billion package of tax incentives supporting renewables at the expense of the oil and gas industry.
"When the major oil companies are making record profits, consumers are paying record prices, the federal government should not provide record subsidies for the major companies,? said Ron Wyden, D-Ore."
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