Plugging Plug-Ins Part III The Greenius Guide to EVs, Hybrids & Plug-In Hybrids That Will Rock Your World

 

Carport 

In Part I we covered Electric (BEV) vehicles.  

In Part II we covered PHEV, Plug-In Hybrids.

 

Here in Part III we’ll cover what’s coming in BEVs.

 

I’ve already shared the many reasons I love all electric plug-in cars that don’t use any gasoline or other fuels.  I can easily imagine a world just a decade away when electric vehicles completely replace all gasoline vehicles.  I’m not alone in previsualizing that transportation dream world.  

 

Read this comprehensive article from May 26, 2008

An industry charged up: Electric vehicles are poised to go mainstream

The Financial Times – By John Reed – Published: May 26 2008 

While as recently as a year ago carmakers’ green-car announcements often had overtones of worthy science projects or corporate window-dressing, their actions in recent months point to electric propulsion becoming a core business. “You’re going to see more changes in powertrain technology over the next five years than you’ve seen in the last 50,” says Rod Lache, an analyst with Deutsche Bank.

 

Here are some of the cars that will get us there…

 

 

Nissan Going All Electric, Looks To Seize The Initiative

 

Renault/Nissan, the auto industry’s third-largest group, has announced the most ambitious plans of any major car company, promising pure electric cars providing an expected range of about 100 miles (160 km), to be sold in the US and Japan from 2010 and theb globally from 2012.  Carlos Ghosn, the alliance’s chief executive, has identified leadership in electric vehicles as a top objective in Nissan’s new five-year business plan.

 

 

According to the article in the NY Times in May of this year, Ghosn said Nissan decided to accelerate development of battery-powered vehicles because of high gasoline prices and environmental concerns, not just because of the need to meet stricter fuel-economy standards.

“What we are seeing is that the shifts coming from the markets are more powerful than what regulators are doing,” he said.

 

 

Mitsubishi i-MiEV Expected to be Released Next Year

 

 

Mitsubishi MiEV’s  in-wheel motor electric vehicle is a very cool approach to driving a car by electricity and they look very serious about getting this car out to the market.  

 

They’ve moved up their original delivery date and plan on having cars first to Japanese customers in 2009. 

 

Right now Mitsubishi has no plans to sell the car in the US, but is asking for potential customers to petition them.  Youi can sign this petition asking Mitsubishi to bring the i-EV to the U.S.

 

 

Mitsubishi has added one new innovation by giving the i-EV two different charging ports for different charging situations. The i-EV has a charging port on each side.  One allows the car to be charged using normal household or parking lot charging, and the other allows for using a “Quick Charging System”.  

 

 

 

 

The household/parking lot method takes about 7 hours and the Quick Charging System takes about 30 minutes to get it to 80%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subaru Quick Charge Electric Car in New York

 

 

Based on the Subaru R1 minicar sold in Japan, the R1e was developed by Subaru in partnership with the Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc.. The utility has been testing a fleet of R1e electric cars since 2006. As part of a U.S. test program, two of the Subaru R1e electric cars will join the New York Power Authority (NYPA) fleet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Subaru R1e employs fast-charge lithium ion battery technology that eliminates typical lithium ion battery issues of charge memory loss, allowing partial charges and quick charges that do not decrease battery life. The two-seat Subaru R1e is capable of driving at speeds up to 65 mph with a range of up to 50 miles, making it an ideal urban commuter. 

 

 

 

 

The Subaru R1e can be “quick-charged” to 80 percent capacity in only 15 minutes using quick-charge technology. The vehicle can be fully charged overnight (eight hours) while connected to a standard household electrical outlet. The R1e uses an AC permanent magnet synchronized motor producing 40 kW.

 

 

THINK ELECTRIC OX DUE IN 2011

 

 

Backed by U.S. venture capital, Norwegian company Think is betting its Ox concept vehicle can prove the electric car’s time has finally arrived.

 

An electrified people’s car for the 21st century, the Ox is a preview of Think’s next-generation production vehicle, due out in 2011. 

 

 

Roughly the size of a Toyota  Prius, the Ox can travel between 125 and 155 miles before needing a recharge, and zips from zero to 60 miles per hour in about 8.5 seconds. 

 

Its lithium-ion batteries can be charged to 80% capacity in less than an hour, and slender solar panels integrated into the roof power the onboard electronics. Inside, the hatchback includes a bevy of high-tech gizmos such as GPS navigation, a mobile Internet connection, and a key fob that lets drivers customize the car’s all-digital dashboard.

 

Pricing has yet to be announced, but the company’s current vehicles cost less than $25,000.

 

500 Electric Minis Coming to California

 

 

BMW plans to export nearly 500 electric versions of its Mini car to California, company sources said.  The electric Minis are being built at the Mini factory in Oxford, England, without engines, gearboxes or fuel tanks, then shipped to Munich, Germany, where they are being fitted with electric powertrains.  

 

The key to this first step is that these cars will only be available to lease at first.

 

If you want to own an electric plug-in Mini today you’ll have to have a Mini you already own converted.  Hybrid Technologies will be happy to do that for you for about $57,500.

 

In April of 07 popular mechanics got to test drive a mini cooper converted to electric by Hybrid Technologies  You can watch the video here too.

 

According to company founder Richard Griffiths, the Mini we tested sports a 78kW electric motor, can get up to 200 miles on a charge and recharges in six to eight hours. Inside, the only real changes to the Mini interior are that the back seats are gone (your batteries are now your “+2”) and the gas gauge now reads permanently empty because as far as your vehicle’s instrument cluster is concerned, you have no gas.  But that doesn’t mean that you have no power. The lithium-powered Mini takes off with gusto—not surprising, since electric motors have full torque available at takeoff.

 

That’s my report for right now…

 

BUT… One huge potential development I’m watching along with everyone else in this field is the PROJECT BETTER PLACE concept of selling you an electric car without the batteries and then having “subscribe” to the batteries for a monthly fee.  That way when your batteries run down you just go to a Better Place battery station and swap them out for fully charged batteries.  This is brainchild of Shai Agassi, (read his blog here) the software entrepreneur behind the new company, and the nation of Israel is already on board in a big way.

 

 

There are some other plug-in vehicles I haven’t covered here, but a couple of other sources have gone more in-depth and you should check them out too if you want to drill even deeper… you should pardon the pun:

 

CLICK HERE TO READ “CARS AFTER THE AGE OF OIL” by dotcommodity of DailyKos.  His review of vehicles is the best that’s out there and the most comprehensive.  I learn an awful lot from this guy.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ VENTURE BEAT’S JANUARY 2008 “30 ELECTRIC CARS READY TO TAKE OVER THE ROAD”

 

Plugging Plug-Ins Part II The Greenius Guide to EVs, Hybrids & Plug-In Hybrids That Will Rock Your World

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In Part I we covered Electric (BEV) vehicles.  

Here in Part II we’ll focus on PHEV, Plug-In Hybrids.

Plug-In Hybrids are going to be big, fast.  The electric utilities are big backers for the technology and I’m seeing article after article like this one from last week’s Oregonian in Portland:

 

 

 

PGE predicts Surge in hybrid vehicles, plans more plug ins

Demonstration – The utility will build 12 charging stations in Portland and Salem

Saturday, July 05, 2008

LIBBY TUCKER -The Associated Press

Portland General Electric has begun leading the charge for mass adoption of plug-in hybrid-electric cars in Oregon. The utility plans to install 12 electric-vehicle charging stations in Portland and Salem by September as part of a demonstration project to develop the transportation infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles.

The project will also help the utility anticipate the demand plug-in cars might place on the region’s electric grid and design smart grid systems to help even out variability in wind and solar resources.

 

Meanwhile conservative Kiplinger Business Resource reports:

Plug-in Hybrid Cars Zooming Ahead

Auto makers are speeding ultra-high-mileage plug-in cars to market to beat looming federal emissions mandates.

 

WHAT YOU CAN BUY TODAY

 

CONVERT YOUR PRIUS INTO ONE OF THE FIRST PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

Led by Felix Kramer’s pioneering efforts there’s more than one place you can bring your 2004 or later Toyota Prius into a plug-in hybrid (PHEV)- the next best thing to having an electric car.  

 

 

Plug-in Hybrids are seen as the perfect transition step to BEVs – battery electric vehicles -because their combination of electric motor and gasoline motor will allow most people to travel their average 30 miles a day on the electric motor, but still have the long range capability they also need sometimes

 

.  

 

I could tell you everything you’d ever want to know about plug-in hybrids, but I’d just be repeating what I learned from the Plug-in Hybrid FAQ expertly compiled by Earl Killian at Climate Progress.

 

One thing I can tell your right now is where to get yourself one of the those 100+ mpg Prius conversions:

 

 

A123Systems uses their Hymotion L5 Plug-in Conversion Modules to convert your Prius hybrid into a plug in hybrid capable of 100+ mpg for 30-40 miles.

 

Hybrids Plus is converting both Prius hybrids and Ford Escape Hybrids.  They’re in Colorado and they charge $32,400 to do an Escape – car not included.

 

 

 

Plug-In Conversions in Poway, California is one of the first companies I became aware of doing Prius plug-ins when I saw their cars and Nilar batteries back in November at the Renewable L.A. event.  Here’s what their website says today:

Plug-In Conversions Corporation (San Diego, California) is pleased to announce our participation with the California Cars Initiative (CalCars.org) and Nilar, Inc (www.nilar.com) in the first CalCars based East Coast conversion of a Prius into a PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston. Nilar NiMH batteries are used which give the converted Prius a low-speed electric range of 15+ miles which provides overall mileage of 100+ MPG depending on driving profile. Nilar makes an advanced NiMH battery with characteristics similar to NiMH batteries used in electric vehicles that have attained 150,000 miles of battery pack life. While other battery chemistries show promise, no other battery chemistry to date has been able to demonstrate this longevity.

 

EDrive in Los Angeles says they’ll start converting cars next month.  Here’s what else they say on their website:  

 

With an EDrive upgrade installed in your 2004 or later year Toyota Prius, you won’t miss those trips to the gas station as your daily commute driving range expands to well over 1000 miles per fill-up. EDrive allows a substantial amount of gasoline to be displaced by electricity when you charge nightly and drive locally. Using any 110-volt wall socket, your EDrive Prius can be plugged in overnight to recharge an expanded lithium-ion battery system. With a full charge, expect to see over 100 miles per gallon for the first 40 miles of your daily drive under average conditions. On the open road past 40 miles, or if you forget to plug it in, your EDrive Prius will behave like a normal Prius gasoline-electric hybrid.

EDrive can be installed in the rear of a Prius in about four hours without touching the motors, engine or hybrid control system up front. The lithium-ion battery system fits entirely under the rear cargo carpet.

 

WHAT YOU’LL BUY TOMORROW

 

 

 

GM says their new plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt will be ready sooner than they originally planned:

GM Pushes Up Production Of Volt Electric Car

 

Posted on: Tuesday, 8 July 2008,

In the wake of an economic downturn, General Motors Corp is hurrying production of its Chevy Volt. It now hopes to unveil a showroom-ready model in September, according to sources close to the project.

 

Your Creative Greenius really wishes GM well, but I have no faith or confidence that they will deliver on their promise with this car.  Based on GM’s record over the last 30 years they will have to prove themselves to me.

 

 

 

Meanwhile they’ll have Toyota to deal with if they do succeed…

 

 

 

Toyota is promising a Plug In Prius for 2010 

 

Toyota made their announcement in January at the Detroit Auto Show and they haven’t said much since except to whine a little about how tough it is to develop the batteries. I think it’s safe to say that it’s only because of the efforts of the groups like CalCars.org and others doing the heavy lifting to develop the Prius as a Plug-In that Toyota is doing this now.

 

The good news is that Toyota’s car is looking good according to Popular Mechanics testing.

 

But we don’t have to count on Toyota and GM to give us the plug-ins we want, they’re just two of the floats in this parade of plug-ins.

 

German Government to Help VW Develop Plug-In Hybrid for 2010

 

The German government announced it will be helping to fund VW’s plug-in hybrid development program with 15 million euros. VM aims for a 2010 vehicle with 31 miles of all-electric range. VW head Martin Winterkorn said that while petrol or diesel powered cars would be around for some time to come, “the future belongs to all-electric cars.” According to autoblog, the Twin Drive uses a 82-hp electric motor and a 2.0L turbodiesel producing 122 hp.

 

Saturn Says It Will Have First Commercially Available, OEM-produced Plug-in Hybrid

 

 

Of course, GM’s Saturn division made that claim back in January of 2008 at the Detroit Auto Show and they haven’t shared anything new about this car in a while.

 

Once again, GM’s management and track record during the entire 30+ years I’ve been driving would lead me to bet against them.

 

It would be nice if I was wrong about GM, but so far I never have been.  There isn’t a single person in top management at GM who really gets it.

 

I have more faith in the Fiscar start up company vehicle than I do in GM’s chances of delivering anything as they’ve promised it.

 

Fisker Karma Prototype on Test Track in May

 

 

The vehicle dynamics and fuel economy have performed better than expected and we remain on target for our fourth quarter 2009 initial delivery.

    —Henrik Fisker, CEO, Fisker Automotive

 

In sport mode the Fisker Karma will offer a continuous top speed of 125 miles per hour (200 kph). Electric only, or stealth mode, is capped at 95 miles per hour (150 kph). Preliminary testing of the lithium-ion energy storage system that powers the Fisker Karma has indicated a life expectancy of more than 10 years.

 

The Fisker Karma is designed to provide an all-electric range of up to 50 miles per day, given a recharge at night. Fisker Automotive is preparing to deliver its first vehicles by fourth quarter 2009.

 

Currently, Fisker Automotive has received more than 500 orders for the Fisker Karma since its 2008 debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January. Fisker Automotive will reach a full production of 1,250 vehicles per month by the end of 2010. The starting estimated MSRP for the Fisker Karma will be approximately US $80,000

 

Volvo ReCharge Plug-In Hybrid Concept

 

 

Back in 2007 Volvo Cars announced the introduction of the Volvo ReCharge Concept, a plug-in hybrid with individual electric wheel motors and batteries that can be recharged via a regular electrical outlet for maximum environmental benefit.

 

Volvo claimed that recharging allows the car to be driven about 100 kilometres on battery power alone before the car’s four-cylinder Flexifuel engine is needed to power the car and recharge the battery.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ PART III – THE BEV ELECTRIC CARS ON THE WAY

 

Plugging Plug-Ins Part I The Greenius Guide to EVs, Hybrids & Plug-In Hybrids That Will Rock Your World

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Damn I want a plug-in electric car.  I want to end my relationship with the internal combustion engine and the gasoline industry.  I want to stop polluting every time I drive.  I don’t want to buy another quart of oil or ever pay for another smog check or tune up.  The tipping point for me has now arrived.  You’ll be there soon enough if you’re not already.

 

Everyone in my enlightened social circle already wants the details of when they can buy their electric car or their plug-in hybrid.  The people I know are ready to ditch gasoline powered vehicles today.  And the good news for them is their new cars are on the way.  Especially if they live where I do, in California.

 

 

I don’t know whether to convert my 1997 Honda Del Sol like Larry Allen did in Riverside California did, or wait for one of the new electric cars coming out in the next few years.

 

 

But I do know that I want an electric car I can recharge at night by plugging it into the outlet in my garage. 

 

And I want that outlet powered by my very own solar panels so I can plug into free fuel forever that’s clean and under my control.  

 

Within the next 12 months I’ll have my solar panels installed and generating clean electricity.  It no longer makes sense to wait.  Not when we’re already in the red zone.

 

It’s my job to know what’s coming next and I can smell the rapid demise of the gas powered car coming quicker than an excited adolescent at a Victoria Secrets sleep over.  They’re going to be too expensive to compete with electric cars and plug-in hybrids.  The price we pay in climate change is already unacceptable even if most people don’t get that yet.  But they will.  

 

The price of gas is already close to five bucks a gallon here in California so you can forget all about that $4 a gallon gas they keep talking about in the media.  That $4 a gallon gas is all gone now.  But soon it will be $6 and then $7. Count on that.  You can make believe that’s not true but you’ll just be fooling yourself the same way more than a few folks do about someday winning the lottery and solving all their financial problems.  

 

Meanwhile your electric rates will no doubt be going up too, but nowhere near the astronomical, uncontrollable way oil is and will continue to – and the bigger difference is you can make your own electricity right now with solar panels or wind turbines.  

 

 

In fact, between solar, wind and geothermal resources in the USA we have more power than we can ever use in this country and it’s time to build a new power grid to connect us all to clean renewable power.

 

If the ultimate carbon collaborators weren’t controlling the White House and we had any  effective opposition leaders we would have been building that new grid for the last 7 years – instead of diverting those funds to Iraq in order to seize the oil assets from Saddam Hussein regime on behalf of the US oil companies.  

 

But if “ifs” and “buts” were raisins and nuts we’d all be eating Waldorf salads right now instead of the big steaming pile of C02 we’ve been force-fed.

 

 

So electric power for cars is the obvious solution to fighting climate change, making our air far less polluted, stopping crazy oil prices, criminal profiteers, and more importantly it’s the quickest, smartest way for the USA to become energy independent.

 

But even if all that wasn’t true I could STILL sell you on switching to an electric car in about five minutes.  The first minute you got behind the wheel and put your foot down on the accelerator pedal the torque and power off the line would impress the hell out of you.  But that’s just the start…no pun intended.

 

 

Wait till the time comes for your first tune up.  

You can just skip it, and the one after that too because electric cars never need a tune up.  

They don’t use spark plugs or valves or fan belts so you’ll never pay to have those replaced.  

No transmission either, so forget about having that rebuilt, replaced or repaired.  

No transmission fluids either.

Speaking of toxic fluids – electric cars don’t use oil so they don’t need oil changes or oil filters.  

 

Ever.

 

No air filters either cause the air under your hood and coming out of your tailpipe is clean.  Forget about needing a catalytic converter. You’ll never need to get a smog check or worry about emission control sensors or exhaust system computer components because electric cars don’t have them or need them.

 

It should be no surprise that the folks who have killed the electric car up to now include the auto dealers with their high profit service centers, independent mechanics and oil change stations and the industries that make all the dirty parts that go into vehicles that run on oil and spew a mix people like to inhale when they decide to commit suicide in their garage. 

 

Their argument is easy to understand – it is worth putting you and your children at risk by continuing to use their toxic, antiquated products because it keeps their economy healthy and thriving. 

 

Not anymore.  Now even those sellouts cannot stop the plug-in revolution that’s going to sweep the world over the next five years.  The price of oil and gasoline is their BOHICA moment.  

 

 

“So what’s the catch?” you’re asking me.  Why won’t EVERYONE want to either convert their current car or buy a new electric car?

 

Well…

 

The average American drives less than 30 miles per day.  The average commute is 12 miles.  But if you’re in the small minority of American drivers who needs to drive more than 150-200 miles a day, then the range of the current generation of electric cars will be too short for you.  That makes you a better candidate for a plug-in hybrid car (PHEV) that will get you 100-200 miles per gallon using a combination of electric engine and gasoline engine – more about those later in this post.

 

But what if you’re like me and you want your electric car as your next vehicle?  Well the first thing you do is go to the root sources, the places where I’m learning the things that have got me excited..

 

 

Plug In America grew out of the “Who Killed The Electric Car” movement.  Their leadership is superb and they’re doing a great job lobbying, informing, building awareness and appeal as well as a movement.  I’m proud to say I’m a member and I invite you to join me.  Paul Scott is one of the founding fathers of Plug-In America and I’ve been lucky enough to meet him and receive his private newsletter on Plug-Ins.

 

 

CalCars.org founder Felix Cramer is a bonafide legend in the plug-in field.  One of the godfathers of the Prius conversion to a plug-in hybrid, Felix is a testament to what one determined and very sharp guy can do.  

After founding, running and selling a small Internet company, beginning in 2001 he volunteered his time to CalCars. In April 2006 he became the world’s first non-technical consumer owner of a plug-in hybrid.  Now thanks to his efforts you can get your Prius converted into a plug-in today.

 

Climate Progress is an outstanding insiders view of climate science, politics and solutions that includes a strong advocacy for electric cars and plug in hybrids that will give you all the facts you need to make a car buying decision and to quickly shut the pie holes of pro oil carbon collaborators when they try to scam you into buying another gasoline powered car or drilling for more oil

 

EV World is another great source of info on electric vehicles of all kinds.  And I also like AutoGreen Blog.  

 

One of my real favorites is Stefano Paris’ Plug-in Alternative Vehicles site.  Stefano is a tremendous resource and a creative talent who I admire.  He shoots and provides video of key events throughout the plug-in world, including his comprehensive coverage of the recent Google Brookings Institute and Google.org Washington DC Plug In Conference

and his web links are some of the best available.

 

WHAT YOU CAN BUY TODAY

 

 

TESLA Motors is taking orders on their high profile Roadster at over $100,000 but they’ve only delivered a handful and they have a healthy waiting list of rich and famous folks ahead of you.  If you’ve got the dough-ray-me and the patience it might be worth it.  Paul Scott reports today that “Tesla is delivering their Roadster at a rate of four a week now. Soon to ramp up to 100/month.”  You’ll get yourself a car that seats 2, has a range of 220 miles per charge and can go as fast as 135 mph.  Read what Fortune magazine has to say about Tesla in their latest issue, “Tesla’s Wild Ride.

 

 

USED ELECTRIC CARS like the Toyota EV RAV 4 or the EV Ford Ranger are out there, few and far between and selling for numbers like the $89,200 paid in May for a 2001 Toyota EV RAV4.  There’s currently another RAV 4 electric on EBay with bidding at $45,100 and three days left in the auction.

 

That’s Arnold de Leon, of Cupertino, CA with his 2002 electric Rav4 which he purchased in March of 02. He plugs into free power for his car through his 10.9 kW solar PV system.

 

 

MEYERS MOTORS NMG – That’s a whole fleet of the one seat all-electric, No More Gas NMG vehicle that will cost you $29,000, go 40-70 miles per charge and a top speed over 100 mile per hour.  It’s a great little funky looking neighborhood vehicle and to me a viable alternative to a motorcycle that will never cost you a dime in gasoline.  They’re freeway legal but you can park them like a bike in town.

 

 

 

eBox by AC Propulsion is what you get when you bring AC Propulsion a Toyota Scion xB 5-speed and $55,000.  They’ll convert your Scion into a electric vehicle that goes 120-150 miles per charge, fully charges in fast mode in 2 h\ours and in normal mode at 5 hours.  Top speed 95 miles an hour and you’ll go from 0-60 in 7 seconds.  I rode in one of these in November and it took off like a rocket.

 

ZAP & ZENN

 

 

THE three-wheel Zap comes in car and truck form and each can go 40 mph.  

 

 

This model comes with the optional 150 watt solar panel.

 

There are some questions about Zap’s ability to deliver everything they promise, but I’d still keep an eye on them if I were you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 4 wheel Zenn is restricted to 25 miles per hour.  They’re both sold locally in Southern California at Environmental Motors in Glendale.  They’re both too limited to be considered replacement cars for what you have now.  But they both promise better cars to come in 09 and 10.  We’ll see, but we’ll hope so.

 

 

 

CONVERT YOUR EXISTING CAR TO ELECTRIC

This might be your most sustainable option.  If you’ve got a car you like and it’s a good candidate (A light car – 2000-3000 lbs. curb weight – with a manual transmission) this would be your fastest, easiest and least expensive way to go. 

 

 

The Porsche above cost $18,000 to convert.  It gets about 60 miles per charge and has a top speed of 90 mph.  

 

In L.A. Left Coast Electric is legendary for their Dr. Gadget who runs the place and for being hard to get a hold of, but the consensus is that he’s worth it.  

There are many places on line where you can learn to do your own conversion using the abundance of parts and kits available.

 

 

If you’ve got a VW bug you should check out Hank and Joe’s instructional videos on how to convert it to an EV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK HERE TO READ PART II

 

 

BOHICA, Baby! But It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way…

bohicaPR-filtered

  

My erudite and genteel audience of readers is no doubt unfamiliar with the contemporary colloquialism, “BOHICA,” but you are more than familiar with the concept.

 

 

 

B.O.H.I.C.A. =  Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.

 

If you thought last week’s Congressional testimony by Dr. Hansen on climate change was going to wake anyone up or that my Cat is On the Roof post would supply that slap in the face I was looking to deliver…

WRONG

Just two days after Dr. Hansen told the world we were “toast” if we didn’t begin the change from a carbon-based society within a year, that this was “The Last Chance”– the Bureau of Land Management announced they were putting put a halt to the development of all solar energy projects on federal land and stopping the application process on ALL the big solar projects.

 

They said there was no sense of urgency and that an extensive environmental study was needed to determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states – Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

 

 

But the unexpected and immediate uproar from members of Congress, citizens and environmental groups was so swift and loud that on Wednesday the BLM reversed itself and announced that they WILL continue to process the applications.  

 

That’s great, but now they’ve already tipped their hand, haven’t they?  And how fair a hearing do you think solar is going to get during their “scooping” process?  You already know the decision the BLM has in mind and rest assured they are still expecting you to grab your ankles for that $5-$6-$7 a gallon gasoline and more coal-fired power plants as your ONLY option.

 

 

But wait, there’s more.  

 

Our federal solar and wind investment tax credits will expire by the end of this year unless Congress renews them.  

 

So far the President and Congress haven’t done squat on this issue and you should have zero confidence that they will.  Unless we force them to.

 

 

 

At the very moment they should be providing every possible incentive and tax credit to get Americans putting up solar panels and wind turbines generating as much clean energy as possible our elected leaders are taking us backwards and still selling us out in a carbon con job.  They hate the fact that they don’t yet own and control the sun and blowing wind.

 

So instead they shout their come-ons like a carnival barker with a megaphone – “Drill for more oil!  Use our 250 year supply of coal!  More corn ethanol! Ignore solar, wind and other renewable weird environmentalist craziness.  Pay no attention to that witchcraft mumbo jumbo folks!”

 

So your Creative Greenius says, bend over, here it comes again my friends and stay in that position because you’ve got plenty more coming your way…

 

Last Monday, the good old Wall Street Journal broke the story of how the Bush White House has put the fix in on that big EPA report on greenhouse gasses. 

 

You know the report I mean, it’s the one the EPA was forced to make to the Supreme Court.  It’s the EPA’s 

formal response to the High Court’s April 2007 decision that found greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, are pollutants under the Clean Air Act, and that the EPA can regulate them. 

 

Let me make this as easy to understand as an article in USA Today.

 

 

The EPA was ordered by the Supreme Court to tell the truth about the emissions that  are causing climate change.  The Court mandated that the EPA must then do something to reduce those emissions to a safe level.  

 

George Bush and his administration are stopping the EPA from doing that and using every desperate ploy a scam artist employs. Cutting the emissions that kill people is bad for the Bush family business.

 

The Wall Street Journal uncovers that the EPA report says emissions from cars, trucks, trains, planes, boats, power stations, chemical plants, and refineries endanger public welfare.  The result of “a multimillion-dollar study conducted over two years” the document details how greenhouse gasses could be regulated and includes an analysis of the cost of doing that here and in other counties.

 

 

The Journal reports that the EPA report says everything the Bush Administration doesn’t want you to hear.  It says that using things like plug-in hybrids we could be getting far great fuel efficiency from our cars.  It shows how a cap and trade system for carbon would work in the US and says “The net benefit to society could be in excess of $2 trillion”

 

What may sound great to you and me sounds like red alert with alarm bells to George Bush and his carbon collaborators.  And that’s not just my opinion.  According to The Journal, people close to the matter said, “Clearly [White House officials] don’t want to leave behind a blueprint that suggests that the Clean Air Act could offer a potential pathway in a cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Leaving a blueprint behind could leave the next administration a document they could work from, and that’s not in their interst.

 

 

George Bush, along with the oil, gas and coal industry doesn’t believe in the Clean Air Act and wants it deleted – they believe it’s bad for business – the oil, gas and coal business –   The one they’re all in together.  The one they have always put ahead of their country.

The one they will do ANYTHING to keep pumping profits into. 

 

George Bush and the oil, gas and coal industry have gotten rich from the sales of their carbon-spewing products and they will say and do anything to make sure that you keep paying the price to keep them that way.  There is no lie too outrageous for them to tell.  No scientific evidence they will accept.  No propaganda too obscene for them to release. 

 

These carbon con artists expect you to bend over every time their bill comes due and to pony up on their behalf.  And why shouldn’t they?  You never let them down.  America has become the home of the duped and the land of the hapless victim.  

 

In an era when Nigerian con men at 3rd World Internet cafes find Americans every day to send them money, expecting to make a fortune from an email, it’s no surprise that con men like George Bush and John Mcain are confident of continued success by telling Americans we can become energy independent if we just drill for more oil and call our coal “clean.”

 

 

But your Creative Greenius grew up in Brooklyn, New York.  I don’t do “chump.”

I work in marketing and advertising and consumer products.

I’ve been observing and commentating on American politics for 25 years now.

And my bullshit detector is world class.  I can smell a con with one whiff.

And for the last eight years the air is more than just full of C02 – it stinks of rotting phonies telling lies that make them rich while punking the average American at every step.  

 

 

We can all pretend that’s too harsh a judgement, but the truth is hard for some folks to grasp after all that blood rushes to their brain from bending over so long.

 

So my new mission is clear.  It’s not enough for me to just offer Greenius solutions for our future  – I need to help the vast numbers who have been frozen in BOHICA pose and apparently can neither see it coming or tell when it’s happening.

 

So… If you can’t see that the biggest BOHICA of all has been the invasion of Iraq on behalf of the American oil industry then you need my help.  

 

Saddam Hussain had to go for one reason only – he controlled the oil in Iraq.

 

 

The oil in Iraq is the WMD they were looking for from the beginning.

We didn’t stay in Afghanistan because they don’t have any oil.

 

Making the oil available for Exxon/Mobile, Chevron, etc, etc was what “Mission Accomplished” was all about.  Can you say “no bid contract?”

That’s exactly what happened last week.

 

The billions spent every week in Iraq is the money that we needed to be spending on renewable energy and getting the C02 in the air back down to safe levels.  Projected total US spending on the Iraq war could cover all of the global investments in renewable power generation that are needed between now and 2030 in order to halt current warming trends. 

 

 

But you need to keep bending over because that is bad for the oil, gas and coal industries and their total control over the current White House administration and the majority of those sitting in Congress means they will fight that using every twisted tool at their disposal.  

 

Don’t you know how much fuel our invasion and occupation of Iraq has used?  Do you understand what a fantastic business model this is for the carbon con crew?  Their control is so powerful no one has been able to stop them while they change the basic climate and destroy our way of life along with the other species they kill off one by one for profit. 

 

They have been so successful in their con that they have the suckers they’ve fleeced arguing for “more please!” as they make that argument in the BOHICA position.

 

 

So even when the U.S. intelligence community issues a report like the one they did last week that says that food shortages and migration caused by a warming climate could threaten US national security by aggravating ethnic strife around the globe, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, that doesn’t sound any alarm bells for most folks.  They’re still not comprehending the reality of what they’re really up against.

 

Let me help you explain it to them – the people who get paid to know what’s really going on, are worried.  

 

They’re not debating whether climate change is really happening, they’re already dealing with what they see coming.

 

Thomas Fingar, chairman of the National Intelligence Council, is the guy who delivered the report last Wednesday to a joint meeting of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Select Committee on Energy Independence. He warned that global warming will reduce food supplies in Africa, which he predicted would in turn spark violence in the region

 

 

The Wall Street Journal reports that experts who study the connections between security and climate believe the threat is real and must be considered by policymakers.

 

“It does trade off,” said Sarah Ladislaw, a fellow in the energy and national security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The real question out there is: How well are people going to deal with the trade-offs?” The convergence of the increasing cost of fuel, global food shortages, global warming, and national security threats show how interconnected these transnational issues are, and policy makers need to be mindful of that, she said.

 

So –  with all of the above being part of the news in just the last week, perhaps you understand why I’m hearing a calling to become a passionate town crier, spread the truth  and help people stand up straight and reverse their previous position into one where the carbon collaborators now become the ones yelping, “Here it comes again!”

 

And just in case you were wondering, your Creative Greenius doesn’t think this all part of some vast right wing conspiracy.  It’s a lot less complicated then that.  This is about uncontrollable greed, selfishness and outright crooked rotten-to-the-core people taking advantage of the Last of the Bohicans  any which way they can.  Nothing more than that.

Not An Environmentalist? Then You Are The Bad Guy In Today’s Story

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Just who are these people that choose NOT to be environmentalists?  

 

 

 

 

Should we call them monsters for all the harm and destruction they cause and support?  Are they angry murderers or just cold blooded assassins, these killers?  

 

 

Are they destroyers on a mission to cause as much harm as possible or do they wreck their havoc obliviously as part of their dinosaur-like behavior?  

 

 

When it comes right down to it, are they in fact terrorists who value no life and show no mercy to little children, pregnant women, the elderly, the ill and the innocent?  They’re bad.  Really bad.

 

We may not know what they truly are these anti-environmentalists, but we do know what they are not.

 

 

They are not patriotic to the United States – or any other nation for that matter – for their actions harm the very land and way of life we hold so dear.  

 

You are nobody’s patriot if you are not willing to fight and defend the many things that make your country so great.

 

If you’re not an environmentalist you can’t be very religious because all of the world’s major religions teach that the earth and its natural wonders are a gift to us from God and ours to be protected and cherished.  

 

It goes without saying that if you’re not an environmentalist you’re not really pro-life.

 

 

If you’re not an environmentalist you’re also not a very good parent since you’re not doing the right thing for the environment your children will inherit. 

 

The children are supposed to be our future, but if you’re not an environmentalist you probably don’t care much about the future.

 

 

 

So how come you haven’t heard these obvious BAD GUYS of the 21st Century referred to in these terms in the media – or anywhere else?  

 

How come they haven’t been branded and tagged as the villains, the enemy of our future health and happiness?

 

Well first off, the media doesn’t have the benefit of Creative Greenius, but more importantly environmentalists have already been branded and tagged by these very same Bad Guys, those with a vested interest in having folks believe a different storyline.  They’ve done a brilliant job of preemptively redefining and distorting our environmental brand image.

 

 

In today’s marketplace “Environmentalists” were long ago defined and remain branded as some kind of inconsequential fringe group of anti-establishment hippy, granola eating, Birkenstock wearering, treehugging, free-spirited bleeding hearts, drug-using Mother Earth-loving wackos who don’t hold real jobs and who want to wreck the global economy, ruin big business and end the free enterprise system just in order to save bugs, birds and plants nobody cares about.

 

I believe this definition was originally written by Dick Cheney in 1972 at the request of then President Richard Nixon.

 

But I’m here to tell you that in the reality-based world I reside in, everybody I know and I bet everyone you know is an environmentalist.  

 

How can you tell if YOU are an environmentalist?  That’s easy.

 

  1. If you want clean air to breathe and clean water to drink and clean land to build and grow on – you are an environmentalist.
  2. If you want to preserve and protect our great public lands like our national and state parks, our beaches, mountains, lakes and rivers and unmatched scenic vistas – you are an environmentalist.
  3. If you want to leave our country and our planet a better, not worse place for the next generation than the one you inherited – you are an environmentalist.
  4. If you believe we should be phasing out the use of polluting, carbon producing sources of energy like coal, oil an gasoline and replacing them with nonpolluting, locally produced, renewable sources of energy like wind, solar, wave, geothermal and others – you are an environmentalist.

 

 

So the truth is, here in 2008, the overwhelming majority of people in the United States, and in most other places around the world – are all environmentalists.

 

All of these people would say that they are NOT willing to sacrifice the health or future of either their local or their global environment in order to profit or gain a personal advantage of some sort.  All of these people are environmentalists.

 

As the Creative Greenius I am here today to help reclaim and redefine the word environmentalist, to rebrand it and reintroduce it and towards that end I say the real questions to ask this marketplace are:

 

 

  1. Who are the people that are NOT environmentalists and why do they mean to do us such harm? 
  2. Why are they willing to sacrifice rain forests, wetlands, natural habitats and forest lands when the harmful consequences of those actions can’t be undone?
  3. Why are they willing to damage the environment and sacrifice the health of all the people we love and cherish in exchange for money or personal advantage? Have they no ethics or values at all? 
  4. Are they in fact the enemy of all mankind here on some kind of secret mission to destroy our planet and everything on it?
  5. Are they motivated by hate and evil or are they merely mercenaries doing it all just for the money?

 

A big part of defining who you are is by identifying who you are NOT –  that is what I am proposing we do now.

 

 

It’s time we planted revised mental images in people’s heads of who the anti-environmentalist are, these abusers, destroyers and killers who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals of personal gain and power.  

 

Some might say that level of evil can only come from those aligned with Satan himself.  Me?  I just like to think of them as The Bad Guys.  

 

Whatever your imagination conjures, it’s a grotesquely ugly picture when you think about it – and getting you to think about it is the whole point… Are you grokking where I’m coming from here?

 

The Creative Greenius says just because the Bad Guys have been successful in their identity theft of the word environmentalist is no reason to let them continue with their crime.  You don’t just give up and change your name when someone steals it. 

 

It’s time to take advantage of the ongoing green wave and the public’s attention to creatively set the record straight while we unite all the true environmentalists in our joint mission to respond to global warming and fight the powers who cause it and benefit from it.  Does that sound like fun or what?

 

When it comes to the environment, the truth is it’s the defining issue of our time and you’re either with us or against us.  

 

Sometimes it really is just as simple as the Good Guys verses the Bad Guys.

The Sharing Of The Green

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Here in the South Bay of Los Angeles where I live and across our Palos Verdes Peninsula there is no greener time of year than these months of March and April.  St. Patrick’s Day next week is famous for its “wearing of the green,” and Earth Day has been the nation’s greenest environmental holiday since its founding on April 22, 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin.  

 

Even without a calendar, green is the color of our local So Cal scene as spring arrives here long before reaching the rest of the United States and bursting, budding nature abounds to bless us in dazzling displays of trees, plants and flowers.  

 

The birds wintering here have all paired up by now and are busy building nests.  The “Zing!” and supersonic aerial displays of our abundant crop of hummingbirds fills the skies and our hearts.

 

 

All of this intense green focus brings us the perfect opportunity to seize this verdant moment to reach out and help bring our well meaning friends, family and colleagues into a Greenius state of mind in a movement I’m dubbing, “The Sharing of the Green.”

 

We all know people (some of you are reading this right now) who have good green intentions but who, for a variety of reasons are just not yet walking the walk.  Some of my friends say they know all about CFL bulbs and how much they’ll save in energy use and shrink their carbon footprint, but they’re not going to switch from their incandescent bulbs until they burn out one by one.  Not exactly the most insightful or responsible thinking, but it is what it is and they’re not going to become part of the solution without our help.

 

I say it’s up to those of us who have already gone green to help bring these slackers along, and there’s no better time of year to start sharing than right now.  

St. Patrick’s Day takes on a

 

whole new green meaning when you explain that Ireland now leads the world in not just four leaf clovers but also in their reduction of plastic bag use.  

 

The Irish are smiling like a Lucky Charms leprechaun after cutting their plastic bag proliferation by 90%.  They did it by imposing a 22-cent tax for each bag taken home from the store. So rather than bring your St. Patrick’s day party host a gift of green beer, I suggest bringing them some reusable grocery bags. 

 

 

 

 

And instead of bringing a bottle of wine or some flowers the next time we’re invited over for dinner at a friends, I recommend we share the green by bringing our hosts a pack of CFL bulbs or rechargeable batteries.  I’m saying let’s use birthdays, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, baby showers and all the other regular gift-giving occasions to give our recipients things like a water filter pitcher and reusable water bottle to get them using tap water to replace bottled water.  

 

 

 

 

We can give a gift basket of eco-friendly cleaning supplies to replace Mom’s toxic soup versions.  Microfiber “miracle” towels are a highly prized gift.  A rain barrel, a push lawnmower or a composter all make great housewarming gifts.  

 

 

 

A solar powered charger for the cellphone, digital camera and MP3 player is the perfect gift for your graduate, one they’ll appreciate and also find very cool indeed. 

 

I’m sure you can think of other great green gifts that would be perfect for your specific friends and their unique circumstances.  Each one will make their own bit of difference and have the chance in their own subversive way of changing your friends forever more.

 

Many of these friends would never buy any of these green products for themselves, but they will give them a try if they receive one as a gift.  And once they discover how easy and rewarding it is to be green we’ll have added another member to the green team.  

 

Another easy way to drive the Sharing of the Green is to gift your friends with memberships in local park, beach and public lands support groups and larger organizations like the Sierra Club, National Audubon Society, Trust For Public Lands, Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, or the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society – to name a few.

 

 

 

This is the natural time of growth and renewal and here in my corner of paradise our local landscape is rewarding us once again with breathtaking scenes of joy and beauty.  

 

But we Greenius types know that our idyllic slice of heaven – like the rest of the planet – is at great risk due to global warming, just as we know that we must vastly increase our ranks to meet the challenge.  The enlightened on this subject are still a small percentage of the masses.  Even our own seemingly intelligent and informed family and friends can easily become so overwhelmed with the pressures and stress of getting through their day and week that they just have no bandwidth left to go green.

 

 

Those of us who ARE doing everything we can to protect and improve our environment need to realize our own efforts will never be enough and that everyone we have any influence with must also come over to the green side to force a true tipping point.  To make the force work for us, we’ve all got to be green Yoda-style, if you grok where I’m coming from.

 

Through The Sharing of the Green we can creatively exert that Jedi-like influence by enticing our friends using the same successful technique drug dealers have historically employed – The first time is always free.  Once they get a taste of how easy and satisfying it is to be green they’ll be hooked and they’ll be one of us.  Then we’ll begin to wield an impact far beyond our current numbers and we can become the weight that tips the balance and the straw that stirs the drink.

Yes We Can! We Just Beat Coal. Time to Go Nuclear?

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Congratulations are in order for all of us who took on the myth of Clean Coal and who warned that it wasn’t real and would not make coal an acceptable fuel to generate electricity from.  We won!  

 

They said we couldn’t do it, that coal had too much money, too much power too much influence.  But you can stick a fork in coal now when it comes to generating future energy in America.  Coal just got its ass kicked.  Just like I said it would.

 

Last Wednesday the plug got pulled on clean coal by its biggest financial backer and chief cheerleaders, the Bush administration and the Department of Energy  in “a major policy reversal.”  

 

The $1.8 billion dollar per plant cost was already double the original budget of $950 million and cost overruns were expected to bump the price up to $2 bill per plant.  That’s a ton of money for technology that is just vaporware and not proven.  Way too much money for the industry itself to pay.  Their costs were going to be capped at just $400 billion with our tax dollars picking up the rest of their tab.  Not any more.  

 

Even worse news for coal was in yesterday’s morning’s headlines where I read in the Wall Street Journal that three of Wall Street’s biggest investment banks are set to announce today that they are imposing new environmental standards that will make it harder for companies to get financing to build coal-fired power plants in the U.S.

 

This devastating news for the people who make their money as the biggest contributers to global warming is great news for the rest of us.  Because it means the clean coal scam didn’t work and those 151 new coal fired electric plants on the books probably won’t get built.  Which is just fine, since we don’t really need them.  Americans can conserve the same amount of energy they were going to produce and we must.

 

 

We can only use our Creative Greenius on the Chinese and their coal fired electric plants if we first do the right thing here in the USA.  Now that we’ve stopped the Clean Coal Carnival here we can start making the serious move to renewables and sell that same technology to the Chinese.  

 

I believe our green movement will transcend governments and entrenched interests and connect at a people to people level.  I’m talking about people both here and in China who won’t stand for being victims of global warming and who are willing to work together to change the world for our own self interest and survival.  That change starts with us on an individual basis, then extends to our own countries and then to other countries. 

 

 

But before we get to the solar, wind and other renewables we’re waiting for you’ll need to get ready for the marketing campaign and media blitz to position nuclear energy as our savior from global warming.  

 

Nuclear generates no greenhouse gasses, they’ll tell us.  You’ll hear how no one has ever died from any nuclear power plant accident.  They’ll say that today’s nuclear plants are much safer and far more advanced than the old Three Mile Island that scared us all or Chernobyl – which wasn’t really as bad as we remember.  And they’ll say that those of us who oppose them are a bunch of aging hippies who have all been brainwashed by Al Gore.  

 

 

But what they WON’T say is that they’ve solved the nuclear waste problem.  Unless you talk to my friend, Dr. Robert Schenter, PhD.

 

Dr. Bob, as he is endearingly called by his many friends around the world, is a brilliant nuclear scientist who has used his time and talents working with radioactive isotopes for medical purposes, primarily in the cancer field.  He is the inventor of Smart Bullets that target cancer cells far more precisely than traditional radiation or chemo.  

 

Dr. Bob is active with several Cancer Foundations, is an American Nuclear Society Fellow, a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on the medical uses of Isotopes, and has testified before Congress on Medical Isotope Supply and Applications.

 

 

But when I spoke with him last month, he was testifying to me about Nuclear Waste Transmutation.  Dr. Bob believes that transmutation using Fast Flux nuclear reactors can render nuclear waste into safe, valuable commodities, eliminating the need for places like the Yucca Mountain waste depository.  Dr. Bob raises the question – if I can solve nuclear energy’s waste problems for you, why wouldn’t you support nuclear as the green, zero-carbon producing source of electricity that is the holy grail of the environmental movement?

 

Dr. Bob reminded me that one of Greenpeace’s founders, Patrick Moore is now a supporter of nuclear power and I know from my own research that Whole Earth founder Stewart Brand is on board for nukes.

 

So what exactly are we talking about with Transmutation?  In a nutshell we’re talking about using a fast flux nuclear reactor to burn up the most dangerous long-lived fission products, the ones with half lives of thousands of years and in so doing transmute them into either stable or short-lived isotopes not requiring very long term “storage.”

 

 

According to Wikipedia, “Transmutation of transuranium elements (actinides) such as the isotopes of plutonium, neptunium, americium, and curium has the potential to help solve the problems posed by the management of radioactive waste, by reducing the proportion of long-lived isotopes it contains. When irradiated with fast neutrons in a nuclear reactor, these isotopes can be made to undergo nuclear fission, destroying the original actinide isotope and producing a spectrum of radioactive and nonradioactive fission products.  Isotopes of plutonium and other actinides tend to be long-lived with half-lives of many thousands of years, whereas radioactive fission products tend to be shorter-lived (most with half-lives of 30 years or less). From a waste management viewpoint, transmutation of actinides eliminates a very long-term radioactive hazard and replaces it with a much shorter-term one.”

 

 

It’s not often that I get to talk to a nuclear scientist about the technical side of their work and employ my own microscopically small expertise in the field.  But as the former co-chair of the Coalition for a Nuclear Free Harbor in Long Beach, California, I am familiar with the substandard quality of the nuclear workforce and  those who handle nuclear materials in general. 

 

For example, during the 1970s and 1980s, the US Navy, who operates a wide range of nuclear warships and submarines, reported that they had recorded over 375 nuclear incidents and accidents.  They’ve dumped radioactive waste in the waters all around the planet.  Not surprisingly they don’t like to talk about their record and you have to use the Freedom of Information Act to find out the truth. 

 

And you don’t have to look far doing a news search today for information on current screw ups at nuclear plants.  Just read my last post.  This is an industry and technology that has not earned our trust.  I trust Dr. Bob, but the rest of the nuclear industry doesn’t operate at his high standards.

 

So even if the US could build a new nuclear power plant every one-to-two weeks for the next 50 years as the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research said we need to in their 2006 study it would be an awful use of our money and it would be the wrong direction for us to turn. 

 

We already waste way too much of our taxpayer money on nuclear industry subsidies which in 2006 brought them $9 billion and which brought you and me a big fat nothing.  If we were spending anywhere near that same amount of money developing wind, solar and other renewables we’d already be plugging into a greener grid today.

 

So even though I don’t have a PhD, I’m going to tell you that Dr. Bob’s well meaning transmutation solution is not the answer.  I wish it was and I wish I agreed with him, but I don’t.  We just don’t need a world filled with nuclear reactors in every country big and small even if we could all use a time machine to have them built in enough time to make a big difference in climate change.

 

The right answer is a mix of energy conservation, a Manhattan Project-sized national commitment to developing and expanding renewable energy and just as importantly, a decentralization of power generating. 

 

We need to change the whole concept of the grid as it exists today.  We need to see power generated at the local level by big commercial buildings, schools, shopping centers, hotels, office buildings and neighborhoods.  Power that’s far cheaper and safer in the long run than nuclear could ever be.

 

We’ve made the first big, smart move already by busting the clean coal scam.  Now it’s time to keep moving in the right direction and not fall for greenwashing by the nuclear industry who see coal’s demise as their opening.

 

Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and I were right when we talking about No Nukes in 1979 and we are still right today.  Can we stop them?  YES. WE. CAN.

 

Check out their most recent video as we continue the Creative Greenius approach to turning energy green.  They’re talking about last year’s energy bill but the same nuclear bailout money is in the President’s brand new budget:

Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go

 The late, great Chick Hearn, play-by-play broadcaster for the Los Angeles Lakers for 42 years and one of my true role models, is famous for his incredible work ethic, never missing a game for a streak of 3,338 from 1965 to 2001.  He not only invented the terms “slam dunk,” “air ball,” and “no harm, no foul” among dozens and dozens of others, he united Los Angeles in a way no mayor, business leader, celebrity or religious figure ever has or ever will.  He transcended the sport of basketball and his death in 2002 has left a void in Southern California’s spirit ever since.

Chick had an enthusiasm, drive and a sense of urgency that were legendary among those of us who studied him.  Hearn was always the first guy in his plane or bus seat whenever the Lakers returned back home from a road game. 

The second Chick could confirm that all the players, coaches and staff were on board he’d want to know why the pilot hadn’t taken off yet.  “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” Chick would yell out.  

Nobody had better timing than the man who offered us his “words eye view” in real time based on what he saw happening in front of him.

Lately I’ve been feeling like yelling “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” to the pilots who are supposed to be flying us into the future, because while they wait on the runway fueled by incremental changes, half measures, baby steps and compromised goals designed not to offend or antagonize anyone, our flight is already so late we’re not going to land on time.  Worse yet, the pilots are still in no hurry to take off.

Never mind the analogies, let me give it to you straight – If you think there is still time to stop global warming and the effect it’s going to have on all of us for the rest of our lives, I’m afraid you’re wrong.  We’re already past that point now.  We’re already at the point that demands a sense of urgency and bold, decisive action starting today.  You may think that’s an exaggeration or an overreaction to what’s happening, but I believe most people have no clue about what’s happening.

That’s one of the dangers of really studying and learning about this issue – you have to face the ugly truth.  Not only that, but if you’re a Creative Greenius, you not only need to clue people in, you’ve also got to have a positive solution for them.  Rest assured I do.

Here’s why YOU need to have a sense of urgency:

In November 2007, the head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tried to issue a warning.  He said, “If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late.  What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future.  This is the defining moment.”  Do you remember reading that headline?  Me neither.

What part of that wasn’t urgent enough?  And Rajendra Pachauri, fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner, along with Al Gore, isn’t known as some kind of wide-eyed radical given to making outrageous statements.  He was chosen to head the IPCC because he was a soft-spoken moderate.  

The IPCC climate change report itself was the work of more than 2000 of the world’s top climate change scientists who conducted the most detailed and exhaustive review of all scientific knowledge about global warming.  The report leaves no doubt about the sense of urgency or the defining moment we are now at.  No doubt.

But you no doubt heard a lot more about the baseball steroid scandal or Britney Spears sister getting pregnant than you did about the fact that we have two to three years to determine our future.  I bet you probably saw the video of the beauty pageant bimbo bumbling her question about why so many Americans can’t find the USA on a map or the YouTube video offering those Asian prisoners dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

 But I know you didn’t see the video of the world’s greatest climate scientists begging government leaders in Bali to take “radical action to slow global warming because ‘there is no time to lose.’  

On December 5, 2007, the Associated Press ran a story headlined, “Scientists Beg for Climate Action.”  215 climate scientists, frustrated and fed up, signed a petition calling for the the world to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050.  The scientists made their plea to the group gathered in Bali, Indonesia to negotiate the new global warming treaty.

These scientists have never issued a plea like this or signed a petition on this issue before.  In fact, the scientists have stayed away from issuing calls to action, leaving that for green advocacy groups.  But now they can’t wait for someone else to act.  But I bet you didn’t read about this or hear about it on the radio, or see it on TV.

Instead you heard a big deal being made over the new “energy bill” and how US car makers will have to average 35 miles per gallon by 2020.  How’s that for a sense of urgency?  Seems as if the members of Congress and the Bush Administration didn’t hear the scientists or understand the UN report either.  

Maybe that’s why there is no funding for solar or wind and why the requirement that by 2020 15% of electricity come from clean, renewable energy was eliminated from the bill.  We need to take urgent action in the next 2-3 years, but 15% renewable energy is too ambitious for us.  Where is the leadership?  Where is the intelligence?  

It isn’t coming from the crop of Republicans or Democrats who want to be the next leaders of the USA either.  None of the Presidential candidates has made the global warming issue their chief cause, none of them have separated themselves from the pack by becoming the undeniable green candidate.  Not a single one of them mentions any of what you’ve just read in any speech or position paper.  Why?  Isn’t it a big enough issue?  Don’t they think people will get it?

And it’s not as if we’re not up to the challenge.  We already have the renewable energy technology ready to go to start reducing those greenhouse gasses the way we need to.  And we already know what has to be done.  We could start today if the people blocking action would stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.  

But the people in the automotive and oil and coal industries made their fortunes on products that harm your health and the health of the planet and they are no different from the cigarette industry.  The only way they will do the right thing is when they are forced to.  So it’s up to us to force them. 

And that’s going to mean people like you and me stepping up and providing leadership in the void left by our current elected officials.  When the head of the Environmental Protection Agency strikes down the state of California’s tough air emission measures we need to speak out and support our state which has now filed suit to overturn the EPA’s move.

This is a key moment in time for us and the EPA has been dragging its feet for over 2 years now.  When the one federal agency that is supposed to protect the environment is fighting a state with as much air pollution as we have in California and giving us lame, political excuses it’s time to step up, speak out and fight back.

The urgent threat we face toady does not need to become a disaster or horror story.  This should be an exciting start of a new era of clean energy, fresh directions and an explosion of new industries, new jobs and the kind of future we all want to leave to the next generation.  All it takes is some Creative Greenius.

Those of us who get it and understand the sense of urgency need to reach out to each other not just here in the USA but around the world.  Billions of Chinese share the same need to act as Americans do.

And we need to do more than reach out, blog, write  and talk.  We need to do more than just green our homes and businesses.  We need to get more involved and participate in the process.  We need to serve on city commissions, citizen task forces and political action groups.  That’s why I’m filing my application here in the City of Torrance to become a member of the Environmental Quality and Energy Conservation committee.  It’s not a political move on my part, it’s an acceptance of my civil responsibility.  It may take me a while to get there, but I’ve begun the process.

We cannot wait any longer for leadership that isn’t coming from the current establishment.  We need to become the leaders and lead the way.  

Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!

Charging Into The Future Today

 

 

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Yeah, that’s me riding a very zippy battery powered Roth Motorboard at Saturday’s first annual Renewable L.A. in Van Nuys.  That personal transportation device has a range of 20 miles and goes 15 mph.  Apparently I was quite photogenic.

 

 

What a great event and I had a terrific time getting hands-on with all the renewable energy vehicles, the 100kw solar panel  rooftop tour, the ecogift fest and especially the highly-charged people who turned out for this gathering of the mostly already enlightened green masses.

 

It takes a certain kind of person to get up on Saturday morning and then get on the San Diego Freeway to make the drive over the Sepulveda Pass into the San Fernando Valley during the holiday shopping season for the sole purpose of attending a renewable energy event – and those were exactly the kind of people i wanted to spend my day with.  I got to meet and talk with plenty of them and I’m glad I did

 

 

I’m talking about the kind of people who filled the parking lot with hybrid cars and more electric cars then I’ve ever seen in one place (outside of a bumper car ride).  The kind of people who couldn’t think of a better way to spend a beautiful fall day.

 

Besides getting to ride in a ridiculously fast eBox electric car built by AC Propulsions – which  took off from the line faster than anything I’ve ever ridden in, including Maserati and Lotus vehicles – and getting to check out the Zenn electric cars,

 

and the very cool Vectrix Maxi Scooter, I also enjoyed the seminars on Biodiesel, and “Why Population is an Environmental Matter.”  I didn’t realize how green i’ve been by not having children.  Turns out that had even more impact than those CFL bulbs we installed… who knew?!

 

I especially dug the presentation by Van Nuys Assemblymember Lloyd A. Levine on how to improve the California Solar Initiative.  Levine is a young environmental mover and shaker in the California Assembly who’d like to move up to  the California Senate. 

 

He really knew his stuff and I appreciate his understanding and opposition to coal fired electric plants.

 

He was quick on his feet during the Q&A session following his presentation and I came away from his session feeling like there was at least one guy in the California legislature who gets it and is trying to do the right thing.  We’ll keep an eye on Lloyd and let you know what he’s up to in the future.

 

 

It was a real treat getting to meet event organizers Zan Dubin Scott and her husband Paul Scott, especially after watching “Who Killed The Electric Car” that same day. I also had a great conversation with Ben Zuckerman of Californians for Population Stabilization on some of our favorite things about children.

 

 

 

Ady Gil, the host of the event who generously donated his state-of-the-art American Hi Definition facility as the venue, and allowed all of us to walk around his new rooftop solar installation, seemed to be everywhere at once.  I introduced myself to him during a moment when I saw him catching his breath.

 

I was very happy to see Moira Lerner Nelson there as well.  I’m a big admirer of hers and hope to someday live as green a life as she and her husband Dency.  Debra and I hadn’t seen her in years and we were thrilled to be reunited after so long.

 

The South Bay green community was especially well represented at Reneweable L.A.  Al Sattler of the South Bay/PV Sierra Club was there helping to explain some of the more challenging scientific concepts to me and Michael Warren, long of Mattel and now one of the forces behind Greener Impact was there with his two kids.  

 

Greener Impact is promoting their Million Lights Project, which sounds like a noble and worthy cause to me.  They’re looking to distribute 1 million free CFL bulbs by Earth Day 2008 – April 22.  It’s ambitious, but that’s exactly what we need right now.  I’ll be talking to Michael and his partners about how I can help.

 

 

Debra and I and our friend Wendy left energized and full of green ideas and projects that we happily yapped about during the bumper-to-bumper drive home on the 405.  I kept thinking about how much better that ridiculous Saturday afternoon traffic jam would be if all of us were in electric or hybrid cars.  At least we wouldn’t be pumping tons more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.  

 

Deb told me later that she was thinking that if she had one of those battery powered Roth Motorboards in the back of the car she could have hopped right out and zipped on home.

Half a Dozen Green Things I Give Thanks For

DONE PERFECT AGAIN

As I had the pleasure once again of preparing my world famous rosemary smoked turkey (that’s it above) for my homeless and down-on-their-luck friends at the Barker Ranch out in the valley for Thanksgiving, naturally enough I was thinking of all the things I was thankful for.  The list was quite long for I am a fortunate person indeed.  But just because Thanksgiving was almost two weeks ago doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped thinking about what I’m thankful for on the green side of the ledger.  And with the bird now just a memory – except for the extra pounds – here are half a dozen green things I am incredibly thankful for:

LIVING WITH ED

When it comes to using Creative Greenius to promote sustainable living, no one has done a better job than Ed Begley Jr. on his hit HGTV show, “Living With Ed.”  It’s my wife’s favorite show and she’s not alone. 

Ed co-stars with his own wife, Rochelle, who plays the perfect all-American consumer counterpart to Begley’s green purist.  The show is funny, entertaining and highly informative with new energy saving and sustainable practices featured in every half hour episode.  It’s clever, it’s inspiring and it’s effective.  

Each episode also brilliantly features a celebrity showing off their own home’s eco features. Recognizing the power of celebrity in the “Entertainment Tonight” era we live in Ed features everything from Jay Leno’s legendary garage, Larry Hagman’s and Jackson Browne’s solar arrays, Supermodel Cheryl Tiegs’ house, Helen Hunt getting an energy audit or Ed’s neighbor Bill Nye (the Science Guy) competing with Ed for green supremacy.  

The success of the show has led to Begley’s collaboration with Home Depot to promote their Eco Options line of energy efficient products.  I admire the hell out of the work Begley has done and expect his influence and success to just keep growing. 

And I’ve learned a lot from the show and been motivated to make many of the green changes we’ve made around our own home.  Our latest – rain barrels connected to the downspout to collect rainwater for use in Debra’s gardens.

Living with Ed season two episodes have just started repeat broadcasts and can be seen on Sundays at 11:30 pm (ET/PT) on HGTV. 

$100 A BARREL OIL

Even though we’ve only hit $99 a barrel so far, the mere threat of $100 and the certainty that it’s coming is serving as the catalyst renewable energy has long needed to be looked at with fresh eyes and considered seriously.  And it’s the only way conservation efforts will become a reality for the average person when it comes to their personal transportation..

Just look at the energy bill currently working its way through Congress.  For the first time ever, both the House and Senate are poised to mandate 35 mpg standards for car company fleet wide averages.  They may still screw it up, but right now that’s here they’re at… 

Sure, that standard is at least 10-15 years overdue, but it took $3.50 a gallon gasoline to finally make it possible.

Hell, even the American auto industry’s chief advocate and apologist, Michigan Congressman, John Dingall, is going along and he’s been fighting against safety and environmental regulations since he’s been in office – 1955!  It’s not the threat of global warming or the collapse of the American industry that’s motivated Dingall it’s that $3.50 a gallon at the pump. 

$4 a gallon is not far off either and I believe that’s what it’s going to take to get people convinced they need a plug-in or electric car – or even out of their cars and into mass transit – then so be it.  Because let’s face it, the majority of Americans have proven that if gas is cheap enough they will drive as big a behemoth as they can finance and the mileage and emissions be damned.  At least half the people looking at smaller more fuel efficient cars right now would go right back to giant SUVs if gas went down to $2.00 a gallon.

So making change happen is about making those same folks experience financial pain points that cannot be ignored and responding to them with green answers.

And yes, even though the people who are worst off economically will suffer exponentially until we move away from gasoline, they’ll also benefit exponentially from affordable, clean renewable energy – especially since the poorest neighborhoods also happen to be among the most polluted.  

You might think it’s easy for me to say since I work out of my home studio and drive a car that already gets 35 mpg and you’d be right.  

But I’m also right in being thankful for oil and gas prices that force people to do the right thing despite their own bad instincts

BREAKTHROUGH IN SOLAR

The hottest buzz in the very hot solar field is solar without silicon – CIGS, which stands for copper, indium, gallium, and selenium. It’s a new semiconductor material that will compete with the more traditional crystalline silicon solar cells.

Popular Science just gave their Innovation Product of the Year award to Nanosolar.  Imagine solar power without heavy, glass-based panels but delivered instead through flexible rolls of thin film material that can be installed not just on roofs, but also on the sides of buildings and almost anywhere else. 

To quote PopSci: “The company produces its PowerSheet solar cells with printing-press-style machines that set down a layer of solar-absorbing nano-ink onto metal sheets as thin as aluminum foil, so the panels can be made for about a tenth of what current panels cost and at a rate of several hundred feet per minute.”

 Here’s a video from CNN that shows how this stuff is made.

Here’s another video from CNBC on Nanosolar.

Nanosolar isn’t alone in the CIGS solar field and some analysts think that their competitor, Miasole, might be the leader in this new industry based on their technology having been used successfully in the disk-drive and optical industries.

Either way, these products will be a paradigm shift in how we think about and use solar.  Imagine sides of buildings, sidewalks, the exteriors of trains, planes and automobiles as well as ships and anything else you can think of covered with inexpensive skins of thin film that is literally printed on presses.  

The fact that there are already two industry leaders both attracting serious investor capital is a great sign of just how much promise this CIGS technology holds.  Among the investors in Nanosolar are the founders of Goggle.

Speaking of Goggle… 

GOOGLE TARGETS COAL

This could easily be my #1 in the list of things I am most thankful for because Killer Coal must be stopped right now.  

The more you learn about how deadly coal is and how many coal-fired electric plants are currently being built in China and India… and the United States, the more you’ll want to see the use of coal banned once and for all. 

Thankfully the big brains at Google get it.  They know that coal is not just the dirtiest fuel on the planet it’s also the cheapest, and when it comes to energy Goggle also know that cheap will always win over clean.  That’s why they’ve launched their new initiative to develop renewal energy that’s cheaper than coal.

I don’t have an ounce of faith that our government can get that job done but I do believe in Google and the way they’re approaching this global challenge.   

Here’s what Larry Page, Google Co-founder and President of Products said: “There has been tremendous work already on renewable energy.  Technologies have been developed that can mature into industries capable of providing electricity cheaper than coal.  We are also very interested in further developing other technologies that have potential to be cost-competitive and green.  We are aware of several promising technologies and believe there are many more out there.”

There better be, because right now the United States Department of Energy predicts the construction of more than 1,000 coal plants in just the next five years, primarily in China and India.  Today China is opening a new coal-plant every single week.  Not a single one of them is a “clean coal” plant either.

The real inconvenient truth today is that if all those plants get built then none of our conservation efforts will mean anything.  Not to put a harsh on your mellow or anything but, 

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK 

When I get too worried about the implications of coal or the backwards steps the United States has taken during the last seven years of rule by the oil industry’s front men in the White House, I follow the advice of John Muir and I go to Yosemite.

Muir said, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” And I can testify that his words ring even truer today than when he spoke them. 

I’ve been going to Yosemite for the past 25 years and it never disappoints.  (These are photos I’ve taken in the last 12 months) It always renews my spirit and my soul.  It is a constant source of joy and pleasure for me and I feel blessed to have it just a 7 hour drive away. 

People come from all over the world to visit Yosemite, but it’s my home park and I don’t feel right if a year goes by without me spending some time there.  I’m a proud member of the Yosemite Association and the Yosemite Fund and I’ve supported Yosemite financially for years through both.  

I have to, because without their help the Park would not be the place I am so thankful for.   

Despite the neglect by our federal government and the massive budget shortfalls for maintenance and repairs Yosemite remains a unrivaled masterpiece whether you go to overcrowded Valley, or the Wawona area, or the Tuolumne Meadows high country or the Hetch Hetchy Dam area or anywhere else in the park. 

THE INTERNET & MY FAVORITE GREEN SITES

Finally, I am most thankful for the Internet that is linking us all and allowing us to discover the truth and teach ourselves about the facts.  Because without the net the deluge of propaganda, misdirection and con jobs from the biggest polluters on the planet would overwhelm the public and effectively create a fog of noise that would obscure the truth. 

Right now people are reading this blog all across the United States and in London, Hong Kong and even Dunwoody Georgia.  And my readership is small enough to fit into the navel of a flea and still have room for George Bush’s moral values.  But some of these great sites that follow are read by thousands and hundred of thousands of people all around the world.  And for good reason too as you’ll discover when you check them out.   

I spend hours every day reading, researching, learning and exploring green issues – and many others.  It’s a great privilege for me to engage in such auto-didactic practices.  Here are 25 of my favorite go-to sites and blogs:

Treehugger – The leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream. Partial to a modern aesthetic, they strive to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information.

The Green  Guide – Green living tips, product reviews, environmental health news

Grist – Environmental news, advice, cartoons, a blog, and more that’ll make you laugh out loud.

ENN – Environmental News Network offers daily news and feature stories, press release service, and live chats.

Pure Waste Series Challenge – Become an agent against global warming and generate a $100 contribution to the Solar Electric Light Fund

The Daily Green – the Consumer’s Guide to the Green Revolution

Planet Green – Discovery & Treehugger work together in this Beta site

Auto Blog Green – For all green car lovers

Green Yahoo – Yahoo’s green portal

Wombat -Environment plus Technology

Green Biz – Daily News and Resources for Green Business

Marketing Green – Green Marketing Strategies for A Sustainable Future

The Green Office – an online retailer of recycled, environmentally friendly, and sustainable business products, school supplies, and paper

The °Climate Group – an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing business and government leadership on climate change. 

Carbon Footprint – Calculate your carbon footprint, reduce it and then offset it.

Climate Counts – A nonprofit organization rating corporations on their efforts towards mitigating climate change.

Climate Crisis – Official site for the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” on the Earth’s climate crisis.

The Nature Conservancy — the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

The Green Grid – a consortium of information technology companies and professionals seeking to lower the overall consumption of power in data centers around the globe.

International Panel On Climate Change – the Nobel Prize winners

EV World – The Eco Friendly World of Electric Cars,  Hybrids, Plug-In Hybrids, Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles

Plug In America – Plug In America advocates the use of plug-in cars, trucks and SUVs
powered by cleaner, cheaper, domestic electricity.

The Nature Conservancy – the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people

THE GREEN – On Sundance Channel is television’s first regularly- scheduled programming destination dedicated entirely to the environment.

Care 2 Make a Difference– The global network for organizations and people who Care2 make a difference