Archives for February, 2011

Well, it had to happen: as oil prices edge up to $100 per barrel, members of Congress have started calling for the nation to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to hold prices down.  It’s not surprising. High oil prices cost votes. But believing the  petroleum reserve is actually going to solve our price problem…

Earlier this month, members of the Green For All Fellowship program wowed a standing-room only crowd at the 2011 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference in Washington DC. One of those fellows, Zoe Hollomon, from the Massachusetts Avenue Project, spoke movingly about her efforts to bring affordable, nutritious food to Buffalo. It was an important presentation,…

A scenario of sustained high oil prices can no longer be discarded. If the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East continue to spread to other countries over the next months, it is quite likely that oil prices will keep high, and may even reach new record heights. Not an unlikely development, particularly if…

Today at 12 noon EST, Planet Forward will be hosting a live chat with Zachary Heir, whose idea we featured last night on PBS’s Nightly Business Report. Get a glimpse into one of the first projects in the nation that is building the necessary infrastructure for electric vehicles. Charging stations, built at local businesses, give…

Next Monday, February 28, Tim DeChristopher will walk into a Utah courtroom to face federal felony charges for disrupting an oil and gas auction in December 2008. The judge has granted a motion from the prosecution to prohibit DeChristopher from explaining to the jury the reasons behind his actions. Last October we had a chance…

It is all too easy to see environmental protection and economic development simply as competing philosophies, and nothing more. A range of studies attest to the fact that this is a false dichotomy. In my earlier blog, I described the alternative vision that became a reality in a small Nicaraguan coastal community that chose to invest…

Yale’s Great Energy Blog, launching today, is where students from across the university will answer a question we pose to them. This week: Smarter Ways to Get from Here to There: Perugia, Italy, is a city that has made a concerted effort to eliminate car traffic from the urban environs, with people moving around via…

Two reports came out this week on climate change, neither of which drew much public notice outside the investing world. One, by Mercer consulting, managed to generate a little bit of news with its warning that climate change poses significant risks to investment portfolios over the next 20 years. I wouldn’t be at all surprised…

Recent news stories and press releases about U.S. natural gas supply, and the role of shale gas in improving U.S. energy supply security, have presented many conflicting estimates of America’s natural gas reserves. The accuracy of these estimates matter, because business investment and public policy decisions rely on such estimates of future energy availability and…

It takes a movement to change the world. No one person or organization can build the clean energy economy alone — it requires a network of change agents dedicated to making a difference. Green For All has created a number of initiatives to lift up the next generation of leaders. Last month, on this blog,…

Is it an oxymoron: a global warming movie with a positive message? Not any more. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, recently found that how global warming messages are delivered makes a difference: people who believe the world is just are far more likely to accept the science if presented with a positive, solutions-based…

Almost 400 million Indians—about a third of the subcontinent’s population—don’t have access to electricity. This power deficit, which includes about 100,000 un-electrified villages, places India’s annual per-capita electricity consumption at just 639 kilowatthours—among the world’s lowest rates. The access gap is complicated by another problem: more than three-quarters of India’s electricity is produced by burning…

What does the future of energy look like? Today, Shell released the latest in the series of outlooks it has been writing for the past 40 years known as its “Energy Scenarios.” (See coverage here, here and here.)  Shell, sponsor of National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge initiative, pioneered scenario-writing as a business planning tool. It…

Like so much else in the energy and environmental field, recent news about the discovery of “vast oil fields in the U.S.”, that could dramatically increase domestic oil production, is a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let’s go down the list: The good: According to projections by the U.S. Department of…

Kate Sheppard, energy and environmental politics writer for Mother Jones, recently answered some questions for Planet Forward about the future of energy efficiency (http://planetforward.org/ask-an-expert/ask-an-expert-kate-sheppard/). Sheppard addressed Obama’s goal to make 80% of the United States’ energy sources “clean energy” by 2035–she not only believes that the goal is attainable, but asserts that we are more than…

Building a Clean Energy Economy University Research Essential to Transformational Changes Raymond L. Orbach Director, Energy Institute at UT Austin In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama challenged the nation to produce 80% of the country’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2035. Such investments are critical, he said, because “the nation…

As Texas suffers rolling blackouts on critical facilities like hospitals, politicians begin to understand how energy independence can support national security.

A decade ago, the United States urged Israel to lean more heavily on Egypt as an energy supplier, in hopes that such an economic tie would foster cooperation and peace. But those bonds looked more like shackles after a weekend explosion in the north Sinai desert on a terminal serving the natural gas pipeline that…

Despite my seriously mixed feelings about the State of the Union speeches, I tuned in to last week’s speech for the first time in several years. Like many, I was disappointed if not surprised that President Obama didn’t mention climate change even once. Climate policy is hard sell in a down economy. I hope Mother…

While attending the CITES (Convention on Trade in Endangered Species) biodiversity summit in Nagoya, Japan, late last year, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that we must foster development and reduce poverty, and at the same time preserve and improve the planet’s biodiversity and ecological resilience. He noted during a speech at the Cancun COP16…

Great strides have been made over the last four decades to improve economy-wide energy efficiency and energy productivity. Estimates indicate that U.S. energy use per dollar of GDP has declined by over 50% since 1970 (from 18,000 BTUs per dollar of GDP in 1970 to 8,900 BTU’s per dollar of GDP in 2008 – Note…

Putting the “geo” in engineering could screw up the “geo” in politics. ‘Plan A’ Still on the Table Scientists have warned for decades that our dependence on fossil fuels is the root cause of global warming and to slow the warming we’ll need to wean ourselves off of them and ramp up low-carbon technologies. Flash…