Archives for May, 2011

In a planet running out of resources, the most important public policy tool may be the measuring stick. This becomes important to remember amid the remarkable swings of pessimism and guarded optimism we’ve seen over the past two years on the ability of individual nations to scale-up the sustainable energy agenda. COP15 in Copenhagen 2009…

Yesterday evening, the opening panel of the 2011 Aspen Environment Forum looked at our increasingly disaster-prone world and asked how we can cope with calamity on a more and more crowded planet. Stewart Brand of the Long Now Foundation, Bill McKibben of 350.org, Thomas Lovejoy of George Mason University, and Marcia McNutt of the U.S.…

Teams competing in the Shell* Eco-marathon Europe achieved new milestones in solar and hydrogen fuel cell efficiency Sunday. Italian team mecc-Sun traveled 688 miles (1,108 kilometers) on just 1 kilowatt hour of energy with its solar-powered car, while French team Polytech Nantes beat its own record by driving 366 miles (590 kilometers) per kilowatt hour…

In Africa, where two-thirds of farmers are women, the potential of biofuels as a low or lower-carbon alternative fuel, with applications at the household energy, community and village level, to a national resource or export commodity, has a critical gender dimension. The key question is: how will increased biofuel production affect women? To look at the…

Anaheim, CA – Over the past few months, I’ve made the case that dirty energy lobby plays a full contact game against clean energy, using lobbying and disinformation as business weapons to drive the idea that clean energy is “expensive, unreliable and not ready.” Cleantech, I’ve said, needs to step up its advocacy game dramatically, including driving…

Car buyers in the United States will soon see a change on vehicles when they shop: All will carry a new window sticker unveiled Wednesday by the EPA and the Department of Transportation. The black label, which will be required starting with 2013 models of all passenger cars and trucks, will include details on the…

A British parliamentary report issued Monday said that the UK should not pursue a moratorium on shale gas exploration, even while it acknowledged that the country’s supply was “unlikely to be a ‘game changer’” as it has been in the United States. The report was good news for Cuadrilla Resources, which has an interest in…

Scientist and lawyer duke it out over who is the greener generation. A lawyer I know, who, I am convinced, likes to rattle my chain from time to time, recently sent me an essay entitled “The Green Thing.” (It’s all over the web, but it looks like it may have originated here.) It’s about an…

Here’s a depressing fact about energy use in the United States. According to the government’s current projections, we get about 80 percent of our energy from fossil fuels now. And in 20 years, we’ll still be getting 80 percent of our energy from fossil fuels. Yes, we’ll be adding more renewable energy to the mix,…

This was a funny week to be in Washington DC. I happened to be in town on Tuesday when the Senate was debating whether to repeal the numerous tax subsidies given to the oil and gas industry. To give you a sense of scale, the subsidies on the block add up to $21 billion over…

I’ve been in the energy business a long time. As CEO of Pace Global Energy Services, I’ve been actively engaged in the energy industry for more than 35 years. It’s always amazing to me how the more things change, the more they stay the same. This is especially true during periods of gasoline price spikes.…

In his March 30 speech on energy at Georgetown University, President Obama declared that “there are no quick fixes” with regard to the country’s energy policy, and noted that huge amounts of the nation’s wealth and petroleum consumption are directly tied to transportation. While the President’s acknowledgment of this reality is a step in the…

Together, spiritual power and solar energy can transform communities. Case in point: Florida Avenue Baptist Church, which, for nearly a century, has served as a pillar of strength and hope for the people of Washington, DC.  Recently, this important institution made history: It became the first African American church in the nation’s capital to utilize…

Tax breaks and other subsidies for oil companies have been getting a lot of attention lately, to the extent that cutting them has even made it into an actual Congressional proposal. The issue has been around forever, but I like to flatter myself by thinking that the Environmental Law Institute’s report on fossil subsidies that…

Fairfax, VA – The incredibly brave work of the U.S. Special Forces team that killed Osama bin Laden brought some badly needed, uplifting news. It gave Americans welcome, if temporary, relief from steady news of American lives lost in the Middle East. You can really feel that weight of the sacrifice our people are making…

  In just one day, the sun delivers about as much energy as has been consumed by all human beings over the past 35 years. So why haven’t we exploited more than a tiny fraction of this potential? There are many reasons: cost, storage, transmission, distribution, entrenched subsidies and technological challenges are but a few…

Tax breaks for Big Oil are in the spotlight in Washington, D.C., with top executives of the major energy companies scheduled to make a rare appearance on Capitol Hill to defend the government incentives that their highly profitable industry enjoys. But the tax credits, deductions and royalty relief provisions that benefit the oil industry in…

Local sustainable development 2.0, that’s how we should call what is happening in 80 municipalities of the Brazilian giant state of Pará, in the Amazon region. Pará is 1.8 times the size of Texas. These 80 towns are basically dominated by cattle-ranching and some timber production. Beef, timber, and soybean have been the main culprits…

A smoking gun in the form of methane isotopes links the two. Shale Gas: Game Changer or Potential Problem? The abundant, cleaner-burning fossil fuel known as shale gas has been hailed as a bridge fuel that’ll allow the transition from coal to a renewable-fueled future. Not only that, drilling for shale gas has propped up…

When it comes to energy policy, do we really need to agree on the why before we can agree on the what? That’s been the working assumption of lots of people on all sides of the debate so far, and it’s stopped climate change policy dead in its tracks.  One of the few things the…

The U.S. military’s success in finding and killing Osama bin Laden is a gigantic victory in the war against terror and for a safer, freer world.

But if this is to be the beginning of the end for al Qaeda and repressive governments everywhere, we have to make it our national mission not just to kill these groups’ leaders, but also to wipe out the single greatest source of their money and power: oil.

In recent weeks, we’ve all felt the pain at the gas pump. It seems the price of gasoline has been sky rocketing at an accelerating rate and it is not even “driving season” yet. Here in the Washington, DC area where I live the price of Regular grade gasoline is now over $4/gallon. We all…

Guest post by GWU graduating senior and Planet Forward Intern, Charlie Rybak If we want to create a better energy future for ourselves, we need to start being smarter so we don’t have to correct our mistakes. In few places does this apply more than how we construct our buildings. Passive Houses offer a design…