Tagged : energy-independence

Obama says oil dependence threatens U.S. prosperity, and we must find alternatives

March 31st, 2011

President Obama took on the oil crisis Wednesday in a speech at Georgetown University, saying once again that the U.S. needs to wean itself from foreign oil and develop a long-term energy plan to stop “being a victim” of the oil markets.

It’s a message the nation has heard from half a dozen presidents. But never has it been more urgent, with the oil-rich Middle East exploding in civil unrest; rising global demand pushing gasoline prices to $4 a gallon again in the U.S., and fossil fuel emissions contributing to the greenhouse gases triggering climate change.

Obama listed several ways the U.S. can step down its reliance in Middle East oil, including tapping more domestic oil and gas. But he acknowledged that the U.S. consumption of 20 percent of the world’s oil far exceeds the 2 percent of oil reserves it controls.

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How a neighborhood in Fremont, Calif. taps the sun

December 6th, 2010

Solar roofs make sense in many ways. They cut down on greenhouse gases, create local jobs, protect home owners from electricity rate hikes and provide the best, personal “energy security” money can buy.

Yes, solar panels are the answer, or would be the answer, if they didn’t cost so much. If these glimmering technological wonders were affordable, Americans would be slamming down the doors of Walmart (which would surely be selling them if they were cheap) to grab some. Instead, we are perpetually scratching our heads about solar power, wondering: When will it be affordable? If I buy now will I miss the next wave of innovation and the price declines?

To try to sort out what’s possible, we took a look at one neighborhood in Fremont in the Bay Area where solar entrepreneur Klaus Feldmeier, a Silicon Valley microchip exporter, and his son Erik, shared the details of the solar installations they did for themselves and two of their neighbors.

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Warming to the fight: Experts warn that U.S. risks economic might without an energy and climate plan

December 1st, 2010

Climate change deniers have sprung up like volcanic mud pots in the U.S. Congress in the last few years, burbling about how climate change is either not happening or not caused by the carbon pollution that scientists around the world blame for arctic ice melts, glacier loss, rising seas, stronger storms, drought, wildfires and other dramatic climate changes.

The deniers gained strength after the last elections when many politicians perceived that much of the public agreed climate change was either not happening or not caused by human pollution. A post-election study by the Wonk Room in collaboration with a Daily Kos reporter found that virtually every state now has representatives lodged in Congress who says climate change is a myth. Many of them have vowed to stop U.S. action against climate change.

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Wind Energy Association dissatisfied with Senate energy bill

July 28th, 2010

Wind, solar, geothermal and other alternative energy industry groups have been lined up in support of a Renewable Electricity Standard or RES in which the U.S. would pledge to get 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2015. The RES, they maintain, would provide an incentive for utilities, providers and cities and states to find ways to increase renewable electricity sources, even in the absence of a carbon cap-and-trade system, which seems to be a non-starter in Congress.

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Teachers and schools embrace green curricula

May 26th, 2009

By Harriet Blake

The best teachers inspire. Their grasp and excitement of a subject is contagious. Talking to Bertha Vazquez, Susan Vincent and Patrick Curley, you can’t come away without absorbing at least a sliver of their passion for the environment.

This month the National Environmental Education Foundation recognized Vazquez, Vincent and Curley for their innovative approaches to environmental education. Bertha Vazquez, a middle school teacher at a magnet school in Coral Gables, Fla., won the Richard C. Bartlett Education Award, named after the chairman of the Nature Conservancy of Texas. Patrick Curley, a middle and high-school teacher who works with at-risk students in Jacksonville, NC, and Susan Vincent, an earth and marine science teacher in East Harlem, NY, won certificates of merit.

“Kids have always related to the environment,” says Vazquez, who teaches at George Washington Carver Middle School in the Miami-Dade school system. “Teachers need to look for real-life connections that kids can relate to.”

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