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Dig, Cut, or Drill?

By Eytan Krasilovsky
October 24, 2008
File under: Energy Sources

Dig Cut DrillBeing a new father, I value the future and the quality of that future more than ever. Though I’m not worried about a Hollywood style “big melt,” there are un-doubtedly major changes brewing in our world’s natural systems that will affect our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren.I have also studied and now work in natural resources, forests specifically, and have heard folks tout the promise of renewable energy.  In forestry that usually refers to biomass. The quickest way to generate forest biomass is through a clear-cut, which is a socially and ecologically unacceptable method. Though there are other ways to procure forest biomass, solar and wind always seemed “greener” to me.There is no one solution to our environmental ills, but the development and use of renewable energy sources rather than non-renewables (fossil fuels) is a move in the right direction. …read more of Dig, Cut, or Drill? here

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Time to Become Energy Independent

By Ted Nelson
October 23, 2008
File under: Alternative Sources

Energy Independence

Alternative energy seems like a pretty straight-forward concept: fuel our modern way of life without the burning of fossil fuel, which seems increasingly unsustainable. People might disagree on the merits of specific energy sources, but the idea itself seems simple enough. However, the issue gets more complex when you start asking questions like what is it that’s unsustainable about fossil fuel? Why do we need an alternative, anyway?

…read more of Time to Become Energy Independent here

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The Politics of Two Wheels

By Carl Boyd
October 20, 2008
File under: Alternative Sources

Sure, you’ve been keeping up with the presidential candidate’s plans for foreign policy, health care, climate policy, and energy policy, but what about their bicycle policy?

Yes, McCain wants to keep America rolling, but what if you prefer to roll on two wheels?
We’ve all heard Obama is your new bicycle, but what’s he going to do about it?

Any citizen worth their voting card knows that bicycling has a role to play in all of those other issues. Energy, climate, health – pretty obvious. But foreign policy? You betcha! Remember, we depend increasingly more on foreign resources and foreign-made goods, and drilling more holes in Alaska will only make a dent in it. All that fresh produce flown from South America and boatloads of electronics from Asia involve consumption of oil that won’t come from us. And your hybrid car might guzzle less at the pump, but requires a great deal of energy just to manufacture it. We cyclists are the vanguard of America’s energy independence, so we need to know who’s got our back.

As GOOD magazine pointed out in their “Why Vote?” article (reason #19 of 1,565), the candidate’s plans for improving cycling as transport in America differ greatly: Obama has a plan, and McCain doesn’t.

Obama met with representatives of cycling advocacy and the bike industry, and explained he will do more to make streets bike and pedestrian friendly, promising funds to improve infrastructure and make it safer for children to bike to school.

He’s also been famously spotted cruising around on his bike, sparking lots of chatter (mostly about what kind of bike he’s on).

One blogger – the Cycling Dude – states he’s a Republican and plans to vote for McCain, despite saying “bicycle issues are extremely important”. The Dude did a search for any proof that McCain has a bike plan, and yielded….zilch.

Did he say extremely important?

Now I’m the last person to advocate voting based on only one issue, but if you feel strongly about your right to pedal your way to car freedom, health and energy independence, either vote Obama, or get on the horn to the McCain folks to find out their ideas for alternative energy.

Click here to learn more about your Carbon Footprint.

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Natural Gas and the Myth of Energy Independence

By Robert Cowin
October 20, 2008
File under: Alternative Sources

If you own a television you‘ve likely seen a lot of commercials pushing natural gas lately.  People like Texas oil billionaire Boone Pickens have been touting natural gas as the solution to our energy crisis.  Many are asserting that domestic natural gas development is our way to energy independence, and I have no doubt that it will play an important part.  But the truth is that America’s natural gas reserves are not remotely large enough to be the focal point of our energy policy.

Roughly 70% of world natural gas reserves are located in the Middle East and Eurasia.  Africa and Asia proper account for 20%.  And the Americas along with Europe account for the remaining 10% with the United States at around 3.5 to 4% of the world’s natural gas reserves.

Russia still exerts a tremendous amount of influence throughout the region of Eurasia, and the Middle East is a virtual minefield of unfriendly regimes.  Depending on which country you’re tapping reserves in the African or Asian continents you risk unstable and unfriendly business environments there as well.  This leaves the US with even fewer options, and given the state of US/ Latin America relations, the US might not even have access to all of the roughly 7% of world natural gas reserves left in its own hemisphere.

We use about 24% of the natural gas that is produced worldwide, but we currently produce 21%.  Right now, we are out producing poorer countries with larger natural gas reserves.  But the world’s natural gas reserves are only predicted to last about 67 years, and as world-wide demand grows, the resource-rich countries like Iran will start to develop the infrastructure and technology necessary to boost their production.   Shrinking domestic supplies will force the United States to be very creative in finding ways to sustain its consumption, and at the end of the day we will still be in the same situation we are in right now with regard to foreign energy dependence.  Read more about natural gas here.

Non-renewable resource-based solutions to our energy crisis don’t appear to be viable in the long-term given our need to move away from fossil fuels as well as the international political challenges facing the United States.  Indeed, domestic natural gas development must continue to be an important part of US energy policy going forward, but if we are looking for ways to become truly energy independent the focal point of our energy policy needs to be on renewable resources, carbon-neutral domestic energy production, and energy efficiency technology.

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