Nov 17, 2008 (From the CalCars-News archive)
We haven't had enough time to put together our big-picture reflections about the election of Barack Obama. When we do we intend to talk about the large challenges he and the new administration face -- and why we think we now have the chance to make historic progress on energy security, climate change, jobs and the economy.
There's lots to read this morning (every morning these days) on plug-ins -- in the Washington Post, you'll find an Op Ed by Jeffrey Sachs, "A Bridge for the Carmakers: The Future Is in Sight. They Just Need Help Getting There." And a special supplement to the Wall Street Journal: "How to Kick our Oil Addiction Despite Plunging Prices," filled with positive statements about plug-in cars and a cleaner power grid. Meanwhile, here are some of the stories that will help you keep up with the latest news:
- New CalCars's page "President-Elect Obama on Plug-In Cars"
- Plug In America's Wish List for the New Administration
- House Speaker Pelosi: don't use $25B retooling funds for industry rescue
- Incoming administration announces Agency Review Teams for transition
- Google.org's Dan Reicher may be leading candidate for Energy Secretary
- Sixty Minutes: Obama on Detroit and energy policy
- Meet the Press: Senators and Pickens on PHEVs
- Detroit conference: ideas on national transportation policy
- Hybridcars.com assembles comments on auto bailout
NEW CALCARS PAGE "PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA ON PLUG-IN CARS" At http://www.calcars.org/obama-on-plug-ins.html This update of the previous comparative candidates page includes a photo of Sen. Obama with a PHEV, plus links to our previous postings on his statements during the campaign, and his Clean Energy Fund position.
PLUG IN AMERICA HAS A "WISH LIST FOR THE NEW ADMINISTRATION" at http://action.pluginamerica.org/content.jsp?content_KEY=4828
HOUSE SPEAKER PELOSI STICKS TO HER GUNS: On Saturday, at "The Gavel," her blog, Rep. Nancy Pelosi said any "plan to assure the long-term viability of the industry" must restructure the companies, meet higher fuel efficiency standards, and "deploy advanced vehicle technologies required to compete in the domestic and global market." Responding to President Bush's suggestion that funds be diverted from the $25B destined for retooling would be a "step backward in assuring the viability and competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry." http://www.speaker.gov/blog/?p=1577
INCOMING ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES AGENCY REVIEW TEAMS. The Office of the President-Elect has established a very innovative website, http://change.gov/ that's the hub for all transition activities and is designed to continue and expand citizen involvement. Thre transition managers have selected "Agency Review Teams" that will "complete a thorough review of key departments, agencies and commissions of the United States government, as well as the White House, to provide the President-elect, Vice President-elect, and key advisors with information needed to make strategic policy, budgetary, and personnel decisions prior to the inauguration." See the complete list at http://change.gov/learn/obama_biden_transition_agency_review_teams . We've included the names for our primary areas of interest below. If you know any of these people, we encourage you to engage with them…you can read their short bios at Gristmill's "Transition Talk;" http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/11/14/154652/17
ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES TEAM LEADS: David J. Hayes •Bart Chilton •Carole Jett •Elgie Holstein •Elizabeth Montoya •Sue Tierney •Cecilia V. Estolano •Lisa Jackson •Robert Sussman •Rose McKinney-James •Keith Harper •John Leshy
SCIENCE, TECH, SPACE AND ARTS TEAM LEADS: Tom Wheeler • Don Beyer • Ralph Everett • Susan Crawford • Ken Werbach • Lori Garver • Roderic ("Roddy") Olvera Young • Bill Ivey • Anne Luzzatto • Clement Price • Jim Kohlenberger • Henry M. Rivera
TRANSPORTATION TEAM LEADS: Seth Harris • Mortimer Downey • Jane Garvey • Michael Huerta • John Cullather • Carol Carmody
GOOGLE.ORG'S REICHER FOR ENERGY SECRETARY?
Usually-in-the-know NYTimes reporter Matthew Wald lists Dan Reicher as a leading candidate and profiles him at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/us/politics/14web-reicher.html . Reicher came to Google.org as Director of Climate and Energy Initiatives; he helped create the RechargeIT project. You can see him in the Google.org video highlighted in the blue box at http://www.calcars.org/audio-video. At DOE he was Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy from 1997-2001 (a job once held by Joseph Romm and Andy Karsner). Also see Grist's previous long list of prospective nominees at http://www.grist.org/feature/2008/10/29/index.html
OBAMA ON DETROIT: In a long Sixty Minutes interview, President-Elect Obama used words like "dire" and "disaster" should automakers go bankrupt; he called for assistance, but not a blank check; a "plan for a sustainable industry." Asked if developing an energy policy was less important with gas under $60 instead of over $100, he said, "it's more important, though it may be harder politically." Obama says the U.S.has a habit of going from " shock to trance" over high prices, losing attention when they go back down. He said our oil addiction has to be broken, and now is the time. Watch it (18-minute section of longer interview) at http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4608192n
MEET THE PRESS: SENATORS LEVIN & SHELBY, T.BOONE PICKENS: Watch or read the transcript at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27752329/ . SENATOR CARL LEVIN of Detroit says, "GM now produces more models getting more than 30 miles per gallon, twice as many, as any of its competitors. Ford, Chrysler are moving into the hybrids. We're doing the plug-ins. GM is going to lead the way in plug-in hybrids if people will recognize that this isn't the '70s when the, when the Big Three were producing inferior products."
T. BOONE PICKENS, who reports he's now having trouble securing financing for his giant wind projects but remains confident they will go forward, is asked by Tom Brokaw, "Senator Obama is very much in favor of having a million electric cars in a very short period of time. Do you think that that is practicable, and is it part of your larger scheme?" He responds, "Well, I like the idea. There's no--the plug-in hybrid's good. But think, Tom, one million of those looks big on a parking lot. But you got to think--you got to look at the whole picture. There are 250 million vehicles in America, and the hybrid, all it does is move the light duty, you know, cars and trucks--or pickups. But the trucks, the big stuff, has got to be moved by natural gas." [OUR COMMENT: In the wake of the defeat of his California Prop. 10, Pickens has recently backed off suggestions that the nation's cars, or perhaps just the nation's fleet passenger vehicles, be converted to natural gas. Here and on the Daily Show, he has focused on large trucks, where the options are more limited. Even here, many large delivery trucks that bring goods from container ports to depots, or do short-haul trips and stop for unloading (and re-charging0, could be all-electric or PHEV.]
NEW IDEAS ON NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION POLICY: In an Op-Ed "How High Gas Prices Can Save the Car Industry" in the Sunday NY Times, head of UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and California Air Resources Board Member DAN SPERLING and co-author DEBORAH GORDON call for a $3.50 price floor for gasoline, and say "The companies should also be required to sell a certain number of near-zero emission cars electric, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/opinion/16sperling.html On the same page, former Nato Supreme Commander and presidential candidate GEN. WESLEY CLARK in "What's Good for G.M. Is Good for the Army" says the military needs electric vehicles to provide battlefield power, reduce the heat signature of vehicles and says "we should insist that Detroit's goals include putting America in first place in hybrid and electric automotive technology" http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/opinion/16clark.html. At Edmunds.com, BILL VISNIC reports "Green Car Conference: ''We Need a National Energy Policy'" growing numbers of advocates for a gas tax. http://blogs.edmunds.com/
HYBRIDCARS.COM ANTHOLOGIZES COMMENTS ON AUTO BAILOUT: a representative range at http://www.hybridcars.com/incentives-laws/detroit-bailout-rants-25263.html