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Roundup: The Best We've Seen/Read on The Gulf, Obama, Fossil Fuels
Jun 22, 2010 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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Here are some of resources we think can inform and energize those who support this campaign.


RACHEL MADDOW'S "GET ME REWRITE:" Maddow's studio and on-the-scene reporting from the Gulf since April has been consistently illuminating. She actually thinks as she observes, interviews, and reports! On Wednesday, June 16 she gave her vision of the speech the President could have delivered -- along similar lines to ours but without our Drive Star proposal. Watch it at­watch?v=GWawFfUCMtY (10:30) or read the transcript (it's 2/3 of the way through the show) at­id/­37760186/­ns/­msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/

JON STEWART: AN ENERGY-INDEPENDENT FUTURE: The Daily Show's Stewart entertainingly and sadly chronicled on June 16 the story of all the Presidents who have said we need to get off oil. You won't regret the eight minutes to watch it at­watch/­wed-june-16-2010/­an-energy-independent-future (7:54)

"THE GIRL WHO SILENCED THE WORLD FOR FIVE MINUTES:" In 1989, nine-year-old Severn Cullis-Suzuki and several others founded The Environmental Children's Organization. In 1992, this 12-year-old's speech stunned the Rio Earth Summit. Her message still matters -- speaking about her world, she said, "If you don't know how to fix it, please stop breaking it." Watch the moving speech at­watch?v=TQmz6Rbpnu0 . (Suzuki, now 31 and an ethnobotanist, remains an environmental activist.)

"SOMEWHERE OVER THE GOLD COAST:" The Environmental Defense Fund's mashup of a song from Glee and the oil disaster at­edfish/­2010/­06/­17/­glee-bpoildisaster/ (2:43) made us cry.

REINVENTING FIRE from the Rocky Mountain Institute­rmi/­reinventingfire (6:37) presents the broad opportunity to get off fossil fuels. Video includes a CalCars plug-in hybrid.


DRIVE STAR: Read many thoughtful comments among the 41 responses to our posting at Climate Progress at­2010/­06/­13/­drive-star-obama-speech-bp-spill-cut-oil-use-in-half-by-2020/­#comment-280502 including the final one by Ron Gremban, CalCars Technology Lead, with whom we should have shared the original byline. And the 37 comments at­2010/­06/­drivestar-20100614.html#comments

OUR USE OF FOSSIL FUELS: Two analyses.­2010/­05/­30/­peak-oil-addiction-solutions/ shows that 65% of the oil we use goes to transportation (including air). (The use of oil to make plastic actually could be seen as a sequestration strategy!)­rmi/­Transportation breaks it out in detail.

PHYSICS OF OIL SPILLS: MSNBC's "Oil on the water" explains and shows examples of the eight "weathering processes" that occur as oil remains in water: spreading, evaporation, dispersion, dissolution, emulsification, oxidation, sedimentation, and biodegredation at­id/­37517080/­ns/­disaster_in_the_gulf

WORLD'S LARGEST COMPANIES: To get a sense of the size of oil and gas companies, by profitability, in 2009, they were the six top corporations in the world­lists/­2009/­18/­global-09_The-Global-2000_Prof.html . By sales, they were six within the top 10­lists/­2009/­18/­global-09_The-Global-2000_Sales.html . And by market capitalization (value), they were seven of the first 20­lists/­2009/­18/­global-09_The-Global-2000_MktVal.html . But wait -- these lists are primarily "international oil companies" (IOCs). They include only one or two "national oil companies" (NOCs) owned by governments, which account for 52% of production and 88% of reserves. See the list at­wiki/­National_oil_company . Why is it so hard to find a unified ranking?

FUELS FROM HELL: Some of people's difficulty in recognizing the importance of getting off fossil fuels may come from how we name and describe them. Oil doesn't sound unfriendly, nor does "natural" gas or "clean coal." In response to the catastrophe, some observers have pointed out they will never see a beach or ocean poisoned by renewable energy. So this is a good time to reprint part of our September 2008 review, 'Thomas Friedman's New Bestseller 'Hot, Flat & Crowded' Touts Plug-Ins"­calcars-news/­996.html : 'ONE PERSONAL NOTE: I'm also gratified that Friedman elaborates on a concept from my wife, on page 32, "To put it another way, the Industrial Revolution gave a whole new prominence to what Rochelle Lefkowitz, President of Pro-Media Communications and an energy buff, calls 'fuels from hell' -- coal, oil, and natural gas. All these fuels from hell come from underground, are exhaustible, and emit CO2 and other pollutants when they are burned for transportation, heating and industrial use. These fuels are in contrast to what Lefkowitz calls 'fuels from heaven' -- wind, hydroelectric, tidal, biomass, and solar power. These all come from above ground, are endlessly renewable, and produce no harmful emissions." (Geothermal doesn't exactly fit into the scheme. The original categorization came from a smart Swiss engineer, Ulf Bosselll, whom I met in Iceland: .)'


BILL McKIBBEN: See the author and co-founder call, "Mr. President, lead now on fossil fuels" at­2010/­06/­08/­mckibben-bp-spill-climate-bill/ and­news/­opinion/­commentary/­la-oe-mckibben-global-warming-20100606,0,393201.story

Fathers Day articles include an exchange between ninth-grader Daniel Judt and his father Tony, "Generations in the Balance"­2010/­06/­20/­opinion/­20judt.html and Joe Romm's perspective­2010/­06/­20/­fathers-day-essay/ .

PETROLCIDE T-SHIRT: Order the t-shirt with the aggressive and thought-provoking image seen at our guest posting­2010/­06/­13/­drive-star-obama-speech-bp-spill-cut-oil-use-in-half-by-2020/ at­petrolcide.html

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: widely appreciated cartoons on the oil spill and climate change by Tom Toles:­2010/­06/­18/­best-toles-cartoon-ever/ More Toles at­tomtoles/

THE WHOLE ENCHILADA: $600 TRILLION That's the value Richard Posner, judge/professor/libertarian/author in 2004 in "Catastrophe: Risk and response" assigned to the human race. The concept is useful in talking to those who doubt the threats of climate change -- if they agree there's a 10% chance they're wrong, they may appreciate the wisdom of action as an insurance policy for the globe. (Search for "$600 trillion extinction posner" to find links.)


US EPA PROPOSES NEW RULES FOR CONVERSIONS: This appears to be a positive development. See website at­otaq/­consumer/­fuels/­altfuels/­altfuels.htm and the writeups at­2010/­05/­epa-conv-20100507.html and­greencaradvisor/­2010/­05/­epa-proposes-to-streamline-vehicle-conversion-efforts-to-cng-and-other-alt-fuels.html -- this program is currently being driven by natural gas converters, who are proposing to spend $50-$100,000 to convert large vehicles. But the rules will apply to EV and PHEV conversions. We encourage all companies considering entering into this industry to submit their perspectives before the July 23 deadline, and send copies of any testimony to us.

BLOGS CONSIDER CONVERSIONS: We commend cleantech blogger Joel Makower for considering the issues at­joel_makower/­2010/­04/­when-it-comes-to-cars-ice-is-still-hot.html . And Michael Hoexter situates conversions inside a broad strategy at­2010/­05/­16/­oil-independence/

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