Wealthiest Arab Country Invests Billions in Alternative and Renewable Energy


Abu Dhabi, which borders Saudia Arabia, is the wealthiest Emirate of the United Arab Emirates. It owns 10% of all the world’s oil reserves. Even so, Abu Dhabi is investing billions of dollars in research and development for alternative and renewable energy sources.


So much for “drill, baby, drill.” Even the Arabs know their oil supplies are going to dry up sooner or later and want to be well prepared for a smooth transition to say solar power  because that area of the world enjoys non-stop sunshine.


The 3 day summit that took place last week in Abu Dhabi highlighted the quickly growing trend there for investing in “research, education and technology in the renewable sector,” according to an article by Ahmed Shihab-Eldin for the Huffington Post. It’s no surprise that the billions in funding comes from oil profits.


Abu Dhabi uses an enormous amount of energy for all the extreme hotels and entertainment the city showcases. Imagine the carbon footprint of a structure that sits on the beach in the hot desert sun that features snow skiing inside. From what I watched on TV, the cheapest hotel room is $1700/night. Abu Dhabi is excess at its finest, and boy does it cost in energy. 


So the Saudis want to be on top of things when oil wanes and alternatives become necessary so their comfort margin isn’t diminished, while I still argue with misinformed U.S. citizens that claim environmentalism is just a ruse, global warming is made up by Al Gore, and there is plenty of oil so why not drill…


I’m starting to believe the biggest obstruction to advancement for a cleaner future for our own health, the earth’s health, and a new job market full of opportunity are mostly here in the U.S.  Some citizens here soaked up the doubt presented to them by our former political leaders who set aside science for the oil lobby. And it stuck no matter what science, and obviously the rest of the world thinks. And there you are. The U.S. again runs the risk of being dinosaurs. This anti-intellectual, non scientific mindset of doubt serves to slow us down while the rest of the world passes us. BTW, forget pointing to China. They have enough people over there to jumpstart and surpass everyone even when they might seem well behind.








Obama’s Environmental Cabinet



The Grist website offered a good introduction as to who’s who in the Obama administration that’s going to be watching over all things environmental.


The lineup looks good, although I worry a little about the agricultural industry and hopes for eliminating CAFO’s.  But time will tell. We’ll see the direction this administration takes soon by the rulings President Obama overturns his first few weeks in office. Hopefully the animals in peril from being delisted from the Endangered Species List will soon be reinstated, and their habitat protected.


I’ve signed quite a few environmental petitions for various things aimed at the White House ASAP. Many, many people do want change. Right now I’d like to see change in my heating bill! Not enough sun this winter to help out.




Another EPA Administrator Bites the Dust?

First I read one of those quick movingnews feeds that the EPA warned it’s enforcement officers not to speak to Congress. That little bit of info just peaked my curiosity–speak up about what?

Now four senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee are urging Steven Johnson, the third EPA administrator under Bush, to resign as it appears he lied to a Senate committee.

Johnson claims he acted alone when he decided California should not regulate CO2 emissions from motor vehicles, but he was originally going to issue a partial waiver to CA. Someone changed his mind.The preceding EPA administrators left just as questionably and quickly as Johnson.

Christine Todd Whitman, 2001-2003, resigned just before reports of the clean up of 9/11 came out and according to SourceWatch, “Eric Shaeffer, the EPA’s head of regulatory enforcement under Whitman, resigned under protest. He told Flanders that Whitman is ‘a Republican first and an environmentalist way down the list.'”

Michael Leavitt was Bush’s second appointee as EPA Administrator. Twelve states and several NE cities sued the EPA to block the new Clean Air rules during his leadership. The states argued the rules would weaken both environmental and health protection for citizens. Nice real nice. Scientist’s discontent with censorship was surfacing along with altered reports about global warming too. Leavitt left the EPA to head up Health and Human Services. That’s when a memo from Leavitt’s new department suggested its employees should buy hybrid. It suggested the whole federal fleet should go hybrid. This suggestion was via e-mail to 67,000 employees! So was Leavitt environmentally minded or not, altering reports of global warming on the one hand, then telling employees to buy foreign hybrids on the other?

And now Stephen Johnson appears to have succumbed to political pressure from the White House too. Who will be the replacement this time, someone from oil, someone from the NRA and/or hunting industry, or lumber, or coal…? I mean we had Steven Griles as Deputy Secretary of the Interior that oversees the EPA, and USFWS among other things, that resigned and went to work for Conoco Phillips oil as a lobbyist. The Deputy Chief of Staff to the Dept. of Interior, Sue Ellen Wooldridge, denied living with Griles when she still worked for the EPA. And then there was Philip Cooney, former head of the White House Council for Environmental Quality. Cooney was caught editing important data from scientific reports for quite awhile as well as pressuring the EPA to go along, so much so, that in 2002 the EPA removed an entire section on global warming from its annual report about air pollution. Cooney came to his position at the councilas a lawyer and former lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute. He left to work for Exxon Mobil. Right now a former lobbyist for an Intl. Hunt Club heads the USFWS. Ethics abound in the Bush administration.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/29/AR2008072902020.html


Clean Coal Remains Illusive

We’ll soon be seeing a new media blitz from the coal industry because people are catching on that coal is not clean. The industry is throwing $30 million dollars into an advertising and public relations campaign under the name of Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC). But the list that follows are all polluters like Billiton the largest mining company in the world, or CONSOL the largest producer of bituminous coal in America. They just don’t have motivation to cut into that kind power unless it’s from the kindness of their hearts.

AMEREN, American Electric Power, Arch Coal, Arkansas Electric Coop, Associated Electric Coop, Association of American Railroads, Basin Electric Power Coop, BHP Billiton, Buckeye Industrial Mining, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Group, CONSOL Energy, CSX, Detroit Edison, Duke Energy, Edison Electric Institute, First Energy Corp, Foundation Coal, Hoosier Energy, Massey Energy, National Mining Assoc., National Rural Electric Coop, Norfolk Southern, Peabody Energy, Southern Co., Tri-State Generation and Transmission, Union Pacific Railroad, Western Farmers Electric Coop.

This group is using other groups like America’s Power and Clean Coal USA to advertise across the country to make their coal look green. So be alert. There is nothing new. There is not a new kind of coal plant that generates electricity with lower CO2 emissions. There is coal that has very low sulfur content. And sulfur content and other particulates can be removed by what is termed “scrubbers.” That’s not new technology, but it will help alleviate lung problems. Until something drastically changes coal users like the cheap dirty stuff because everything else costs money. This is a good article about it from the Wall Street Journal: http://www.mindfully.org/Energy/Clean-Coal-Oxymoron-WSJ.htm

In 2001 President Bush committed to more advanced clean coal technologies. According to an article on DOE’s website: “The Clean Coal Power Initiative is providing government co-financing for new coal technologies that can help utilities meet the President’s Clear Skies Initiative to cut sulfur, nitrogen and mercury pollutants from power plants by nearly 70 percent by the year 2018. Also, some of the early projects are showing ways to reduce greenhouse emissions by boosting the efficiency by which coal plants convert coal to electricity or other energy forms.” Come on, 10 more years to just get sulfur, nitrogen, and mercury pollutants down? That’s lame. http://www.fossil.energy.gov/programs/powersystems/cleancoal/.

Not much is new with coal except for trapping the gas, and where to put it. Our Michigan CO2 well should be about full this weekend. It didn’t hold nearly enough liquid CO2. It’s not a solution. How many more holes are we going to rip into the earth? We have over 500,000 mines in the U.S. Many are old and abandoned. We have over 500,000 oil wells, many are done, fini. That’s a lot of holes in the ground. Will the earth heal quickly from the millions of holes we’ve drilled?


So Where Do We Stand on the Environment for 2008?

I just got through reading some current worldwide environmental news and have to say, we don’t seem to have a clear-cut view of anything. What we profess, what we say, and what we actually do is all contrary. First, I saw the Pope give his blessing and speak on behalf of peace and the environment over the Christmas season to over one billion Catholics. And the World Council of Churches that represents 560 million Christians worldwide is calling concerns over global warming a matter of faith. The WCC has had a program about climate change since 1992 and books about ecotheology (I’m interested). Dr. Samuel Kobia the Secy. General of the WCC stipulates that Christians are well aware that dominion over all living things was given to us. He said that meant, “We were entrusted with the care of the rest of God’s creation.” The emphasis is on the word “CARE” here.

Care doesn’t come under savagely taking a machete to an orangutan trying to defend it’s young, or hooking a live dolphin in the side and sending it to be stripped of skin before it’s even dead, while the resulting meat is basically poison from ingesting too many pollutants, or shooting 6 elephants dead for stepping into a coffee field that is supposed to be their sanctuary. We should actively try to get this stopped, but our demands for things like lumber and coffee encourage it. Oh and don’t forget about native animals and the latest Internet hunting websites that have yet to be banned in over 20 states.

There was the news about a zoo tiger that got loose and killed one man, and maimed two others before it was shot dead. The media wanted to know and put this question out to the public if it is wise to keep caged and wild animals? 145,000,000 people visit zoos every year without incident. If we didn’t have zoos the likelihood of seeing a live polar bear, tiger, elephant, orangutan, gorilla, condor, panda…etc., would more than likely be nil. I have to wonder about the media here. Do they operate with any type of perspective about things, or just pounce on a bit of fantastic news with so much fervor it gets skewed out of proportion and normalcy? People are maimed in cars every day and no one says: “Gee, should we really be driving?”


We’ve heard about individual states taking their own course of action for the environment with many implementing their own environmental laws especially since the Supreme Court decided that the EPA is supposed to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases according to the Clean Air Act but has not done so. So what do I read? The Bush administration: “Thursday announced that it will block efforts by California, Maryland, and 15 other states to cut emissions of global warming gases from cars and trucks.” Now that is an example of talking out of two sides of one’s mouth isn’t it? Aren’t we supposed to be forging ahead with alternative energy anyway?


This administration got elected based on a big moral majority.Do we or do we not celebrate animals? I hope we understand the world is in our care. We simply can’t keep spreading and demanding, taking up room where other things live. We end up killing the very same animals we ooh and ah over at the zoo.We love cartoon movies with animals, little talking pigs, Flipper, the Lion King. We are supposed to teach our children to be kinds to animals. But when animals act out in their normal manner we talk about dispensing with them right away, like the zoo issue. We sacrifice living breathing creatures in our own species chain over things we need for our big houses or our big lifestyle. And we elect our president/vice president based on morality when this latest threat to block states trying to do right by the environment proves the opposite. So where do we stand between what we believe, what we say, and what we actually do about our world and everything in it because I can’t tell?


By the way, a current gallop poll has President Bush as the number one pick among the most admired men and women of 2007. Is that not the icing on the cookie for contradictions as far as you’ve read them here?


Results of Energy Bill Expected to Save Consumers $1,000 Annually

So the energy bill is signed. Cars will have to get 35 mpg by 2020. And we’re supposed to produce and utilize 36 billion gallons of bio-fuel by then also. I think the biggest incentive to do this is to advertise the eventual savings to consumers, and the fact that our overall bills will decline during the trip to 2020. Do you have an idea the amount of products that contain a petroleum or derivative of it? If the cost ofpetro declinesdue to less demand then all of those products should in turn become cheaper.According to an article in About.com: “The increase in fuel-economy standards alone is expected to save consumers $22 billion in 2020up to $1,000 annually in gasoline prices for each American familyand reduce U.S. oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels per day in 2020 half of what we currently import from the Persian Gulf. The new standards also will cut greenhouse gas emissions as much as taking 28 million of todays cars off the road.

‘This bill is a huge Christmas present to the hardworking American families suffering under record high energy prices,’ said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. ‘It will offer them over $20 billion in relief at the pump and some $400 billion in additional savings through greener buildings, more efficient appliances, and better light bulbs. It will also help us begin fueling our cars with greener fuels from the Midwest instead of expensive imported oil from the Middle East.’

I know I liked my $103.00 combined gas and electric bill this summer. Just a few changes got me there, and I wasn’t put out at all. Two of my other bills for previous months were $114 and 115 each. I was even happier that I decreased my allotment to my local utility company. And I feel really good that I helped in some way with the environment. It’s pretty much in that order now. I started out thinking about the environment first, but when my energy bill kept going down, I noticed my motivation grow. It’s like losing that first 5 lbs., or being the first to arrive at a 50% off sale. My eyes start glowing, the gears start spinning…how can I get more of this? I went so far as to look into wind turbines. So I can see where the more we get into the “green” in this country and realize the bargain in the deal, the more we will seek out that change. That’s what Germany and a lot of Europe has done. It’s not so inconceivable for the U.S. to eventually follow suit. This energy bill, although watered down from the House’s original bill, is a good start. http://environment.about.com/


Bush/Cheney Proposal Strips Protection for Our National Forests and Grasslands

I’m sick and tired of the underhanded movements of the Bush/Cheney administration’s all out assault on nature. Their latest accomplishment: A proposal introduced in August that would dismantle vital protections for our National Forests and grasslands and eliminate key federal protections for all wildlife in those areas as reported by Defenders of Wildlife.

You must know they intend to enter our national forests to drill for oil and strip mine mountaintops for coal. They lie through their teeth as expected. They’re oilmen and are not in earnest about pushing too much for alternative energy. Bush didn’t sign the Kyoto Treaty because it would hurt whom? Industry. He promised instead to regulate industry emissions ourselves. He has been pushing for self-regulation in industry from the beginning. Self-regulation is the fox watching the henhouse. Let’s see how this administration regulated big business pollution over the past 7 years?

  • They removed key sections of the Clean Water and Air Acts. These have always had bipartisan support because they are crucial to our health! Have you noticed the rise in cancers of all types? There as been no progression to test for air pollutants in neighborhoods across the country relative to a rise in illness and disease for the past 7 years.

  • They’ve cut the EPA enforcement to its lowest level on record, so they aren’t watching what goes on. There has been a great reduction in fines to huge polluters, nearly a 2/3 reduction and criminal prosecution for offenders has dropped by 1/3. Our Senate in Michigan just some of them tax breaks and want to cut the budget, which will mean our state won’t be watching polluters here either.

  • They’ve disabled the Superfund program. Superfund is used for cleaning up millions of pounds of industrial waste in neighborhoods in 48 states. You know the fact that Superfund even exists is an acknowledgement by the opposition that we do indeed produce a huuuuuge amount of industrial waste. Do we really think this stuff will just disappear?

  • They’ve totally ignored any pledges to protect native plants and animals from extinction and are the first administration to not add one single species to the list even though we read about 100’s of species that are near extinction right now.

  • They’ve reversed the ban on commercial whaling that was in place since 1986 under Reagan.

  • Millions of acres of wilderness and our most sensitive public lands have been opened to logging, mining, and oil and gas drilling. One plan allowed 10% of all trees in California’s Giant Sequoia Park to be removed. 200-year-old trees cut down. We’ve had enough fires this past summer destroying forests that this is just like the looting that takes place after a disaster.

  • Other national parks have either had land up for sale by public auction or for development like the million acres Grand Canyon-Parashant Monument in Arizona, the 2,000-foot spires at Fisher Towers, Utah. Arches National Park in Utah has 1200 mining claims within 10 miles! Texas might soon auction off part of its Christmas Mountains. The wealthy are buying the country.

I think that anyone who assaults the earth, the air, the water of any nation this way, ultimately assaults its people. Without clean soil we cannot grow food. We need air to breathe, and water to drink. The faster we get away from fossil fuels the quicker we help the world renew itself, and the quicker we disable the stronghold of power shared by industry and government that will do its best to keep us from advancing into a green future, ruining the environment in the process. Crimes against humanity come to mind when I think of our present government. And it continues without opposition! An awful lot of people think the Bush administration will be gone in short time. They do not physically leave office until Jan. 2009. That gives them 15 more months to contribute to the extinction of at least 200 species already threatened. And don’t forget the lovely weather we’re having. It will most assuredly get worse, while this government aids polluters. http://www.defenders.org/index.php.



Politics Before Public Health

Three Surgeon Generals spoke out in Congress today complaining that the Whitehouse both past and present put politics before public health concerns. They claim scientific reports from the office of Surgeon General were marginalized or altered. They also assert that the current Whitehouse has posed the worst political interference ever. One of the Surgeon Generals complained that the Bush administration routinely censored his speeches and facts about controversial issues, particularly stem cell research. They testified because of their concerns for public health relative to important scientific information being suppressed and/or altered by politicians. Know what’s added to the Surgeon General’s speeches? It is requested that the president’s name appear at least 3 times on every page of every speech.

This leads me to the NASA scientists that have spoken out repeatedly about being censored by the Bush Whitehouse regarding global warming. There is little press coverage about it, yet it is the number one reason we are lagging behind in this country as far as going green. Many people still think global warming is hype, that it is a hoax of huge magnitude to make Al Gore rich, that the U.N. is evil and the scientists that report about global warming to the U.N. are part of the evil that is trying to destroy the U.S. economy, and/or it’s a tactic spawned by the liberals.

Don’t you love it? Major scientists from all over the world concur that mankind is escalating global warming. NASA scientists report that they’ve been censored about global warming and their reports altered by this Whitehouse, and now 3 Surgeon Generals say the same thing about public health matters. Does anyone else find this criminal? I understand this type of censorship and interference in communist China, but the U.S.? Politics before public health has been happening far too much. Our air, water, and food supply is affected. Baltimore issued a code Red for its air quality over the weekend. Code Red means extreme. N.Y. had an elevated code Orange for its air quality yesterday. Air quality used to be something associated with the smog in California. It seems our smog is spreading.


A Must Read: “Six Years of Deceit”

I just read a scathing report about concentrated efforts by the Bush administration to distort and obstruct scientific facts about global warming over the past 6 years. It’s called “Six Years of Deceit” by Tim Dickinson, in this month’s issue of Rolling Stone. It’s a must read if you are at all interested how badly we’ve been lied to. It does a good job detailing everything and everyone involved in this huge denial machine, beginning in 2001 to the present.

I think it’s criminal. Global warming will have dire consequences for every living thing on earth and in short order. Any attempt to stop the flow of information that could save millions of lives is simply criminal. There is no other way to look at it. If you venture to argue the point, just remember your argument when you can no longer take a shower when you want, when your energy usage is limited, when you are forced to go on a diet because of food shortages, when the whole western population of the U.S. begins to migrate toward states with clean water, and when having homeowners insurance means absolutely nothing because there have been so many disasters in this country, insurance policies can’t possibly pay up. I keep asking if we are ready to move over here in Michigan. We think it’s bad that everyone is leaving the state now. Wait till the entire country attempts to move here for the water.

It sounds far fetched, but 8 million people without homes are already wandering the earth right now. 8 million people are an awful lot of nomads, refugees, whatever we want to call them, but they are human beings without a place to stay. Our own country is not that far from this scenario, if we don’t get a grip on global warming. Because we live in the automobile state, the fight to save that industry is causing a backlash on efforts to move forward to save the planet. The latest energy bill gives the American auto industry 13 years to come up with cars that get 35 miles per gallon? Thirteen years? Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow are part of the stall this time and will be hearing from me. Let them know what you think about the dismally, disappointing energy bill. I know what I’m doing when I go shopping for a new hybrid next year. I’ll buy Japanese with a clear conscience. The Rolling Stone article revealed that Ford Motor Company was in on some of the policy making for global climate change policy along with the likes of Exxon Mobil people. It’s totally unethical. Ford has been whining about profit loss and their only going to lose more by not getting in the race at all. I’m seriously thinking of trading my stock next, because Ford reminds me of Jefferson schools.

It wasn’t that long ago in my school district, Jefferson Schools that I ran into the same type of sad story telling straight from the superintendent. The school was hurting for money and every cut the school could possibly make, had been made. But through the Freedom of Information Act, I was able to procure the salary and perks for the same superintendent with the sad story. His benefits revealed a completely different story. So every time I hear Ford Motor Company’s spokesman talk about the hurt put on the auto industry by global warming initiatives, I think of Jefferson schools. Once I saw an expose of Ford officials on the program 20/20, my doubts were confirmed. The same spokesperson for Ford that whines about the company’s financial situation, flies a company jet every weekend to his winter home in Palm Beach and back again to Detroit on Monday. Just how bad is Ford supposed to be hurting? Regular weekend travel in a company jet is not an example of a company that’s in dire straights. And what about GM’s latest claim that hydrogen fuel cell cars will be mass-produced by 2020? One car company seems to be moving ahead, and another is still whining, getting sympathy from our legislators, while still another, Chrysler, who produced hydrogen fueled busses for another country 3 years ago, simply sells out. There are three different scenarios for three different American car companies. Go figure.

There are so many unethical practices in this White House that I think people are immune to it. Most of the experts working on global warming in departments like the EPA, are linked to big oil, particularly Exxon Mobil. Writer Tim Dickinson did a thorough job showing an unethical trail from beginning to end. There is an easy to read chart, titled ” The climate Cabal” that introduces the “industry hatchet men who shaped Bush’s do-nothing policy on global warming.”
Of course, there can be no real dirt on this White House without Cheney, and Karl Rove. They are both ingrained in this very big cover up. I blogged about Cheney in the 2001 elections. His voting record consistently vetoes any clean air, or water initiatives in lieu of lovely things like trash dumps, or coal burners. His former supporters and even college roommates made statements that they had never met anyone that had lower empathy for his fellow human beings than Dick Cheney.

The article “Six Years of Deceit” is a must read:


If you prefer an easy to watch slide show on the subject, Rolling Stone has provided that also at the beginning of the page above. Just click on the links.


A Little Update On Recurring Issues

I just read my National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) newsletter and thought I’d pass on some of the latest news. There is a new planagainto sell off some of our national parks. It seems the U.S. is shy of money, (the war), and this is one of the ways this administration plans on making up some of the deficit. So why not sell off some of our national heritage, and to who? … the wealthy of course. Some prime habitat in Greater Yellowstone for bears, elk, and wolves, part of the Greater Cumberland Plateau, all in all 270,000 acres of national forests over 35 states may be up for grabs.

If we sell off all this forest land, continue to have the forest fires that seem to increase every year, strip mine for coal, extract oil from tar sands which also strip mines large swaths of land, and continue the urban sprawl, what do we expect will happen? There is an awful lot going on behind the scenes that everyone assumes has cleared up. Well guess again. The war in Iraq overshadows much.The arctic drilling is not a dead issue either.

The Bush administration is eyeballing the Beaufort Sea, a year round polar bear habitat just offshore of Alaska’s Arctic national Wildlife Refuge and Western Arctic Reserve. Does reserve mean anything anymore? I thought we were supposed to be getting past the idea of oil? Not going to happen until we get an oilman out of office. We have a president that says we need to get away from our dependence on oil and the drills are literally poised to ruin pieces of pristine land everywhere.

Take the tar sands oil development, which is supposed to be one of the most destructive mining techniques of all. The process involves strip-mining large swaths of land and Bush is prepared to offer tens of thousands of acres of it near Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Glen Canyon wilderness. The terrain would be irreversibly altered forever.

To keep practice up for war games, the Navy plans on blasting thousands of square nautical miles with what is described as “ear-splitting” mid-frequency sound on sea mammals who are trying to survive in their ocean habitat that we are polluting with mercury and garbage from cruise ships to freighters. Coal mining threatens to strip the Rocky Mountain habitat of grizzly bears by taking 40 million tons of coal out of the Flathead River Valley by the Cline Mining Corporation. I’ve talked about the abuse of land from coal mining where mountaintops are literally removed. The plan will establish waste dumps and settling ponds right on top of the headwaters of the Flathead River in BC. It may be happening in Canada but the trouble is that it threatens wildlife downstream in Montana’s Glacier National Park and poisons the watershed region of the Flathead River.

And finally, the federal government threatens the revived wolf population again. I guess they think the wolves were only useful during the last election for scare tactics about terrorism and continuing the war that no one seems to want any longer. First we let wolves populate, and then brutally kill them off. To me it smells of canned hunts. There is no reason to attack wolves en masse this way. It was seen on TV that wolves are territorial. When a recording of another pack is aired via loudspeaker the experiment worked. Wolves that were predatory in that particular area stayed away. There are many humane ways to do business that this big moral society bypasses. If you really care about the wolves contact Governor “Butch” Otter of Idaho and tell him what you think of him. He wants to take the first shot at the wolves and to eliminate at least 75 percent of them. Ditto for the wolves in Yellowstone Park. Remember that big battle to allow them to come back. We did, and now those in power want to kill them off again. See what I mean about playing games with their lives. They were used for the last election, and now abused by the users.

I think we’re all feeling a little abused these days.