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Oil and Ethanol Fueling Middle East Revolutions?

This Sunday morning, National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast a story about how the ongoing unrest in Egypt - and other countries in the Middle East - is being driven non just by chronic corruption and mismanagement, but also by rising food prices. As NPR reported:

Where Did President Obama Get His 40% "Clean Energy" Number From?

In his State of the Union speech earlier this week, President Obama said: "by 2035, 80% of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources." The White House's detailed fact sheet on this point adds that, "Currently, 40 percent of our electricity comes from clean energy sources," and that President Obama is calling for that figure to double by 2035.

SolveClimateNews Asks: Will Congress Cut Fossil Fuel Subsidies?

In case you missed it, Solve Climate News has an excellent article on the scope of fossil fuel subsidies and the prospects for reining them in. According to the article’s subtitle, “The cuts were included in the last two budgets submitted to Congress, but were never implemented.” How much money are we talking about here?

Cathy Zoi: Crank up Cleantech R&D, Tell the Good Stories from the Clean Energy Industry!

Greentechmedia has an excellent post, “DOE’s Cathy Zoi on the Perils of Not Investing in Cleantech R&D,” that is well worth reading.  A few highlights:

Highlights from U.S.-China Clean Energy Cooperation Progress Report

In conjunction with the ongoing state visit by a Chinese delegation to the United States, the U.S. Department of Energy has issued a progress report on U.S.-China Clean Energy Cooperation. According to the report, “Energy innovation in one country accelerates clean energy deployment in all countries.” In addition, the report asserts that “the combined research expertise and market size of the U.S. and China provide an unprecedented opportunity to develop clean energy solutions that will reduce pollution and improve energy security while enhancing economic growth globally.” A few highlights of the report from a clean energy perspective are:

Natural Gas Industry Fracks Congress with Cash

Back in November 2010, the Pittsburgh City Council took a courageous stand: for people’s health and well being; against the natural gas “fracking” industry pumping toxic chemicals into the ground that will contaminate drinking water.

DOE Report Demonstrates Exactly Why We Need to Get Coal off of Corporate Welfare

Last month, the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory issued a report on its supposed “roadmap” for carbon dioxide “capture and storage” (CCS).  There’s a great deal of technical analysis in the report, purporting to paint a rosy picture for the future of this technology. The problem is, in the end, it fails to actually do so.

A Few Energy Articles We’re Reading Today (1/13/11)

Here are a few articles on energy we’ve been reading today (1/13/11) at Scaling Green, and which we recommend that you read as well.

Is Clean Energy Approaching “a tipping point in many states?”

Stateline’s recent piece, “Renewable energy industry shows surprising clout,” provides an interesting case in point about the potency of public and business community support for cleantech.  On his way to winning his run for Ohio Governor, John Kasich suggested that, “as governor he might try to axe the state’s mandate that electric utilities expand their renewable-energy portfolios.”

BP Oil Spill Report Cites “Systemic” Problems, Calls for Major Changes

Yesterday (1/11/11), after nearly 6 months of work, the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling released its final report on the disaster. The report concluded what many of us had feared, that the BP oil spill was not a fluke or act of God (as Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas apparently believe). Instead, the report concludes, the oil spill’s root causes were “foreseeable,” “preventable” and “systemic.” More specifically, the spill was the “inevitable result of years of industry and government complacency and lack of attention to safety.” It involved, among other factors, “human error, engineering mistakes, and management failures” by the oil companies, made worse by inadequate government oversight, lack of any real preparation for a deepwater well blowout of this magnitude, and inadequate funding of the Minerals Management Service.

Job for the New Congress: Read the Latest Review of Wasteful Welfare for Dirty Energy

The new Congress roared into Washington this week with what it sees as a mandate to cut government spending. Required reading for all its new members should be Washington Monthly’s excellent new piece, “Get the Energy Sector off the Dole.” And, if you work in, invest in, or support scaling the clean economy, this important piece is worth your time to read as well.

Gabrielle Giffords, Champion of Clean Energy, Fights for Her Life After Assassination Attempt

We’re deeply saddened at the news that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was injured in an assassination attempt over the weekend. Even more tragic is the death of a 9-year old girl, a federal judge, and 4 other innocent victims, not to mention the 14 wounded. We are hoping and praying for Rep. Giffords’ recovery from her injuries, and our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones or who were wounded in this incident.

Climate Skeptic Pat Michaels Admits He’s Funded by Oil Industry

This interview took place a few months ago, but it’s well worth providing it a bit more airplay, given that admissions like this occur so rarely. As many long suspected, leading climate “skeptic” Pat Michaels admitted to CNN what many long suspected:  he’s heavily funded by the oil industry that has a core interest in propagandizing away the increasingly strong and daming scientific consensus on global climate disruption.

Forbes “Media Mixer” on Ditching “Corporate Speak” in 2011

Jim Nichols of Forbes Magazine’s “Media Mixer” column has some sound advice that’s useful to cleantech companies:

Indiana Ratepayer Group: CCS is “Big Coal's Trick to Maintain the Status Quo”

Craig Shumaker, PhD, of the Indiana-based Citizens Action Coalition, a utility ratepayer advocacy group, writing in the Terre Haute Tribune-Star, has an interesting analysis of  “carbon capture and sequestration” (CCS) technology for coal plants. What’s wrong with CCS? For starters, as Shumaker points out, “Carbon capture is like trying to catch the chickens after the barnyard gate has been left open.” Then, there are enormous “technical and safety issues,” not to mention the “real problems” – “scale and cost.”

The Media Loses Interest in Climate Change; The Public and Policymakers Follow?

Over at his New York Times “Dot Earth” blog, Andrew Revkin has an important piece on the nexus of climate change and media coverage. Or, to be more accurate, perhaps we should have said, “the nexus of climate change and the lack of media coverage.”  The question, according to Revkin, is this: