You may have heard that there is an oil and gas “boom” happening in the US. You might not know that there is a ban on exporting our own oil. This ban is good for the country but bad for oil companies. And the oil industry is attempting an end run around Congress to do something about it.
There is an ongoing “boom” in oil and natural gas production. Production of natural gas is way up. Imports are down about half since 2007. Texas oil production alone has more than doubled since 2011. This increase in domestic oil production has various consequences. We use much of our rail capacity transporting oil to refineries. The increase in natural gas production is pushing coal use down, and lowering carbon emissions as we fight for a transition away from using fossil fuel at all.
I bought a C-Max Hybrid in May. I have had it for a few months and I love this car, so I’m writing this review about it.
I had a 2000 Honda Accord and it was losing its reliability. I spent a lot of time researching cars. (My wife was finally saying “Jeeze, just buy a car already, I don’t care anymore, just buy any car and get it over with.”)
Before trying the C-Max I researched and drove (and rented when I could) Ford Focus & Fusion, Honda Accord, Chevy Malibu, Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry. My favorite of those was the Volt but it was more expensive and my wife wasn’t as enthusiastic. I also liked the Accord.
The Fusion was nice but oddly my wife could barely see out of the passenger window and there were no options for raising the seat. (She is not short.) After driving the Fusion the salesperson suggested trying a C-Max — otherwise I would not have thought of it and hadn’t really even heard of it. This is when I discovered the C-Max, and both my wife and I loved it.
Even though I liked the Accord, I finally decided to buy either a hybrid like the Prius or a plug-in like the Volt or Ford’s Energi. (Notes: 1) I vastly prefer the C-Max now that I have been driving it. 2) Honda’s Accord Hybrid and plug-in Hybrid weren’t readily available yet and more expensive than they should be.) I’m just sick of being so dependent on the oil companies, shelling out huge amounts of $$ every time I fill up and filling up so often. I didn’t want a pure EV like the Leaf because of range. I want the freedom to take longer trips without renting a car. But the plug-in Energi didn’t work for me for a few reasons. (I am starting to regret the decision to just go hybrid.) Continue reading →
With the Russian takeover of Crimea we are seeing just a bit of the damage done to the world by the invastion of Iraq. We used to be able to say, with some authority, “This is wrong, you shouldn’t do it.” But now everyone can say, “What are you talking about? You invaded Iraq based on a bunch of obvious lies.”
We the People have a right to know why this all happened, don’t we? We need a Truth Commission that investigates how the Bush administration led us to war, how the media was complicit, who made money from it, who tortured people, who allowed “contractors” to act with impunity, etc.
Washington is embroiled in a round of budget-cutting fervor. There is a “budget conference” going on. There are rumors that “deals” are being made behind closed doors. How much to cut? Who to hurt? Who to lay off or furlough next?
Here’s the thing. The American Majority wants jobs. They want Congress working on jobs. (They also want Congress working on jobs for more than 5 days this month.)
Here’s a fresh, new idea: hire some people to fix the aging infrastructure. Ever since the Reagan tax cuts the country has been deferring essential maintenance. Everyone said, “If you do this, later you’ll be sorry.” Now it’s later, and we’re really sorry. Bridges are falling down. The power grid is ridiculous, as in “worthy of ridicule.” Etc., etc. We’re $3.6 trillion behind — $3.6 trillion that went out to the wealthy as tax cuts instead of used for infrastructure investment. P.S. click that link.
How many people would be hired if we just caught up to doing that deferred infrastructure maintenance — never mind crisp, new, modern, energy-efficient, 21st-century power grid and ports and roads and rail that would increase our country’s competitiveness internationally? $3.6 trillion of work that has to be done anyway, and we really need to employ Americans today. The longer we hold off, the more it costs and the more damage is done.
It isn’t hard to realize this. In fact, not hiring people to fix the infrastructure now is intentional. It’s about keeping unemployment high and taxes on the wealthy low. Desperate, hungry people don’t ask for raises, and don’t demand their rights. They’ll take any nasty, humiliating, low-wage job they can find and will be told they should be thankful to have it.
This week the EPA a nnounced new rules for CO2 emmissions in new coal-powered plants. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is up in arms, saying this could mean the end of coal as a power source.
So you’d think that the “clean coal” organization would be praising these new rules, because they are all about “clean coal,” right?
People who say we should not develop nuclear power because of the risk are severely underestimating the impact that global warming will have on climate and humanity.
Take the Fukishima Daiichi disaster. A large area has been evacuated and is contaminated. There could be as many as 100 deaths from radiation and associated cancers. Combine this with Chernobyl where a large area is contaminated and there were at least 31 deaths, with between 6,000 and 50,000 thyroid cancers expected (92-96% survivable.)
Suppose every reactor of the older type still operating melted down. And suppose all the waste from all those nuclear reactors got into the environment.
Then suppose we built enough new reactors to let the world stop burning coal for power. (Note that the new designs pretty much can’t melt down, many designs use safer fuels, and many designs burn enough of the material that there is much less of a waste problem.) But suppose ALL of those reactors had disasters, too. Every one.
This adds up to nothing compared to what is coming if we do not stop burning coal (some of which is coming already because of the CO2 we have already put into the air.)
The evacuated, contaminated areas from all of those nuclear disasters won’t add up to a fraction of the coastal land that will be submerged. The uninhabitable areas don’t add up to a fraction of the land mass that will be uninhabitable if we pass 2 degrees centigrade and keep putting carbon into the air. The number of people killed if every one of those reactors blows up doesn’t add up to a fraction of the number who will die from famine and other causes if we don’t stop burning coal.
So get serious and be afraid of the right things. We shold replace every coal plant with nuclear as fast as we can, and then phase out the nuclear if we want to, replacing them with alternatives.
The “Tea Party” was started and funded by Koch Oil and its owners. But now the Tea Party in Georgia supports free market alternatives to oil monopolies, and Koch Oil is fighting them.
Summary: Georgia Power wants to expand its use of solar energy as the price of solar goes down. Georgia’s Tea Party likes the idea because it means consumers will get free-market choices. Of course Koch Oil has been fighting solar, wind, high-speed rail, electric cars and efforts to fight climate change because all of those hurt their lucrative oil business, and their front group Americans For Prosperity — the group behind the Tea Party in the first place — has launched a typical misleading smear campaign.
Tea Party members supporting the solar expansion see it as a simple free market issue. They believe consumers have the right to choose where their electricity comes from and shouldn’t be forced to remain dependent on a single source, especially in light of the rapidly declining cost of solar.
Despite the Tea Party’s support, Americans For Prosperity, a conservative group funded by the Koch brothers, came out against the proposed solar measure last week — launching what it calls “a multi-pronged, grassroots driven initiative” urging activists to pressure members of the PSC to reject the solar expansion.
In an email to its 50,000 members across the state, AFP Georgia director Virginia Galloway asks, “What if I told you something you’re not even hearing about in the news is about to raise your electricity bill by more than 40 percent and reduce the reliability of every appliance and electronics gadget in your home? That’s what will happen when your Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) votes on July 11th if you don’t take action today!”