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Solutions and sustainability - Sept 4

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Fair Price Energy - A market-based approach to America’s Energy Crisis

Chaz Teplin
The purpose of this web page is to jumpstart a national conversation on energy policy by suggesting a viable solution to our energy crisis. ..

Part I - Two fees adjust costs to reveal the true price of energy use:
A Security Fee would be proportional to how a fuel or energy source compromises national security—making defense costs visible in energy prices.
A Carbon Fee would correlate to the amount of greenhouse gasses produced and/or the extraction impacts on the environment—making environmental costs visible in energy prices.
These fees would be added to each energy purchase made by consumers and businesses, effectively allowing them to see the true cost of their energy consumption choices.

Part II - Return all fees to U.S. taxpayers, enabling clean and safe energy choices. Every individual taxpayer who files an income tax return would receive a Fee Return equal to the total fees collected for the entire country during the year divided by the total number of U.S. taxpayers. Thus, every individual US taxpayer would receive a return of equal size. Corporations would not receive a fee return, but would be able to use the market to recoup their increased costs. ..
(Aug 2006)


Confronting Today's Oil Crisis in the U.S.

Paul Notari, Renewable Energy Access
With little doubt today the United States is being confronted with a crisis of major proportions. As world oil demand keeps growing and oil supplies are curtailed or threatened by political turmoil in the Mideast, world oil prices could well continue to escalate upwards at an alarming rate. This would portend a major increase in transportation costs with serious economic repercussions throughout the country. The question is what can we do NOW?

...In conclusion, the action we must take NOW to relieve our dependence on foreign oil over the next two decades is threefold: First, we need to increase our domestic oil production from the current level of 7.5 million barrels/day to about 10 million barrels/day. This may mean more offshore drilling, possibly some discrete drilling on public lands, and, if it can become economical and environmentally acceptable, production of oil via coal liquefaction and/or extraction from oil shale.

Secondly, we need to produce more and more biofuels, hopefully as much as a NET 4 million barrels/day. This assumes that a practical method of producing ethanol from cellulosic feedstock will be developed within the next five years and that it will be the predominant method of producing ethanol over the following ten years. It also assumes that there will be a major increase in biodiesel production. These measures will not only provide alternative fuels to relieve much of our gasoline and diesel fuel needs but it also will create thousands of new domestic jobs and greatly improve our balance of trade.

Thirdly, and most importantly, we need to drastically reduce our oil consumption by some 7 million barrels/day. This means an upping of CAFE standards by government edict, a mass manufacture and sale of highly fuel-efficient vehicles, and the subsequent changing some of our life style habits. We can no longer lavish ourselves with large gas guzzling vehicles. We need to replace them with fuel efficient cars and trucks such as hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and we must learn to economize on our travel in every way we can (car pools, fewer road trips, shorter commutes, greater use of public transportation). In fact, there is a movement afoot encouraging local governments to pass new zoning laws and create incentives for better urban planning of all new real estate developments to ensure less travel between home, stores and places of employment.

Paul Notari is currently the Renewable Fuels and Transportation Division representative on the American Solar Energy Society Board of Directors. In 1980, as head of the Technical Information Branch at the Solar Energy Research Institute (now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory), he was the originator and publisher of Fuel From Farms, one of the first textbooks on ethanol production technology. The publication was widely distributed throughout the nation and is recognized as one of the primary movers in the launching of today's ethanol industry.
(28 Aug 2006)
Critics of ethanol may be fuming, but I find it encouraging to see endorsement of behavioural and urban planning changes. LJ


Consumerism a national religion, says head of Australian Conservation Foundation

ABC
The president of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says Australians are living in an unsustainable way and nothing is being done to improve the scenario. Professor Ian Lowe has addressed the National Press Club in Canberra. He says the Federal Government is failing to address the crisis.

"Consumerism is now our unofficial national religion, with ever larger shopping centres being built so we can worship seven days a week," he said. "The present policy settings in Australia would lead any outside observer to conclude that we either can't see that we are living unsustainably, or are too short-sighted to care."

He has also accused the Government of pressuring scientists not to conduct research that may have an impact on public policy. "Research organisations and individual researchers are now increasingly practising what a colleague called a 'pre-emptive crumble', falling over before they are pushed and taking great care not to antagonise the national Government," he said. ..
(30 Aug 2006)
The ACF is possibly the largest (by number of members) and most engaged with government of the enviro-NGO in Australia, and Dr Lowe has for some time been calling for some fairly radical cuts in consumption and changes to policy. Note of his speech appears here because he is right, consumerism has surpassed religious proportions in Australia. -LJ (Australian by birth and choice)


Fossil Food

Staff, Corporate Watch
Our food economy is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Industrial agriculture uses vast amounts of petroleum-based pesticides and fertilisers. Enormous amounts of fossil fuels are also used for food processing, packaging, refrigeration, transport and retailing.

The fuel blockades of 2000 [in the UK] showed how much our food distribution systems relies on oil. Within days of blockades by farmers and road hauliers at refineries and fuel depots, the 'fuel crisis' was threatening food stocks, supermarket shelves were rapidly emptying and supermarkets began rationing sales of bread, milk and sugar. ..
(Aug/Sept 2006)
Briefly reviews and criticises on emissions grounds the UK's supermarket dominated food supply.-LJ

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