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This is the fourth part of the presentation of Energize America at YearlyKos. Earlier instalments are:

YK - Energize America presentation (part 1 - the energy situation)
YK - Energize America presentation (part 2 - how Kossacks built EA)
YK - Energize America presentation (part 3 - main goals)

This part, which was presented by Adam Siegel (A Siegel) describes the core principles of Energize America and discusses several of the acts, highlighting how they return to these core principles. Again, both the plan and the full presentation can be downloaded in pdf format from www.ea2020.org.

For reference purposes, the photograph of the panel, with Bill Richardson (Governor of New Mexico and Secretary of Energy under Bill Clinton) surrounded by the Energize America team: from left to right: Mark Sumner (devilstower), Jérôme Guillet (Jerome a Paris), Gov. Richardson, George Karayannis (Doolittle Sothere), Adam Siegel (A Siegel).

::

Yearly Kos, Energize America Presentation, Part IV
Principles and Exemplary Acts

At this time, the United States is hurtling toward the cliff like Thelma and Louise , but we're in our Hummers rather than a convertible. And, we are dragging the world ... and future generations ... behind us, bound hand and foot by our dangerous habits and shaky energy structure. Energize America seeks to take us out of our obsolete, fuel-guzzling Hummers, hurtling into a dismal future, into 100+ mile per gallon (mpg), composite, flex-fuel, plug-in hybrid cars and SUVs that will allow us to turn aside from the cliff into a brighter and sustainable future.

With this vision in mind - that we both must and can pursue a better energy future - we turn to a discussion of the principles.  At the core of almost all our work is a rather simple principle:

Make the right choice the easy choice for:

  • Government, at all levels;
  • Corporations, businesses, and other organizations;
  • Communities and associations; and,
  • Individuals.

Right now there are too many misaligned incentives that favor the `wrong' energy choice over the right one.  These include accounting rules that make annual deductions of higher energy bills more attractive, fiscally, than long-term depreciation of renewable energy projects; government capital budgeting that inhibits spending more upfront to have lower long-term operating costs with better energy efficiency; and Americans' hidden bias that drives a desire for 33 percent annual returns before undertaking energy efficiency investments. And then, of course, is the not insignificant issue that externalities are simply not calculated in energy decisions - the implications of pollution being the most serious (for the environment, human health, etc) but also not insignificantly security and other subsidized system costs.

Now, if this sounds too `fiscal' oriented and not principled enough, remember that the core principle is to make the right decision the easy decision. While every Energize America team member believes in the importance of conservation, Energize America seeks to enable change through efficiency and a move toward more sustainable energy future.  Tremendous gains can be made via efficiency - tremendous gains.  Making efficiency - and renewable energy choices - more straightforwardly the `right' choice from a financial accounting perspective will help propel the nation toward the situation where the right choice is the easy choice, rather than the difficult option to be adopted only by `zealots', the `converted', or reluctantly by the `unconvinced'.

 

Transportation is, as Jerome highlighted earlier, core to our energy challenges - especially critical to Winning the Oil Endgame as petroleum products are the critical transportation fuels.  The Passenger Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Act will create an environment with incentives that should, at a minimum, lead to a 50% increase in the fuel fleet economy average by 2020.  

The emphasis is on a `feebate' to be applied at point of purchase - with a fee assessed for vehicles below the average for that year for a specific class and a corresponding rebate associated with cars above average in a similar way.  Individuals will still have their choice - but the feebate enables a choice better both for the individual and for the nation.

This Act is structured to enable American car manufacturers to enter on a level playing field, with two years for the "Big Three" to adapt to these new market conditions.  Energize America seeks to create an environment where American companies, American workers, and the American economy will prosper in the sustainable energy future.

The Sustainable Development Agency (SDA) will be focused on seeking out perverse incentive structures in regulations and laws ... and propose paths and options to redress these perverse incentives. It will be a center of expertise for government, American business, Americans, and even the larger world community as to how to create paths toward a economically prosperous sustainable energy future.

While the SDA will focus on "America" it will engage with the world, to help foster a more sustainable energy focus for the US government's interactions with the world and in various aid programs.  

There is a simple reality in today's world - the best energy investment is, simply, negawatts - achieving power savings through efficiency.  Each watt saved through efficiency is the equivalent of creating a new watt of generating power.  

The San Francisco Vote Solar bond program recognized and exploited the reality that government facilities have tremendous opportunities for huge gains through energy efficiency.  San Francisco packaged efficiency with renewable energy investments such that the energy savings would cover the bond's cost. Thus, San Francisco traded capital investment - via a bond - for lower (and more stable) operating costs. There is virtually no community in this nation that could not pursue such a program profitably.

The Community-Based Energy Investment Act seeks to enable local communities to be able to make the right choice - while saving money for the tax payer.  The Act would develop a core Federal financial and energy expertise team to assist state and local governments for structuring bond programs.  In addition, the Federal government would provide a small matching grant to incentivize moving forward.

This act would not just save taxpayers money through reducing public energy costs and lower governmental pollution, but would have a not insignificant corollary benefit of helping strengthen energy efficiency and renewable energy capacity throughout the United States.  This newly created and enhanced capacity would be available to work for local businesses and local homeowners.  The bonds will provide a public-private partnership that will have a multiplicative impact beyond `simply' the positive results in the public infrastructure.

As vision, this act offers the potential for tremendous educational opportunities to foster the next generation's ability to accelerate the progress toward a prosperous sustainable energy future.  

This act provides a Federal enabling and sparking role for local action; this is using the Federal government to enable local initiative that will be in the common interest of all citizens.  The Community-Based Energy Investment Act seeks to make the right choice for a more energy efficient and renewable energy infrastructure the easy choice for communities across throughout America.

 

Residences represent roughly 20% of the US energy usage.  There is tremendous space within this usage for greater efficiency - providing the same (or better) quality of lifestyle with far less energy usage.  Efficiency can come from better insulation, better windows, more energy efficient appliances, and better lighting.  The clarity of potential gains through this last is reflected in the `symbolic' yet quite substantive "C the Light" concept of providing every household with two compact fluorescent lightbulbs (and, perhaps in the near future, LED lights).  In my kitchen, for example, I estimate a roughly 200 percent return on investment - per year, every year - from having replaced my traditional light bulbs with CFLs.  

Through tax incentives, changes in building codes, changing incentives for landlords for greater energy efficiency in their properties (commercial and residential), and structured loan programs to enable all Americans affordable options for moving toward greater energy efficiency (e.g., lower monthly energy bills), the Home Efficiency Act will enable the right sustainable energy choice to be the easy choice for all Americans.  This Act should foster, at a minimum, a reduction in total residential power use by at least 20 percent by 2020.  

In conclusion - finally - let us return to principles.  The Energize America project team has worked with the following principles in mind:

  • Energy is a core national security concern
       -- including the interconnection with global warming
  • Foster local, state and federal involvement
  • Remain technology & process neutral (market-based)
  • Create level playing field for producers & consumers
  • Leverage American Ingenuity
  • Make all energy subsidies transparent
     -- as part of a fiscally responsible policy
  • There is no "silver bullet" solution ...
     -- problem is multifacted, solution set will be multifaceted

Energize America seeks to

  • Make a sustainable and prosperous energy future a reality and within reach for all Americans.  
  • Ensure that tomorrow's Americans face a brighter future than today's.  

We realize that the sustainable and prosperous energy future is not just a necessity, but a real possibility.

Again, at the end of the day, the core principle driving Energize America is to empower the right choice as the easy choice.

Energize America seeks to make it easy for Americans to find the options and make choices that will lead toward a more sustainable energy and more sustainable prosperous future.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 07:34 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar -- And comments please (17+ / 0-)

    I believe in these principles ... the nation (and world) would be far better off if, re energy,

    The right choice became the easy choice

    What do you think?

    Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

    by A Siegel on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 07:36:06 AM PDT

    •  In tip jar / key point ... typo ... AHHH!!!` (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bumblebums

      Really meant ... that we seek, re energy issues, to

      Empower the Right Choice as the easy choice

      Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 07:43:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What about: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        Energize America:  The Right Choice -- the Easy Choice

        ??

        "Empower the Right Choice as the Easy Choice" has the right spirit but takes a while for the brain to sort out.  You start thinking about whether you can actually empower a choice or whether you really should be thinking about empowering the ability to make the right choice, etc.

        Just thinking from a slogan/marketing POV.

        In any case, great work as always, guys.

        Thanks.

        ...it always turns out that no one is in charge of the things that really matter.--Deborah Eisenberg, Twilight of the Superheroes

        by Plan9 on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 08:58:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, please tip Adam (0+ / 0-)

      His energy, enthusiasm and wide range of sources and information have been a great boon to this effort.

      It was a pleasure to meet him and hiw wife in Vegas and they were kind enough to invite me to visit the Hoover Dam on Sunday morning, quite a treat!

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 07:43:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ending the perversity (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Devilstower, Del C, Fabian, A Siegel

      Ending the perverse tax and regulatory codes constructed to encourage inefficient energy consumption is such a critical policy no-brainer.

      It's too bad that it falls into the category of policy that gets fought tooth and nail by industry, even though in the long run they end up benefiting (similar to the movie industry fighting the VCR, or the music industry fighting the cassette tape).

      I think one step to take is to get non-power/auto industry on board with these proposals -- like computer manufacturers, the financial sector, etc. in addition to the public-interest side (unions, enviro groups, alt. energy, etc.).

      I'd love to see chambers of commerce embrace this.

      There's a real hunger to bring manufacturing back to the United States, and it's critical to the economic health of the country.

      It was great meeting you at YKos and listening to y'all discuss your work.

    •  Energy Panel (3+ / 0-)

      I really liked the Energy Panel, and found this particular section just wonderful.  It was great to see all the ideas that can be used to address our needs.  And I really want to see the Community-Based Energy Investment Act enacted as it can make a tremendous difference for many communities.  

      Kudos to all the panelists.

      •  Thanks, Mary (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        besieged by bush, A Siegel

        I know it can't have been easy to resist going off to see Ambassador Wilson (heck, I would have liked to see that panel myself).  Thanks for sticking it out with us.

        I'm not sure how it looked from out in the seats, but from our end we certainly appreciated the thoughtful words from Gov. Richardson -- as well as the equally enthusiastic response from those in the room.  I sure wish the Q&A session could have gone on a little longer.  Say... six hours or so.


        Theobromine -- does that come in chocolate?

        by Mark Sumner on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 09:24:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I will send this (6+ / 0-)

    Over to Governor Schweitzer's energy staffers. Thanks again!

    P.S. Montana is going wild about wind energy with new wind farms popping up all over the place. More on this in a future diary.

    •  Our next Governor, Bill Ritter (CO) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caldonia, Jawis, A Siegel

      should have this too. Good idea.

      Great job, Jerome. Thank you!

      Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

      by bumblebums on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 07:40:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks, Ed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jawis, A Siegel

      It was great meeting you at YK.

      Montana is definitely one of those states which has seen the good and the bad of extractive industries.  Now, if they get those wind farms set up, maybe the only thing people will be extracting is energy you can export to other states.


      Theobromine -- does that come in chocolate?

      by Mark Sumner on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 07:46:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Its pretty fascinating (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Devilstower, Plan9, A Siegel

        To see how the buzz about the wind farms (some of which are under construction today) has replaced the buzz on Governor Schweitzer's coal synfuel intitiatives (any results of which are years in the future).

        Its like how hybrid, ethanol and diesel cars have snuck up on us as more efficient transportation alternatives while the press has been babbling about the coming (mostly fantastical) hydrogen economy.

  •  Another good installment. (4+ / 0-)

    The point about making it easy is often over looked.  During, I think, the Energize America panel someone asked why all of the effort is into supplier provided programs instead of making the consumer do all of the work (I'm really messing up what they said).  The panel basically said that you can't force people to change, but you can make it better, business wise to offer energy saving solutions through legislation.  I thought that this really gets to the point of this program.  Make it easier for people to practice good environment actions than bad actions and people will go for the good.  Make it very difficult and people will go with the bad.  No use fighting that.

    if (Kos) doesn't like what goes on here, he can start his own damn website! - Major Danby

    by Green Zombie on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 08:01:02 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely ... (6+ / 0-)

      Many 'energy smart' things are hard ...

      •  Going into the attic to seal leaks, add insulation, put up reflective material to stop radiant heat.  HARD!
      •  Finding the resources to pay for a home energy audit ... and paying someone to do something about it.  HARD!
      •  Amid all the other pressures in life, understanding the energy implications of choices between different TVs, light bulbs, etc ... HARD! (Or, at least time consuming!)
      •  Making the choice for renewables when the financials are uncertain due to tax code structure .. HARD (if not near impossible) for a CFO!

      Let's figure out how to turn this around and we will see tremendous change in Americans' energy use patterns.

      Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 08:09:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not HARD! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ed in Montana, A Siegel
        People spend money all the time on things they think will improve their quality of life.  Big screen television?  New deck or sun room?  New furniture?  A vacation?  Landscaping?   When people say "Yes!" to one financial decision, they usually don't think about the near infinite options that they just said "No!" or "Maybe next year." or "Later...." to.  They have plenty of people happy to help them spend their money on a feel good home improvement or other feel good purchase.  What we need to do is frame energy conservation as a Feel Good Decision.  

        That insulation?  Won't it Feel Good to know your house will be less drafty and warmer next heating/cooling season?  Won't it Feel Good to know your energy bills will be lower for the foreseeable future?  Won't it Feel Good to know you are being a Good Citizen and doing your part to ensure a better future for Your Country?

        Frame it!  Make it a national priority.  Jimmy Carter in his sweater?  I love it!  Let Congress sweat a little in the summer and shiver a little in the winter.  On their pay they can afford some sweaters!

        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

        by Fabian on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 08:41:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We are probably pretty close on this ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fabian

          I agree on the 'national priority'.  

          I agree that I want this to be a true national priority and a focus on the GWOT / framing the future / etc ...

          I agree ...

          But, in the current environment, unless someone is 'knowledgeable' (and, in general, passionate), these decisions are 'hard' -- for a wide range of issues.

          I have an acquaintance who makes a great point.  He put $45k into solar hot water, solar PV, great insulation, etc ... He has neighbors who put $45k into a new "mud room" ... When storms knock out his power, he's the one who has cold beer and can host people to watch a football game.  But, while the neighbors are starting to move from thinking he is crazy to believing his choices are pretty reasonable, the mud rooms keep going in and not the solar PV ...

          See my comment below about Energy's 3-legged stool of usage patterns (conservation), technology/design (efficiency), and power supply.  

          I would love to see the national emphasis ... would love to see people's behavior change ... but ...

          Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

          by A Siegel on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 08:55:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Replacing inefficient windows? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Devilstower

        Crazy expensive - so hard.

        This is surely the key point to so many people. People who are informed and want to do the right thing and just can't believe how much more expensive it is. We're already crunched by shopping little stores, buying organic, supporting unions, etc - how can we afford renewable roofing materials?

        Thanks for all the work on this. It's very exciting.

  •  Bob Menendez over at Harry Reid blogs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devilstower, A Siegel

    You all might want to login and comment on Senator Bob Menendez' thoughts on energy independence - I posted a note about Energize America.

    •  Thanks for pointing out ... (0+ / 0-)

      I am frustrated, because they evidently want 'real name' or such ... was unable to register as "BesiegedByBush" -- I got the password but then it wouldn't allow me to sign in.

      Among other things, in addition to your EA2020 comment, I wanted to react to something that Menendez wrote about -- which is that he is going to buy carbon offsets for his office's energy use.

      There was a great piece over World Changing about the Energy 3 Rs.  Based on that for materials (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), the Energy 3Rs are:

      When addressing your energy use or climate impacts -- again, whether a household, a business, or a city -- the single most important thing to do is to reduce the overall amount of energy you use -- by purchasing energy-efficient appliances, light bulbs, cars, computers, etc., and by running them as little as necessary.

      Of the energy you do use, purchase as much renewable energy as possible -- whether from a local utility program, by generating your own (say, by installing solar panels), or by using biofuels for your transportation needs.

      Finally, after you've used the least amount of energy [reduce], and the highest possible percentage of renewable energy, you should remedy the climate impacts of the nonrenewable energy you use, by purchasing carbon offsets, perhaps in the form of "green tags."

      The question for Menendez / suggestion is that he bring in an energy auditor -- with perhaps some reporters along -- to find out what he and his staff can do to reduce their office energy use (both on the Hill and back in the district), and then use office funds to pursue a more energy efficient working environment.

      9/11/05, Day 1469, A count worth keeping? Or, Osama Bin Forgotten?

      by besieged by bush on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 07:08:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You might want to join the RAEL list (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devilstower, Jawis

    This is a list run out of Lawrence Berkeley Lab that discusses alternative energy, among other subjects.  It is for academic researchers and policy makers.  If you are interested, you can email Annette Loveless at LBL and ask whether she considers the list open to you.

    I find it enormously informative.

    This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone might be proud of us.

    by marthature on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 08:30:11 AM PDT

  •  LEVs have a critical role to play (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devilstower, rapala, A Siegel

    Light weight electric vehicles such as electric assist bicycles and fully enclosed trikes called velomobiles have a critical role to play in replacing cars with the most efficient transportation machines every invented.

    here is a photo of the aero rider, an LEV human electric hybrid. It can easily do 25-30 mph for 30 miles.

    I wrote a diary about it here

    •  'No silver bullet' principle ... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Devilstower, Plan9, dwcal, Fabian, Jawis

      Is a critical part of the entire discussion.

      Your diary was great (read it last night) and I agree that this offers intriguing possibilities -- of importance.  

      But ... but ... but ... I am not sure that I buy into the "critical role" argument ... especially in the near term.  

      Energy is a three-legged stool:

      •  Usage patterns (conservation)
      •  Technology / structure (such as passive solar design) being used (efficiency)
      •  Power supply / sources

      Energize America -- consciously -- focuses on the second (push toward efficiency) and third (more efficient/cleaner production of hydrocarbons, drive for lower GHG emissions, and more renewables) with the first not the central factor.

      While Americans could radically reduce energy use through changed usage patterns (from reducing sprawl, moving away from McMansions, walking rather than driving, turning off lights, riding bike rather than driving), we are not seeking to legislate individual choice / action.  While we might 'hope' for people to move toward more energy-wise usage patterns (conservation), the program does not rely on this directly to achieve its goals but seeks to find the path to a more energy efficient and less polluting energy source through the second and third legs of the stool.  

      We seek to provide Americans the same -- actually a far better -- standard of living while using less energy (and polluting less).  

      Now, is it possible (probably) that real national leadership on energy issues, calling on the importance of turning that Hummer from its reckless path over the cliff, would create a national path for (mania even) for conservation and lead to serious usage pattern changes?  Maybe ... maybe even probably ... but the success of EA2020, if enacted, does not rely on that.

      PS:  I am contemplating what it would take for me to get one of these.  My problem is that I bike for small things (like grocery store with kids for that last-minute milk purchase), but that I use my 'work' commute vehicle for picking up children from school/day care.  Obviously, an electric / enclosed bike doesn't fit two car seats and a third child ...

      Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 08:47:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian, A Siegel

        Thanks for the detailed response. I did post in earlier diaries about reducing sprawl, but I see that it's out of scope of EA2020.

        As far as specific means of transportation, I'm a big believer in low-tech because there's so much low-hanging fruit. Motor scooters that get almost 100MPG cost under $2000 new for a high quality Japanese model or under $1000 for a low quality Chinese model. Electric scooters are more limited in range and power, but they're cheaper still. Still, we're talking about so much mental inertia against conservation and austerity, it's a tough battle. Americans are addicted to comfort. If you suggest stepping outside from their air-conditioned cars, they'll treat you like Stalin.

        •  Better urban planning ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fabian, lost my password

          is not 'outside the scope' but perhaps outside the ability of dealing with 20 core acts ...

          But, in the long term, would better urban / land planning and land us provide tremendous benefits in multiple ways, including energy use patterns?  Absolutely ...

          Energy Consensus: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

          by A Siegel on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 09:53:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Stalin doesn't want you to get laid more (0+ / 0-)

          I do, and I think that's the promise of electric assist bikes.

          Electric power for comfort and speed and range, plus a moderate amount of exercise to keep you in shape and ward off the depression of being sedentary.

          Do you remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry thought only like %5 of the population was dateable? We are way to fat in this country, and it has a lot to do with cars. By working a little bit of physical exertion into our everday lives alot more people will feel alot better about themselves.

        •  I have researched the mopeds and electric scooter (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          and I keep coming back to the electric assist bike. You cant beat it as far as price, range and ability to move it on your own power in case of power outage.

          Why is an electric bike better than an electric scooter or small electric car? it all comes down to weight. Bikes have advanced very much in technology and the weight has reallly come down. Modern road bikes can only weight 15-20 pounds. It just takes less energy to move a rider plus 20 pounds plus motor and batter weight (35 pounds total) than it does to move a rider plus a 300 pound scooter or 1000 pound electric car.

      •  thank you for your thoughtful reply (0+ / 0-)

        perhaps I am a bit over optimistic about the possibility for electric assist bikes (human-electric hybrids) in replacing car usage, but I dont know, I feel it has amazing potential. If electric bikes could replace 15-20$ of car trips, well that would be monumental, and I think it is a modest goal. I liken this to what Jerome says about adopting wind power, we could do 10-20% without large scale changes to infrastructure.

        In regards to technology (efficiency) improvements vs changing usage patterns, I understand why it is important to focus on that. My thinking on the velomobile and pehaps I didnt explain it properly is that it falls into the efficieny category and not the usage pattern category completely. I believe it only requires modest changes in usage patterns.

        I say this because I look at it as a very small one person electric car, with human power for good measure. It is a point-to-point individual vehicle, requires no new infrastructure (just new uses for existing infrastructure) and maintains the individual freedom to go where you want to go when you want to go and the way you want to go there. I believe it allows us work with existing moderate density housing/development.

        The only changes in usage patterns are:

        speed (trip takes twice as long, assuming no traffic and ample parking for a car which is usually not the case)

        range (most trips are within the LEVs range)

        passengers (I would imagine a couple going to the same place would ride their own, like two people traveling together with motorcycles, same for trips with the kids, for 2 babies trailers are great)

        That is why I felt it to be so revolutionary, it can maintain the status quo to a large degree, just scale back the energy usage by a factor of 20 at the expense of a little human effort.

        As far as the two car seats go, on the market right now are 2 child bike trailers, and I see people towing their kids around on them in my town all the time. The only argument against this is safety, and that is only because of cars, not bikes.

        So in summary I think the potential here is great, sure it wont work for everyone all the time, just anywhere from 20-90% of trips :) And  I feel it requires only modest changes in usage patterns, changes I believe we will have to make in order to avert climate disaster.

        Which leads me to my biggest question about Energize America, which I absolutely love and support %100, is it bold enough to avert irreversible global warming, because clearly it is the most bold plan laid out for America in mainstream politics today, but is it enough?n Or are large sea level rises all but inevitable?

        •  Another thought (2+ / 0-)

          Between this comment and your other comment above, I realized you can't just sell it in a practical way. Like it or not, cars are fashion statements. They're fashion statements in more ways than you can imagine. Driving certain cars can mean you're gay, you're WT, you're Asian, you're a senior citizen, etc. I know this sounds like stereotyping, but it's really the way people think. I'm being very superficial here. A real marketing analyst could deconstruct the car and truck market in so many ways.

          You have to appeal to people's vanity and fashion in some way. Hummers are cool. Harleys are cool. A Segway is a dorky looking chariot that's barely faster than a bicycle. See what I mean? We need a better celebrity poster child than Ed Begley Jr. George Clooney is getting there.

        •  More than rising sea levels (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fabian, lost my password

          The studies I've seen predict a pretty modest rise in sea levels over the next hundred years, although they'll keep rising beyond that.

          What worries me more in the shorter term are changing climate patterns. Previously inhabitable land becomes uninhabitable. Productive farmland becomes less productive. More extreme hurricanes because of warmer oceans. This will cause massive displacements of populations and the inevitable resource wars.

        •  Is it too late? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Cunctator, lost my password

          The answer returns to what is "late"?  Or, should I type, "late for what"?  

          We are already seeing global environmental change from carniverous polar bears to melting glaciers to dying coral reefs to ...

          Thus, no matter what steps we take as individuals, in communities, as a nation, across the world, we are "too late" ...

          We face a crisis ... our "averting the crisis" is simply in terms of how bad it is / will get ...

          Does EA2020 do everything?  Does it solve the problem?  I do not think that any of those involved would assert yes.  On the other hand, it provides a structured policy, programmatic framework that will enable turning from the reckless rush into disaster toward a better future.  And, I would assert, as EA2020 programs prove successful, there could be a momentum effect which would drive even greater improvements than what we postulate in the program today.  

          With assured markets, what new technologies might emerge on mass scale?  With a national focus on energy issues, will 'conservation' because a leading ethos?  Both quite possible ... EA2020 seeks to turn to a better path but, as part of this, to create a path that opens opportunities / doors for even better solutions in the future.

          PS:  As a small example, we had over for a few days a friend's child.  In the back seat, one day, this girl turned to my daughter and said: "I can't wait until I grow up so I can have a limosine." Without a pause, my daughter's response: "I wouldn't want one, it would use too much gas."  If all Americans responded that way, that would change the nation ... and the world.

          9/11/05, Day 1469, A count worth keeping? Or, Osama Bin Forgotten?

          by besieged by bush on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 11:44:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  So -- How to make electric bikes 'cool'? (0+ / 0-)

          Especially in an era where rich kids drive ever bigger cars to school? (Maybe this becomes 'cool', in part, by charging big-time for high-school kids to have a parking spot while banning street parking near the school ... but providing free parking for their Tandem enclosed, electric assist bicycles ...)

          What are the factors that move this from an amusing oddity to an accepted and large part of the urban / suburban(that is where it would fit) transportation environment?

          I don't know how to get from here to there ...

          In part because, $1k for a bike?  $7k for an enclosed bike?  That just sounds like a lot ... doesn't it?

          9/11/05, Day 1469, A count worth keeping? Or, Osama Bin Forgotten?

          by besieged by bush on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 12:22:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it has to become cool no doubt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            that is good advice.

            As far as price goes $700 for an electric bike is a steal! A decent road bike these days costs as least that much, most between 1000-2000 and thats moderate entry level for people who like the sport. And those people buy it just for sport, not for primary means of transportation. Many people purchase bikes upwards of 3,000 and some go for 5,000 to 7,000, without electric power.

            The 7K for the enclosed one will come down considerably as production increases, we are talking small time manufacturing here and in the early stages of that. Even so because they are so unique almost all that are purchased are paid for almost entirely through advertising.

            The more important question is how much do our cars cost... the cost to own an entry level car for a driver with good insurance who drives an average distance a year is at least 7,000 dollars, that doesnt include the costs of roads, pollution etc etc etc... It definitely doesnt include the cost of the lives of the 44,000 people killed each year in car accidents.

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