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Between 1999 and November 2009, Ohio lost 418,000 manufacturing jobs. And for a long time, well before the recession, Ohio's unemployment rate was higher than the nation's. At 9.4 percent, it still is, but improvement is on the way. And green energy is one reason.

Ohio is one of the many states—targeted by Republicans for whom anything green is a red flag—that has a renewable energy standard. Three years ago, Ohio mandated that, by 2025, 12.5 percent of electricity sold in the state must come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Another 12.5 percent must come from alternatives, such as nuclear power, natural gas and so-called "clean coal." That's going to be an uphill climb since currently Ohio only has 10 megawatts of installed wind-power operations and a little more than that in solar power. A single coal-fired plant typically has a rated capacity 600 megawatts or more.

But there's movement in the right direction in Ohio thanks to operations like Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co., the maker of bolts for wind turbines visited by Barack Obama two years ago just days before his inauguration. That visit was the first of many that the President has made throughout the country—mostly in the Midwest—to tout what is the closest thing the country has to an industrial plan: public investment in green manufacturing and related projects.

In the $800 billion stimulus package, $90 billion was appropriated for this: investments in residential weatherization, public transportation, innovation and manufacturing. Since then, there have been many complaints that most of the money has arrived too slowly, and that the jobs this investment was supposed to create have been too paltry.

The reality is that fully revving up green manufacturing will require many years of public and private investment. And as much as it galls deficit hawks, it will require a great deal more than $90 billion from Washington. The Chinese government is putting $738 billion into green energy alone over the next decade. That's in addition to the vast amounts it's putting into new and rebuilt infrastructure, including modern public transportation.

The environmental benefits of green investment speak for themselves. Less carbon dioxide will be flung into the atmosphere, less toxic waste will be produced, in short, there will be reduced impacts all around. But the impact that gets too little media attention—and then, usually, it's negative—is the long-term impact on jobs.

Cardinal Fastener is one small success story. As Maria Galucci at SolveClimate relates, by adding wind-turbine manufacturers to the list of buyers it sells its hot-forged bolts to, the company has been able to double its revenue in less than four years and add 25 workers to its 40-employee payroll.

The company's bolts will be used in the 55 turbines built by Vestas, the Danish wind manufacturing giant, for a 99-megawatt wind farm in northwestern Ohio by developer Paulding Wind Farm II LLC, a subsidiary of Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy.

The fastener maker also works with nearly 15 other turbine builders, including Gamesa SA, a prominent Spanish firm, in addition to more than 100 global suppliers involved in the fabrication, transportation, construction and maintenance of the some 8,000 parts needed to build wind turbines.

Much like Cardinal Fastener, Ohio's 21,250 manufacturing companies are well positioned to add the clean energy supply chain to their traditional client base of automotive, aerospace and original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, industries. …
"We make a lot of stuff that goes into stuff—gears, transmissions, breaks, sheet metal," said Scott Miller, director of energy and environment programs at Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Affairs. "A lot of that always went into the automotive sector, but these days those are the exact same components that go into a wind turbine."

Miller contributed to a February report by the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) ranking Ohio as the No. 2 state for wind turbine manufacturing behind California.

ELPC spokesperson Peter Gray said: "We're trying to show in realistic terms what green jobs and renewable energy means, specifically in the Midwest ... and especially in the supply chain, which sometimes gets overlooked."

The study highlights firms such as the century-old Cincinnati Gearing System, a precision gear and transmission maker that now directs nearly 25 percent of its business to demand for wind turbine engines. Crown Battery, an 80-year-old battery manufacturing facility outside of Toledo, added storage products for wind and solar energy systems to its production line in 2009.

Except for earmarked projects they can put their names on, most Republicans (and some Democrats) view public investment in anything that doesn't have a military purpose as anathema, un-American. In fact, without government subsidies and innovation funded by public monies, the U.S. economy would never have been as successful as it was.

Politicians, both the myopic and the malicious, together with their billionaire patrons, seek to do all they can to keep us on the dead-end path set for us by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago. Unless our smarter, more progressive leaders commit to vast sums for green investment and combine this public money with green policies, the economic deterioration plaguing us now will worsen, along with the environment.

Some will argue that now is not the time because the House of Representatives is in the hands of the most anti-environment, pro-oligarchy crew in more than a century. They will say the President isn't bold enough. Funny how our enemies never stop trying to accomplish their agenda because they are told it's impossible.  Do you suppose their unwillingness to surrender despite the odds is what has made them so successful?

The Green Diary Rescue, which appears every Saturday, begins below and continues in the jump.

Climate Change

Bill McKibben  explained how Glenn Beck Is Coming After 350.org: "This past Friday evening, Glenn Beck spent his program explaining about a "communistic" conspiracy that included 10 groups in America. One was 350.org, a global campaign to fight climate change that I helped found three years ago. He even put our logo up on his whiteboard - and next to it a hammer and sickle. Say this for Glenn Beck, he works fast. Less than 48 hours after we launched our campaign to let businesses say that the US Chamber of Commerce didn't represent them, Beck hit back. A true friend of Chamber (here's a picture of him, broadcasting from their roof; certainly worth the $10,000 he donated from his $32 million earnings), he put little old 350.org up on his board Friday night next to a hammer and sickle."

photo World Bank Action—London:
Free us from fossil fuels’ demands climate chain gang

boatsie reported on Fossil Fools: World Bank Day of Action: "Today is the International Day of action against the World Bank's ongoing and increasing funding of fossil fuels, and photos are streaming in from rallies in  London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Johannesburg and other cities across the globe. And as the United States waits—jittery prisoners, all, of learned helplessness and collective ennui—for the vast right wing climate denial machine to shoot down funding for the EPA, with threats of a government shutdown hovering over our amygdala-heavy heads,  the Sierra Club provides We, America's armchair eco ranters, with an online hyperlinked primer of  tools for virtual engagement. Replete with samples you can just cut and paste and a petition right on the same page if 1 click away is just too demanding of you."

logo photo credit: Sean Dreilinger

DWG write about how the EPA director mocks Fox News: "EPA director Lisa Jackson chided Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, the parent of our beloved Fox News, for its double-talk on the value of lowering carbon emissions. News Corp. announced in 2007 that it was "going carbon neutral." Yesterday, Murdoch announced that it achieved that goal and it was good for business."

And about Wine grapes as canaries in the climate coal mine: "Global warming sucks. You have to put up with ridiculous heat waves, intensification of precipitation events, disruption of the hydrological cycle, droughts, ocean acidification, and adaptive stresses on plants and animals. … Good wine makes it all somewhat more tolerable or at least forgettable. But now comes more depressing news, this time from Bordeaux."

And one more diary, this on Nuking global warming: "Luke Oman, a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, has long been fascinated by the potential effects of extreme events on climate. His latest adventure in extreme modeling involves looking at the climate response to the particulate matter ejected into the upper atmosphere from a regional nuclear war. Given political instability in a few known and aspiring nuclear powers, the scenario is not as far-fetched as it should be. However, the broader implications relate to potential engineered solutions to climate change from unrestrained use of carbon energy. Oman and his colleagues just presented the models at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The good news is that aerosols and particulates would drastically cut global warming for up to a decade."

In a novel thesis, Disraeli explained what he sees as connections between Global Warming and the Arab Spring: "With the usual caveat that individual events can never be definitively attributed to climate change, this severe weather is exactly what the science predicts will occur with increasing frequency as the world warms. Climate change and its impact on weather are of course insufficient on their own to 'cause' conflict, let alone on the scale now occurring in the Arab world. But it has been a threat multiplier, as suggested in numerous reports and policy documents (including last year's US Quadrennial Defense Review), in the sense that it was a necessary component of any number of possible scenarios, each of them sufficient to have led to the sort of unrest we are witnessing."

Oke compiled a Climate Change News Roundup - Silent Screams: "In the past couple of weeks I've had people back in Iowa telling me they've seen robins already this year, posting joyously on their Facebook walls that the red-breasted winged ones are back. This has always been a cause to exhale and acknowledge that another winter has been survived, that the worst of winter is generally behind. Learning of the robins' premature arrival I thought of 'silent screams' because in essence that is what it is. The winged ones are telling us that things have changed--their behavior change is screaming a message few care to observe or listen to. Birds are one of the best studied groups of animals and the data on their changing patterns has accumulated in large numbers all around the globe."

Green Policy & Philosophy

Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse deplored how Racists Blame Immigrants For Eco Destruction And GHG Emissions: "What do you do if you are a racist who fears an overpopulation of 'illegal immigrants' will take over America because they are 'simply more fertile?'  If you are the writer of these words, John Tanton, you create a network of organizations to try to fool environmentalists into supporting opposition of immigration on your unsubstantiated theory that  overpopulation from immigration is responsible for destruction of environmental resources and GHG emissions. Using 'environmentalism' as your cover for racist policies, you then enlist the assistance of 'mainstream media outlets' that generally don’t mention your 'bigotry and racism' and try to obtain further 'legitimacy' by having your officials testify before Congress."

Growthbuster linked us to the Top 10 Population Essays: "Yesterday brought the official end to Global Population Speak Out 2011, but clearly the chorus needs to keep on singing. I’ve been focusing on the population side of the sustainability equation during the Speak Out, but we need to be raising awareness of other ingredients for our civilization to achieve sustainability. I look forward to once again digging into other topics, like economic growth and consumerism."

dnpvd0111 argued that Population Size Is Directly Related To Global Warming Gas Emissions.

jimstaro gave us the skinny Another Green World with UNEP Report: "We are now not only following others lead, or some are trying to, and some leading now are so called third world countries, we have a whole political ideology trying to hang onto what has made the few very wealthy and locking the brakes on what we once were, all for those very few with that ever growing wealth as they refuse to invest!"

Fred SiegmundOil Spills and Capitalism: "Capitalists complain government is wasteful, inefficient and bureaucratic when private firms have the incentive to minimize costs to compete with other firms. Minimizing costs also means ignoring the environmental safety precautions that Congress and the public wants in the leases, and also working to reduce enforcement. Oil leases are usually discussed as an example of capitalism, but the continental shelf is the public domain as much as the Washington Monument and Yellowstone Park. Capitalism requires private ownership with transactions exclusively between private parties, not the government. When the government contracts with firms in the construction industry to build roads or drill oil, the buyer side of the transaction is the government."

Agriculture, Gardening & Food

World Food Prices hit all time High World's Poorest on edge of survival, Lefty Coaster lamented : "There are a number of factors at work here. Fed Policy is just one. Climate Change is probably what literally burned much of Russia's wheat harvest halting Russian exports. Opportunistic speculators amplifying the jump in commodity prices. It's difficult for most Americans to imagine that the record prices of staples is forcing millions of parents to make the stark choice between them eating or their children eating."

In a warning diary, Jill Richardson asked, Hate HFCS? Pretty Soon, You Might Not Know You're Eating It (ACTION): "The Corn Refiners Association, no doubt upset by the consumer backlash against high fructose corn syrup, has a simple solution to their problem. They want to rename HFCS 'corn sugar.'"

43north discussed Poverty and Politics, The Theatre of Food: "Let me begin with saying Tom Vilsack, as Secretary of Agriculture is as-admired as Mike Espy, for having the political gonads to make a principled stand on issues.  He's done a great deal for pushing farm initiatives down to the small-farmer level, often through USDA National Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency programs.
For too many years, ALL the money has gone to the huge Agri-Business corporations."

In another installment of Macca's Meatless Monday, beach babe in fl declared that ...quinoa is the answer: "Quinoa ia an ancient grain grown primarily for its seeds. It originated in South America where it was considered sacred by the Incas. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights. Quinoa is perfect for a meatless diet and considered one of the healthiest foods on Earth."

NourishingthePlanet gave us the inside story on Siwa Dates: A Chewy Treat in the Desert Heat: "For three thousand years, the farmers of the Siwa Oasis along the western edge of Egypt have been taking advantage of the abundance of water in the desert to grow siwa dates. Despite its isolation by the hundreds of miles of desert, bountiful surplus has fueled trade with Bedouin nomads and Mediterranean urbanity. Three varieties of dates are planted, including the Ghazaal, the Takdat, and Amnzou.  Most people are only familiar with dried dates, a step necessary for preservation if the fruit is exported.  Fresh dates however are drastically different with a taste and texture similar to an apple."

In Tales from the Larder, Patric Juillet discussed another grain Tales from the Larder: Wilder Rice: " This is the fourth and last installment on this fantastic grain: the wild aquatic grass called zinzania from which wild rice is derived is no relation to the rice plant, not even a distant cousin. Basically, it's a cereal grain that grows 'wild' in isolated lake and riverbed areas of North America. It is also native to ecologically similar regions in Asia. Amazingly, this evolutionarily ancient grain has been found in layers of the earth dating back some 12,000 years! In addition to its role as an important food staple for ancestral peoples, it has provided a unique habitat for fish and waterfowl for thousands of years, an ecosystem of its own right."

Frankenoid was up early with Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 7.2: "I ask you, is there anything better than that first day of gardening each season, when the sky is a beautiful robin-egg blue, the sun is warm on your skin yet the air is still cool? Here in Denver, that first day isn't necessarily the first mid-60s day of the year; indeed, the first mid-60s day usually occurs some time in late January or early February."

Animals

ban nock reported that the Eastern Cougar Is Extinct:"As of Wednesday the Eastern Cougar, a subspecies of the regular cougar became extinct. Proving once again that the pen is mightier than a hunters bullet of a speeding SUV the once wide ranging cat was struck down by a scientific decision."

DSC_1394
lineatus was out for the Dawn Chorus in Haywire: "We were supposed to be heading to Elkhorn Slough and Big Sur yesterday, but with a forecast calling for rain, and possibly snow levels down to 100 feet, we reconsidered.  This is coastal California and we're just not wired for birding in the cold.  And I was really not relishing the drive down Highway 1 to Big Sur with the potential for snow or ice on that curvy road.  Well, maybe third time will be the charm. So I stayed home, got a bunch of things done, then rewarded myself with a few hours at Hayward Shoreline."

fblau also gave us some wonderful Bird Photos of the Week:


Great Blue Heron

There was more bird-watching by tgypsy in This land is our land - Colusa NWR and Gray Lodge WA, California

Turkey Vulture
Public Land & The Great Outdoors

RLMiller reported that eco-guerrilla Tim DeChristopher, Bidder 70, was convicted: "After deliberating five hours, a federal jury in Salt Lake City, Utah has convicted Tim DeChristopher on two felony counts. DeChristopher, 'Bidder 70,' bid in December 2008 on Bush administration midnight auctions of oil and gas leases near Arches National Park in Utah. The judge severely limited DeChristopher's defenses of necessity and stopping of a higher crime both before and during the trial."

Phil Radford II Greenpeace also wrote about DeChristopher, arguing that heShould be Free. Arrest the Real Criminals.: "'I’ll join you.' That’s what the large crowd of supporters shouted back after hearing the announcement of Tim DeChristopher’s guilty verdict yesterday. After a week-long trial accompanied by a week-long solidarity rally, Tim DeChristopher, a modern American hero, was found guilty of two felonies for entering winning bids for the rights to thousands of acres near two national parks in Utah. DeChristopher could face up to 10 years in prison."

Sandy on Signal introduced a new series with a diary on Moccasin Bend National Archaeological Park - Saving the Cracker Line photo diary: "The new National Archaeological Moccasin Bend Park offered a hike with Chickamauga National Battlefield's Park Ranger and Historian, Jim Ogden, who told us about the Civil War battles that were fought from this point and how the heavy bombardments changed the course for Chattanooga and ultimately the whole war. This is one part in the Park's rich history which includes over 10,000 years of Native American heritage from the Paleo-Indian Period to the Trail of Tears.  Over the next year, I will share those tours with everybody."

Photobucketblueyedace2 went on a Snowshoe Sunday Afternoon: "I spent a good part of this afternoon snowshoeing around the Rydell property in the Town of Menasha Wisconsin. I posted another photo diary from the same location last month. This time was a bit different as we got about three inches last night on top of the foot or so we got last Sunday night…"

notdarkyet has some words to say about  his pet peeve in Can’t See The Forest for the Fees: "Since the inception of the Recreation Enhancement Act 'experimental fee program,' charging for hiking in the National Forests, I have not gone hiking in many areas in the Verde Valley, Arizona that I used to love to go to. Especially around Sedona. You can not hike anywhere near Sedona without buying a Red Pock Pass. And that includes just parking your car on the side of the road to look for more than fifteen minutes. Then, there are other trails and state parks in Sedona that charge a separate fee to hike those areas.  Well no more. At least for part of it. This decision came down last year in Federal Court."

Transportation

disrael had some tough words in You Complain About No Jobs, Out of Control Banks and War But You Still Drive a Gas Car: "Americans and maybe humans in general reject the idea that our population or desire for physical resources has any effect on us or the world.  Without this connection between cause and effect no governance is possible.  We can only squabble over what is considered a limitless bounty.  But how necessary is oil?"

Inkberries was none-too-happy with the chief executive of Florida, as he explained in Gov. Scott: You Just Turned Down High-Speed Rail, What Are You Going To Do Next?: "Gov. Scott claims to be the king of 'bringing business to Florida' and is the self-proclaimed 'Let's Get To Work' guy, so you would think this would be an obvious step in the right direction for Florida. Not to mention moving tourists from point A to point B in the state via high-speed rail, especially those from countries with high-speed rail who have their choice of Orlando vs. some attractive tourism destinations on the Continent, but who must rent cars or take buses from Orlando to visit Florida's beaches."

change the Be discussed L.A. — Politics, Bicycles, and the Mayor: "We're an increasingly feisty group of folks. It's mind-numbingly frustrating to visit cities like Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Berlin, Portland, or any of the other countless cities that integrate bikes into their infrastructure, then come back to L.A., where everyone complains about driving but won't stop doing it. Though LA is hardly a Manila or Bangkok in terms of road congestion, it's still quite dangerous for bikers. A cab hit the mayor, resulting in a broken arm. And thus we begin our tale."

Muskegon Critic has a bike, too, but it's not the kind with pedals, as he related in Our Second Vehicle Gets 110 MPG: "Now....if you're wondering "Why not public transit...or a bike?" I'll tells ya why...the nearest bus stop is about 1.5 miles away. And work is about 6 miles away, through some fairly heavy traffic areas on 35mph to 45mph streets that have no shoulders...and the route passes over a highway, through exit ramps. So going 35mph with the flow of traffic is important.  Sadly...many cities aren't set up very well for bikes. Also...the lady works retail and can't be sweaty when she gets there."

Energy

Muskegon Critics was glad to hear about how a Michigan State Report Shows Renewable Energy Beats Coal on Price: "The rhetorical walls are closing in on opponents to renewable energy. Michigan recently issued a report on its 2008 renewable energy mandates. Renewables not only cost significantly less than coal from a new coal power plant, but they are cheaper to implement than originally estimated in 2008. When compared to the cost of electricity from new coal plants, renewable resources turn out to be as much as 26% CHEAPER than electricity from a new coal plant. The average wind power price per KwH is 24% cheaper than electricity from a new coal plant."

Yasuragi continued the long-running Gulf Watchers series with Feinberg (Finally) Meets with Louisiana Tribes - BP Catastrophe AUV #480: "Even before oil began spewing into the Gulf of Mexico last spring, Louisiana's American Indian fishing villages were on the brink of collapse because of social change and the dramatic loss of coastal wetlands. Now, Indians who've known nothing but fishing all their lives find their futures tied to the man handing out checks for damages, paid from a multibillion-dollar fund started after the April 20 gulf spill."

perspera wrote a Gulf Watchers diary, too, Gulf Watchers Wednesday - BP Partner Gets 1st Deepwater Drilling Permit - BP Catastrophe AUV #481: "BP owns nearly half of the company, Noble, who has received the first deepwater drilling permit issued since the Macondo blowout. Tragically the link goes to Reuters, not The Onion. BP has repeatedly demonstrated that they are thoroughly incapable of operating anything without slaughtering their own workers, poisoning their neighbors and trashing the environment. "

As did Lorinda Pike, The Drilling Clock is Ticking - BP Catastrophe AUV #482: "Among the items in this round-up — 'Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar says the agency will comply after a federal judge's ruling that the agency must decide on five deepwater drilling applications within thirty days, although he believes the ruling is wrong.'"

Christian Dem in NC let us know that the Upper Big Branch security chief charged with lying to investigators: "The first criminal charges have been handed up in the Upper Big Branch investigation.  The mine's head of security has been charged with lying to the FBI and MSHA: 'Hughie Elbert Stover, chief of security at the Upper Big Branch mine and at two other Massey operations, was indicted on charges of making false statements to federal agents and obstructing a federal investigation by trying to dispose of key documents. The indictment, returned last week by a federal grand jury in Charleston, W.Va., was unsealed Monday after Stover was arrested at his home.' Stover reportedly told security guards to alert miners when federal inspectors were on the way, and lied about doing so."

LaFeminista was one of several diarists to discuss frigging fracking in Hydrofracking could be dangerous! Well you could knock me down with a feather!: "I'm always surprised when we rush off screaming hallelujah we are saved but haven't spent a few minutes working out what the impact might be, you know what to do about the muck we create. Dammit there is money in them thar shales! Hell its easier than thinking. ... but oh wait ... the EPA can't keep up ...l ets make sure and slash its budget some more as the energy lobby assures us this will not effect their ability to regulate only their ability to harass god fearing polluters."

Steven D wrote that Fracked Water Is Not Fit to Drink: "Good old hydrofracking.  You know about it right? It's the method to produce natural gas by fracturing rock formations with millions of gallons of water and toxic chemicals.  It's been contaminating groundwater in the Western US for many years and now it is being pursued with a vengeance in the East, particularity with respect to the Marcellus Shale formation that extends across Pennsylvania and New York. Everyone in the know has warned us for years that hydrofracking was highly dangerous to sources of groundwater used for human consumption.  But only now are we being told how much worse is that contamination of our water supplies."

Statusquomustgo wondered if Arkansas earthquakes are due to fracking disposal.

And MackInTheBox discussed the problem in his state in Toxic water, Buried Ledes.: "Radioactivity assays at Pennsylvania drinking water intake facilities are apparently done only at intervals of 6-9 years or so. Therefore in many cases the most recent testing was performed prior to the current drilling boom. New rounds of testing for radioactive contaminants are producing disturbing results. 'We simply can’t keep up,' said one inspector with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection who was not authorized to speak to reporters. 'There’s just too much of the waste.' 'If we’re too hard on them,' the inspector added, “the companies might just stop reporting their mistakes.'"

Dry Observer had Some Further Thoughts on the Saudi Figures — Export Collapse: "First, to be clear, the 14% drop in global oil production in December represented a net drop by producers totaling 90% of world production. The only hopeful news out of that drop is that OPEC only fell 2%, owing to the Saudi reduction in exports, and that the crashing nations, supposedly mostly in Latin America, did not have that far to fall and hence can not reduce net global production much further, no matter how badly their fields may go. But..."

techno asked if the oil price rise is inflationary or deflationary?: "Nothing.  NOTHING! disrupts the global economy faster than rising oil prices.  The reason is simple — oil (in its many refined manifestations) is the specified fuel for a host of critical applications. This isn't an 'addiction' (with all the BS that word inspires) this is an industrial specification. Turn off the oil and the global economy grinds to a halt. Without a massive rebuilding of the oil-fueled infrastructure so it could run on some other energy source, there is literally no escaping the need for oil."

ekyprogressive deplored the fact that Kentucky Senators Professed Their Love of Coal: "I guess we should just trust the big coal companies like our state Republicans and Democrats want us to do. I mean, it's not like they have ever been caught lying to the people or putting their own interests above the safety and health of the people! "

Congressman John Garamendi made connections to foreign and domestic policy in Electric Current Events: Middle East Revolutions and the Need to Revolutionize American Clean Energy: "Pro-democratic movements in the Middle East are in the midst of their rendezvous with destiny, but America’s destiny can no longer be linked with the fates of dictators, military juntas, and theocratic regimes. We must develop energy independence; we must Make It In America. America must develop a national energy plan that prioritizes the need to (1) Make It In America, (2) transition away from dirty fossil fuels, and (3) secure energy independence. The events unfolding in the Middle East – and subsequent spikes in fuel prices – demonstrate America’s need to transition away from unclean energy from an unstable part of the world."

In Finding Reason for Optimism, A Siegel gave us some new details on solar electricity: "What Secretary of Energy called the 'sunshot' to react to the 21st Century Sputnik moment is ARPA-Es integrated effort to slash the cost of installing solar power.  Solar costs are falling, fast, right now with costs about $3.40 per watt right now split between three areas: the photovoltaiic (PV) modules (about 50%); balance-of-systems (BOS -- think permitting, inspections, installation, sales, etc) (about 40%); and power electronics (about 10% of costs).   The just-formed (January 2011) team is laying out a path to cut solar photovoltaiic (pv) costs -- installed -- to less than $1 per watt leading to levelized-cost of electricity (LCOE) of 5-6 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for industrial installations by 2020.  Achieving this would boost, by 2040, solar PV electricity to over 15 percent of US electricity supply rather than the roughly 2 percent that is likely under 'business as usual' (BAU) scenarios."

dkmich took note that the Feds awarded $8.4 million to help develop batteries for electric vehicles: "The U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium LLC today awarded an $8.4 million development contract to Cobasys LLC in Lake Orion, MI for the development of electric-vehicle lithium-ion battery packs and cells.  In December, it awarded $5.43 million to several advanced-battery companies across the U.S."

ProgressiveLiberal wrote that : "Governor Barbour is accusing President Obama of deliberately allowing gasoline prices to rise. He believes that more drilling in America would somehow have a substantial impact even as we know for a fact that oil is sold on the open markets and oil drilled in our waters would not necessarily be sold in America. Moreover, he refuses to acknowledge the role of blatant speculation on the price of oil. As usual he is attempting to use this current speculative increase in oil prices to force a policy that opens the door for corporations to drill more in the United States to make profits on inexpensive leases that will not have a material effect on our economy or our citizens."

hillgiant complained that, after all these years,Industry is still pursuing wrong biofuel.

Armando gave us some legal background on the high-speed rail controversy FL Supreme Court To Hear Arguments Today On Compelling Rick Scott To Take The Money: "On March 1, 2011, two Florida legislators filed the promised suit challenging Florida Governor Rick Scott's purported rejection of $2.4 billion of federal  high speed rail funds. … The principal arguments are that (1) the Legislature has already appropriated the funds through legislation passed prior to Scott's ascension to the governorship and thus Scott has nothing to say on the matter except in a routine ministerial capacity and (2) Scott's failure to carry out laws duly enacted by the Legislature violate his duty to take care that the laws of the state are faithfully executed."

He followed up with Oral Argument Before FL Supreme Court On Gov. Scott's Refusal To Accept Federal HSR Money: "My personal view is that the main argument that the HSR proponents should have forwarded - that the Governor's acceptance of the federal funds for the HSR project was ministerial in nature (the signing of the agreement with the federal DOT) and that Governor Scott had no discretion to refuse to sign the agreement as Florida law required him to do so - was lost in the mire."

And then commented on the decision in FL Supreme Court Rules Against HSR Proponents: "The reasoning is not explained, but my view is that the Petitioners' failure to explain and argue what Scott needed to do NOW (i.e. - the ministerial act of signing the agreement with the federal DOT as required by Florida law), as opposed to what he might need to do later, was fatal to their Petition. Perhaps a better argument would have yielded the same result, but now we will never know."

Et Cetera

Tracker presented an Intro to Cycling: "I rode my bike everywhere when I was a kid. Around the neighborhood, to school, to do the shopping. We lived in a rather congested suburban neighborhood so there was always plenty of traffic to contend with. I stopped biking pretty much the same day I got my learner's permit. Then in my mid-thirties, disgusted with my weight and overall fitness level, I began shopping for a bike."

mem from somerville took on Bt — a pesticide bombshell?: "Ah, the Fox News question mark, which absolves the author of actually adhering to a statement. But it sucks you in, doesn't it? Let me say straight away, that unless you are from a limited subset of crop eating moths, Bt is unlikely to be a bombshell for you. But if you do have moth genes--perhaps you should beware. There pesticide known as Bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis for the organism source's name, has been known for over 100 years. For decades it has been used safely in both organic and conventional farming. A review paper recently came out that provided a very nice overview of the history and context of Bt, which some here may be interested to read."

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Mar 05, 2011 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by J Town, DK GreenRoots, Warming Wednesdays, and Climate Change News Roundup.

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