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An energy blueprint for our new president: America’s leadership must challenge the status quo

On the day of his inauguration, President-elect Obama will face a world of problems — challenges as daunting as faced by any president in my life. Where does our new leader start to get America moving in the right direction? With an economy in freefall, our addiction to foreign oil deepening, our debt and deficit rising, our relations around the world in tatters, and the worst consequences of global warming looming, he can start with energy.

The way we produce and use energy is a root cause of all these problems, and bold and revolutionary change is needed to secure our energy future.

Here is what our federal government and our state leaders can do to spark that next industrial revolution. We urgently need a foundation to revive our economy and secure the future of the world’s children.

A five-point plan
Fresh Energy’s five-point game plan is fully aligned with Obama’s energy and climate platform. He will need all the help he can get to curb the power of fossil fuel industry, the most powerful vested interest on the planet. Congress and the American voters must refocus to get America working again, end our addiction to oil altogether, regain a place of respect and cooperation among the nations of the world, and begin to cut our emissions of global warming pollutants, beginning now, with steady and deep cuts over decades.

A new energy economy for America is the only strategy that addresses all these serious problems at the same time.

• Rebuild America’s economy with new energy technology and transportation infrastructure, creating millions of jobs in a low-carbon energy revolution, in part by providing a strong federal stimulus plan.

• Kick the oil habit, forever ending America’s dependence on oil by shifting to electricity and low-carbon biofuels and using land more efficiently, building public transit and transportation systems that don’t rely on oil.

• End coal pollution with new rules stopping construction of conventional coal plants and phasing out reliance on existing coal plants.

• Put a price on pollution by regulating global warming emissions in a way that will benefit everyone.

• Cut tailpipe emissions as a way to jumpstart automotive innovation and save gas immediately, getting the federal government out of the way of states that have taken the lead.

Energy matters. And fresh thinking can turn this economy around, create millions of green jobs, and keep America’s promise to its children to protect them and provide them the brightest future possible.

Michael Noble is executive director of Fresh Energy, a nonprofit organization whose efforts focus on clean energy, transportation connections, global warming solutions and energy justice. This article originally appeared in Energy Matters, the organization’s quarterly publication.

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 12/22/2008 - 08:56 am.

    “Kick the oil habit, forever ending America’s dependence on oil by shifting to electricity and low-carbon biofuels and using land more efficiently, building public transit and transportation systems that don’t rely on oil.”

    Please expand, with some specifics on transperation fuels and vehicle technologies, please, Mr. Noble.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/22/2008 - 10:08 am.

    It’s “fresh thinking” time, Bob!

    We’re all going to fly to work in communal “citizen transporters” (powered by “Mr. Fusion”), and when our work quotas are fulfilled (“The ragstock rehabilitation department reports an increase of 6% today!) we’ll be whisked back to our sustainable urban living units and tuck into steaming bowls of rainbow stew, garnished with free cheese.

    Quit asking silly questions and get with the program.

  3. Submitted by myles spicer on 12/22/2008 - 11:17 am.

    OPEC has been pretty adept at keeping the price point of oil at a high enough level to make enorous profits…but low enough to not create a disincentive to use less (in other words, to dissuade us from creating alternative fuels).

    We could use the same techique to our advantage. Continue to use oil more efficiently (and use less); yet keep the price of gasoline high enough to a) move the auto industry to create new technologies and b)provide resources to rebuild our transportation infrastructure. We could do it by placing a tax on gas to keep the retail price at a moderately and artificially high level (say $3.00/gal). The tax would be variable between the market price of gas and $3.00 — the difference being a tax. This would be a win win for the governement to rebuild our roads; continued consewrvation; and a disincentive to continue to use fossil fuels.

  4. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 12/22/2008 - 11:20 am.

    As long as no actual rainbows were injured or killed in making the stew, I’m in!

    Happy Hanahhaka, Swifty.

  5. Submitted by david granneman on 12/22/2008 - 02:18 pm.

    hello all

    U.S. Senate Minority Report Update: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims
    December 11, 2008

    Posted by Marc Morano – 9:30 AM EST – Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.GOV

    U. S. Senate Minority Report:

    More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims

    Scientists Continue to Debunk “Consensus” in 2008

    Link to Full Printable PDF Report

    Over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernemntal Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore. This new 231-page U.S. Senate Minority Report report — updated from 2007’s groundbreaking report of over 400 scientists who voiced skepticism about the so-called global warming “consensus” — features the skeptical voices of over 650 prominent international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN IPCC. This updated report includes an additional 250 (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the initial release in December 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

    The chorus of skeptical scientific voices grow louder in 2008 as a steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, analyses, real world data and inconvenient developments challenged the UN and former Vice President Al Gore’s claims that the “science is settled” and there is a “consensus.” On a range of issues, 2008 proved to be challenging for the promoters of man-made climate fears. Promoters of anthropogenic warming fears endured the following: Global temperatures failing to warm; Peer-reviwed studies predicting a continued lack of warming; a failed attempt to revive the discredited “Hockey Stick”; inconvenient developments and studies regarding CO2; the Sun; Clouds; Antarctica; the Arctic; Greenland; Mount Kilimanjaro; Hurricanes; Extreme Storms; Floods; Ocean Acidification; Polar Bears; lack of atmosphieric dust; the failure of oceans to warm and rise as predicted.

    In addition, the following developments further secured 2008 as the year the “consensus” collapsed. Russian scientists “rejected the very idea that carbon dioxide may be responsible for global warming”. An American Physical Society editor conceded that a “considerable presence” of scientific skeptics exist. An International team of scientists countered the UN IPCC, declaring: “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate”. India Issued a report challenging global warming fears. International Scientists demanded the UN IPCC “be called to account and cease its deceptive practices,” and a canvass of more than 51,000 Canadian scientists revealed 68% disagree that global warming science is “settled.”

    This new report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s office of the GOP Ranking Member is the latest evidence of the growing groundswell of scientific opposition challenging significant aspects of the claims of the UN IPCC and Al Gore. Scientific meetings are now being dominated by a growing number of skeptical scientists. The prestigious International Geological Congress, dubbed the geologists’ equivalent of the Olympic Games, was held in Norway in August 2008 and prominently featured the voices of scientists skeptical of man-made global warming fears. [See Full report Here: & see: Skeptical scientists overwhelm conference: ‘2/3 of presenters and question-askers were hostile to, even dismissive of, the UN IPCC’ ]

    Even the mainstream media has begun to take notice of the expanding number of scientists serving as “consensus busters.” A November 25, 2008 article in Politico noted that a “growing accumulation” of science is challenging warming fears, and added that the “science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation.” Canada’s Financial Post noted on October 20, 2008, that “the number of climate change skeptics is growing rapidly.” New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin noted on March 6, 2008, “As we all know, climate science is not a numbers game (there are heaps of signed statements by folks with advanced degrees on all sides of this issue),” Revkin wrote. (LINK) In 2007, Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics “appear to be expanding rather than shrinking.”

  6. Submitted by david granneman on 12/22/2008 - 02:19 pm.

    Sampling of key quotes from scientists participating in the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change:

    Former UN Scientist Dr. Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute in Paris (who resigned from UN IPCC in protest): “As far as the science being ‘settled,’ I think that is an obscenity. The fact is the science is being distorted by people who are not scientists.”

    UN IPCC scientist Vincent Gray of New Zealand: “This conference demonstrates that the [scientific] debate is not over. The climate is not being influenced by carbon dioxide.”

    Canadian Climatologist Dr. Timothy Ball: “If we are facing [a crisis] at all, I think it is that we are preparing for warming when it is looking like we are cooling. We are preparing for the wrong thing.”

    Climate researcher Dr. Craig Loehle, formerly of the Department of Energy Laboratories and currently with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvements, has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers: “The 2000-year [temperature] trend is not flat, so a warming period is not unprecedented. […] 1500-year [temperature] cycle as proposed by [Atmospheric physicist Fred] Singer and [Dennis] Avery is consistent with Loehle climate reconstruction. […] 1500-year cycle implies that recent warming is part of natural trend.”

    Hurricane expert and Meteorologist Dr. William Gray: “There are lot’s of skeptics out there, all over the U.S. and the rest of the world. [Global warming] has been over-hyped tremendously; most of the climate change we have seen is largely natural. I think we are brainwashing our children terribly.”

    UK Astrophysicist Piers Corbyn: “There is no evidence that CO2 has ever driven or will ever drive world temperatures and climate change. The consequence of that is that worrying about CO2 is irrelevant. Our prediction is world temperatures will continue to decline until 2014 and probably continue to decline after that.”

    Weather Channel founder and meteorologist John Coleman: “Serious scientists and serious students of global warming have concluded after a lot of effort that there is little basis for the thought that we are going to have catastrophic global warming.”

    Dr. Benny Peiser of the Faculty of Science of Liverpool John Moores University in UK: “[Global warming cap-and-trade bills have] caused so much trouble in Europe. It’s not working, it’s never going to work. It won’t have any effect on the climate, but only that there will be more unemployed in Europe. If that helps the climate, perhaps that is a solution.”

    Atmospheric physicist Ferenc Miskolczi, formerly with NASA’s Langley Research Center: “The runaway greenhouse effect is physically impossible. […] The observed global warming has nothing to do directly with the greenhouse effect; it must be related to changes in the total absorbed solar radiation or dissipated heat from other natural or anthropogenic sources of thermal energy.”

    Meteorologist Art Horn: “There are thousands of scientists around the world who believe that this issue is not settled. The climate is not being influenced by carbon dioxide.”

    German Meteorologist Dr. Gerd-Rainer Weber: “Most of the extremist views about climate change have little or no scientific basis. The rational basis for extremist views about global warming may be a desire to push for political action on global warming.”

    Physics Professor Emeritus Dr. Howard Hayden of the University of Connecticut: “The fluctuations in Earth’s temperature are caused by astronomical phenomena. The combined effects of all ‘greenhouse gases,’ albedo changes, and other Earthly changes account for no more than about 3 degrees C of the changes during transitions between ice ages and interglacials.”

    Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who serves on the American Meteorological Society’s Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review: “It is my belief that the strident and frequent claims of catastrophes caused by man-made global warming are stated with a degree of confidence not warranted by the data. […] Too many people are too confident about too many things. That was the simple message of the Heartland conference, and one that I hope sinks in.” (LINK)

  7. Submitted by david granneman on 12/22/2008 - 02:19 pm.

    The International Climate Conference in New York also featured hundreds of climate experts from around the world, who issued a March 4 “Manhattan Declaration” on man-made global warming, stating in part:

    1) “That there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change.”

    2) “That attempts by governments to inflict taxes and costly regulations on industry and individual citizens with the aim of reducing emissions of CO2 will pointlessly curtail the prosperity of the West and progress of developing nations without affecting climate.”

    3) “That human-caused climate change is not a global crisis.”

    The declaration resolved that “scientific questions should be evaluated solely by the scientific method.”

  8. Submitted by david granneman on 12/22/2008 - 02:26 pm.

    the fact is that there is NO viable in the near future of even the far future an energy source that has the remote possibility to replace oil and petroleum.

    electric cars – in most of the united states we have Winter – how far do you think a battery powered car will go in sub zero temperatures and provide heat for passengers. if you want to know go set your laptop outside over night and see how it works in morning.

    hydrogen not viable because there is no good method of storage and it takes 1 1/2 times as much energy to produce as it yeilds.

    i love my gas powered car \\

  9. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 12/22/2008 - 02:46 pm.

    “i love my gas powered car \\”

    …and I’ll bet you look real cute driving it with your tin-foil hat on, too.

  10. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/22/2008 - 03:49 pm.

    Ah, give him a break, Lung.

    Some people just don’t know how to link record cold ( to global warming yet.

    I hear “The One” is going to announce a “Linking Czar” any day now to lay it all out for everyone.

    (BTW, if you really wanted to be helpful, you’d share the secret of keeping a tinfoil hat on in a blizzard.)

  11. Submitted by Tom Poe on 12/24/2008 - 04:14 pm.

    The Emory river in Tennessee has received the brunt of toxic sludge spill that is at least 30 times as large as the Exxon Valdez spill. It happened, because the coal plant sludge pond failed. How’s the situation at Minnesota’s coal plants? You know, the “clean coal” folks that tout everything about goodness, but don’t talk about the sludge that contains arsenic, cadmium, mercury, heavy metals that destroy life.

    By the way, why do you suppose the corporate media isn’t reporting this toxic disaster? Is it because they don’t think wind and solar energy are suitable substitutes for 19th century technology?

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