Apr 30, 2009

What are we worrying about? 401k & gas prices - Really...

It's about the food stupid

Currently there are about 5.9 billion lives on the earth to support, and of these nearly 15 million children die each year of malnutrition and starvation. . . While In the U.S., one third of the population is overweight and spends approximately $35 billion to cure this “disease”. $20 billion is all that would be necessary to feed every single malnourished nation.

It's about the waste stupid

The United States makes up less than 5 percent of the population on earth, yet we easily consume over 30 percent of its resources. . . Americans dump 16 tons of sewage into their waters, every minute. We generate millions of tons of municipal waste each year, equaling approximately 4.3 pounds per person per day and 56 tons per person per year. Of that, 95 percent is deposited into overflowing landfills of which one out of two have been deemed in desperate need of repair due to leaks and contamination of ground soil. Eighty-four percent of the typical waste coming out of a U.S. household (food, yard waste, paper, plastic, cardboard, aluminum cans, etc.) is recyclable. But less than 5% is.

We are what we consume...

Just about every single healthy person reading this article has between 70 and 90 industrial chemicals and pollutants flowing through their circulatory system at this very moment. We get these from the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. The United States uses 100 different pesticides each year, equaling 2.2 billion pounds of toxic chemicals (carcinogens, birth defects, gene mutations) and only about 10 percent of the billions of pounds of pesticide chemicals (some 35,000 different chemicals total) used on produce since the 1940's have been tested for their negative effects on humans.


Billions of plastic bags are made each year. Of these bags, one hundred billion are thrown away according to Worldwatch Institute, with less than 1 percent finding their way into a recycle bin. The end result of this is around 1 billion birds and mammals dying each year by the ingestion of plastic.

According to the World Resources Institute, 100 species die each day due to tropical deforestation.
A plant called the rosy periwinkle, which grows in the “rainforests” of Madagascar, has been used to make a drug that can cure some kinds of cancer.

Imagine all the other miracles we may have already lost out on.

Just kidding.... It's about the water stupid - without it, everything else is gone.

The typical U.S. Home uses no less than about 300 gallons of water every single day. Many people around the world have to travel miles just to carry back 5 gallons to use for an entire family. 31 countries around the world today face chronic freshwater shortages. In another 20 years, that number will increase to over 50 countries (2.8 billion people). Meanwhile, the United States continues to import bottled water for its consumers, of which burns about 1.5 million barrels of oil just to get it here, and costs over 10,000 times what a glass of tap water would be. All in all, bottled water per gallon has become more of a costly resource than gasoline itself and a single quart of motor oil dumped on the ground or in the trash, can contaminate up to two million gallons of fresh water.

We have just as much water in the world today as we ever did, but only 3 percent of that is in drinkable condition. Two-thirds of the 3 percent is currently locked up in polar ice caps, while the remaining one-third is accessible for organic consumption. Sadly, of the remaining 1 percent of drinkable water in the world, only half of that is considered drinkable by international standards. In the United States alone, an estimated one-third of all its waters are considered unsafe for drinking, bathing, or even fishing.
At its current rate of acquisition, 70 percent of all water systems in Europe and North America may soon be owned by private corporations.

 Read A few more From Tree Hugger if you can stomach it.

Bolivia Is the Saudi Arabia of Lithium

"You can literally scrape valuable lithium off the ground of many Bolivian salt flats. The country is poised to be the center of world lithium battery production, reaping the benefit of the metal's skyrocketing value. 'The US Geological Survey says 5.4 million tons of lithium could potentially be extracted in Bolivia, compared with 3 million in Chile, 1.1 million in China and just 410,000 in the United States. ... Ailing automakers in the United States are pinning their hopes on lithium. General Motors next year plans to roll out its Volt, a car using a lithium-ion battery along with a gas engine. Nissan, Ford and BMW, among other carmakers, have similar projects.' However, the government fears foreign countries might exploit their natural resources, so for the time being, the salt flats remain untouched." Source: slashdot

Apr 29, 2009

What about CO2 offsets? also, not funny

The Bad news: Carbon offsets won't save the planet.
But, it might make us feel a little better, at least before a new coal-fired factory in China comes on line....

Carbon Footprint Reduction Services

There are numerous services that allow you to pay into a fund offset your carbon footprint. But how does it actually work?

Enlarge Image
Carbon Footprint

Then what is the control of CO2 about?

Simple Answer - The control of CO2 is about the control of financial and energy markets...




















Carbon trades interface.
SBI has made a US$679 billion annual carbon market projection for its market intelligence report, being offered to prospective carbon traders.

The CO2 joke... not funny.

Regulatory FAIL - CO2
"the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide."... - House Minority Leader John Boehner

HAASE Comment: Not so funny that we have thousands of people who die every day due to hazardous air and water conditions in our world produced by toxic chemicals. CO2 is not that... and while it may be the byproduct of a problem, it is not the 'root' or the 'cause'.

More 'funny facts about' CO2 from wikipedia.org
'Carbon dioxide is used by plants during photosynthesis to make sugars which may either be consumed again in respiration or used as the raw material to produce polysaccharides such as starch and cellulose, proteins and the wide variety of other organic compounds required for plant growth and development. It is produced during respiration by plants, and by all animals, fungi and microorganisms that depend on living and decaying plants for food, either directly or indirectly. It is, therefore, a major component of the carbon cycle.'

HighSpeed Rail "a massive campaign to sustain the unsustainable."

TreehUgger reports - James Howard Kunstler thinks the new high speed rail proposal is a mistake, part of "a massive campaign to sustain the unsustainable."

    One very plain and straightforward example at hand is the announcement last week of a plan to build a high speed rail network. To be blunt about it, this is perfectly f*****g stupid. It will require a whole new track network, because high speed trains can't run on the old rights of way with their less forgiving curve ratios and grades. We would be so much better off simply fixing up and reactivating the normal-speed track system that is sitting out there rusting in the rain -- and save our more grandiose visions for a later time. (Haase- this is 99.9% correct).

    I don't like to be misunderstood. With the airlines in a business death spiral, and mass motoring doomed, we need a national passenger rail system desperately. But we already have one that used to be the envy of the world before we abandoned it. And we don't have either the time or the resources to build a new parallel network.

It is a very good point-fix what we have first. A lot more at Clusterf**k Nation

"We may not need any (new nuclear or coal plants), ever..."

Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff thinks it may be possible that no additional nuclear or coal plants will needed in the United States.

"We may not need any, ever," Jon Wellinghoff told reporters at a U.S. Energy Association forum.

    Wellinghoff said renewables like wind, solar and biomass will provide enough energy to meet baseload capacity and future energy demands. Nuclear and coal plants are too expensive, he added.

    "I think baseload capacity is going to become an anachronism," he said. "Baseload capacity really used to only mean in an economic dispatch, which you dispatch first, what would be the cheapest thing to do. Well, ultimately wind's going to be the cheapest thing to do, so you'll dispatch that first."

    He added, "People talk about, 'Oh, we need baseload.' It's like people saying we need more computing power, we need mainframes. We don't need mainframes, we have distributed computing."

Source TreeHugger

Apr 27, 2009

Kohl’s of Wisconsin top EPA green power user

Kohl's Department Stores Number One on EPA's List says press release via csrwire
Kohl's green power usage increases to more than 50 percent, furthering company's commitment to sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Kohl's Department Stores (NYSE: KSS) announced today that according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) quarterly listings, Kohl's is the number one purchaser of green power among retailers, third overall and third among Fortune 500 companies.

EPA's National Top Partner lists, released earlier today, highlight EPA Green Power Partners that have completed the largest annual voluntary green power purchases through April 7, 2009. According to EPA, green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources like wind and solar. These resources generate electricity with a net zero increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

In 2009, Kohl's purchased more than 600 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power through renewable energy credits (RECs) in areas such as solar, wind and landfill gas. This is more than double Kohl's previous green power commitment and enough to meet 50 percent of the company's purchased electricity use. According to U.S. EPA, Kohl's green power purchase of 600 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding carbon dioxide emissions of more than 79,000 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power nearly 60,000 average American homes annually.

For more information on Kohl's green initiatives or EPA's Green Power Partnership, visit www.kohlsgreenscene.com or www.epa.gov/greenpower.

Source:
csrwire

White House Report: GM Volt is Not Ready for Prime Time

...While the White House did not specifically lay the Volt's problems at the feet of the battery industry, Plug in America did.

In their refutation of the auto industry task force report, Plug in America said: "California law requires that the Volt and other plug-in hybrids come with a 10-year warranty. To ensure this longer life, automakers are as much as doubling the size of the battery pack, increasing cost to manufacturer and consumer. But not a single production plug-in electric vehicle sold to date, from GM’s early EV1 to today’s Tesla, has had a warranty of more than five years, noted Plug In America advisory board member Chelsea Sexton.

In January 2009 the DOE released its 2008 Annual Progress Report for the Energy Storage Research and Development Vehicle Technologies Program that concluded Li-ion batteries were not ready for prime time in PHEV and EV applications.  In March 2009 the President's auto industry task force issued a report that the GM Volt, the first Li-ion powered PHEV proposed by a major manufacturer, was not ready for prime time.

Is anybody out there listening to the facts or are the PR jungle drums from a few undercapitalized Li-ion battery developers simply drowning out the voice of reason and prudence?

Cheap Li-manganese batteries from LG-Chem and $7,500 in Federal Tax Credits are not enough to make the Chevy Volt commercially viable. Comparable batteries from Ener1 (HEV) were not enough to keep Th!nk out of fiscal reorganization in Norway. More expensive Li-phosphate batteries from A123 Systems are unlikely to keep Chrysler out of bankruptcy.

Read more
by John Petersen at altenergystocks

Words of Humanity

Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand. It is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy. - Wendell Berry

Apr 25, 2009

Air Pollution Seminar Series

The Chairman of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) openly posts:  "The Chair's Air Pollution Seminar Series"
Presentations from leading scientists will focus on the health impacts of air pollution, personal exposure, emission sources, atmospheric formation, innovative control technologies, and impacts of global warming.
    * Seminars are given at the Cal/EPA Building in Sacramento and the Haagen-Smit Laboratory in El Monte and are open to the public.
    * You can sign up for the Seminars List Serve which will provide automatic notices of upcoming presentations.
    * Few  minutes prior to a scheduled seminar, the Cal/EPA "Live Webcast" audio/video link will be activated,
 

Let's bet real on wind and solar

Originally published in the Washington Post by James Schlesinger and Robert L. Hirsch
Why are we ignoring things we know? We know that the sun doesn't always shine and that the wind doesn't always blow. That means that solar cells and wind energy systems don't always provide electric power. Nevertheless, solar and wind energy seem to have captured the public's support as potentially being the primary or total answer to our electric power needs.

Solar cells and wind turbines are appealing because they are "renewables" with promising implications and because they emit no carbon dioxide during operation, which is certainly a plus. But because both are intermittent electric power generators, they cannot produce electricity "on demand," something that the public requires. We expect the lights to go on when we flip a switch, and we do not expect our computers to shut down as nature dictates.

Solar and wind electricity are available only part of the time that consumers demand power. Solar cells produce no electric power at night, and clouds greatly reduce their output. The wind doesn't blow at a constant rate, and sometimes it does not blow at all.

If large-scale electric energy storage were viable, solar and wind intermittency would be less of a problem. However, large-scale electric energy storage is possible only in the few locations where there are hydroelectric dams. But when we use hydroelectric dams for electric energy storage, we reduce their electric power output, which would otherwise have been used by consumers. In other words, we suffer a loss to gain power on demand from wind and solar.

At locations without such hydroelectric dams, which is most places, solar and wind electricity systems must be backed up 100 percent by other forms of generation to ensure against blackouts. In today's world, that backup power can only come from fossil fuels.
Because of this need for full fossil fuel backup, the public will pay a large premium for solar and wind -- paying once for the solar and wind system (made financially feasible through substantial subsidies) and again for the fossil fuel system, which must be kept running at a low level at all times to be able to quickly ramp up in cases of sudden declines in sunshine and wind. Thus, the total cost of such a system includes the cost of the solar and wind machines, their subsidies, and the cost of the full backup power system running in "spinning reserve."
Finally, since solar and wind conditions are most favorable in the Southwest and the center of the country, costly transmission lines will be needed to move that lower-cost solar and wind energy to population centers on the coasts. There must be considerable redundancy in those new transmission lines to guard against damage due to natural disasters and terrorism, leading to considerable additional costs.

The climate change benefits that accrue from solar and wind power with 100 percent fossil fuel backup are associated with the fossil fuels not used at the standby power plants. Because solar and wind have the capacity to deliver only 30 to 40 percent of their full power ratings in even the best locations, they provide a carbon dioxide reduction of less than 30 to 40 percent, considering the fossil fuels needed for the "spinning reserve." That's far less than the 100 percent that many people believe, and it all comes with a high cost premium.

CBS 60 Minutes cold fusion FAIL

Last Sunday's edition of the CBS News program 60 Minutes was titled "Race to Fusion." It was 1989, Fleischmann and Pons are shown with the "cold fusion" test tube that would have killed them had they been right. Because they lived, the race was called off. Michael McKubre of SRI apparently didn't get the memo; he just kept doing it over and over for 20 years. Lucky for him there's still no fusion, but he says he does get heat – except when he doesn't. How does it work? He hasn't a clue, but he showed a video cartoon of deuterium defusing through palladium and said it might be fusion. In fact McKubre called it "the most powerful source of energy known to man." Whew! But wait, Dick Garwin did a fusion experiment 60 years ago; it worked all too well. Garwin thinks McKubre is mistaken. Just about every physicist agrees, so the American Physical Society was asked to name an independent scientist to examine the claims of Energetics Technology, according to 60 Min correspondent Scott Pelley. An APS statement issued Wed. says this is totally false, and the APS does not endorse the cold fusion claims on 60 Min.  Read more from Bob Park

Costs of Reducing Greenhouse-Gas Emissions

Background Paper: How CBO Estimates the Costs of Reducing Greenhouse-Gas Emissions
Intro
In accordance with the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assists the Congress by providing estimates of the costs the government could expect to incur as a result of enacting various legislative proposals. As the Congress has taken up the issue of addressing the risks associated with climate change, CBO has produced several estimates of the budgetary impact of policies designed to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Apr 23, 2009

China to give NextGEN Westinghouse reactor the litmus test

From Slashdot:
"The construction of first next-generation Westinghouse nuclear power reactor breaks ground in Sanmen, China. The reactor, expected to generate 12.7 Megawatts by 2013, costs 40 billion Yuan (~US$6 billion; that's a lot of iPods.) According to Westinghouse, 'The AP1000 is the safest and most economical nuclear power plant available in the worldwide commercial marketplace, and is the only Generation III+ reactor to receive Design Certification from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.' However, Chinese netizens suspect China is being used as a white rat to test unproven nuclear technologies (comments in Chinese)."

Legal release of hundreds of millions pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways

U.S. manufacturers, including major drugmakers, have legally released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways that often provide drinking water — contamination the federal government has consistently overlooked, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Hundreds of active pharmaceutical ingredients are used in a variety of manufacturing, including drugmaking: For example, lithium is used to make ceramics and treat bipolar disorder; nitroglycerin is a heart drug and also used in explosives; copper shows up in everything from pipes to contraceptives.

Federal and industry officials say they don't know the extent to which pharmaceuticals are released by U.S. manufacturers because no one tracks them — as drugs. But a close analysis of 20 years of federal records found that, in fact, the government unintentionally keeps data on a few, allowing a glimpse of the pharmaceuticals coming from factories.


As part of its ongoing PharmaWater investigation about trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals in drinking water, AP identified 22 compounds that show up on two lists: the EPA monitors them as industrial chemicals that are released into rivers, lakes and other bodies of water under federal pollution laws, while the Food and Drug Administration classifies them as active pharmaceutical ingredients.

To date, drugmakers have dismissed the suggestion that their manufacturing contributes significantly to what's being found in water. Federal drug and water regulators agree.

"It doesn't pass the straight-face test to say pharmaceutical manufacturers are not emitting any of the compounds they're creating," said Kyla Bennett, who spent 10 years as an EPA enforcement officer before becoming an ecologist and environmental attorney.


Last year, the AP reported that trace amounts of a wide range of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in American drinking water supplies. Including recent findings in Dallas, Cleveland and Maryland's Prince George's and Montgomery counties, pharmaceuticals have been detected in the drinking water of at least 51 million Americans.

Most cities and water providers still do not test. Some scientists say that wherever researchers look, they will find pharma-tainted water.

Consumers are considered the biggest contributors to the contamination. We consume drugs, then excrete what our bodies don't absorb. Other times, we flush unused drugs down toilets. The AP also found that an estimated 250 million pounds of pharmaceuticals and contaminated packaging are thrown away each year by hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Researchers have found that even extremely diluted concentrations of drugs harm fish, frogs and other aquatic species. Also, researchers report that human cells fail to grow normally in the laboratory when exposed to trace concentrations of certain drugs. Some scientists say they are increasingly concerned that the consumption of combinations of many drugs, even in small amounts, could harm humans over decades.


Baylor University professor Bryan Brooks, who has published more than a dozen studies related to pharmaceuticals in the environment, said assurances that drugmakers run clean shops are not enough. "I have no reason to believe them or not believe them," he said. "We don't have peer-reviewed studies to support or not support their claims."

Read full by Associated Press Writers Jeff Donn, Martha Mendoza And Justin Pritchard,


One year ago 47% blamed human activity for globalwarming... now reversed.

From Rasmussen (VIA the HUGG):
Just one-out-of-three voters (34%) now believe global warming is caused by human activity, the lowest finding yet in Rasmussen Reports national surveying.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of all likely voters attribute climate change to long-term planetary trends, while seven percent (7%) blame some other reason. Eleven percent (11%) aren’t sure.

These numbers reflect a reversal from a year ago when 47% blamed human activity while 34% said long-term planetary trends.

Milwaukee’s first rooftop urban roof garden (CSA)

Tree Hugger - Urban areas leave little room for gardening and greenery. Community gardens and green roofs give city dwellers the opportunity to enjoy greenery and gardening and now a rooftop farmer in Milwaukee started Milwaukee's first rooftop CSA.

Shares are now available in Milwaukee's first rooftop CSA. The extensive variety of organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs are being grown atop The Community Building and Restoration Building just south of the city's Capitol for $800 per share. The CSA season will run longer than most because of the community greenhouse also erected to continue the harvest season for tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, and cauliflower into the winter season. From planting strawberry plants to planting numeorus rows of carrots, transplanting tomato plants, and starting new seedlings, it's all being documented in the Roof Farmer Blog.

What killed the electric car... math

My 93' GEO prism uses about $600 in gas a year at $2.75 per gallon... EV conversions always interest me for the car. But for 20,000 I can buy a decade of gas or small army of used GEO's. Needless to say, I will not be using this conversion. However, I did love the math - Thanks!

This is from article about 'Gas-guzzler to Dual-mode EV Conversions'

Essential Conversion Components
Gas-guzzler to Dual-Mode EV 50

Lead-acid
System

Li-ion
System

15 kWh battery pack

$3,000

$15,000

LAB replacement after 40 months

$3,000


LAB replacement after 80 months

$3,000


Off-the-shelf electric drive conversion kit

4,500

4,500

Miscellaneous conversion materials

900

900

Conversion labor

3,000

3,000

Total up-front cost before subsidies

$11,400

$23,400

Total 10-year cost before subsidies

$17,400

$23,400

The following table drills down another level and calculates how the capital costs would likely work in the case of a typical pickup, SUV or van owner while depreciating the electric drive system over a 10-year period and depreciated the batteries over their respective useful lives... then added an imputed interest factor of 6% per year on the total up-front cost before subsidies. Finally,... factored in charging costs at an average price of $0.10 per kWh and calculated a fully loaded breakeven gas price before subsidies assuming a baseline fuel efficiency of 17.5 mpg for the unmodified vehicle.

Estimated Monthly
Cost of Ownership

Lead-acid
System

Li-ion System

Depreciation of electric drive costs

$70

$ 70

Depreciation of battery costs

75

125

Imputed interest on up-front cost (6% per annum)

57

117

Electricity for daily recharge (20 days @ 15 kWh @ $.10)

30

30

Total monthly cost

$232

$342

Monthly gas savings (20 days @ 50 miles @ 17.5 mpg)

52.7

52.7

Fully loaded breakeven gas price

$4.40

$6.50

While the fully loaded breakeven gas price numbers don't look all that good in comparison to current prices of $2.25 per gallon, I am convinced that current prices are not sustainable. The following graph from the Energy Information Administration tracks the spot price of West Texas Crude from January 1986 through April 2009.

Apr 22, 2009

'screw that... One day is for amateurs. We can do better.'

“Too many people tokenize Earth Day, using it as an excuse to hug a tree one day and ram it with their SUV the next,” said Chip Giller, founder and CEO of Grist. “We say, screw that. One day is for amateurs. We can do better.”

From After Gutenberg as he offers a Happy, Happy Earth Day (not)

Earthday roundup - Blah, blahh

Dead in the noise of "green wash marketing" media blitz across our great nation... 

They all forget yesterday and tomorrow were Earthday...

But for those who just look for 'a day in perspective', here is the run down by annual post:

No longer a fan of Earth Day


History... learn from it or become it.

Maybe now goolge will pay up...

Last fall I submitted a proposal to goolge for a $10 Million (prize) investment opportunity to save the economy and environment (linked here)

Of which 100% of the prize would go towards building economically and environmentally sustainable communities (gcommunities.com)


While google has been too busy to get back to me???

Vice President Biden and dozens of others have not....

Vice President Joe Biden today announced $300 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for state and local governments and transit authorities to expand the nation's fleet of clean, sustainable vehicles and the fueling infrastructure necessary to support them.

"For city and state governments across this country, 'every day is Earth Day'* thanks to the ambitious commitments they are making to green their vehicles and transit systems. Now it's time for Washington to help them deliver on those promises," said Vice President Biden. "From advanced battery cars to hybrid-electric city buses, we're going put Recovery Act dollars to work deploying cleaner, greener vehicles in cities and towns across the nation that will cut costs, reduce pollution and create the jobs that will drive our economic recovery."

Read full at DOE



*Hey 'Vice President Joe Biden quoted me' - Haase

Apr 21, 2009

Forestry BMP's protect state’s water quality

SPOONER, Wis. -- Clean water and healthy forests are essential to Wisconsin's economy and quality of life.

In 1995 the state initiated forestry Best Management Practices or BMPs to help protect water quality during logging projects. This voluntary program, developed by private and public forestry officials and promoted by the Department of Natural Resources, is designed to prevent water pollution from sediments, organic debris, nutrients, chemicals and high stream flows.

A 10-year study of the program found that 83 percent of the time BMPs were applied correctly where needed. The overall BMP effectiveness has also proven to be impressive: when BMPs were applied correctly where needed, no adverse impacts to water quality were found 99 percent of the time.

Equally important is that when Forestry BMPs were not applied where needed, adverse impacts to water quality were observed 71 percent of the time, usually with minor long-term impact.

"These numbers confirm the importance of the Forestry BMP Program in protecting water quality and the continued need to improve BMP application," DeLong said. Future goals of the program involve identifying opportunities for improvement and continuing to protect our state's water resources.

During snow melt and rainy weather, surface water moves across the ground picking up and carrying pollutants to streams and lakes or the groundwater. Soil becomes a "non-point pollutant" when large amounts of it are flushed into a waterway. Nonpoint source pollution – pollution that doesn't come from a pipe or specific discharge -- is regarded as the largest remaining pollution threat to Wisconsin's waters.

Loggers anpod land managers can access the BMP program several different ways

A field manual provides 128 best management activities for forestry, addressing issues such as road building, timber harvesting, prescribed burning and the application of chemicals. The Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality Field Manual (Forestry Publication #93 03Rev) is available on the DNR Web site.

Annual BMP workshops are also sponsored by the DNR. These workshops, that include much in field study, have been attended by thousands of landowners and loggers.

Read full via WDNR

Lake property owners “turn back the clock” to protect clean water, habitat

Property owners along Bony Lake in Bayfield County decided they needed to turn back the clock if future generations were to enjoy the lake's clean water and wildlife as they have.

"We realized we were responsible for leaving a healthy lake legacy for our children and grandchildren, and the best way to do that was to partner with our neighbors and local government to remove unsightly riprap and other lake-unfriendly things, and to replace them with the native plants and trees that were here before us," said LeBreck, a member of the Wisconsin Association of Lakes and Bayfield County Lakes Forum [www.bayfieldcountylakes.org] (eixt DNR) who spearheaded a project that's one of the largest habitat restoration efforts in Wisconsin.

"Project success is built upon citizens contributing their talents and skills to drive the effort and share their stories with neighbors and surrounding communities," Toshner said. "Perhaps the greatest gauge of success is that we're hearing from property owners along other lakes who want to follow the lead of the Bony Lake folks."

Read full VIA WDNR

Wisconsin revitalized Menomonee River Valley

New brochure takes residents on trip through revitalized Menomonee River Valley

MILWAUKEE – People taking a hike or bike ride through Milwaukee’s revitalized Menomonee River Valley on the Hank Aaron State Trail are passing by sites -- including Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers; Marquette University’s soccer fields; and the Harley Davidson Museum – that highlight successful public-private partnerships to restore brownfields in Wisconsin.

A new “Menomonee River Valley Brownfields Walking Tour" (pdf; 2.7kb) brochure from the Department of Natural Resources highlights seven sites along the trail that sit atop former abandon or underutilized contaminated properties with real or perceived contamination, commonly referred to as brownfields.

“Milwaukee’s Menomonee River Valley was once a prime example of a big brownfield in need of some serious cleanup,” according to the new brochure produced by the DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program.

Originally a shallow marsh, the Valley was filled over time with a variety of materials and adapted for industrial use. However, those industrial practices over many years contributed to the impairment of the Valley’s natural resources.

“Today the Menomonee River Valley has become a natural resource and economic gem once again, thanks to the partnership of numerous public and private parties, including the DNR, city of Milwaukee, Menomonee Valley Partners and other area businesses and non-profit organizations,” the brochure notes.

The brochure and walking tour highlight these many successes, starting with Miller Park and ending at the Harley Museum. However, hikers and bikers can continue on the Hank Aaron Trail all the way to Lakeshore Park on the eastern terminus of the trail.

Read full via WDNR

Apr 20, 2009

Japanese Teenager's Eco-Generator Wins Gold Awards at International Youth Exhibition

Japanese teenager Emi Mase won top gold awards in two of eight categories for her "hybrid power generator harnessing sunlight and wind." The model, developed after several years of trial and error by the 15-year-old junior high school student, from the city of Kariya in Aichi Prefecture, was highly appraised for its eco-friendliness and originality.

The little generator uses hybrid technology, a combination of six solar panels on the top and wind power blades attached underneath, with the aim of utilizing solar and wind power as effectively as possible. A pair of solar batteries is installed under the solar panels. The power difference between the batteries makes the motor rotate toward the direction of the more powerful battery. Thus, the direction and inclination of the shaft adjusts until the batteries start generating equal outputs. At night or during daytime in bad weather, the blades generate electricity by wind. The model, emulating the behavior of a sunflower, turns to face the sun as it moves across the sky. When aimed toward the south, a scale indicates the time of day.

The model is also unique because it is made utilizing readily available waste materials. For instance, the wind power blades are made of plastic nametags glued together, and the motor is a hub dynamo from a broken bicycle. The young female inventor has enjoyed making things out of waste materials since childhood, and her winning invention has also aroused high expectations of her future works.

International Exhibition for Young Inventors

Read full from Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation

"Urban Ore" from Used Electronic Equipment without Human Intervention

NIMS Develops Simplified Method to Recover Rare Metals from Urban Mine

Japan's National Institute for Material Science (NIMS) announced that it had developed a new method which is easier to use in recovering rare metals from piles of used products, so-called "urban mine."

In the method, announced on November 26, 2008, discarded electric devices are shredded into pieces of a few centimeters in size before being put into a ball mill and ground, without undergoing disassembling and selection by hand.

By feeding large objects exceeding the ball mill's accepted maximum size limit, structural parts of the wastes made of plastics and aluminum are not ground and left in the form of plates, whereas junctions, ceramics and plating that contain rare metals, are pulverized into fine particles less than one millimeter in size. Through this process, each component can be obtained in a form to be treated easily in the downstream process.

This method, utilizing a ball mill, a simple piece of equipment widely used in conventional pulverization, basically requires no heat or water, and can be operated in urban area as a small size plant.

NIMS considers this to be an optimal system for "urban mines."

Read full from source here

Apr 11, 2009

The HAASE Energy Tank

Nope not me... but still a great idea and engineering.
 
ENERGY TANK 

Protecting a lasting lifestyle basis for future generations requires a responsible approach to available resources. This means an increase in use of alternative energies, for example when looking at heating solutions for hot water supply to buildings. This way costs for heating could be reduced, and in view of the expected price trend on the energy market, these savings will increase in future.

The time-related fluctuation between supply and demand of energies needs to be evened out/ equalized by the use of or HAASE Energy Tank. The bigger the tanks, the larger the capacity to store regenerative energies and therefore conserving on conventional energy sources.

Read More... For the maximum utilization of area and energy!

Trillions contiune to elude us from logic...

We have spent Trillions on "hydrogen and cold fusion dreams" over the last four decades while ignoring the simple, practical, logical steps that are required to have a sustainable future...  at some point as a nation we will need to wake up from the delusion that throwing more money at a problem will fix it. When the solutions are already free? 

 
Google AP  $3.5 billion, engineers have completed the world's most powerful laser
March 31/2009 - After more than a decade of work and $3.5 billion, engineers have completed the world's most powerful laser, capable of simulating the energy force of a hydrogen bomb and the sun itself.http://www.livejournal.com/community/craftgrrl/7373383.html
 
The Energy Department will announce Tuesday that it has officially certified the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, clearing the way for a series of experiments over the next year. Scientists hope the experiments eventually will mimic the heat and pressure found at the center of the sun.
 
The facility, the size of a football field, consists of 192 separate laser beams, each traveling 1,000 feet in a one-thousandth of a second to converge simultaneously on a target the size of a pencil eraser.
 
"What we want to show is scientific proof of the principle of fusion energy," said Moses, predicting some experiments for a short time may produce 50 to 100 times more energy than the lasers themselves generate.
 
Maybe a 'few people' should google "Robert L. Park" bob, and fusion and hydrogen energy scams to grasp the medias delusion...
 
HAASE NOTE - The 'department experts' I correspond with have never appeared delusional about the 'practical' applications of hydrogen or fusion... the ones who disagree, typically are na├»ve to realistic alternatives or have received a degree or conflicting 'research funding in the impractical fields of confusion'

What energy loss model will we subsidize next?

Hey if 'selling an energy loss worked for ethanol' this should be a great model of reducing your personal carbon footprint ;-)

Total Unemployment Rate at 19.8%

Why is this EHS News?
There is a direct link to and hard job market and increases in serious injuries and incidents.
 
In the near future this will lead our nation to be literally suffering on the job without insurance, skilled EHS professionals or employees who 'buy in' to a safety culture. Leaving employers with the tab and workers with the scars...
 
Real Numbers - (BLS Jobs Reporting Is Seriously Flawed, at Best.) During the Clinton Administration, "discouraged workers" — those who had given up looking for a job because there were no jobs to be had — were redefined so as to be counted only if they had been "discouraged" for less than a year. This time qualification defined away the bulk of the discouraged workers. Adding them back into the total unemployed, unemployment in line with common experience, as estimated by the SGS-Alternate Unemployment Measure, rose to about 19.8% in March, from 19.1% in February.
 
It is the history my father visited in the 80's and my grandfather in the 40's.
 
These are hard times and we need to learn from history or become it.

"the detox of Canada has begun,"

Canadas Bill 167's : "to prevent pollution and protect human health and the environment by reducing the use and creation of toxic substances, and to inform Ontarians about toxic substances"

The bill, introduced on April 7 in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, is compared favorably to the 1989 Massachusetts' Toxics Reduction Act (TURA).  Under the Massachusetts' program, hundreds of companies have reduced their use of highly hazardous compounds like anhydrous ammonia, cyanide, trichloroethylene and lead and saved millions of dollars in the process.  The Ontario Province hopes to replicate Massachusetts' success.

When the Bill 167 was introduced by Environment Minister John Gerretsen, Environmental Defense (Canada) said "the detox of Canada has begun," and called the bill a "significant step forward for the protection of the environment and human health."   Environmental Defense's news release also noted:

"Ontario is the largest air-emitter of cancer-causing chemicals in Canada.  Data from 2004 (the most recent comparative data available) also showed that Ontario was second only to Texas in terms of tonnes of toxic chemicals being released and transferred in North America.  Blood sample testing by Environmental Defence over the past few years has consistently shown that many hazardous chemicals, such as lead and mercury, are found in the bodies of Canadians." [emphasis added; interesting how they mention Texas, eh?]

Ontario's Ministry of the Environment prepared a consumer-type guide to the legislation, explaining why the province's toxics reduction strategy is necessary:

"Toxic substances are part of our everyday modern life but may threaten our health and our environment, unless we all do our part to manage their use and reduce the risks to human health and the environment.  … To help achieve a greener, more sustainable economy, the proposed Toxics Reduction Strategy would focus on reducing the use of toxic chemicals at the front end of industrial processes and in consumer products."

A Super Big Horrah! to Ontario's Ministry of Environment for recognizing the protection benefits for workers' health in their toxics reduction initiative.  They note:

Toxics reduction can lower business costs related to raw materials, waste disposal, worker safety, liability and regulatory compliance."

Very cool.  But don't take my word for it, the Toxic Use Reduction Institute has dozens of case studies explaining how less hazardous, safer substitute cleaners, solvents and other products save firms money and advanced reduced workers' risk of harm.

Read full from Celeste Monforton, at the thepumphandle

Apr 10, 2009

Hours wasted... on fluff

"I think this clearly shows that we spend far
too much on fancy charts and graphs."
 

 
 
 
 

Chinese car sales surpass US market

 Gav - The China Daily reports that China is now likely the world's largest market for new cars, partly due to the government stimulus program pushing buyers to new, energy efficient vehicles - Auto sales 'surpassed US in Jan'.
 
    China may have surpassed the United States to become the world's largest auto market based on monthly sales in January, according to analysts and forecasts. General Motors, the leading US automaker, estimates that China sold about 790,000 vehicles last month.
 
   The government passed a stimulus package for the auto sector last month, reducing the purchase tax on vehicles with an engine capacity of less than 1.6 liters by half to 5 percent. It is also spending 5 billion yuan ($730 million) on subsidies to farmers replacing three-wheeled vehicles or outdated trucks with small, 1.3-liter or less, vehicles.
 
    The push is to promote more energy efficient vehicles while improving the competitiveness of the country's highly fragmented auto industry. About 10 billion yuan is going into upgrading automakers' technology and developing alternative energy vehicles.
 

Apr 9, 2009

Water Running on Empty - Unlike global warming, the crisis is right here, right now.

Much of the world already knows that it is possible to live without oil, but that it is impossible to live without water.

Al Jazeera asks how long it will be before the US is runing on empty.
That reality is dawning upon people across the US as the country faces unprecedented water shortages.

Water-challenged native Americans in Orne, Tennessee, are forced to line up for daily water truck deliveries after their local water source dried up.

On the Texas side of the Rio Grande Basin there are Americans forced to live without running water just like their Mexican counterparts across the border.

Along Oregon's Klamath river, local farmers and native American fishermen have been fighting over what they consider to be their birth right to precious water allocations.

It is not just rural Americans facing chronic water shortage; the residents of Atlanta came within 90 days of running out of water last summer.

Many economists and climatologists believe profligate lifestyles and denial of the real value of water as a precious and diminishing resource are leading the US into a crisis far greater than its dependency on foreign oil.

Unlike global warming, the crisis is right here, right now.
Peter Gleick, one of the country's leading water analysts, sets the factual context for the US water crisis from overpopulated desert areas in the Southwest, to the unchecked depletion of natural aquifers throughout the Midwest.

Pollution has made 40 per cent of the country's rivers and lakes unsafe to swim in, yet alone drink from.


Americans are often their worst enemy in the fight to maintain their traditional lifestyles which so depend on a diminished natural resource.

For example, a large hamburger takes 2,000 gallons of water to produce while a round of golf costs approximately 4,000 gallons of water.

Leaving the tap on while brushing your teeth or shaving uses an estimated 350 gallons, which is the daily per capita consumption of water in most African countries.

While the US is making billions of dollars by feeding the rest of the world, they are also exporting a third of their water supplies every year with the flow of "virtual water" to overseas markets in the form of food exports.

Watch Video here - We the People: Running on Empty aired from Thursday, April 02, 2009.



Haase - Now that 'oil has peaked' can we move on to fixing a 'difficult problem'...

What killed the VOLT's and Tesla?

Nissan "It's a real car with 100-mile range,"

From enn "Nissan is making moves that could make it the major mass-market EV player among the established automakers."

The prototype of Nissan's forthcoming electric car may look like a breadbox, but the technology beneath that boxy body could propel the Japanese automaker to the front of the EV pack when the car hits the road next year.

Nissan may be a small player compared to the likes of General Motors, Toyota and Honda, but it's probably the most committed to EVs. CEO Carlos Ghosn has said in no uncertain terms that cars with cords are the future of the automobile. And he's backed that up with an all-in bet on a practical, affordable hatchback with decent range, reasonable recharge time and room for five people.

Oh - and Nissan says it'll cost about 90 cents to charge.


"It's a real car with 100-mile range," said Mark Perry, Nissan's director of product planning. "We may not be the first to market with an EV, but we'll be the first to mass-market an EV."

Forget hydrogen and ethanol. Electricity is the next big thing in cars. Just about everyone has jumped on the EV bandwagon, and most of the major automakers promise to have one on the road between 2010 and 2012.

General Motors, BMW, Daimler,Tesla, Chrysler and Every one of them could end up following Nissan to the party.

"Nissan could end up being the come-from-behind leader in the EV space because Carlos Ghosn has pushed them so aggressively,"
said Darryl Siry, an electric car expert and clean tech analyst at Peppercom. Article continues at Wired

Ethanol the $3 billion a year fail...


The Production Subsidy
(Source CBO)
Since 1978, firms that blend ethanol with gasoline have received a tax incentive from the federal government. The incentive has been adjusted periodically; today, ethanol blenders receive a tax credit of 45 cents for each gallon of ethanol blended into the supply of gasoline. The subsidy has helped keep ethanol competitive with gasoline, even when prices for corn are high. In 2007, the cost of the credit in forgone federal tax revenues was $3 billion.
    Read more at by Douglas Elmendorf's blog here or full report here

CBO - Today, with better technologies, a bushel of corn yields 2.8 gallons of ethanol, and newer facilities may improve yields to 3.0 gallons per bushel.

The break-even ratio also depends on federal policies. At the current subsidy of 45 cents per gallon of ethanol produced, the break-even ratio that would allow producers to cover their fixed and variable costs falls to 0.7.


Ethanol Production and Food Prices

Producing ethanol for use in motor fuels increases the demand for corn, which ultimately raises the prices that consumers pay for a wide variety of foods at the grocery store,

In addition, the demand for corn may help push up the prices of other commodities, such as soybeans.

From April 2007 to April 2008, the increasing... use of corn for ethanol accounted for about 10 percent to 15 percent of the increase in the CPI-U for food over the April-to-April
period.


Cellulosic ethanol

According to researchers, cellulosic ethanol, if successfully developed...
The technology for large-scale commercial production of the fuel, however, has not yet been developed.

... researchers believe that if sufficient grasslands and forests are converted into cropland for producing ethanol feedstocks and for producing the crops displaced by those feedstocks, the potential benefits of ethanol in terms of lower greenhouse-gas emissions will be reduced or eliminated... the conversion of those lands releases greenhouse gases and reduces their ability to sequester carbon—that is, to capture and store carbon to prevent its release into the atmosphere— because cropland absorbs less carbon than do grasslands and forests.
Read full report from CBO



Haase Comment:
Ouchh... although they did not mention the the massive toll
ethanol takes on fresh water sources, this should be enough fuel to end three decades of trillion dollar subsidized mistakes.

Apr 8, 2009

The Nuclear Goliath: Confronting Industrial Energy

The reality of cashin a bad check...
Again - I am NOT against nuclear energy... just the way we are doing it.
 
Frank Joseph Smecker;
Lately, many may have heard the affable radio jingles for nuclear energy as a clean and reliable candidate to supplant the U.S.'s reliance on foreign fossil fuels. This is sheer, malignant propaganda. Nuclear energy, along with its requisite mining, is not only unsustainable to a high degree, but is, in all aspects, violently rapacious as it dissolves the planet's fecundity and ultimately encumbers the creation of life for generations to come. It is imperative that nuclear is removed from the lexicon of domestic energy policy and that we, as a people, consider alternative energy options while significantly reducing our consumption levels.
 
From its inception through mining processes to enrichment, fission, and post-fission, nuclear energy supplies the human race with more destructive waste than energy. A typical 1,000 megawatt plant produces roughly 500 pounds of plutonium and 20-30 tons of high-level radioactive waste annually. There is no known safe and secure way to dispose of the waste. The rate of decay of a radioactive isotope is called its half-life (e.g., the half-life of Plutonium-239 is 24,000 years). The hazardous life of a radioactive element--that being the amount of time needed before the element stops posing a significant risk to people's mortal health--is at least 10 half-lives; that means plutonium-239 will remain deadly for at least 240,000 years.
 
 
Answer to CO2 or coal? Think again...
Considering as well the mining of uranium, fuel enrichment, and plant construction combined to culminate an operating facility, the equivalent of 34-60 grams of CO2 are emitted per kilowatt of energy (from each operational facility).
 
In 2007 the U.S.'s total generation of energy from nuclear fission was 806.5 billion kWh (kilowatt hours).
 
That equals anywhere from 27,421 billion to 48,390 billion grams of CO2 released into the atmosphere in that year alone.
 
The global emissions are much starker, ranging anywhere from 90,429.8 billion to 159,582 billion grams of CO2 released into the atmosphere. Once again, these numbers will only climb drastically with demand.
 
In order to replace the entire world's fossil fuels, more than 2,000 new nuclear facilities would have to be built--an endeavor that would assail the ecology of the planet and its people.    
 
In addition, the deleterious effects of uranium mining imposed on the environment have been felt worldwide--from Saskatchewan all the way to Rum Jungle in Australia, which is perhaps the world's worst case of negligent mining.
 
It is, by far, the indigenous peoples of the world who have most felt the encroaching and damaging effects of the nuclear industry. The aboriginals of Australia, perhaps the oldest human cultures of any still in existence, are threatened daily by the encroachment of uranium mining and the deadly legacy of uranium tailings.
 
In the U.S., the land surrounding Yucca Mountain (a proposed nuclear waste repository and current weapons testing site) is not U.S. territory, but legally belongs to the Shoshone Nation (despite U.S. gold-mining in the area, which is destructive of the land and people).
 
In Canada, ten lakes within the Lake Huron region are now radioactive waste sites due to uranium mining. Uranium mined from Elliot Lake in Ontario was used for U.S. nuclear weapons and the area is now infecund, emitting dangerous levels of radiation, immiserating the Northern Ojibwa peoples.
 
Amid the pandemonium, environmental protection measures have yet to be effectively administered throughout the world's mines. Rehabilitation costs (estimated to be in the millions of dollars) are paid primarily out of the pockets of taxpayers. It is apparent that nuclear energy is not only far from being a safe and "green" form of energy; its entire (anti-) life-cycle is culpable for pervasive damage to the natural world and its complex animate beings.
 
PLEASE - Read more if you can stomach it from Frank Joseph Smecker Petroleumworld
http://www.petroleumworld.com/sf09040501.htm
 

 

Dah, study: Low-Carbon Fuel Standards Are Unlikely to Reduce Warming

A low-carbon fuels standard is likely to do little to reduce global warming emissions and can even be counterproductive, according to a paper published in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.
 
The study, by three academics, found that the policy reduces consumption of high-carbon fuels like oil, but “increases low carbon fuel production, possibly increasing net carbon emissions.”
 
A low-carbon fuel standard requires that the mix of transportation fuels sold to automobiles or trucks include only a limited percentage of carbon-intensive fuels. The idea is to cut carbon emissions from driving, since transportation accounts for more than a quarter of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
 
California is furthest along in adopting a low-carbon fuels standard. A number of Northeastern states are also looking at the idea, as is the Midwest. A major climate change bill unveiled in the House this week also calls for a national low-carbon fuels standard.
 
The economic journal’s paper starkly concludes that a low-carbon fuel standard “cannot be efficient.”
 
One problem with a low-carbon fuel standard is that it could be extremely costly. The paper says that a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of fuels could result in abatement costs ranging from $307 to $2,272 for each ton of carbon dioxide. That is roughly 100 to 700 times the price of carbon dioxide emissions allowances now traded in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a program in 10 Northeastern states to combat global warming by cutting power plant emissions.
 
The Dahh factor
The easiest way to cut carbon emissions from transportation is to cut the level and “not drive so much,” Mr. Holland said. “Carpool! Take public transportation! Leave the car at home.”  Read full from NY-Times blog

Energy Department Will Step Up Pace on Renewable-Power Loans

The good news
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Energy Department will issue loan guarantees for renewable energy projects at a quicker pace in the coming months, a senior adviser at the agency said.
 
“If we did one during March, we’ll probably do one during April, two during May and then start moving at a faster rate,” Matt Rogers, the senior adviser charged with distributing loans and guarantees, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “The machine is picking up momentum as we work through this.”
 
Rogers also said the department was “on track” to give loans to carmakers and suppliers in April or May under a program to encourage greater fuel efficiency. The agency last month offered its first guarantee, with $535 million to support construction of a solar-panel manufacturing facility.
 
The $787 billion U.S. economic stimulus signed into law by President Barack Obama in February includes $38.9 billion for the department, with funding to underwrite as much as $60 billion in loans.
 
 
The BAD (if not horrible) news
The programs are intended to support renewable energy projects or energy efficiency systems, clean-coal initiatives, nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel systems.
 
Rogers said the department was in talks with nuclear power plant developers about the option of providing “pre- construction financing.”
 
 

HAASE comment:
Hey industry guys do you want billions in gov loans? I wonder if they are interested?
"Rogers said they are still trying to determine whether the nuclear industry is interested,"
 
Ahhh, dah.