Jul 29, 2010

TRI RY09 Preliminary Dataset ready

On July 27, 2010, EPA released the TRI RY09 Preliminary Dataset, accessible through downloadable files as well as tools such as TRI Explorer (with limited capabilities) and Envirofacts.  The preliminary dataset includes 83% of the total data collected for RY09; EPA plans to update the dataset in August and September as it processes additional 2009 facility submissions.  The downloadable data files are provided in three groups: 1) basic data files, 2) basic plus data files, and 3) dioxin and dioxin-like compounds and toxic equivalent (TEQ) data.  EPA encourages data users to read all of the accompanying information to understand the limitations of using and analyzing the data before the dataset is complete.

Additional information regarding the RY09 Preliminary Dataset, including access to the downloadable files, is available at the following URL:

Officers With Arms 'Raid' organic grocery

harvestdream- "There's a medical marijuana shop a couple miles away, and they're raiding us because we're selling raw dairy products?"
With no warning one weekday morning, investigators entered an organic grocery with a search warrant and ordered the hemp-clad workers to put down their buckets of mashed coconut cream and to step away from the nuts.

Then, guns drawn, four officers fanned out across Rawesome Foods in Venice. Skirting past the arugula and peering under crates of zucchini, they found the raid's target inside a walk-in refrigerator: unmarked jugs of raw milk.

"I still can't believe they took our yogurt," said Rawesome volunteer Sea J. Jones, a few days after the raid.
 "How can we not have the freedom to choose what we eat?"

Read more at LA Times

Really, these officers need to put their guns down someone or someone is going to get hurt...

Jul 28, 2010

IEA: Spending $46 Trillion on Global Emissions a "Bargain"

"We are not predicting the future" with this report, IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka said, adding that his agency's research instead lays out the consequences of inaction. "Reducing carbon dioxide emissions will require a global effort. While (developed) countries should take the lead, all major economies need to be involved."

"any plan that calls for investing $46 trillion in low-carbon technologies between now and 2050 is too overwhelming to try to comprehend, even to the mathematically inclined. It sounds like just so much Monopoly money because any number with 12 trailing zeros isn't fathomable to most people.

Maybe they should get this guys calculator to figure it out ;-)

Glen Sweetnam Oil Supply
My prediction:
In the next two decades the only thing that is going to be harder to find than their "unidentified source" to fill the fossil fuel gap, is $46 trillion

Carbon sequestration burning up billions

 " with the best existing technology, about 20 to 30% of the energy produced by a power plant would be needed to recover the CO2. This energy penalty makes for bad economics." C&EN

Read more about our new billion dollar hole...   Carbon sequestration will never stop global warming
Even if you ignore that fact, these are inarguable: it will raise emissions, energy costs and coal consumption.

The reality is there will be no sustainable energy in a unsustainable economy

Sugar Derivative Solidifies Oil

C&EN:  A new sugar-based compound that selectively converts oils into a gel could serve as a new tool for cleaning up oil spills, its inventors say.

To mitigate oil spills such as the current one in the Gulf of Mexico, cleanup crews typiHTML clipboardcally reach for dispersants—mixtures of chemicals that cause the oil to collect in tiny droplets. If successful, a gelling process would represent an entirely new strategy that could have advantages over the use of dispersants, which have raised toxicity concerns.

In a one-step process aided by enzymes, materials chemist George John of the City College of New York and chemical engineer Srini Raghavan of the University of Maryland and their colleagues have synthesized amphiphilic sugar molecules that bind with hydrocarbon oils and form a gel, even when the oil is mixed with water (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., DOI:10.1002/anie.201002095).

The group tested the gelator in mixtures of water and diesel fuel. Within five minutes, the oil becomes a congealed mass that floats on top of the water and can be lifted out with a spoon.

Read more at  C&EN

Toshiba 'SCiB' Battery Debuts

Toshiba's announcement of the SCiB, a battery we have been following for years.
Here is
Toshiba's SCiB site. The battery's specs claim 6,000+ charge/deep-discharge cycles with minor capacity loss, safe rapid charging to 90% in 5 minutes, and enhanced safety regarding overheating or shorting out.
It could make its way into electric vehicles before long.
Source /.

Jul 27, 2010

Wisconsin landfill waste dropped 15%

WDNR -  The amount of waste sent to landfills in Wisconsin decreased sharply in 2009, according to data compiled by the Department of Natural Resources. The amount of out-of-state waste disposed of in state landfill declined even faster than waste generated within the state. http://www.momgoesgreen.com/wp-content//landfl.jpg

Every year, landfills are required to report to the DNR the tonnages of all waste received at their facilities from both in-state and out-of-state sources.

The total amount of waste disposed of in landfills in 2009 dropped 15 percent, from 10.3 millions tons in 2008 to 8.8 million tons, in 2009. Waste from households, institutions and commercial establishments (referred to as municipal solid waste) dropped the most -- 22 percent from 2008 to 2009 (6.2 to 4.8 million tons).

During the same period, waste coming to Wisconsin landfills from other states decreased 31 percent. After peaking in 2004 at 2.2 million tons, out-of-state waste has fallen by almost half. The 2009 total of 1.2 million tons was the lowest since 1997. The majority of out-of-state waste comes from Illinois and Minnesota.HTML clipboard

The amount of waste coming to Wisconsin landfills may be down for several reasons, according to Ann Coakley, director of the DNR Waste and Materials Management Program.

"The economic downturn that began in 2008 led many households and businesses to scale back purchases in 2009, which means less material was thrown away," she said. "We are seeing this pattern all over the country. In addition, high fuel prices probably discouraged long-distance hauling of waste into Wisconsin."

Also DNR invasive species data shows minority of boaters increasing risk to lakes and river
Surveys at boat landings across Wisconsin in summer 2010 show that 96 percent of people say they are following a new law to prevent the spread of Eurasian water-milfoil and other aquatic invasive species. But a few are leaving boat landings with aquatic plants attached, potentially putting scores of lakes and rivers at risk.

From May through late July, 182 people were observed arriving at boat launches with aquatic plants hanging off their boat trailers or boats, or driving away from boat launches at the end of the day with invasive plants attached, according to statewide reports entered through July 25 by boat inspectors and DNR Water Guards. Boat inspectors advise the boaters of the law and how to comply, but they do not have authority to issue warnings or citations. Survey results are available on the Department of Natural Resources website.

Fusion - A New Hope?

M. Simon  Consider the millions being spent on these fusion experiments with the billions being spent on ITER which is currently in big financial trouble. The reported fix is to steal money from small research projects in other disciplines.

A private company has just gotten a $50 million cash infusion for its fusion experiments.
HTML clipboardA private company in Foothill Ranch that is reportedly experimenting with nuclear fusion power has raised $50 million in funding, according to a report from Socaltech.com.

Little more information was available Monday about the experiments at the company, Tri-Alpha Energy, or the funding itself. In the past, Socaltech reported, Tri-Alpha has received funding from Goldman Sachs, Venrock, Vulcan Capital and New Enterprise Associates.

Tri-Alpha's experiments, based on the work of UC Irvine plasma physics professor Norman Rostoker, have been rumored for years, but the company has not revealed the nature of its experiments to the public.

Solcaltech calls it a "stealth developer of advanced plasma fusion technology.
Well not exactly stealth. M. Simon reported on the work of Rostoker and Monkton in additions to something I first posted in November of 2007. Still, the fact that they are either getting new money or a release of promised money is good news. The more different ideas we explore on the way to practical fusion the sooner we will reach that goal. Because this is an experimental field. And as Einstein once said, "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"

Of course I (M. Simon) like Polywell Fusion. You can learn the basics of fusion energy by reading Principles of Fusion Energy: An Introduction to Fusion Energy for Students of Science and Engineering

Polywell is a little more complicated. You can learn more about Polywell and its potential at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained

And the best part about Polywell? We Will Know In Two Years or less.

How Safe Are Cosmetics? New Bill Wants to Find Out

NexReg Most Americans use about 10 personal care products each day. The toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, baby powder and other things that we routinely douse or slather on our bodies expose us to at least 100 different chemicals. Many of these, public health experts say, have been linked to adverse health effects like cancer, birth defects and learning disabilities.HTML clipboardcosmetics
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Under the current absence of oversight, it's legal for cosmetics companies to use virtually any ingredient with no pre-market safety assessment.

But that may begin to change as two Democratic lawmakers — Reps. Jan Schakowsky from Illinois and Edward Markey from Massachusetts — introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 today. If passed, it will be the first meaningful effort to give the FDA the teeth, tools and mandate to protect consumers from harmful products that are used by almost everyone.

Some of what the legislation calls for includes:
•Ingredients linked to cancer and birth defects being phased out of personal care products.
•Health-based safety standards for all ingredients in cosmetics that includes protections for children and other vulnerable populations.
•Required listing on product labels of all chemical ingredients in personal care products, including fragrances and contaminants.
•Worker access to information about hazardous chemicals they may encounter in the manufacturing of personal care products.
•Adequate funding and support of the FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors to pay for this oversight of the cosmetics industry.

In 1938, Congress passed the Federal Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act. Its provisions required new products to be shown safe before marketing. That pretty much never happened with cosmetics.

"This legislation would create a system that people think already exists one that requires companies to assess chemicals for safety and disclose all the ingredients in their products," Stacy Malkan, co-founder of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, told AOL News.

Read more at AOL News

Jul 26, 2010

1 million pounds of batteries

Currently, most batteries collected through household battery collection programs are disposed of in hazardous waste landfills and only 3% of all batteries sold are recycled... and almost all batteries can be recycled.
Call2Recycle is campaigning to remind the American pubic about recycling rechargeable batteries so that they too can be diverted from the landfill. In fact, they are calling for the American public to recycle 1 million pounds of rechargeable batteries between now and October 1.

Call2Recycle is reminding Americans the importance of recycling rechargeable batteries found in all sorts of gadgets including cell phones, laptops, mp3 players, cordless power tools, and digital cameras. The MyCall2Recycle campaign dares Americans to gather up all their rechargeable batteries and drop them off at one of their 30,000 public drop-off locations so that they can meet their goal of 1 million pounds of batteries by the end of the campaign.

Since Call2Recycle's launch in 1994, they have collected 55 millions pounds of rechargeable batteries that would have been bound for the landfill.

More on batteries at EHSO

Wisconsin School Cuts Crime with healthy Menu

By a hugger...one school principal in Appleton, Wis., changed the school menu to cut crime at the school. According to a recent story on WELL SaidHTML clipboard, LuAnn Coenen, the principal at a high school, reduced fighting, weapons-carrying, and general lack of focus and discipline in the school by changing the menu. 
 Christina Pirello wrote on her blog WELL Said about the Wisconsin school that took an innovative approach to fixing crime and discontent. According to the story, vending machines were the first to go, replaced by water coolers and processed burgers and fries became fruits and vegetables.
"With the departure of junk food, she also saw the departure of vandalism, litter and the need for police patrolling her hallways. The students were calm, socially engaged and focused on their schoolwork. Problems were minimal. And all Ms. Coenen did was change the menu."
But this isn't a coincidence according to a story in Ode Magazine. The brain is an active machine. It uses a whopping 20 percent of our energy. In order to generate that energy, we need a broad range of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and unsaturated fatty acids that we get from nutritious meals. These nutrients aren't provided in the host of processed
Read more about the study on WELL Said.

Jul 25, 2010

Clearly we are not anywhere close to sustainable.

theeconomiccollapseblog As you can see from the chart below, the total of all debt (government, business and consumer) is now somewhere in the neighborhood of 360 percent of GDP.  Never before has the United States faced a debt bubble of this magnitude.... 
Most of us were not alive during the Great Depression, but those who were remember how incredibly painful it was for America to deleverage and bring the economic system back into some type of balance.
So if our current debt bubble is far worse, what kind of economic horror is ahead for us?

But the truth is that we are facing some circumstances that even the folks back during the Great Depression did not have to deal with....
1 - Back in the 1930s, tens of millions of Americans lived on farms or knew how to grow their own food.  Today the vast majority of Americans are totally dependent on the system for even their most basic needs.

2 - A vast horde of Baby Boomers is expecting to retire, and the "Social Security trust fund" has nothing but 2.5 trillion dollars of government IOUs in it.  According to an official U.S. government report, rapidly growing interest costs on the U.S. national debt together with spending on major entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare will absorb approximately 92 cents of every dollar of federal revenue by the year 2019.  This is a financial tsunami the likes of which Americans back in the 1930s could never have even dreamed of.

3 - American workers never had to compete for jobs with workers on the other side of the world back in the 1930s.  But today, mhttp://www.gemzies.com/img_photos/no_jobs_available_great_depression_1_1f679c9f1aec12956046a6523b9df145_490x350.pngHTML clipboardillions upon millions of our jobs have been "outsourced" to China, India and a vast array of third world nations where desperate workers are more than happy to slave away for big global corporations for less than a dollar an hour.  How in the world are American workers supposed to compete with that?

4 - Back in the 1930s, there was nothing like the gigantic derivatives bubble that hangs over us today.  The total value of all derivatives worldwide is estimated to be somewhere between 600 trillion and 1.5 quadrillion dollars.  The danger that we face from derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet has called them "financial weapons of mass destruction".  When this bubble pops there won't be enough money in the entire world to fix it.

5 - During the Great Depression, the United States economy was relatively self-contained.  But today we truly do live in a global economy.  Unfortunately that means that a severe economic crisis in one part of the world is going to affect us as well.  Right now, the United States is far from alone in dealing with a massive debt crisis.  Greece, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Portugal and a number of other European nations are in real danger of actually defaulting on their debts.  Japan (the third biggest economy in the world) is on the verge of complete and total economic collapse.  

So what happens to the U.S. economy when the dominoes start to fall? 
The truth is that by almost any measure, we are in worse economic condition than we were right before the beginning of the Great Depression.  We have been living way beyond our means and the debts we have been piling up are clearly not anywhere close to sustainable.
Read more from a very gloomy doomy site theeconomiccollapseblog

"One out of three working Americans does not have retirement savings beyond Social Security, and about 35% of those over 65 rely almost totally on Social Security alone,"  "Of the remaining two-thirds of working Americans that have some retirement savings.... the most shocking number is that half of Americans have $2,000 or less saved for retirement.

WaterWars - Citizens buy out mayor for $1.9B deal

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and other city officials this morning announced their plans to move forward on a sale of the city's water and sewer utilities in a $1.9 billion transaction.

"This is a big wHTML clipboard 07252010.jpgin for the city of Indianapolis," Ballard continued in the statement. "It represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to minimize future utility rate increases and to provide much-needed funding for deteriorating infrastructure such as streets, bridges and sidewalks. Today, we took an important first step toward greatly improving quality of life for our residents, while encouraging job creation and economic growth in our community for many years to come."

Under the deal, Citizens Energy Group, a public charitable trust and local provider of gas, steam and chilled water, would acquire Indianapolis' water and sewer utilities, which now are owned by the city and run by private operators. Citizens would and have full control over their operations and be responsible for hundreds of million in capital projects in coming years.

During a news conference, Ballard touted the move as a government reform effort that would take decisions about the utilities, such as how much rate increases are and when they are requested, out of the hands of politicians. Instead, they would be left up to Citizens' board of directors, whose meetings and documents are public because of Citizens' governance structure.

"At the heart of our discussions with Citizens Energy Group is my determination to reform municipal government and address the needs of water and wastewater ratepayers," Ballard said. "No more politicians putting off doing what's right for the long term for what's politically expedient today."

Rates are projected to increase in coming years by more than 100 percent for water and 400 percent for sewer to help pay for more than $4 billion in needed capital improvements to both systems.

Read more at IndyStar

Jul 24, 2010

Story of off grid dreaming...

Is this why we are all here?
From Jim ...As of May 2010 I am embarrassed to admit that I must now use food stamps in order to be able to continue paying the mortgage. As a single 45-yea- old owner of a home that I can't sell now due to the housing market collapse, almost all of my finances go to trying to simply hold on to my home. Unfortunately this  trend is not sustainable for much longer since my unemployment has completely dried up... read more about the growing surge of survivalists and what hardships bring them to this point here

Much of the 'survivalists network' is doom and gloom, but they do offer great information on off grid living, safety, preparedness, being self sufficient and conservation. If we could only instill these values in the fabric of modern living, perhaps this network would have a little more hope in humanity.

Yet with the way we are trying to 'spend our way out of it', will continue to give the 'survivalists network' and lot of new readership.

We need to ask every American:

What are we paying for and why? How did the American Dream become our nightmare?

Easy... consuming, spending beyond our means.

Affordable - means you 'can afford it.'
- means you can continue doing without further outside needs.
None of our habits in the last two decades encourage either.

US DOE Roadmap for Nuclear Energy and Uranium Through 2100

NextBigFuture: Here is a 20 page presentation of a DOE roadmap of nuclear energy and uranium through 2100. There is an assumption that reactors can use up to 35 million tons of regular uranium and uranium in phosphate resources. The plan is to shift to breeder reactors at about 2040 or as the cumulative usage of uranium gets to about 4 million tons.

Nice powerpoint... sorry all projections are past peak and points of painful decisions.
This is a roadmap to epic hardship and a population enslaved to either debt or war from lack of foresight and planing for the obvious energy resources.

China Starts its 65 Megawatt Fast Reactor

China's endeavor to increase the use of clean energy got a big boost on Wednesday after an experimental fast reactor using the mostly homegrown fourth-generation nuclear technology reached the critical state.

The successful start up of the China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) marked a breakthrough in China's fourth generation nuclear technology, and made China the eighth country in the world to own the technology, Zhang Donghui, general manager of the CEFR project.

The goal is to eventually produce fast reactors which burn 70% of the fuel.
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Compared with the third generation reactors which have an utility rate of uranium of just one percent, CEFR boasts an utility rate of more than 60 percent. A new recycling technology called pyroprocessing is also used to close the fuel cycle by separating the unused fuel from most of the radioactive waste

A 600 MWe prototype fast reactor is envisaged by 2020 and there are outline plans for a 1500 MWe version by 2030.

The 65 MW CEFR sodium-cooled, pool-type fast reactor was constructed with some Russian assistance at the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIEA), near Beijing

Fast Reactor design strategy for china
On the first pass the max burn rate for this reactor is 100 GWd/t and for the planned later versions up to 150 GWd/t. There would be offsite pyroprocessing to close the fuel cycle.

With  uranium production expected to rise to 55,000 tons from 50,772 tons last year, according to data from the World Nuclear Association.

Demand is expected to increase by 46 percent over the next decade, mainly driven by China, according to CRU. "China's propensity for heavy and early stockpiling will also influence the market," Schodde said in the presentation.

Supplies from dismantled nuclear weapons and other sources not directly from mines will fall to 13 percent of demand by 2020 from 27 percent last year, he said.

As predicted by NextBigFutures Brian Wang, AKA advancednano

Our current administration may want to ask Clinton why we are not 'using now technology' to reprocess our mountains of radioactive waste and stockpiled material? Hint, had we started it then, there would not be a billions in a hole with no future now...

Annie Leonard’s ‘The Story of Cosmetics’

Gristy - in her latest Story of Stuff video. It's worth watching, and sending on to anyone you've ever cared about:

"The FDA doesn't assess the safety of personal care products," notes Leonard. In fact, less than 20 percent of the chemicals in the products we trust and use everyday has been assessed for safety. Legislation on decision-making for ingredient safety in the cosmetic industry has not been updated since 1938. But new legislation may help change that. 

Yesterday, Rep

s. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010. This legislation would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to insure that personal care products are free of harmful, toxic ingredients.

According to the press release from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, this legislation would:


Phase out ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects, and developmental harm Create a health-based safety standard that includes protections for children, the elderly, workers, and other vulnerable populations Close labeling loopholes by requiring full ingredient disclosure, including the constituent ingredients of fragrance and salon products, on product labels and company websites Give workers access to information about unsafe chemicals in personal care products Require data sharing to avoid duplicative testing and encourage the development of alternatives to animal testing Provide adequate funding the FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors so it has the resources it needs to provide effective oversight of the cosmetics industry Level the playing field so small businesses can compete fairly If you're concerned about lead in your lipstick or carcinogens in your first aid cream, support the Safe Cosmetics Act 2010

Also See

Has Edison Won the Automotive 100 MPG XPrize?

Edison With a 120 MPG run over a 200 Mile Range Test
At heart, the Very Light Car is a simple vehicle, avoiding the feature creep that has loaded down contemporary vehicles. Design simplicity, low mass and conventional materials result in lower material costs and production time.

• We believe that the Very Light Car is the most efficient auto platform ever built. Edison2's innovations in auto efficiency apply regardless of power source. The chassis and body will make hybrid or electric cars more efficient, helping solve problems of range and performance.

• The Very Light Car is a more sustainable vehicle. Not just efficient to drive, but cradle-to-grave environmentally responsible. Less mass means fewer material inputs. Energy intensive materials and hazardous or scarce materials are largely avoided in favor of conventional materials, such as aluminum and steel, that are readily available, easily made in volume, and completely recyclable.

The cars weigh less than 750 pounds and have a drag coefficient of 0.15, about half that of some of todays best cars. The cars are powered by turbocharged 250-cc engines (two from Yamaha motorcycles, two of Edisons own design) running on E85 ethanol. To dramatically reduce pumping losses from the internal combustion engines, the team uses exhaust gas recirculation to control engine power. The team has also patented a compact front suspension, which includes feather-weight 6-lb. wheels designed to act as force-absorbing collapsible elements in a crash. This innovation alone may be worth more than the $10 million XPrize. Two identical Edison2 cars were the last vehicles remaining in the four-passenger Mainstream class after the Knockout phase of the competition.

Read more at NextBigFuture

Jul 23, 2010

96 years of failure to launch electric car market

Enjoy the history of electric cars at PopSci  Archive Gallery: The Electric Car, 1916-Present

Comments on California's Draft Green Chemistry Regulation

Paint.org: The ACA submitted comments to California's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Office of Legislation & Regulatory Policy on its Draft Regulation for Safer Consumer Products, which stages a key component of the state's 2008 Green Chemistry Initiative law to create a system to regulate chemicals in consumer products. Under the new regulations, which are scheduled to be finalizes by Jan. 1, 2011, manufacturers of products that use toxic materials could be required to carry warning labels, have their products recalled or be asked to replace harmful materials with safer alternatives; or, in some cases, the state could ban the sale of products. In its comments ACA underscores that, as written, the regulations are flawed and, if left unchanged will likely have the unintended consequence of stifling jobs and commercial activity in the State of California. Instead, it urged the department to consider all relevant changes offered by critical stakeholders that would seek to develop draft regulations that are more workable and closer to the requirements of the enabling legislation, which requires the department "to establish a process by which chemicals of concern in products, and their potential alternatives, are evaluated to determine how best to limit exposure or to reduce the level of hazard posed by a chemical of concern" (emphasis added).

ACA urged the use of a risk-based, scientific approach for advancing green chemistry principles that will enhance the public trust in government agencies, and specifically the DTSC to protect people and the environment. It argued that the department must consider that "redesign" of a product is not a trivial matter that can be accomplished easily: while one substance may appear to be a suitable substitute for another based on structure or other physical properties, our products are complex formulations that deliver specific beneficial properties (e.g., low VOC, one coat hiding, and extended durability) that depend on critical interactions of individual components. Simply replacing one with another may result in a product that now can not deliver the benefits of the original, with a net negative lifecycle impact.

Under the proposal, the state would establish a list of "chemicals of concern," which would include carcinogens, mutagens, neurotoxins and compounds that disrupt hormones, persist in the environment, or accumulate in human bodies. DTSC would pick "priority products," popular items that are heavily used by children, pregnant women, and the elderly and other sensitive populations. Manufacturers, suppliers and importers would have to certify to the state - and to retailers - that their products were free of chemicals on the list before they can sell them in California. In some cases, they would also do assessments to find safer alternatives.

ACA also provided specific comments on various aspects of the draft regulations constitute an overreach of the statute, confuse the regulated community, and work at cross purposes to the intent of the legislation to "reduce the level of hazard posed by a "chemical of concern".

ACA is a participant in the Green Chemistry Alliance via its California Paint Council, which has submitted concerned comments to DTSC prior to its release of the draft regulations.

The draft regulations are available at: http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/PollutionPrevention/GreenChemistryInitiative/upload/Safer-Product-Alternative-Regulations-6-23-10.pdf.

Fissiled Future - “We can’t go on the way we are”

DocUtickerDocuments suggest that the fissile material production cutoff was integral to Cold War propaganda and diplomatic campaigns, which helps explain why it failed during the 1960s...  how policymakers debated and discussed it, and why it left the U.S. arms control agenda during the 1970s, although returning during the 1990s. Some of the highlights are
  • Eisenhower's early linkage of the cutoff to nuclear proliferation concerns and to short-term U.S. nuclear superiority: "we can't go on the way we are with the nuclear build-up and the spread of capabilities." Nevertheless, if a cutoff was implemented, it would leave the United States with a "very substantial nuclear capability."
  • The Joint Chiefs of Staff's changing assessment of a cutoff. Early in the 1960s, they saw a cutoff as "not disadvantageous," but near the end of the decade, they argued that there were enough uncertainties about the future stockpile needs to make it 'impossible to rule out … a potential for significant disadvantage to US interests."
Most of the documents published in this collection are from archival sources, either presidential libraries or the U.S. National Archives.

The recent Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington in April 2010, the participating governments pledged action to strengthen security arrangements for fissile material, but the pledges are nonbinding, with no assurance that they will follow through... Read full here

Haase -
Learn from history or become it....

Ditching Ethanol Subsidy Will Save US $6 Billion - Won't Hurt Domestic Production Either

...the cost to US taxpayers of continuing the subsidy for one year, and boosting domestic ethanol production 5% above mandated levels, amounts to $6 billion.

NRDC's debate over corn ethanol subsidies is alive and well; and illustrate, through two new reports, the benefits of ditching Federal support altogether.

The first, from the Congressional Budget Office, details how much money eliminating the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit; the second, from Iowa State University, shows that not only would we save money but eliminating the subsidies, it wouldn't hurt production of corn ethanol.

98% of US Ethanol Comes From Corn
Sasha Lyutse sums up the CBO report:

The CBO report estimated that roughly 11 billion gallons of biofuels were produced and sold in the U.S. in 2009, over 98% of which (10.8 billion gallons) came from corn ethanol. Tax expenditures (essentially foregone tax revenues) in support of this production were roughly $5.16 billion, including VEETC payments of $0.45 cents per gallon for blending ethanol (regardless of the feedstock) and the additional $0.10 cents per gallon that "small producers" receive on the first 15 million gallons they produce.

CBO finds that before they even pay at the pump, taxpayers incur a cost of $1.78 to replace a gallon of gasoline by substituting corn ethanol. This accounts for not only the cost of the VEETC per gallon, but the relative energy content differences between ethanol and gasoline (gasoline contains ~32% more energy than a gallon of ethanol, so 1.48 gallons of ethanol are required to replace one gallon of gasoline), and changes in the consumption of ethanol and gasoline that can be attributed to the tax credit. (Switchboard)

...As for job losses in the ethanol industry nearing 200,000 as alleged by the corn ethanol industry, Babcock's report finds that allowing the VEETC to expire would results in the loss of just 407 direct jobs.

Lyutse has more in depth analysis of both reports which is worth reading in full: Switchboard - Sasha Lyutse

Read more from a MotherHugger "Corn Ethanol Worse Than Oil? California Rules Yes"

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.

Save America $2 Trillion

DocuTicker A good government group identified another $1 trillion in savings and new revenues to reduce the deficit.

The goal of the bipartisan commission is to balance the budget by 2015 and strengthen the government's long-term financial health.

In The Next Trillion: Fiscal Responsibility Through More Accountability, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group identified a trillion dollars in savings and additional revenue sources by 2015 through, among other measures, holding the government more accountable for how it spends taxpayer dollars. This "next trillion" comes on top of an initial trillion identified earlier this spring.

When the Commission was founded last February, U.S. PIRG lookHTML clipboard ed at the existing tax code for loopholes, reviewed government reports on wasteful contracting practices and came up with The First Trillion, an initial list of ways the government can save a trillion dollars by 2015.

In The Next Trillion, U.S. PIRG continued its research to find another trillion dollars that the U.S. government and taxpayers can save.

Key deficit reduction measures include:

  • $160 billion in savings within the Medicare program by the use of electronic records, better alignment of payments to costs and ending inflated payments to pharmaceutical companies for prescription drugs;
  • $185 billion in savings by ending the practice of purchasing supplies and spare parts that go unused across different branches of the military, and
  • $884 billion in new revenue by implementing a fractional speculation fee on certain stock, bond, options, swap, futures and foreign exchange spot transactions. 
Read full at The Next Trillion: Fiscal Responsibility Through More Accountability

"free energy” device powered by former Director of the CIA and FBI?

Interesting correlation by the cryptogon - Are these guys the next steorn scam or do they really have a machine that breaks the laws of energy?


summ_tuv summ_ul

Read about TerraWatt

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Energy Bill - FAIL

Boing2 A lot like the Holy Roman Empire, in a way. Word came out today on what's going to be in the final Senate Energy Bill. It's ... disappointing. Basically, just some BP/oil-spill targeted stuff, and funding for natural gas truck fleets, energy efficient homes, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. No, seriously. That's it. No cap and trade. No funding or policy aimed at actual energy generation.
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Nothing for energy infrastructure development and much-needed improvements. Nothin' for future tech. Nada about energy efficiency in commercial buildings, industry, engines, etc.

Boing2 - "Those in the House and Senate who were Serious about tackling the climate crisis chose to follow a path of deal making. And of course the Republicans and moderate Democrats followed the path Lucy does with Charlie Brown. Putting down the football then jerking it away when they tried to kick it. So concession after concession after concession won nothing, just as it has in other cases. At some point you would think someone would notice."

Gallup poll finds Confidence in Congress ranking dead last
Gallup’s 2010 Confidence in Institutions poll finds Congress ranking dead last out of the 16 institutions rated this year. 

Underscoring Congress’ image problem, half of Americans now say they have “very little” or “no” confidence in Congress, up from 38% in 2009 — and the highest for any institution since Gallup first asked this question in 1973. 

Jul 22, 2010

Porsche - Drive Gas Free at High Speeds

Dumb gluttonous SUV hybrid offers neat idea...

PopSci  Few vehicles flaunt their gas-chugging power as proudly as a Porsche Cayenne, so it's natural to be suspicious of the hybrid version. Can this racecar-like SUV really improve gas mileage and still be a Porsche?

Thanks to several technological tweaks, yes. First, a more-efficient supercharged 3.0-liter V6 replaces the V8. The gas engine is paired with a 47-horsepower electric motor, and the two are linked with a decoupling clutch, so either one can run the vehicle independently. The motor is capable of handling the load alone at up to 37 mph. Together the pair flings the SUV from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds. Yet the hybrid gets an estimated 20 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, a 25 and 14 percent gain over the non-hybrid version. It also does tricks: At up to 97 mph, when you take your foot off the accelerator, the engine disengages from the drivetrain and shuts down. Here's how this "sailing" mode lets you briefly zoom without any power at all.

Porsche Dissected: Courtesy Porsche

How to Drive Gas-Free at High Speeds

Lift Off the Gas Pedal...
when coasting at high speeds, and the gas engine powers down. A decoupling clutch disconnects the gasoline engine from the electric motor and the rest of the drivetrain, freeing the drivetrain from the drag that the powered-down engine places on it and allowing you to coast farther, fuel-free.

powered by unhindered momentum. In this mode, which Porsche calls "sailing," the electric motor runs in reverse, acting as a generator that harvests kinetic energy to recharge the hybrid system's nickel-metal-hydride rear battery.

Punch It...
to speed up again. A computer coordinates the transition back to gas power. The decoupling clutch reconnects the gas engine to the drivetrain within 300 milliseconds, and the electric motor provides an additional boost for highway acceleration without a perceptible lag. Read full at PopSci 

Finalists in Water Wise competition, sponsored by Kohler.

Gallery dedicated to talented top finalists in Water Wise competition, sponsored by Kohler. All the creative solutions made for a very difficult decision! Thanks to all that contributed, and here's to a water-wise future!  view in slideshow
kohler water wise square with edit

Jul 21, 2010

Eco Fee Canned

That was fast! On July 1, 2010 the Ontario government introduced an eco fee on manufacturers and importers of goods that produce hazardous waste. The list of 8,700 items affected included cleaning products, asthma inhalers, laundry detergent, paints, antifreeze, fluorescent bulbs, sun screen, potting soil, windshield washers and fire extinguishers. It was expensive for some items: $26. on the new t.v., only ¢6 on sun screen. But it served an important purpose: the goal was to shift the cost of disposing hazardous waste from the taxpayer to the manufacturers and importers and ...Read the full story on TreeHugger

Jul 19, 2010

$25 billion preemptive bailout for the nuclear industry

FOE - Did Democratic Leadership Try To Buy A House Seat with a $25 Billion Nuclear Bailout?

Today, the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee included a $25 billion preemptive bailout of the nuclear industry, in the form of loan guarantees for new reactors, in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill.

"It is interesting that a $25 billion preemptive bailout for the nuclear industry appeared in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill shortly after it became a campaign issue for Congressman Chet Edwards," said Ben Schreiber, of Friends of the Earth Action. "It's enough to ask whether the House leadership is risking $25 billion of taxpayer money so one House seat stays in the Democratic column. Politics should never trump public safety or wise stewardship of taxpayer dollars, but it's not clear that's the case with this $25 billion of potential radioactive pork." 

The inclusion of a $25 billion nuclear bailout in the House Energy and Water Appropriations bill is not the first time that the Department of Energy Loan Guarantee program may have been used to reward House Democrats. Last month, a $9 billion preemptive nuclear bailout was included in the House Supplemental Appropriations bill for projects in Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Whip James Clyburn's districts, while money to prevent teacher layoffs was stripped from the bill.  

"Are House Democrats treating the Department of Energy loan guarantee program like a campaign credit card?" asked Friends of the Earth Action's Schreiber. "What we know for sure is that they have let important priorities like energy efficiency and teachers die on the vine, while putting taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars if the nuclear industry defaults on its loans. This nuclear bailout will also endanger public safety due to the vulnerable nuclear waste storage processes, inadequate nuclear security and continued reactor design flaws it will promote."
Read more from FOE

1/4 of U.S. Bridges Declared Structurally Deficient or Functionally Obsolete

Scholars & Rogues blog has a nice overview of the crumbling US bridges issue. In a phrase, upgrades and repairs are not keeping up with wear and tear. Fixing the bad bridges is anticipated to cost "$650 billion over 50 years." Not good news for the 'less government, reduced taxes' crowd. There is good news and bad from a Hugger

When Humans Ruled The Earth

When Humans Ruled the Earth from Stephen Ong on Vimeo.

GEEKiz When Humans Ruled The Earth is a short film animation that shows what consumption addiction has done to or against (depending on your worldview) our world. An insight into the human machine. Directed by Stephen Ong.

Jul 15, 2010

Pacific Trash Vortex To Become Habitable Island?

SlashDot - "The North Pacific Gyre (Ocean trash dump) is twice the size of Texas, or the size of Spain combined with France. The Pacific Vortex as it is sometimes called, is made up of four million tons of Plastic.

Recycled Island Aerial  will be created from plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean

Now there's a proposal to turn this dump into 'Recycled Island'. The Netherlands Architecture Fund has provided the grant money for the project, and the WHIM architecture firm is conducting the research and design of Recycled Island. One of the three major aims of the project is to clean up the floating trash by recycling it on site. Two, the project would create new land for sustainable habitation complete with its own food sources and energy sources. Lastly, Recycled Island is to be a sea worthy island. While at the moment the project is still more or less a pipe dream, it's great that someone is trying to work out what to do with one of humanity's most bizarre environmental slip ups."

Also See Recycled Island will be created from plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean

Fossil Fuel & Corn Sweetener / Ethanol Welfare

End Corporate Welfare Now...A story in this morning's New York Times brings this issue to Page One. The oil industry while ruthlessly fighting any sort of carbon tax, is the beneficiary of Billions in corporate welfare tax breaks and subsidies.
But an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process. It's not just Big Oil on corporate welfare. How about Big Agriculture.
The Archer Daniels Midland Corporation (ADM) has cost the American economy billions of dollars since 1980 and has indirectly cost Americans tens of billions of dollars in higher prices and higher taxes over that same period. At least 43 percent of ADM's annual profits are from products heavily subsidized or protected by the American government. Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by ADM's corn sweetener operation costs consumers $10, and every $1 of profits earned by its ethanol operation costs taxpayers $30.
The Cato Institute calculates that corporate Welfare programs cost the taxpayers about $100 billion per year. So if the Democrats were really serious about reform (including earmarks) in corporate welfare - Read full here

WashingtonPost  It's time to end the excessive subsidies for corn etha

Jul 14, 2010

Draft of hot air, pipe dreams that could yield more emissions and energy use.

GRIST - Senate Majority Harry ReidHarry ReidSen. Harry Reid. (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that he and other senior lawmakers had drawn up a "rough draft" of climate and energy legislation to be introduced in two weeks.

"I now have a rough draft of what we're going to do," he told reporters. "I hope to be able to have a bill introduced [the] week after next."

President Obama has pushed Congress to pass a comprehensive bill to battle climate change and foster alternative and renewable energy sources this year, as they consider their options on energy and climate legislation, it's important to be clear about what will move the country forward and what will move it backward. Will our leaders put us on the road towards the carbon pollution cuts desperately needed to take back control of our economic, environmental, and national security, or will they drive in the wrong direction and make matters even worse? - GRIST

Unless it includes a cap, an energy bill could make carbon emissions even worse
Unless the overall Senate bill includes a cap on stationary source emissions, some energy bill provisions would actually make carbon emissions worse.  Here are some examples at the GRIST

The American people have waited for long enough to curb the toll of death and illness from power plants' other pollutants. Now the big power companies are proposing, like the Devil to Dr. Faustus, that Americans trade off their health as the price of the companies reducing their global warming pollution. No deal.

Figure 42. World Coal Consumption by Country Grouping, 1980-2030 
(Quadrillion Btu).  Need help, contact the National Energy Information 
Center at 202-586-8800.When Obama and members of the Senate return from the Independence Day break, they will face a choice on what kind of future to deliver the American people. One path -- climate and energy legislation -- can make good on decades of unmet promises to break the nation's addiction to oil, clean up the air we breathe, and win the clean energy race.

The other path will deliver nothing more than another piecemeal, dirty energy bill that will set the country backwards, not forwards.

The choice should be obvious. Will it be?

Read more from GRIST

PLEASE remember NONE of this will make a 'dent' in lowering global CO2 levels due to insurmountable coal, oil and energy use projected by India and China.