Thursday, March 25, 2004

The Perfect Storm That's About to Hit

In good times, when the price of a gallon of gas is closer to one dollar, rather than two, people don't worry much about fuel costs. To those of us old enough to remember the fuel shortages of the late 70's, when the lines at the gas pumps often stretched around the block, there are ominous harbingers on the horizon, as this article by Jeremy Rifkin, The Perfect Storm That's About to Hit, points out. Fuel costs affect so many different aspects of our society (as well as the global economy) that the advancement of alternative fuel sources really needs to go into overdrive before our addiction to oil kills us.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

SUV Solutions

It's no secret that Americans love SUVs. Each time I make a trip to the local supermarket in relatively affluent Manchester, Vermont, I find myself immersed in a sea of ponderous, top-heavy, barge-like vehicles (many of them with N.Y. and N.J. plates, bearing ski racks, monstrous tires, and oversized luggage carriers). The question is: do these machines have to be gas guzzlers and do they have to be unsafe? The Union of Concerned Scientists challenges this notion in a dedicated area of their site, SUV Solutions. Better still, they approach the topic without the somber, lab-coat pedantry you might expect, offering Flash cartoons and a decidedly satirical slant to their viewpoint. And, they demonstrate that with technologies we have available today, we can build safe and fuel-efficient SUVs. If you have a few minutes to spend, take their SUV-TV Challenge.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Apollo Alliance : Wind, Biomass, Solar at the Center of Apollo Energy Plan

The outsourcing of jobs in a variety of areas--including the supposedly impregnable high-tech sector where America has led the world in the recent past--presents a formidable obstacle to any significant economic recovery. The manufacturing sector, in particular, continues to lose jobs. According to Ray Perryman, president of the Perryman Group, in this article, Apollo Alliance : Wind, Biomass, Solar at the Center of Apollo Energy Plan, job losses in the manufacturing sector have continued for 41 consecutive months.

The solution being touted by the Apollo Alliance is a program to create millions of new jobs through a vigorous expansion of renewable energy technologies, including innovation and growth in the solar, biomass, and wind energy fields. Instead of looking backwards towards dangerous and polluting fossil-fuel and nuclear energy approches, the Apollo Energy Plan (named after John F. Kennedy's Apollo Mission that led to a landing on the moon) focuses on the next generation of hybrid automobiles, more efficient building technologies, streamlined mass transportation, and a advances in all forms of renewable power. This alliance brings together labor unions and environmental groups in a unified effort to research and design practical and non-polluting energy technologies--an effort that includes some very major players.