CB’s Green Report: Stop Crying Detroit & Build Greener Cars

gmc_yukon_denalifront_left_view2007 Toyota Prius Touring Edition

GMC Yukon Denali vs. Toyota Prius Hybrid

Waaah Waaah Waaah Detroit
. Automobile makers are crying the blues at President Obama’s interest in imposing stricter emission standards on their vehicles. The president recently “ordered the government to reconsider whether California and other states could regulate vehicle emissions to help control greenhouse gas emissions, a reversal of a position taken by the Bush administration.” (At the moment, automakers say only the Toyota Prius hybrid and similar vehicles would meet those standards.)

In true Obama form, he emphasized his willingness to work with the carmakers to meet his administration’s goals: energy independence and stopping global warming.

“Let me be clear: Our goal is not to further burden an already struggling industry,” Obama said at the White House according to MSNBC. “It is to help America’s automakers prepare for the future.”

American automakers claim the emission modifications could potentially put them out of business because they would have to stop producing the larger, gas-guzzlers (read: more profitable vehicles). Although GM and Chrysler just borrowed billions of dollars from the federal government, it appears they were counting on the fat price tags of their less fuel-efficient and not low greenhouse gas emission vehicles like Cadillac Escalade (MSRP mid $60,000′s), Hummer truck (MSRP $60,000-70,000′s), and even the Saab 9-5 (MSRP $40,000′s).

“I think this is the pathway to their survival,” David Doniger of the National Resources Defense Council said to the New York Times. “If carmakers are going to survive in a world of volatile oil prices and global warming, they have to be making more efficient vehicles. When the economy comes back and people start buying cars again, they’re going to expect that gas prices are going to go up, and they’re not going to want the gas hogs that they used to want. Consumers’ tastes have changed in terms of what’s cool.”

Hey Detroit, you proved that you could make a hybrid Escalade. Surely, you can get to work on updating the technology for the rest of the cars, which gives options for larger families and is better for the environment. After all, Americans are paying for it – to the tune of $17.4 billion.

In other news…

Former Vice President Al Gore is urging Congress to support legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions. In his recent testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Gore warned the government to not get so blindsided by the economic crisis that they forget to work on international global warming initiatives. In fact, he reminds them that “the economy, terrorism and the Iraq and Afghan wars are linked by a common thread – our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels.” In addition to the greenhouse gas emissions cap, there is another solution that both Obama and Gore agree on: the President’s economic stimulus plan. Obama’s proposal includes investments in clean energy and green jobs that Gore and others think will help the U.S. economy. Green thinking could add up to more green..dollars that is.

Check out Gore’s recent testimony before Congress on greenhouse gases.

CB’s Daily News Break: Cars, Cows & Corruption

Automaker Bailout? Although Congressional Democrats and the White House reached an agreement on the $15 billion government bailout for the automakers industry, the bill faces challenges from House Republicans. The GOP has created their own plan that would help the car companies without the American taxpayers financing it. “Republicans will not allow taxpayers to subsidize failure,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader, said on Wednesday to the New York Times. Other GOP senators said they would use procedural methods to delay the bailout vote.

Will the bailout = no more Saturns? With the automaker deal pending, Saturn fans are concerned that GM will discontinue their line after the company performs a bailout reorganization. Although General Motors hasn’t officially announced the end of Saturn, GM said it would focus its resources on four core brands — Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC in the plan submitted to Congress. This leaves Saab, Pontiac, Hummer and Saturn hanging on a limb. Saturnfans.com features owners who are speaking out to save their cars. Who knew Saturn had so many loyal fans?

Feeling a little fat during the holiday season? Well, you are not alone. Even the Queen of Daytime Television, Oprah Winfrey, feels like a “fat cow.” Oprah reveals her weight struggles after the scales topped 200 pounds reports CNN. Check out the video.

What does the President-elect say about Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich arrest? According to Barack Obama’s spokesperson, Obama thinks the Governor should resign from office.  “The President-elect agrees with Lt. Governor Quinn and many others that under the current circumstances it is difficult for the Governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois,” spokesman Robert Gibbs said.  Will Blagojevich please step down?

CB’s Green Report: Beetles & Bills

Our western forests are under attack. All across the west, a bark beetle, which is the size of a piece of rice, is turning grown trees into red dust. The New York Times reported recently that “Montana has lost a million acres of trees to the beetles, and in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming the situation is worse.” Forest consultants are worried that the beetle, whose Latin name means “tree killer”, could end up in the Great Lakes. Several landowners are actually cutting down trees to prevent the infestation.

Obama means business with global warming initiatives. During a climate change conference in California on Tuesday, President-elect Obama (via video) “repeated his campaign vow to reduce climate-altering carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050, and invest $150 billion in new energy-saving technologies.” And it appears Congress is listening….

Global warming bills on the horizon. Democratic Senators are already planning to introduce global warming legislation at the beginning of the year. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who is the chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, is planning to create legislation that will directly address Obama’s promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking of emissions. And the 2009 Green Car award goes to the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. The announcement was made Thursday at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Although there has been a lot talk about hybrids and plug-in vehicles, the 2009 Jetta TDI is “clean diesel” powered. The Green Journal wrote: “The 2009 Jetta TDI breaks new ground in the field of clean diesels, achieving emissions certification in all 50 states without the use of special additives or extraordinary measures.” And for those of us that are fuel conscious, the Jetta gets an amazing 41-mpg on the highway!

Caramel Bella’s Green Report: Is America a Bunch of Green Backsliders?

Now that gas and oil prices drop, will America keep its push to “go green?” A recent NPR article investigates whether American energy consumers will revert back to their old, gas guzzling, non-recyclable ways with low oil prices.

Speaking of fossil fuels, a new study by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council claims the world could be free of fossil fuels completely by 2090. What would it take? Only trillions of dollars worth of investments in renewable energy and a worldwide support, that’s all.

Google going Green? Google’s CEO, Eric E. Schmidt, joined forces with GE’s CEO, Jeffrey R. Immelt, to announce their “green” collaboration effort to generate renewable electricity. Additionally, Google’s nonprofit arm, Google.org, has already invested in clean energy startups like harnessing wind power with kites.

Ready for your next all-electric car? Well, chances are you might have to wait until 2012. The recent 2008 Paris Motor Show revealed the new generation of electric cars. It featured the electric Chevrolet Volt, gas-electric hybrids like 2009 Honda Insight. However, the show stopper was the 2012 Volage electric car by Venturi, Monaco’s only automaker. In addition to the Volage, Venturi also makes the Fetish, an all-electric, 2-seat sports car, available in 2009. Both the Volage and Fetish sell for a hefty price, $500,000 and $400,000 respectively. Hmm.. how’s that gasoline or hybrid car looking?


Glimmer of hope for the car greenies

Well, there is a glimmer hope for all of us newbie-greenies that want to buy a Prius. Toyota announced today that beginning in 2010 (yes, I know that is a long way off), they will begin manufacturing the hybrid in Blue Springs, Mississippi to help meet the demand. Folks have their names on waiting lists at dealerships.

I don’t know about you bellas but I’m not sure I can wait until 2010 to buy a Prius. I’m now considering other fuel efficient cars. My absolute favorites are: Lexus RXh (hybrid) and the Mini-Cooper S. Although the cooper isn’t a hybrid, its stylish and gets good gas mileage.

According to Lexus.com, the RXh FWD (front wheel drive) gets 27 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway and 24 mpg in the city is pretty good. However, the price tag starts at $41,500.

My other fav, the Mini Cooper S, gets 34 miles per gallon on the highway and 26 mpg in the city. And this cutie starts at $21,200.

How many of you are making car swaps to lower your fuel costs and carbon imprint? Check out the poll.





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my luvs

My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.



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