Los Angeles Unified School District Is Leading the Way In Solar Education

With the current economic crisis, rising unemployment and dwindling oil reserves, many people including President Obama are talking about developing a green economy. One Los Angeles school district is well on its way to training tomorrow’s green workers. Check out the video.




CB’s Green Report: Obama Means Business on Green Energy

It only makes sense that this week’s Green Report focus on the environment and the Obama administration after his joint session of Congress address on Tuesday. The Pres has some big ideas to help the environment. In fact, his top priority was energy, which includes producing more renewable energy and reducing America’s dependence on oil from the Middle East. Woo hoo!

shaleland

Colorado Oil Shaleland

So, it comes as no surprise that President Obama is reversing more of former President George W. Bush’s policies on oil shale. In fact, his Administration recently removed the leases for another round of oil-shale development projects on federal lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Ken Salazar, Obama’s Interior Secretary, withdrew a proposal for additional research and oil shale leases due to economic and environmental concerns. He thought the previous proposal in January for research and development on 1.9 million acres was flawed. Salazar told MSNBC that new proposals will “help answer critical questions about oil shale, including about the viability of emerging technologies on a commercial scale, how much water and power would be required, and what impact commercial development would have on land, water, wildlife, and communities.” Now, that’s environmentally responsible leadership.

And President Obama has plans to put his money where his mouth is. His proposed budget, released by the White House recently, would call for $15 billion a year to develop clean-energy technologies, which include solar and wind power. The funding to fight climate change and the country’s dependence on foreign oil would come from auctioning off carbon pollution permits, starting in 2012 (more on this below). Obama’s commitment to tackling climate change is fantastic but Congress is ultimately in charge of the budgeting. And the House and Senate haven’t written a bill yet that regulates greenhouse gases and collects money to do so. Let’s see what Congress and the President can devise to stop global warming.

factory_moe

Environmental change calls for big bucks and a new funding system. To pay for his environmental budget to fight global warming, Obama proposes a “cap and trade” system. Basically, the federal government would require companies like power plants and industrial facilities that emit greenhouse gases linked to global warming to purchase permits. It’s like a costly swap-a-roo. If a company exceeds their greenhouse gases limit (read: cap), then they must buy credits from those that are emitting less.

This new revenue stream could bring in $78.6 billion to the Treasury by 2012. And the auctioning of emission allowances as outlined by the Obama plan is predicted to usher in a whopping $645.7 billion between 2012 and 2019. This is no small change and no small difference. The plan would “cut total emissions 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.”

And Obama’s thinking of the little guy too. His proposed plan would take 80 percent of the anticipated revenue (or $526 billion) and subsidize the higher energy costs of low- and middle-income folks through tax credits. And the rest of the dough would go towards alternative, clean energy initiatives. Good thinking Pres!




Missed Obama’s Economic Recovery Speech Tuesday? Find it here!

If you happened to miss President Obama’s speech last Tuesday, please check out the video below. In his joint session of Congress address, he offered a plan for economic recovery that included a focus on energy, healthcare and education. Check out his speech below!





The Green Report: Animals, Appliances and Archrivals

The fight over the environment continues. Round 1: Palin vs. Judd. In one corner we have the beautiful actress Ashley Judd and in the other one there’s Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. These ladies are not sparring off on presidential politics. No, this time it’s all about wolves and bears – or rather, killing them from airplanes. Judd is the new spokesperson for Defenders of Wildlife. She’s in a video (see below) where she goes off on Palin and Alaska’s predator control program.

Obama is making more moves on the energy front. This week, President Obama ordered the Energy Department to revise the energy standards of nine appliances: ovens (including microwave ones), lamps, beverage vending machines, residential dishwashers, commercial boilers and commercial air conditioners. These changes will make the appliances more energy efficient and reduce global warming emissions for the planet. And the Prez is thinking about consumers’ pockets too.

“This will save consumers money, this will spur innovation and this will conserve tremendous amounts of energy,” Obama said in remarks at the Energy Department, where he briefed staff on his plan for a new energy economy.

Way to go President O on the energy front.

ibex

Extinct. Resurrected. Extinct Again. That’s the story of the Spainish Ibex, a member of the mountain goat species. The Ibex was declared extinct back in 2000 after the last one was found dead in Spain. However, before it’s death, scientist preserved some of its DNA (yes..a bit weird). The scientists then used domestic goat genes in eggs to clone a female Pyrenean ibex (or bucardo). Tah dah! Dead extinct animal cloned..well not quite. Sadly, the baby ibex kid died shortly after birth. A little spooky but this experiment gives hope to scientists that want to clone animals on the brink of extinction.




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 Green Report: Begin Anew in 2009 with Green Resolutions

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Looking to make some green resolutions in 2009? The Daily Green and the National Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Simple Steps have developed a great list of 15 green resolutions. Although many of us may think it is difficult to go green, the site suggests simple to-do’s like recycling and reducing the number of mailed catalogues (through CatalogChoice.org). And while drinking more water is good for the body, the disposable plastic water bottles are not. According to NRDC, “it takes 26 bottles of water to produce the plastic container for a one-liter bottle of water, and that doing so pollutes 25 liters of groundwater.” So, instead of buying plastic bottled water, a suggested resolution is to buy a reusable water container. Of the 15 items listed, there should be at least a couple that are easy for you to implement in 2009.

Bush helps the environment. (No, I’m not kidding.) According to a recent New York Times article, President Bush “will designate vast tracts of American-controlled Pacific Ocean islands, reefs, surface waters and sea floor as marine national monuments on Tuesday.” This presidential action will limit mining, fishing, oil exploration and other commercial activities.  The protected zones, which include a total of 195,280 miles (bigger than Oregon & Washington combined) are home to hundreds of rare fish and bird species.

“With the designation of the world’s largest marine reserve in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in 2006, and now these three other sites, George W. Bush has done more to protect unique areas of the world’s oceans than any other person in history,” said Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environmental Group to the New York Times.

And luckily for environmentalists, this presidential action doesn’t require Congressional approval. Yippee!

humpback-whale-hmed-5phmedium

Alert: Bush Administration Hasn’t Protected Marine Mammals?? Contrary to his recent presidential order to protect marine waters, the Bush Administration has failed to provide “protections required by law to more than a dozen marine mammals potentially at risk of death or injury due to commercial fishing,” according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.  The congressional investigators examined the National Marine Fisheries Service and found that out of 30 marine mammals, which are protected under federal guidelines, the agency had not provided expert teams to protect them 14 of them. These animals, such as endangered whales and dolphins, are getting caught in fishing gear and traps. Hey Bush, you need to protect the marine waters and the mammals too!

continental-biofuel-flight

Flying a plane using algae fuel? Yes! On Wednesday, Continental Airlines became the first U.S. commercial airlines to make a flight using alternative fuels derived from algae and jatropha plants. In this case, the Boeing 737-800 ran one  of its two engines on a mixture of half biofuel and half regular jet fuel. The demonstration flight lasted 1 hour and 45 minutes and didn’t have any passengers. Although use of biofuels for commercial planes is said to be years away, this trip was a “flight” in the right direction.




CB’s Green Report: Penguins & Protest

Protection for some penguins but not “Happy Feet.” According to a recent AP story, the Bush Administration is proposing to add six penguin species to the endangered species list and one species, the African penguin, to the threatened species list. Yet, the stars of “Happy Feet” and “March of Penguins”, which are northern rockhopper and emperor penguins, have been denied protection by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These poor penguins  will not be listed under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. Although grateful for the seven penguin protections, environmentalists are unhappy with the decision to not protect more penguin species. The government claims there isn’t sufficient evidence to warrant protections for certain penguins. “‘Penguin populations are in jeopardy, and we can’t afford to further delay protections,’ said Brendan Cummings, the oceans program director for the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, which requested in November 2006 that the administration protect a dozen penguin species.”

More greenies step up to Obama’s environmental challenge. President-elect Barack Obama is continuing to build his pro-environment team. He recently selected John Holdren, a Harvard University physicist, as his presidential science adviser. And Obama chose Jane Lubchenco, an Oregon State University marine biologist, as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Both selections will be announced formally December 20. Political and environmental analysts think Obama’s recent choices, Holdren and Lubchenco, means he is likely to reverse Bush’s energy and global warming policies.

Let the protest begin. In Utah, the Bureau of Labor Management (BLM) has put up 132 parcels totaling about 164,000 acres for the auction of oil and gas drill leases. Environmentalists and concerned citizens are protesting the sale because “it threatens the state’s wild lands and will bring drilling rigs within view of some national parks.” These groups and even actor Robert Redford are also upset about the so-called “fire sale” because they claim the details were announced only two months ago and the process is too hasty. The auction is occurring only a month before Bush leaves the presidency. More than 100 protesters stood outside the auction with signs reading “Protect Wild Utah” and “Our Home Is Not for Sale.”

Are you still holiday shopping? Treehugger has a great list of gifts for greenies who are also health nuts. Some of the suggestions include Eco Mats, which are “free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the unhealthy petroleum product linked to cancer and birth defects.” Or there is the green tea set for the friend or family member that’s into the health benefits of green tea or reducing their coffee intake. The site also features gift suggestions for almost anyone on your list. So, there’s still time to purchase gifts that are good for you and the environment.




CB’s Green Report: Obama’s Greenies

Just what we need, a new energy and environmental team. According to Wednesday’s New York Times, Obama’s transition officials said he has selected several key members of this team. For the Secretary of Energy position, Obama has chosen Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Stephen Chu, who also serves as the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. And officials stated he will chose Los Angeles’ deputy mayor for energy and environment, Nancy Sutley, to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Obama’s officials sound as though his selections for head of the Environmental Protection Agency and climate czar are a bit less certain. He has supposedly selected Lisa P. Jackson, New Jersey’s former commissioner of Environmental Protection. If confirmed, Jackson would be the first African American to head the U.S. E.P.A.

And it appears as though Obama’s going to give the top White House position on climate and energy policy to President Bill Clinton’s E.P.A. administrator, Carol M. Browner. If Obama selects Browner, who was an Al Gore follower, she is assumed to have support from several key members of Congress like Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Representative “Henry A. Waxman of California, who will be the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator Barbara Boxer of California, who is returning as chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.” Hopefully, Obama’s choices will work out well because he has a tough road ahead to meet his goal of reducing global warming emissions and creating more “green” jobs.

Can you believe there are E.P.A. fugitives? Well, believe it! The Environmental Protection Agency has a web site that list all of the fugitives sought by its Criminal Investigation Division. Are you wondering what gets you on the environmental bad guys list? The site gives a case summary and how to report information about them in case you see one. It’s like America’s Most Wanted for environmental criminals. (I can hear the theme song playing. “Whatcha gonna do when they come for you? Bad Boys. Bad Boys.”) Surprisingly, Bush and members of his administration are not listed.

This report wouldn’t be complete without green gifts for the holidays. CleanTechnica has a list of the 8 Best Green Gadget Gifts. Some of the items include a power strip that tells you the energy efficiency of your appliances with a numerical reading, and a wind-powered electronics charger. These are just a few of the gifts. Pretty cool stuff for the greenie in your life.

Note: Also featured on Pop + Politics




CB’s Green Report: Post Turkey Day News

Free veggies anyone? More than 40,000 people showed up to pick free vegetables left over from the harvest at a Colorado farm about 37 miles north of Denver. The farm owners expected about 5,000 to 10,000 people to pick a few carrots and potatoes last Saturday. Instead, more than 11,000 cars showed up and the people picked the fields clean. Owner, Ms. Miller, told the Denver Post, “Overwhelmed is putting it mildly. People obviously need food.”

And in Los Angeles recently, Mayor Villaraigosa revealed his long-range plan to generate “enough solar power to meet one-tenth of the city’s energy needs by 2020.” His goal could be achieved if solar panels are installed on public and private energy generating facilities as well as on residents’ homes. This initiative will also help the city’s Department of Water and Power reduce its use of fossil fuels, like natural gas and coal, and benefit global warming reduction efforts. If the Mayor’s plan were successful, Los Angeles would become the “hub of the solar-energy industry.”

The White House may become a “green” house. In the recent Barbara Walters interview with President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, Obama said that he wants to make the White House green. He plans to work with the chief usher for house and evaluate his new home’s energy efficiency. When asked why the focus on greening the house, Obama said, “Part of what I want to do is to show the American people that it’s not that hard.”

Global warming is a global concern. Although the global economy is in the pits right now, HSBC bank’s second annual global poll found that 43 percent think climate change is a bigger problem than the financial crisis. And 78 percent of those polled want their countries to do their “fair share” of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although the global citizens polled want their governments to fight global warming, invest in renewable energy (55 percent), and participate in climate talks (27 percent), as individuals, these people are less willing to change their own lifestyle than last year (47 percent in 2008 vs. 58 percent in 2007). Have they ever heard the expression that change begins with YOU?

So if you are a big greenie, where can you meet like-minded individuals? Funny you should ask. There is a new social networking site called Greenwala. The site is designed to help people learn more about being green, brag about their green works with family and friends.




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!




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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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