Saturday, December 29, 2007

Arkansans now can share solar power with electric grid

Thanks to Lindsley Smith of Fayetteville and other Arkansas legislators, this happy news for those concerned about reducing dependence on coal and other fuel for producing electricity was made possible in the Conway newspaper:

Log Cabin story on solar energy and the electric grid in Arkansas

Friday, December 21, 2007

Stop Global Warming Best of for 2007

BEST OF 20072007 was a year of extremes. The world experienced a series of record-breaking weather events this year, from flooding in Asia to heat waves in Europe, snowfall in South Africa and wildfires in California. America faced its worst summer drought since the Dust Bowl years of the Depression.

While Mother Nature is continuing to unfold the consequences of global warming daily, we are finally starting to see this issue take a front seat, where it belongs. Local governments, corporations, schools and individuals are stepping up to the plate to meet this challenge.
As a group of engineering undergrads from MIT who helped launch the Vehicle Design Summit say, "We are the people we have been waiting for."
We commend some great action in 2007 and hope that 2008 will be the year that the magnitude of the political and personal response matches the magnitude of this urgent problem. And now for's 2007 Best of List:

BEST FIRST STEP: The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007The Senate finally passed a bill to address significant new fuel economy standards, a vastly improved renewable fuels standard with strong environmental safeguards, and new efficiency standards that will essentially phase out the incandescent light bulb. The bill does not include everything we need, but it is a first step towards moving America beyond oil and a real down payment on curbing global warming.

BEST CONCLUSIVE, LAST WARNING: The IPCC ReportIn November, the final IPCC report was issued representing years of study and the consensus of 2500 of the world's experts. The head of the IPCC said upon its release: "What we do in the next two or three years will define our future." Time Magazine characterized the report as a final warning to humanity.
Read the full report here

BEST COLLEGE EFFORT: College of the AtlanticThe College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine was the first college to pledge to become carbon neutral in 2006. The small college of just 300 students has just one major: human ecology, or the "study of our relationship with our environment." This tiny college started quite a trend, now more than 459 other US colleges and Universities have signed the American Presidents Climate Commitment committing their campus to go climate neutral. Universities are like small cities and are a glowing example as to what can be done across the country!

BEST PRODUCT: SIGG BottlesThe popular SIGG bottles are lightweight, aluminum bottles that are recyclable and 100% biodegradable. With 2.5 million plastic water bottles being thrown away every hour in the US, we hope people will start ditching the plastic and filling up reusable bottles. Here's to a plastic free 2008!

BEST CITY EFFORT: Chicago, IllinoisChicago has green roofs, great recycling and sustainability programs, and was home to the Cool Globes exhibit this summer. Now it is undertaking a major alley retrofit. Chicago is the alley capital of America and will retrofit its 2,000 miles of alleys (which have the paved equivalent of five midsize airports) with environmentally sustainable road building materials that will allow water to penetrate the soil through the pavement itself, then the water will recharge the underground water table instead of ending up as polluted runoff in rivers and streams. Some of the water may even end up back in Lake Michigan, the city's primary source of drinking water.

BEST AWARD: Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the IPCCAn excerpt from the Citation awarding the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC and Al Gore: "By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC and Al Gore, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is seeking to contribute to a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world's future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind. Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man's control."
Please read Al Gore's brilliant acceptance speech

BEST MAGAZINE COVER: Sports IllustratedOn March 12, 2007, Sports Illustrated ran a cover of Dontrelle Willis up to his knees in water at Dolphin Stadium in Florida. The cover read: "Sports and Global Warming: As the Planet Changes, So Do the Games We Play. Time to Pay Attention!" We salute Sports Illustrated for connecting the dots for their readers on how global warming is going to impact athletes, the games they love to play and the fans who love to watch.
BEST REPORTING: Tom Friedman, New York TimesTom Friedman, the regular op-ed contributor to The New York Times, consistently provides honest, accurate, fact driven, and thought-provoking pieces about global warming. He has been instrumental in waking up the American people to this issue. (Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)
Best thing you can do? Forward this to your friends, keep virtually marching and making changes in your life to fight global warming!

Here's to a greener 2008!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Testing the Climate

Testing the Climate. By Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, December 24, 2007. "Last week, Al Gore, at the start of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, took note of a curious coincidence. Almost exactly seven years earlier -- on December 12, 2000 -- the United States Supreme Court had called a halt to the Florida recount, thereby un-electing him President. 'I read my own political obituary in a judgment that seemed to me harsh and mistaken -- if not premature,' Gore told the dignitaries assembled in Oslo. 'But that unwelcome verdict also brought a precious if painful gift: an opportunity to search for fresh new ways to serve my purpose'... The Nobel Peace Prize committee, in its citation, called Gore 'probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding' of what needs to be done to combat global warming... But the sad or, if you prefer, inconvenient truth is that the reason Gore is finally being heeded is that the reality of climate change has become manifest -- something that can be seen and measured around the globe, and even felt in our everyday lives. Such is the inertia of the climate system."

California's Officials Dispute EPA's Rationale for Rejecting Waiver Appeal.

California's Officials Dispute EPA's Rationale for Rejecting Waiver Appeal. By Alex Kaplun, E&E News, December 20, 2007. "EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson told reporters yesterday evening that the agency rejected California's waiver request in large part because the energy bill signed by President Bush earlier in the day boosted fuel efficiency standards nationwide -- essentially negating the need for states to take their own action... Additionally, Johnson said California's situation did not meet the 'compelling and extraordinary conditions' standard that is needed to approve such a waiver, arguing that climate change was a problem that did not affect California to any significantly greater extent than other parts of the country... California officials disputed those assertions, saying EPA's figures not only low-balled their standards but also ignored the fact that the state policy addresses a series of issues beyond just vehicle efficiency. 'While the federal energy bill is a good step toward reducing dependence on foreign oil, the president's approval of it does not constitute grounds for denying our waiver,' California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said in a statement yesterday. 'The energy bill does not reflect a vision, beyond 2020, to address climate change, while California's vehicle greenhouse gas standards are part of a carefully designed, comprehensive program to fight climate change through 2050'... California officials made clear yesterday that they intend to move as quickly as possible to try to get the decision overturned in federal courts... 'There is absolutely no legal justification for the Bush administration to deny this request -- Governor [Arnold] Schwarzenegger and I are preparing to sue at the earliest possible moment,' said Calif. Attorney General Edmund [Jerry] Brown Jr. (D)... [California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols described] Johnson's justification for rejecting the waiver as...'flimsy'... [and said further:] 'We really found it disturbing and somewhat disingenuous on his part.'"

Bennett's donation opens fund-raising to underwrite climate-change education

Carbon Caps Task Force receives donation for global warming education

Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology announces that its environmental committee, the Carbon Caps Task Force (CCTF), has received a donation of $5,000 from Omni Founder Dick Bennett.

The CCTF was formed in 2006 to encourage Arkansas to address problems related to climate change, and the group was instrumental in the creation of the Governor’s Commission on Global Warming. The Commission is mandated to suggest legislation that will help Arkansas mitigate the effects of global warming. Preparing the state to adapt to the climate as it changes, in ways that are good for the economy, environment and people of Arkansas. Commissioners are from a broad variety of energy stakeholders across the state, representing science, government, industry, labor, business and nonprofit environmental groups.

Now that the Global Warming Commission is at work, CCTF is seeking ways that it can support them through education about global warming, and coalition building with other people and groups working on this critical issue. Donor Dick Bennett sees an opportunity to make a strong impact in our state. As a former teacher he feels that when people understand just what global warming will do to our lives, they’ll be willing to make changes.

“We’ve been living in a carbon bubble, and thought it could go on forever,” Dick says. “Reeducating ourselves for a sustainable life may not be easy, but it’s possible now. As time goes on, it’ll be harder. Reeducation now is crucial. CCTF is a group dedicated to this kind of education, and I’m ready to support them in this.”

For more information on how you can participate or donate, see the Carbon Caps Task Force link on Omni Center’s Web site at HYPERLINK "" \t "_blank", or contact committee chair Robert McAfee at 479-462-8834, HYPERLINK "" \t "_blank"

The Carbon Caps Task Force is a committee of Omni Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology. It works to inform Arkansans about how global warming will affect them, and what they can do about it. They also support the Governor’s Commission on Global Warming. The Commission’s Web site will be opening soon.

For more information contact
Robert McAfee
Carbon Caps Task Force receives donation for global warming education
Dick Bennett

Melanie Dietzel
Gladys Tiffany

Wal-Mart to Sell Electric Autos

Wal-Mart to Sell Electric Autos. By Jacob Gordon,, December 19, 2007. "Walk into a Wal-Mart in the not-too-distant future and among the thousands of products for sale will be an electric car. It will not be a remote control car, a golf cart or a little scooter to help granny cruise the aisles. The battery-powered automobile will look every bit like a MINI Cooper. This is because it will be a MINI Cooper, just with a powerful electric motor under the hood and a stack of lithium batteries where the gas tank used to be. The company responsible for transforming the already-efficient MINI into a 'zero-emissions' electric vehicle (EV) is Hybrid Technologies. At its factory in Mooresville, North Carolina, engineers pull the internal combustion guts from cars such as the Chrysler Crossfire, PT Cruiser, smart fortwo, and the MINI, endowing them with advanced electric powerplants. While several other well-funded startups are racing to build electric cars from scratch, Hybrid Technologies has taken a different line of attack, converting already popular models to battery power. To Richard Griffiths, the founder and prolific spokesman for Hybrid Technologies, the goal is not to try and sell people on the idea of an electric vehicle, but rather to show them how much fun they can have in electric versions of their favorite cars. Griffiths wants people to start thinking of battery power as a kind of high-end option, like a convertible top or a navigation system."

San Francisco Adopts Carbon Offset Plan

San Francisco Adopts Carbon Offset Plan. By Adam Tanner, Reuters, December 18, 2007. "San Francisco will become the first U.S. city to offer a program to offset the impact of global warming by funding local green activities, the mayor said in an interview on Monday. Under the program to be announced on Tuesday, city officials would calculate the carbon cost of their travels and contribute to one of several city programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- or forego the travel altogether. 'What we are trying to do by this is to set high standards to show carbon offset programs that work,' Gavin Newsom told Reuters, adding he was wary of offsets with little accountability that promise action in distant lands. For official travel, that means a round-trip flight from San Francisco to New York would cost an additional $80 to $90, officials say, to be paid into the city's offset programs such as converting restaurant grease into fuel, installing solar energy devices or investing in energy conservation. The program will not cost additional funds, which means city departments would cut out some travel to pay for other trips with carbon offsets, Newsom said. A second phase of the program would also allow residents to buy offsets... In 2004, Newsom set a goal of cutting the city's annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2.5 million tons by 2012, a 20-percent reduction below 1990 emissions."

Disappointments on Climate.

Disappointments on Climate. Editorial, The New York Times, December 17, 2007. "A week that could have brought important progress on climate change ended in disappointment. In Bali... America's negotiators were in full foot-dragging mode, acting as spoilers rather than providing the leadership the world needs. In Washington, caving to pressures from the White House, the utilities and the oil companies, the Senate settled for a merely decent energy bill instead of a very good one... The news from Bali was particularly disheartening. The delegates... received vague assurances from China... and other emerging powers that they would seek 'measurable, reportable and verifiable' emissions cuts. From the U.S. the delegates got nothing, except a promise to participate in the forthcoming negotiations. Even prying that out of the Bush administration required enormous effort. Despite pleas from their European allies, the Americans flatly rejected the idea of setting even provisional targets for reductions in greenhouse gases. And they refused to give what the rest of the world wanted most: an unambiguous commitment to reducing America's own emissions. Without that, there is little hope that other large emitters, including China, will change their ways. There is some consolation in knowing that the energy bill approved last week included... the first significant improvement in automobile mileage standards in more than 30 years... [but] the bill would have had much greater impact if the Senate had not killed two important provisions opposed by the White House and its big industrial contributors... The decision to maintain the [$12 billion in] tax breaks [to oil companies] was particularly shameful. Blessed by $90-a-barrel oil, the companies are rolling in profits, and there is no evidence to support the claim that they need these breaks to be able to explore for new resources. Yet the White House had the gall to argue that the breaks are necessary to protect consumers at the pump, and the Senate was craven enough to go along. This Senate will have another chance to provide the American leadership the world needs on climate change. An ambitious bipartisan bill aimed at cutting America's greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent by mid-century has been approved by a Senate committee and may come to the floor next year. Though the bill is far from perfect and will provoke intense debate, it could offer a measure of redemption for the administration's embarrassing failure in Bali."

Action Alert: Stop the $40 Billion Loan Guarantees for Coal and Nuclear Power.

Action Alert: Stop the $40 Billion Loan Guarantees for Coal and Nuclear Power. By Ted Glick, U.S. Climate Emergency Council, December 17, 2007. "Word is that leadership in the House and Senate -- meaning, in particular, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid -- have agreed that there will be close to $40 billion in loan guarantees for nuclear power, coal-to-liquids and coal-to-gas in the huge $520 billion or so omnibus spending bill for 2008 that is about to be voted on. Nuclear power and non-existent 'clean' coal are not the solutions to the climate crisis that most Republicans and too many Democrats view them as. They're dirty and expensive, and that's why lots of people need to make calls TODAY, December 17th (tomorrow at the latest) to Nancy Pelosi's and Harry Reid's office to ask if the reports of $40 billion in loan guarantees for coal and nukes are true. It's important to call today or as soon as possible because voting on this bill could happen as early as Tuesday. House Speaker Pelosi's phone number is 202-225-0100, and the fax is 202-225-4188. Senate Majority Leader Reid's phone number is 202-224-3542, and the fax is 202-224-7327. The message is simple: no money or loan guarantees for nukes, coal-to-oil or coal-to-gas in the omnibus spending bill... And be sure to call your Senators and Congresspeople too with the same message. The general Capitol Hill switchboard number is 202-224-3121. I'm on the 105th day of the climate emergency fast, and a major reason I'm still not eating is because of the need to keep up the pressure until this Congress adjourns for the holidays. Join me in bringing that pressure now!"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Reduce your CARBON Footprint

Always On. By C. Claiborne Ray, The New York Times, December 11, 2007. "Q. Many devices that are 'always on' while seemingly 'off' draw power so that they can spring into action on demand. How much electricity does a television, for example, use when plugged in but not turned on? A. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has done extensive studies of standby power since 1996 for the Department of Energy. In particularly inefficient appliances, standby power use can be as high as 20 watts. 'For a single appliance, this may not seem like much,' the laboratory's Web site says, 'but when we add up the power use of the billions of appliances in the U.S., the power consumption of appliances that are not being used is substantial.' An exact reading of the standby power drawn by an individual appliance can be obtained only by using a fairly expensive energy meter or by turning off all the rest of a home's appliances and checking the utility meter. For making an estimate, a laboratory Web site -- -- provides tables of the minimum, average and maximum power used by appliances that cannot be switched off completely without being unplugged."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

US Agrees to Bali Compromise

BALI, Indonesia (CNN) -- The United States made a dramatic reversal Saturday, first rejecting and then accepting a compromise to set the stage for intense negotiations in the next two years aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.

Protesters gather outside the conference center in Bali as delegates discuss climate change.

The U.N. climate change conference in Bali was filled with emotion and cliff-hanging anticipation on Saturday, an extra day added because of a failure to reach agreement during the scheduled sessions.
The final result was a global warming pact that provides for negotiating rounds to conclude in 2009.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the pact "a good beginning." "This is just a beginning and not an ending," Ban said. "We'll have to engage in many complex, difficult and long negotiations."
The head of the U.S. delegation -- Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky -- was booed Saturday afternoon when she announced that the United States was rejecting the plan as then written because they were "not prepared to accept this formulation." She said developing countries needed to carry more of the responsibility. Watch CNN's Dan Rivers on Bali 'rollercoaster ride.' »
While rhetoric at such conferences is often just words, a short speech by a delegate from the small developing country of Papua New Guinea appeared to carry weight with the Americans. The delegate challenged the United States to "either lead, follow or get out of the way."
Just five minutes later, when it appeared the conference was on the brink of collapse, Dobriansky took to the floor again to announce the United States was willing to accept the arrangement. Applause erupted in the hall and a relative level of success for the conference appeared certain.
Saturday's session, a roller coaster ride for delegates and the media, began with optimism after the European Union and the United States reached agreement on a compromise for their differences on a global warming pact.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Senate passes energy bill!

The Senate passed an energy bill.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on energy bill

It doesn't go far enough. But it takes us farther than we've ever been before.
Posted by Aubrey James Shepherd

Hottest Decade on Record

This Decade The Hottest on Record. By Lewis Smith, London Times, December 14, 2007. "This decade looks set to be the hottest on record and this year is almost certain to be the seventh warmest worldwide since 1850. Eight years in the past decade are in the world's ten hottest, according to Met Office statistics released to coincide with the United Nations conference in Bali on climate change. The figures also show that 2007 has been a warm year for the United Kingdom, even though most of the summer appeared to have been washed away by record-breaking deluges."

The Vision ThingImagine swapping Tony Blair for Winston Churchill. Would it transform the timid politics of global warming?

By Ted Nordhaus & Michael Shellenberger
CONSERVATION Magazine. October-December 2007 (Vol. 8, No. 4)On January 27, 2005, standing before the Davos World Economic Forum, Prime Minister Tony Blair put at the center of his vision of global interdependence two issues that had never before played such a prominent role in any geopolitical agenda: extreme poverty and global warming. For environmentalists, Blair’s Davos speech was a breakthrough. In directly challenging the Bush administration and pushing climate to the top of the G8’s agenda, Blair had injected much-needed political drama into what had been the sleeping pill of environmental issues. Would Blair’s crusade be the tipping point environmentalists had long dreamed of?It would not. By the time Blair hosted the July G8 summit, the Bush administration had severely diluted the joint statement on global warming. The prime minister tried to put his best face on the debacle, but clearly he’d been outmaneuvered. So what went wrong? To answer this question, let’s run a small thought experiment. First, let’s take a closer look at the speech Blair gave at Davos. “There are facts that are accepted,” Blair began. “Ever since Arrhenius first predicted global warming in 1896, it has been fiercely debated. I am not a scientific expert. I only see that the balance of evidence has shifted one way. Some argue this warming is part of a natural cycle such as, by contrast, the mini ice age in the Middle Ages. But glaciers are now in retreat that have not retreated since the last Ice Age, 12,000 years ago. The impact of climate change predicted by modelers is uncannily coming to pass, not least in the European summer of 2003.” Instead of inspiring his audience around a vision of global interdependence—where economic prosperity, ecological restoration, and cross-cultural understanding are woven together—Blair offered a dry, textbook description of global warming science and a defensive insistence that Kyoto wouldn’t harm the economy. If Tony Blair were the only politician to have suffered a major political setback after crusading on global warming, the episode might not be worth paying attention to. But Blair was far from the first politician and is unlikely to be the last to suffer a fall after hitching himself to what we call the politics of limits. Almost sixty years before Blair gave his speech in Davos, Winston Churchill stood before an audience in Zürich to give his famous “United States of Europe” speech, which outlined his vision for the European Union. To fully appreciate how much more compelling Churchill’s vision of a united, peaceful, and prosperous Europe is in comparison to Blair’s vision for regulating greenhouse gases, it is worth quoting Churchill at length:“We must all turn our backs upon the horrors of the past. We must look to the future . . . I am going to say something that will astonish you. The first step in the recreation of the European Family must be a partnership between France and Germany. In this way only can France recover the moral and cultural leadership of Europe. There can be no revival of Europe without a spiritually great France and a spiritually great Germany . . .“Time may be short. At present there is a breathing space. The cannons have ceased firing. The fighting has stopped; but the dangers have not stopped. If we are to form the United States of Europe, or whatever name it may take, we must begin now . . . In all this urgent work, France and Germany must take the lead together. Great Britain, the British Commonwealth of Nations, mighty America and, I trust, Soviet Russia—for then indeed all would be well—must be the friends and sponsors of the new Europe and must champion its right to live and shine. Therefore I say to you: let Europe arise!”In the sixty years after Churchill’s speech, the European Union emerged as the most powerful economic force ever organized by humankind. Churchill proposed a simple first step that, magnanimously and strategically, put France and Germany—not Britain—at the center of the new union. It was a speech that helped inspire the United States to invest more than $12 billion between 1947 and 1951, the equivalent of an astonishing $500 billion in today’s dollars, into rebuilding Europe and Japan. But what might have happened had Churchill given his speech in 1946 à la Tony Blair in 2005? “These are facts that are accepted. The five most violent years on record have occurred in the last seven years, and ten in the last 14. It is over 18 years since the world recorded a nonviolent month. Average monthly incomes have decreased since the 1930s. “Ever since Adam Smith wrote about the economy, it has been fiercely debated. I am not an expert on the economy. I only see that the balance of evidence has shifted one way. Some argue that economic depressions are part of a natural cycle, such as the last great depression. But people are poorer now than they were then. The impact of the war on the economy predicted by the economists is uncannily coming to pass, not least in the European summer of 1944.”The absurdity of giving such a speech is hardly worth mentioning but for the sad fact that this is precisely the kind of speech that environmental leaders and their political allies give routinely. Had Winston Churchill given such a speech, Europe might be no closer to unity today than the world is to a clean-energy economy. Now let us consider how things might have turned out had Blair offered a Churchillian speech, in, say, Columbus, Ohio. “I am going to say something that will astonish you. The first step in defeating the forces of terror and extremism must be a new energy partnership between the West and the East. In this way only can we recover our common moral and cultural leadership. We cannot build prosperous twenty-first–century economies in the U.S. and Europe without a spiritually and economically great Middle East and Asia. “Time may be short. At present there is a breathing space. We can create millions of good new jobs by together investing billions of dollars in public and private capital to invent new, better sources of energy. America is in many ways the heart of global innovation. “In all this urgent work, Britain and the United States must take the lead together. I trust that the nations of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East will be our fellow investors and friends in this shared dream.”Would such a speech have turned around George W. Bush? Almost certainly not. But had Blair contested the global warming debate with Churchillian vision rather than threatening apocalypse, by counseling sacrifice and offering policy laundry lists, he would have, at the very least, exerted far more political pressure on Bush than he did with his repeated admonitions that America eat its Kyoto peas. Excerpted from Break Through by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger. Copyright ©2007 by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Governor's Commission hires consultants

Read about the work of the nonprofit consulting firm hired to provide information for the Arkansas Governor's Commission on Global Warming to use to prepare its recommendations to the legislature at the following Web site link:

The Center for Climate Strategies

Please read and sign the petition to the governor at the following link:

Petition of interest


Gore Blasts U.S. Obstruction in Bali. By Marian Wilkinson and Mark Forbes, The Age (Australia), December 14, 2007. "Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has made a dramatic 11th-hour intervention at the faltering climate change talks in Bali, accusing his own country of obstructing progress and calling on other nations to forge a new deal without Washington. With less than 24 hours to today's conference deadline, the newly-awarded Nobel laureate last night made an impassioned plea to conference delegates to leave an 'open space' in a new climate change deal, and to hope it will be filled later by President George Bush's successor. 'I am going to speak an inconvenient truth: my own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali,' Mr Gore said, to rapturous applause." (For more on Gore's speech, go to Sify News' Al Gore's Oratory Electrifies Bali Summit.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Task force to meet Sunday in Fayetteville, Arkansas

CARBON CAPS TASK FORCE: Meeting Agenda: 16 December 2004
1:30 PM, United Campus Ministries – Basement – enter door on east side.
Corner of Maple & Storer Streets.


1. Report from CLAN
2. Logo / Slogan
3. Discussion of 2007-8 Priorities
4. Funding the promotion
5. Carbon Cap Fund
6. Commission report
7. Report from AR Public Policy Panel?
8. Focus the Nation event Jan 30
9. Petition to Gov Beebe on Hempstead power plant

OMNI Carbon Caps Program Agenda: 2008 – 2009
Two broad goals:
I. Citizens Legislative Action Network. To create a data base of active citizens in each Arkansas House & Senate District who will:
1. Respond to alerts for immediate action to support or oppose legislation in the 2009 General Assembly.
2. Contact the Public Service Commission, ADEQ, Corps of Engineers and others who have authority to approve / disapprove construction of new coal fired power plants in Arkansas.

II. EDUCATION / ADVERTIZING CAMPAIGN. To promote an intensive informational campaign to alert the citizens of Arkansas to the very detrimental effects of fossil fuel use for energy production, especially COAL.
1. Focus on the opposition to the construction of coal fired power plants
2. Connect at a personal level the burning of coal to everyday activities and products
3. Provide real ways to stop using coal as an energy source
Some ideas:
1. Public Lectures by Art Hobson, Stephen Pollard, others from the Sierra Club, Audubon, etc.
2. SpringFest / Earth Day
3. Develop coal character / logo

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Is it time for action beyond words?

Ted Glick and Wife, Jane Califf, Arrested in Sen. McConnell's Office. By James R. Carroll, Louisville Courier-Journal, December 11, 2007. "Two people were arrested in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office Monday evening after they refused to leave. McConnell, R-Ky., was the target of a demonstration today in his Senate office by as many as 20 people, including Ted Glick, coordinator for U.S. Climate Emergency Council, a Washington-based non-profit group that supports efforts to combat global warming and to promote cleaner energy sources... McConnell spokesman Robert Steurer said 'the senator is busy with Senate business today and is not available to meet with him.' However, McConnell did write a letter to Glick. The senator's Russell Senate Office Building offices closed to the public at 6 p.m., and U.S. Capitol Police asked Glick and his wife, Jane Califf, to leave. Glick and Califf did not comply and were arrested on charges of unlawful entry, according to Capitol Police. 'Negotiations are going on in the Senate between Republicans and Democrats as we speak,' Glick said. 'We are demanding in those negotiations that they have to retain a strong renewable energy mandate.' To do otherwise, he said, 'is morally wrong, wrong for the planet and wrong for our pocketbooks'... In his letter to Glick, McConnell said: 'I could not support a bill that would have hurt job creation in Kentucky as well as increased utility costs for energy consumers.'" [Editor's note: We received the following email from Ted this morning: "Jane and I got out of jail about 11:15, about 6 hours after we were arrested. We were charged with unlawful entry and have to go to court in January. We're both fine."]

Ominous Arctic Melt Worries Experts

By SETH BORENSTEIN – 12 December 2007
WASHINGTON (AP) — An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer, a warning sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One even speculated that summer sea ice would be gone in five years.
Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years earlier, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by The Associated Press.
"The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colo.
Just last year, two top scientists surprised their colleagues by projecting that the Arctic sea ice was melting so rapidly that it could disappear entirely by the summer of 2040.
This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."
So scientists in recent days have been asking themselves these questions: Was the record melt seen all over the Arctic in 2007 a blip amid relentless and steady warming? Or has everything sped up to a new climate cycle that goes beyond the worst case scenarios presented by computer models?
"The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming," said Zwally, who as a teenager hauled coal. "Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines."
It is the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels that produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, responsible for man-made global warming. For the past several days, government diplomats have been debating in Bali, Indonesia, the outlines of a new climate treaty calling for tougher limits on these gases.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Petition against coal-fired power plant in Arkansas

Petition to governor

Audubon Arkansas open house Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2007

Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

Dear Robert,
I wanted to share with you my speech from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo. Check for video of the event later today.
Thank you,
Al Gore
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Honorable members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen.
I have a purpose here today. It is a purpose I have tried to serve for many years. I have prayed that God would show me a way to accomplish it.
Sometimes, without warning, the future knocks on our door with a precious and painful vision of what might be. One hundred and nineteen years ago, a wealthy inventor read his own obituary, mistakenly published years before his death. Wrongly believing the inventor had just died, a newspaper printed a harsh judgment of his life’s work, unfairly labeling him “The Merchant of Death” because of his invention – dynamite. Shaken by this condemnation, the inventor made a fateful choice to serve the cause of peace.
Seven years later, Alfred Nobel created this prize and the others that bear his name.
Seven years ago tomorrow, I read my own political obituary in a judgment that seemed to me harsh and mistaken – if not premature. But that unwelcome verdict also brought a precious if painful gift: an opportunity to search for fresh new ways to serve my purpose.
Unexpectedly, that quest has brought me here. Even though I fear my words cannot match this moment, I pray what I am feeling in my heart will be communicated clearly enough that those who hear me will say, “We must act.”
The distinguished scientists with whom it is the greatest honor of my life to share this award have laid before us a choice between two different futures – a choice that to my ears echoes the words of an ancient prophet: “Life or death, blessings or curses. Therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”
We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency – a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst – though not all – of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly.
However, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.”
So today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.
As a result, the earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong.
We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.
Last September 21, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the North Polar ice cap is “falling off a cliff.” One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years.
Seven years from now.
In the last few months, it has been harder and harder to misinterpret the signs that our world is spinning out of kilter. Major cities in North and South America, Asia and Australia are nearly out of water due to massive droughts and melting glaciers. Desperate farmers are losing their livelihoods. Peoples in the frozen Arctic and on low-lying Pacific islands are planning evacuations of places they have long called home. Unprecedented wildfires have forced a half million people from their homes in one country and caused a national emergency that almost brought down the government in another. Climate refugees have migrated into areas already inhabited by people with different cultures, religions, and traditions, increasing the potential for conflict. Stronger storms in the Pacific and Atlantic have threatened whole cities. Millions have been displaced by massive flooding in South Asia, Mexico, and 18 countries in Africa. As temperature extremes have increased, tens of thousands have lost their lives. We are recklessly burning and clearing our forests and driving more and more species into extinction. The very web of life on which we depend is being ripped and frayed.
We never intended to cause all this destruction, just as Alfred Nobel never intended that dynamite be used for waging war. He had hoped his invention would promote human progress. We shared that same worthy goal when we began burning massive quantities of coal, then oil and methane.
Even in Nobel’s time, there were a few warnings of the likely consequences. One of the very first winners of the Prize in chemistry worried that, “We are evaporating our coal mines into the air.” After performing 10,000 equations by hand, Svante Arrhenius calculated that the earth’s average temperature would increase by many degrees if we doubled the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Seventy years later, my teacher, Roger Revelle, and his colleague, Dave Keeling, began to precisely document the increasing CO2 levels day by day.
But unlike most other forms of pollution, CO2 is invisible, tasteless, and odorless -- which has helped keep the truth about what it is doing to our climate out of sight and out of mind. Moreover, the catastrophe now threatening us is unprecedented – and we often confuse the unprecedented with the improbable.
We also find it hard to imagine making the massive changes that are now necessary to solve the crisis. And when large truths are genuinely inconvenient, whole societies can, at least for a time, ignore them. Yet as George Orwell reminds us: “Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”
In the years since this prize was first awarded, the entire relationship between humankind and the earth has been radically transformed. And still, we have remained largely oblivious to the impact of our cumulative actions.
Indeed, without realizing it, we have begun to wage war on the earth itself. Now, we and the earth's climate are locked in a relationship familiar to war planners: "Mutually assured destruction."
More than two decades ago, scientists calculated that nuclear war could throw so much debris and smoke into the air that it would block life-giving sunlight from our atmosphere, causing a "nuclear winter." Their eloquent warnings here in Oslo helped galvanize the world’s resolve to halt the nuclear arms race.
Now science is warning us that if we do not quickly reduce the global warming pollution that is trapping so much of the heat our planet normally radiates back out of the atmosphere, we are in danger of creating a permanent “carbon summer.”
As the American poet Robert Frost wrote, “Some say the world will end in fire; some say in ice.” Either, he notes, “would suffice.”
But neither need be our fate. It is time to make peace with the planet.
We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war. These prior struggles for survival were won when leaders found words at the 11th hour that released a mighty surge of courage, hope and readiness to sacrifice for a protracted and mortal challenge.
These were not comforting and misleading assurances that the threat was not real or imminent; that it would affect others but not ourselves; that ordinary life might be lived even in the presence of extraordinary threat; that Providence could be trusted to do for us what we would not do for ourselves.
No, these were calls to come to the defense of the common future. They were calls upon the courage, generosity and strength of entire peoples, citizens of every class and condition who were ready to stand against the threat once asked to do so. Our enemies in those times calculated that free people would not rise to the challenge; they were, of course, catastrophically wrong. Now comes the threat of climate crisis – a threat that is real, rising, imminent, and universal. Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for ignoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be unsustainable and unrecoverable. For now we still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion?
Mahatma Gandhi awakened the largest democracy on earth and forged a shared resolve with what he called “Satyagraha” – or “truth force.”
In every land, the truth – once known – has the power to set us free.
Truth also has the power to unite us and bridge the distance between “me” and “we,” creating the basis for common effort and shared responsibility.
There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We need to go far, quickly.
We must abandon the conceit that individual, isolated, private actions are the answer. They can and do help. But they will not take us far enough without collective action. At the same time, we must ensure that in mobilizing globally, we do not invite the establishment of ideological conformity and a new lock-step “ism.”
That means adopting principles, values, laws, and treaties that release creativity and initiative at every level of society in multifold responses originating concurrently and spontaneously.
This new consciousness requires expanding the possibilities inherent in all humanity. The innovators who will devise a new way to harness the sun’s energy for pennies or invent an engine that’s carbon negative may live in Lagos or Mumbai or Montevideo. We must ensure that entrepreneurs and inventors everywhere on the globe have the chance to change the world.
When we unite for a moral purpose that is manifestly good and true, the spiritual energy unleashed can transform us. The generation that defeated fascism throughout the world in the 1940s found, in rising to meet their awesome challenge, that they had gained the moral authority and long-term vision to launch the Marshall Plan, the United Nations, and a new level of global cooperation and foresight that unified Europe and facilitated the emergence of democracy and prosperity in Germany, Japan, Italy and much of the world. One of their visionary leaders said, “It is time we steered by the stars and not by the lights of every passing ship.”
In the last year of that war, you gave the Peace Prize to a man from my hometown of 2000 people, Carthage, Tennessee. Cordell Hull was described by Franklin Roosevelt as the “Father of the United Nations.” He was an inspiration and hero to my own father, who followed Hull in the Congress and the U.S. Senate and in his commitment to world peace and global cooperation.
My parents spoke often of Hull, always in tones of reverence and admiration. Eight weeks ago, when you announced this prize, the deepest emotion I felt was when I saw the headline in my hometown paper that simply noted I had won the same prize that Cordell Hull had won. In that moment, I knew what my father and mother would have felt were they alive.
Just as Hull’s generation found moral authority in rising to solve the world crisis caused by fascism, so too can we find our greatest opportunity in rising to solve the climate crisis. In the Kanji characters used in both Chinese and Japanese, “crisis” is written with two symbols, the first meaning “danger,” the second “opportunity.” By facing and removing the danger of the climate crisis, we have the opportunity to gain the moral authority and vision to vastly increase our own capacity to solve other crises that have been too long ignored.
We must understand the connections between the climate crisis and the afflictions of poverty, hunger, HIV-Aids and other pandemics. As these problems are linked, so too must be their solutions. We must begin by making the common rescue of the global environment the central organizing principle of the world community.
Fifteen years ago, I made that case at the “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro. Ten years ago, I presented it in Kyoto. This week, I will urge the delegates in Bali to adopt a bold mandate for a treaty that establishes a universal global cap on emissions and uses the market in emissions trading to efficiently allocate resources to the most effective opportunities for speedy reductions.
This treaty should be ratified and brought into effect everywhere in the world by the beginning of 2010 – two years sooner than presently contemplated. The pace of our response must be accelerated to match the accelerating pace of the crisis itself.
Heads of state should meet early next year to review what was accomplished in Bali and take personal responsibility for addressing this crisis. It is not unreasonable to ask, given the gravity of our circumstances, that these heads of state meet every three months until the treaty is completed.
We also need a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store carbon dioxide.
And most important of all, we need to put a price on carbon -- with a CO2 tax that is then rebated back to the people, progressively, according to the laws of each nation, in ways that shift the burden of taxation from employment to pollution. This is by far the most effective and simplest way to accelerate solutions to this crisis.
The world needs an alliance – especially of those nations that weigh heaviest in the scales where earth is in the balance. I salute Europe and Japan for the steps they’ve taken in recent years to meet the challenge, and the new government in Australia, which has made solving the climate crisis its first priority.
But the outcome will be decisively influenced by two nations that are now failing to do enough: the United States and China. While India is also growing fast in importance, it should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2 emitters — most of all, my own country –– that will need to make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act.
Both countries should stop using the other’s behavior as an excuse for stalemate and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment.
These are the last few years of decision, but they can be the first years of a bright and hopeful future if we do what we must. No one should believe a solution will be found without effort, without cost, without change. Let us acknowledge that if we wish to redeem squandered time and speak again with moral authority, then these are the hard truths:
The way ahead is difficult. The outer boundary of what we currently believe is feasible is still far short of what we actually must do. Moreover, between here and there, across the unknown, falls the shadow.
That is just another way of saying that we have to expand the boundaries of what is possible. In the words of the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado, “Pathwalker, there is no path. You must make the path as you walk.”
We are standing at the most fateful fork in that path. So I want to end as I began, with a vision of two futures – each a palpable possibility – and with a prayer that we will see with vivid clarity the necessity of choosing between those two futures, and the urgency of making the right choice now.
The great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, wrote, “One of these days, the younger generation will come knocking at my door.”
The future is knocking at our door right now. Make no mistake, the next generation will ask us one of two questions. Either they will ask: “What were you thinking; why didn’t you act?”
Or they will ask instead: “How did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve?”
We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but political will is a renewable resource.
So let us renew it, and say together: “We have a purpose. We are many. For this purpose we will rise, and we will act.”

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Petition to Gov. Mike Beebe: Stop the Hempstead Coal Plant

Dear friends,

Arkansas took a wrong turn last month when its Public Service Commission approved, in a 2-to-1 decision, Swepco's planned 600-MW coal-fired electric power plant near Texarkana. This plant will pump as much planet-killing CO2 into the atmosphere every year as half the cars and light trucks in Arkansas. There are better options: energy efficiency, renewable energy, and, if necessary, natural gas (which emits half as much CO2 as coal). States such as Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, are doing better than Arkansas by cancelling planned coal plants in favor of healthier alternatives.

Governor Beebe can stop this plant by placing a moratorium on construction until the newly-appointed Governor's Commission on Global Warming has had a chance to evaluate it and report to the state legislature late next year.


You needn't be an adult, or an Arkansan, or a U.S. citizen to sign. Global warming affects us all.
If you signed a petition against this plant a few months ago, this is a NEW petition. The previous petition went to the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Please sign this petition also!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Energy bill hits Senate roadblock

Energy bill hits Senate roadblock
GOP aims to strip tax, renewable electricity provisions
By William L. Watts, MarketWatch
Last update: 12:22 p.m. EST Dec. 7, 2007
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WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Senate Republicans on Friday blocked efforts to advance a wide-ranging energy bill, aiming to strip it of provisions that would roll back tax breaks for big oil companies and require utilities to generate a large chunk of electricity from sources such as solar and wind energy.
The action comes a day after the House passed the energy bill, which would require the first increase in automobile fuel-economy standards in decades, boost taxes on big oil companies by $13 billion over the next 10 years and require a major increase in the use of ethanol and other biofuels.
A procedural effort by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to close off debate on the package fell seven votes short of the 60 needed.
Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, the senior Republican on the Senate Energy Committee, said the vote signaled that a final package must "do something about" the tax provisions and the renewable portfolio standard, which would require utilities to produce 15% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said he was eager to work with Domenici and other lawmakers, setting the stage for votes next week.
"I do think that we can make some changes that would make this bill acceptable to a vast majority of senators," Bingaman said.
The White House reiterated a veto threat, citing the tax and renewable electricity provisions.
The bill would require the first boost in corporate average fuel economy standards since 1975. It would boost requirements by 40% to an industry average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
Under current law, auto makers must meet a fleet average of 27.5 miles per gallon for cars and 22.2 miles per gallon for small trucks, including vans and sport-utility vehicles.
The tax provisions in the bill add a total of $21 billion in new tax incentives over the next decade that are offset by eliminating breaks and raising levies on the nation's largest oil producers.
The tax provisions include a long-term extension of tax credits for renewable electricity, as well as credits for carbon-capture and sequestration demonstration products; credits for biofuel production, including cellulosic ethanol; tax-credit bonds for renewable energy measures and the extension of other incentives.
Republicans said the renewable energy provisions were unrealistic and would put undue burdens on utilities in states lacking access to resources considered "renewable" under the bill.
William L. Watts is a reporter for MarketWatch.

Robert McAfee
Climate Change Messenger
2610 W Hackett Rd, Hackett, AR 72937
[479]638-0035 [479]462-8834
Answering the Call --
Program based on Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth

The truth about the climate crisis is an inconvenient one that means we are going to have to change the way we live our lives. Al Gore

. . . unless we advance beyond thinking only in terms of conservation and alternate sources and begin to think in terms of a carbon pie, we will have no chance to stop the rise in atmospheric CO2. Wallace S. Broecker

Energy bill will need extra support in Senate this week

Greens Take Heart at Final Energy Bill
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t | Report

Thursday 06 December 2007

When the Democrats took the helm of Congress last January, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed to make energy independence a top priority. Democrats will "energize America," she said, and get the country off of imported oil.

Last summer, both houses of Congress passed energy bills oriented toward increasing energy efficiency and boosting renewable power and biofuels. But there were major differences between the House and Senate versions: The House version had no Corporate Average Fuel Economy program (CAFE) car mileage mandate due to Michigan Rep. John Dingell, (an auto industry champion), and the Senate version had no Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) due to strong opposition from Senate Republicans. Green-leaning energy advocates and environmentalists wanted both mandates in a final bill.

The Democratic leadership had a job in front of them to reconcile these two versions and get a final bill to the floor, especially since Senate Republicans refused to appoint a conference committee. But it appears they have finally done it. And not only that, it is a bill many greens think is worth supporting.

Just a few weeks ago, the chances of Democrats bringing a strong bill to a vote looked slim. Before Thanksgiving, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that to smooth the way toward passing a bill by Christmas, they would drop the RES. Advocates for renewable energy reacted strongly, calling the move a "lump of coal" in their Christmas stocking.

The final bill will now include a 35 mpg CAFE standard, an RES of 15 percent, and 21 billion dollars of investment in the renewable energy economy.

Among other things, the 21 billion dollars will fund production tax credits for solar and wind power over a four-year period; it will fund research and development programs for renewable energy and job training programs for solar power installers; and it will fund individual tax credits for solar energy, home weatherization and purchase of fuel efficient vehicles like plug-in hybrid cars.

Some greens were positively bubbly about the turn of events. Dave Roberts, a writer at the green online magazine Grist said, "Thanks to the persistence of Nancy Pelosi (and others), the energy bill has been almost entirely restored to its original strength ... A tip of the hat to you, Madame Speaker. You are restoring my faith."

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have literally declared war on the bill. Sen. Pete Domenici said, "If it comes over here, we have no alternative but to have war." In other words, a filibuster. And President Bush has warned he is likely to veto the bill if it does pass the Senate.

Senate Republicans have drawn the line on two provisions: the Renewable Electricity Standard and the $21 billion tax package that will fund the bill, especially the $13.5 billion in higher taxes on oil companies. Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, of Texas, was the one who put a hold on the bill back in October, preventing the appointment of a conference committee. She called the tax increase "discrimination against one industry." Hutchison received $2,029,825 in contributions from the oil and gas industries in 2006.

Tyson Slocum, of Public Citizen, thinks taxing the oil industry is a sensible way to fund renewable energy. He points out most of the 13.8 billion dollars in oil industry tax breaks the energy bill would repeal were awarded very recently, in 2004 and 2005, at a time when the oil industry was making record profits.

The biggest tax break for the oil industry, about 10 billion dollars, came in 2004 when the World Trade Organization found Boeing had been receiving tax breaks for airplanes it manufactured for export. As a result, the US government rewrote its tax rules and created an economy-wide tax break for US manufacturers. The oil lobby made sure that, in that process, oil and gas exploration got defined as "manufacturing."

Slocom said, "We are not talking about a manufacturing tax break for processing oil in a refinery, just for finding and pulling a barrel of oil out of the earth."

Scott Sklar, a solar energy industry lobbyist, also favors the Democrats' tax strategy. He compared the current energy bill to the Energy Policy Act of 2005: "The 2005 Energy Policy Act cost 14 billion dollars and 8 billion of that went to subsidize oil, coal, gas and utilities. It was paid for by cutting low income health programs. Poor people paid for the oil subsidies."

Tyson Slocum was pleased the 50 billion dollars in loan guarantees for new nuclear plants passed in the Senate version last summer have now been dropped.

When asked how he would rate the final version of the energy bill, Slocom said he would give it a seven out of ten. One of the things keeping it from being a ten was "inadequate money for household support to move to greater energy efficiency." For instance, although the bill doubles the solar energy tax credit from $2000 to $4000, since the cost of a complete solar electric system is upwards of $20,000, only the affluent will be able to take advantage of it.

After cautioning that changes could still be made at the last minute that might reduce his support, Slocum said, "It is a fine first step to a renewable energy future. Not as big as it could be, but it is a step in the right direction."

So, what caused the turnaround from the dark days before the Thanksgiving recess, when it looked as though the Democrats would disappoint green expectations for the bill?

Scott Sklar credits an outpouring of grassroots pressure. But also, he said, "Nancy Pelosi, in her heart, loves this stuff. The Democrats decided to draw a line no matter what happens."

When contacted on Wednesday, Pelosi's office said the House vote would take place on Thursday. However, other sources predicted it would slip until Friday evening or even until next week. Harry Reid has promised the Senate will take it up as soon as it passes the House.

Kelpie Wilson is Truthout's environment editor. Trained as a mechanical engineer, she embarked on a career as a forest protection activist, then returned to engineering as a technical writer for the solar power industry. She is the author of "Primal Tears," an eco-thriller about a hybrid human-bonobo girl. Greg Bear, author of "Darwin's Radio," says: "'Primal Tears' is primal storytelling, thoughtful and passionate. Kelpie Wilson wonderfully expands our definitions of human and family. Read Leslie Thatcher's review of Kelpie Wilson's novel "Primal Tears."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Decarbonization of global economy should be goal

Complete Decarbonization of Global Economy Should be the Goal. By George Monbiot,, December 4, 2007. "There is now a broad scientific consensus that we need to prevent temperatures from rising by more than 2°C above their pre-industrial level. Beyond that point, the Greenland ice sheet could go into irreversible meltdown, some ecosystems collapse, billions suffer from water stress, droughts could start to threaten global food supplies... A paper in Geophysical Research Letters finds that even with a 90% global cut by 2050, the 2° threshold 'is eventually broken'. To stabilise temperatures at 1.5° above the pre-industrial level requires a global cut of 100%. The diplomats who started talks in Bali yesterday should be discussing the complete decarbonization of the global economy. It is not impossible. In a previous article I showed how by switching the whole economy over to the use of electricity and by deploying the latest thinking on regional supergrids, grid balancing and energy storage, you could run almost the entire energy system on renewable power. The major exception is flying (don't expect to see battery-powered jetliners) which suggests that we should be closing rather than opening runways. This could account for around 90% of the necessary cut. Total decarbonisation demands that we go further. Preventing 2° of warming means stripping carbon dioxide from the air. The necessary technology already exists: the challenge is making it efficient and cheap."

Robert McAfee
Climate Change Messenger
2610 W Hackett Rd, Hackett, AR 72937
[479]638-0035 [479]462-8834
Answering the Call --

A broadranging climate Web site — The Climate Project

Energy bill vote in congress this week

PLEASE CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE mallards at Razorback baseball field detention pond in Fayetteville, Arkansas

The 2007 Energy Bill has been one long and bumpy ride. It's down to this...

The final energy bill will be voted on in the House of Representatives THIS WEEK, followed by a Senate vote next week.

The U.S. House is voting THIS WEEK on a final energy bill.

Make sure your
representative votes
for wildlife and passes
a strong bill!

With global warming threatening 30-40 percent of wildlife species, Congress MUST pass an energy bill in 2007 to lay the groundwork for strong global warming legislation in 2008 and beyond.

Let your representative know: "Americans need an Energy Bill with..."

Protections for wildlife and public lands from oil and gas development.
A Renewable Electricity Standard of at least 15 percent by 2020.
A fuel economy standard of at least 35 mpg by 2020.
We believe a bill with these three things can pass in the House and Senate, making a terrific down payment on an upcoming global warming bill!

Speak up today and help get the energy bill to the finish line:

Thanks so much! Stay tuned to hear how the vote goes.

Kristin Johnson
Grassroots Mobilization Coordinator
National Wildlife Federation

Inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Keeling Curve plays big role in documenting cause of climate change

50 years on: The Keeling Curve legacy
By Helen Briggs
Science reporter, BBC News

It is a scientific icon, which belongs, some claim, alongside E=mc2 and the double helix.

Its name - the Keeling Curve - may be scarcely known outside scientific circles, but the jagged upward slope showing rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere has become one of the most famous graphs in science, and a potent symbol of our times.

It was 50 years ago that a young American scientist, Charles David Keeling, began tracking CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere at two of the world's last wildernesses - the South Pole and the summit of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii.
Please click on

The Keeling Curve Legacy
to read the rest of the story.

Link submitted by Robert McAfee, chairman of the Carbon Caps Task Force.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Plug-in electric Ford Ranger could be in a farmer's future

An Electrifying Thought for Ford's St. Paul Plant
By David Morris
The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Sunday 25 November 2007
Why close a location when it could be used to produce the plug-in truck of the future?

In these pages two years ago I urged the Ford Motor Co. to make its St. Paul Ranger plant the centerpiece for a bold new transportation initiative - a battery-powered vehicle, charged from a household socket, with a backup biofueled engine. Ford's October 2005 announcement that multibillion dollars losses would require "significant" plant closings, potentially including St. Paul's plant, sparked the proposal.

At the time Ford was uninterested, and worse. When the Legislature took up a bill to create a task force to examine the potential for making a plug-in at the St. Paul plant, Ford dispatched an official to lobby against the bill. She was the only one opposed. Both chambers passed the bill unanimously.

In 2005, Ford turned its back on electric-powered vehicles after manufacturing and leasing 1,500 all-electric Rangers to comply with California's electric-vehicle mandate. The mandate was lifted in 2003, and Ford, along with General Motors, began gathering up and crushing their vehicles. Two leaseholders waged a yearlong campaign to be allowed to buy their Rangers. In January 2005, after a sit-in was conducted at a Ford dealership, the company agreed.

In crash tests, the electric Ranger was superior to the gas-engine Ranger. One of the protesters, David Bernikoff-Raboy, a rancher in Mariposa County, Calif., told a local newspaper, "These are great vehicles. Ford is missing a huge marketing opportunity with these vehicles."

In April 2006, Ford decided to close the St. Paul Ranger plant by mid-2008.

That was then, this is now. To paraphrase a famous Minnesotan, the times they are a-changing.

Ford is under new management. Bill Ford is out. Alan Mulally, former head of Boeing, is in.

Ford just announced it would continue to operate the Ranger plant through 2009. Dramatically lower labor costs, a result of halving the workforce at the plant and hiring temporary workers at lower wages, coupled with increased sales due to the higher Canadian dollar, has resulted in profits as high as several thousand dollars per vehicle.

Ford has changed its stance toward electric-powered vehicles. In July, along with the utility Southern California Edison, it announced a collaboration to examine the future of plug-in hybrid vehicles. "By combining strengths, ours in hybrid technology, theirs in energy management, we can consider transportation as part of the broader energy system and work to unleash the potential of plug-in technology for consumers," Mulally said.

GM has announced a major effort to get its new plug-in vehicle, the Volt, on the road in 2010-2012. Several dozen plug-in Priuses are on the roads in Japan, a remarkable turnaround for Toyota, a company that for years used as its tag line in Prius ads: "You never have to plug it in." The company is also developing flexible-fuel technology that could use E85 ethanol for the back-up engine.

These changes can, and should, lead Ford, the UAW and Minnesota to revisit a plan to make the St. Paul plant the basis for a new, green transportation initiative. An electricity-biofueled vehicle makes very good sense. Traveling on electricity costs about a penny a mile, compared with more than 13 cents on gas. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that if every light-duty car and truck in America used plug-in hybrid technology, 75 percent could be plugged in and fueled at night by the electricity grid without the need to construct a single new power plant. Since we use very little oil to generate electricity, electric miles are essentially oil-free miles. If the backup engine were fueled by ethanol or biodiesel, the vehicle could reduce overall petroleum consumption by more than 90 percent.

Minnesota is blessed with plentiful wind resources in virtually all parts of the state. The Achilles' heel of wind energy, as well as direct sunlight, is its intermittence. Electric vehicles can overcome this shortcoming. Their large electric-storage capacity can be charged anytime renewable electricity is available. When needed, the batteries can be tapped to provide power to the house, business, farm or regional grid.

The Ranger may be a suitable candidate for such a vehicle. It costs little. It already boasts the best fuel economy in its vehicle class. Converting it to a plug-in would increase that efficiency three- to five-fold. The Ranger weighs only a little more than the Prius and about the same as the Ford Escape, making it a good candidate for battery power. It has room for a significant battery pack.

That Ford can make a profit now with relatively low production runs of the Ranger may also be helpful in introducing a new type of vehicle. In October, Rangers put up about the same sales numbers (4,800) that GM hopes to achieve in the first year after it introduces the Volt.

The St. Paul plant also boasts a large new training facility, which could become the site for a collaboration between Ford and companies such as 3M and Johnson Controls that could give Minnesota a leg up on becoming not only an assembler of but a supplier of parts to these new vehicles.

To mix my metaphors: The table is set. Will Ford step up to the plate?

David Morris is vice president of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, based in Minneapolis and Washington, DC.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Meeting of Task Force set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday Dec. 16 at OMNI office

Omni Carbon Caps Task Force
Meeting Notes
November 11, 2007

Present: Robert McAfee, Dick Bennett, Aubrey Shepherd, Matt Petty, Maya Porter, Gladys Tiffany

FOIA: Discussed uncertainty about whether Freedom of Information Act applies to CCTF. Question was raised about the propriety of a Commissioner acting as chair of the task force. The act says it applies to government agencies and those who receive money from the government. Since neither of those apply to CCTF we feel pretty sure we can assume Robert McAfee can remain as chair. He intends to contact the Attorney Generals office to confirm this.

GW Commission Report: The Commissioner from the rural electric cooperatives complained that no bid was let for the consulting work the Center for Climate Strategies had proposed. So the Governor’s office put out a request for bids. There’s little chance that anybody else will be prepared to match the kind of grant CCS proposes. The Commission will select a proposal at the next meeting.

If you haven’t received a copy of the CCS proposal, please email Gladys at It’s a good overview of what they’ve done in other states. Clearly lays out how a commission can effectively accomplish the complex task this one is mandated to perform, with a will by the Commissioners, and support from state officials.

CLAN – Citizens Legislative Action Network: The intention is to find contacts in every legislative district in Arkansas. When action is needed to encourage or discourage support for some issue, CCTF will send requests by email, phone or US mail asking the network to contact their own legislator. Matt Petty is developing the database that will meet our needs for this plan. Maya Porter is gearing up to do the data entry. A form like the one attached is being prepared that can be emailed to people. Would you become part of this network? Fill out a copy of the form, and think of people you know in other parts of Arkansas who might want to help. That includes counties in Northwest Arkansas. Questions remain about secure hosting for the list.
We’d like to start doing press releases soon. Start discussing GW issues, adopt resolutions on an issue, and do a press release about it. Maybe begin with a resolution on biofuels. Maybe do some pamphlets. Matt will check with some writers who might work on this.
Advertising Campaign: Lauren Hawkins created the logo for this site and she will adapt it for use on mailouts and e-mail if needed.
We still need a slogan. Suggestions so far are
“Carbon Junkies”
“We Need a Carbon Diet”
“Sustainable – Arkansas Can Do It”
“Low C-O!”
need something positive, short and catchy.

Next meeting Sunday, December 16, 1:30, in the Omni office at UCM, 902 W. Maple.
Need to begin planning an advertising campaign for next year, discuss “One Sky” priorities. Send other topics to Robert McAfee at

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No Net Impact plans local initiative

No Net Impact

You are invited to GreenDrinks on Wednesday, December 5th from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm at Grub's in Fayetteville.


What is GreenDrinks? GreenDrinks is a casual social opportunity for people from different professional and personal walks of life who are interested in participating in creating a "greener" local environment and economy to get together to meet one another, talk about ideas and see what comes out of it.

Who is invited? This is a community event that is open to anyone interested in participating. Feel free to bring your friends and colleagues!

Who are the sponsors?
University of Arkansas Net Impact
Green Valley Net Impact
Ozark Headwaters Group Sierra Club
Western Arkansas Chapter U.S. Green Building Council
Sustainble NWA
NWA Sustainability Center and Audubon Arkansas.

Is this a one-time event? No, we plan to hold a GreenDrinks gathering on the 1st Wednesday of every month.

Questions? Please feel free to contact me at the e-mail address or phone number below. For more information about Net Impact, please check out

Karen McSpadden
University of Arkansas Net Impact
479.225.2077 cell

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dr. Jocelyn Elders to speak at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 28 in Fayetteville, Arkansas

WEDNESDAY 28TH Planned Parenthood will celebrate 26 years of being in Northwest Arkansas. The event will be from 5:30 to 7 P.M. at the Unitarian Church at 901 Cleveland in Fayetteville. Dr. Jocelyn Elders will be their guest speaker.

Capping worldwide population growth is the quintessential way to cap worldwide production of CO2!