Saturday, December 18, 2010

The case for Collaborative Consumption

"Sharing is something you only do with people you trust. To bad you don't trust anyone." - Rachel Botsman (HOT!) challenges you to collaborate.

Are you ready to wake up?
  1. Reduce.
  2. Reuse.
  3. Repair.
  4. Re-purpose.
  5. Recycle.
  6. Redistribute.
"You need the hole, not the drill"

Thursday, November 18, 2010


"Do people exist to serve the economy, or does the economy exist to serve people?"

Watch this short interview with David Korten and begin to dream again.

Watch the full episode. See more NOW on PBS.

Watching PBS NewsHour on KPBS Channel 11 last night, I caught a glimpse of something absolutely AMAZING! In a clip from NOW with David Brancaccio.

We are talking about rebuilding community.
"Creating wealth within the community requires life values."
We need to get people engaged in their local economy. The power resides in Wall Street, not Main Street, wall street only recognizes FINANCIAL Values.

Alone we can not change the world, but we are not alone. Eighty communities around the USA and Canada, connecting 22,000 businesses and organization, growing exponentially. The potential for a global transformation of the economy is at hand.

"There are two competing paths of 'globalization' one is about CORPORATE Power, the other is about PEOPLE Power. They are diametrically opposed to each other."

If we are we going to evolve our society with the speed necessary to bring our population in balance with the resources and environment of the planet, we need to share our ideas and our knowledge freely.

Business must make a "LIVING RETURN", living owners within living enterprises with the goal of serving community. The real issue is not JOBS, its LIVELIHOOD. The less we are dependent upon the money system, the more we are in control of our lives.

  • 1) What is the purpose of the economy?

  • 2) What are you doing, today, to create an economy with that purpose?

  • 3) How do we create the political power to put Main Street over Wall Street?

Join the Society for Media Justice to help create a Sustainable Future, in San Diego.

Monday, October 25, 2010

HomeSTAR - Why Haven't You Had an Energy Audit?

The proposed HOME STAR energy retrofit program is the focus of a report aired this weekend on NPR’s Weekend Edition, in which reporter Christopher Joyce follows a crew from Masco Home Services’ WellHome division as they conduct an energy audit at a home in suburban Washington, D.C.

The report delivers a solid introduction to Home Performance and the long-term benefits of investing in whole-house retrofit work, then concludes with a convincing summary of the economic logic behind HOME STAR:

Some states, like New York, already pay homeowners for retrofits. So did President Obama’s stimulus plan last year. But Jeff Genzer of the National Association of State Energy Officials says the stimulus money was mostly for low-income families. HOME STAR is for all homeowners.

“And it’s really targeted to getting the money in the hands of underemployed building contractors,” Genzer says. Indeed, HOME STAR advocates claim that the $6 billion could create 160,000 new jobs in the flagging building sector.

Genzer adds that small-scale-efficiency programs are cheaper than building new nuclear plants or big wind farms. And homes are a fat target for savings — buildings use 40 percent of the country’s energy. But caulk and insulation aren’t very sexy either.

“Is it easier for a politician to cut a ribbon in front of a nuclear power plant than it is in front of a house that’s been weatherized?” he asks. “Well, maybe.”

Listen to the full report online:

"Cash for Caulkers" isn't just a good idea. It is the first step in transforming our economy over to renewable energy. It means jobs, and NO NEW POWERPLANTS! Weatherize and reduce your utility bill, better yet, make your building ZERO-NET Energy, then add renewable energy production, and power your car on the sun.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The US Gulf Cost is in Cardiac Arrest

Six months ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew up and sank in the Gulf of Mexico. The initial explosion grabbed the nation's attention, but few imagined what was to come. As the oil spread, writer Terry Tempest Williams felt compelled to bear witness to the devastation and share the stories of those most affected.

The amount of oil and dispersant chemical contamination is unknown and causing long term health problems for the people and the animals. The economy and the wildlife are toxic. The Cajun and Creole  people are starving.

Listen to TOTN

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Offshore Wind Power

Google and financial firm Good Energies have agreed to invest heavily in a proposed $5 billion transmission backbone for future offshore wind farms along the eastern seaboard, the NYT reports today in an above-the-fold front pager. They will each take on 37.5 percent of the equity portion of the first-of-its-kind project and are expected to bring in additional investors. As it currently stands, the two companies will likely need to front about $200 million apiece just for the first phase of construction.

DETAILS - Trans-Elect hopes to begin construction on the project in 2013. The Maryland-based transmission-line company estimates that the initial phase - stretching 150 miles from northern New Jersey to Rehoboth Beach, Del. - will cost $1.8 billion and could go into service by 2016. The rest would not be finished until early next decade.

NYT: 'Industry experts called the plan promising, but warned that... it was bound to face bureaucratic delays and could run into unforeseen challenges, from technology problems to cost overruns....The system's backbone cable, with a capacity of 6,000 megawatts, equal to the output of five large nuclear reactors, would run in shallow trenches on the seabed in federal waters 15 to 20 miles offshore, from northern New Jersey to Norfolk, Va. The notion would be to harvest energy from turbines in an area where the wind is strong but the hulking towers would barely be visible.'

Friday, October 8, 2010

10/10/10 - NO on CA Prop 23

WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND - Environmentalists will stage more than 7,000 events in a total of 188 countries this Sunday (10/10/10) in a bid to convince political leaders in the United States and abroad to take action to address climate change. Organizer and founder Bill McKibben.

I grew up in the Inland Empire - the valley east of Los Angeles - in the 1970's and suffered from childhood asthma due to the polluted atmosphere. We didn't even know we lived in a valley, because we couldn't see the three 10,000' mountains due to the smog. I like clean air, I hate oil refineries. Fair disclosure complete.

PROP 23 - Oil refiners are ramping up their efforts to pass the voter initiative meant to derail California's landmark greenhouse gas emissions law, Wall Street Journal reports. Valero Energy and Tesoro have given about $4 million and $1.5 million so far, according to state-finance filings.

The president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association is also asking for financial support from the group's members. 'I am pleading with each of you - for our nation's best interest and for your company's own self-interest,' Charles Drevna wrote in an e-mail obtained by the paper. 

In 2006, California Assembly Bill 32 attempted to put the first serious limit on our growing level of Green House Gas emissions in the USA. It's intent is to limit GHG, mandate state electricity be made with renewable energy sources, and return California to 1990 levels by 2020. The Carbon-Fuel Industries are terrified that it will work, and that will set the example for the rest of the nation and the world.

Join a "NO on 23" CALLING PARTY.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

SUNRUN backs down from its stance against PACE programs.

There is a lot of behind the scenes politics going on over Energy Efficiency (EE) and Renewable Energy (RE) financing options at various levels of our government. California, a traditional leader in creating progressive legislative solutions to the traditional road-blocks on the path to a greener energy economy, has developed various Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs that have been copied in other states throughout the nation. But these programs are seen as a threat to some who have made bets against Green technologies, and invested in corrupt systems such as home-mortgage financing.

All the traditional big corporation stake holders (Utilities, Energy Brokers, Carbon-Fuel Companies, Transportation Corps., etc) have substantial lobbies against the emerging Energy Efficiency and distributed Renewable Energy markets. Every watt of energy these new markets safe or produce is a decrease in demand from their traditional systems, and thus MONEY OUT OF THEIR POCKETS.

In the latest discussion, a national Power Purchase Agreement agent, SUNRUN, which provides Solar Electric Leases to homeowners in multiple states, has been helping slow down the move to PACE type programs, out of 'concerns' over various issues of implementation.

Some call SUNRUN's move against PACE financing self-serving, and I agree.

Sun Run is a venture capital financing model, looking to guarantee large interest rates on long term contracts. PACE directly competes with their business model by lowering interest rates, and providing long term financing to people without equity or credit. That shouldn't be seen as a threat, but it is, because people essentially funding their own Energy Efficiency can create service jobs, but that doesn't necessarily sell a tangible product, like Solar-PV, that can be depreciated for tax benefits, or could be repossessed.

Thus, SUNRUN, which is gaining vast market share as an alternative financing scheme, while PACE programs flounder, benefits at consumer expense.

That aside the SUNRUN argument is disingenuous. They are pushing Solar PV renewable energy production - the highest-cost piece of the green energy puzzle - over Energy Efficiency or even Solar Thermal Hot Water (STHW). They don't mention the low cost alternatives that efficiency provides, because they can't OWN EFFICIENCY.

To address the SUNRUN concerns: 

"1) PACE loans are typically larger than solar equipment value." YES, because the PACE programs require EE work first to minimize the size and expense of any necessary renewable energy generation, and thus maximize return on investment while minimizing property-tax payments.  

"2) PACE loans do not always create clear savings." This seems more relevant, but when using the Department of Energy (DOE) loading orders and EE "in-and-out" testing, the 'clear savings' are obvious.

"3) Solar inverters fail in 8-12 years ,while PACE lien payments persist 15-20 years." This is a valid concern for those who NEED SOLAR PV systems, but the simple solutions are A) shorten the lean payment period to the inverter period, B) include inverter replacement costs in the lien, C) allow the lien to include insurance for catastrophic problems like inverter failure, theft, or hail damage.

Thus, shutting down all of PACE programs nation-wide for such easily surmountable problems is untenable. That's why SUN RUN eventually backed down, for their "concerns" were not substantial and profited their business model over the industry as a whole, and over the common good. 

See SUNRUN's statement here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Self-Replicating Nano Solar Paint

Scientists at MIT Discover tiny solar photovoltaic compounds that assemble or disassemble themselves depending upon chemicals that are sprayed upon them. They don't loose efficiency, either. Can you say "Electric Spray-Paint"?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Jimmy Carter's Solar Panels Return to the White House

Unity College Students & Bill McKibben Launch Road Trip to Reinstall Jimmy Carter Solar Panel Back on White House Roof - Report by Democracy Now of NYC

A group of Unity College students, led by environmentalist Bill McKibben, set out Tuesday for Washington, DC, carrying a solar panel that once stood atop President Jimmy Carter’s White House. In 1979, Carter installed solar panels on the roof of the West Wing as part of a new solar strategy. They were removed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and put into storage. In 1990, the panels were brought to Unity College in Maine. The students are now hoping to convince President Obama to reinstall the panel back on the White House roof.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

FutureStates: From PBS

What will become of America in the next 5, 25, 50 years? The Public Broadcasting System has invested in the imaginations of eleven film makers to test the theories of our future. Watch FutureStates on PBS

Saturday, August 7, 2010

World Resource Simulation Center

“How do we make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone?”

Video Introduction:

Thirty Years Ago, Buckmister Fuller suggested that with all the interrelated global problems of our time; Population, Energy, Climate Change, Disease, Food, Water, etc. It is necessary to have one place where the best minds can visualize the scope of the worlds problems, and suggest solutions.

This is the concept that developed into the World Resource Simulation Center, a project of San Diego's own Global Energy Network Institute.

You are invited to attend this unique Month Long Event, September 7th -- September 30th, 2010. To be held in San Diego, at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design, 1249 F St., San Diego, CA 92101

Register NOW for each individual day:
Each Day will be structured for collaborative learning, presentations, and networking. Each week will deal with a different problem set; Energy and Water at the Local, State, National and Global scale and in the last week will offer solutions.
  • Week One: Global Scenarios, Trends, and Projections.
  • Week Two: National and State Directions
  • Week Three: Southern California Stakeholders
  • Week Four: Solutions, Energy, Water, Moving Forward
(Suggested Donation $20/day, $30/presentation days, includes lunch and reception)
Register Here:

Remember, this is not a conference, but a working immersive environment designed to simulate the day to day work of the future WRSC. You will actively participate.

Peter Meisen
President, GENI
peter (at)
(619) 595-0139

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Governments Subsidize Fossil Fuel Over Renewable Energy by a Factor of TEN!

TravisTR sends word of research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance which found that direct subsidies for renewable energy from governments worldwide totaled $43-46 billion in 2009, an amount vastly outstripped by the $557 billion in fossil fuel subsidies during 2008. Governments of the world are spending substantially more on subsidizing dirty forms of energy than on renewables and biofuels. In fact, support for cleaner sources is dwarfed by the help the oil, coal, and other fossil fuel sectors receive.

"The BNEF preliminary analysis suggests the US is the top country, as measured in dollars deployed, in providing direct subsidies for clean energy with an estimated $18.2bn spent in total in 2009."

Approximately 40% of this went toward supporting the US biofuels sector with the rest going towards renewables. The federal stimulus program played a key role; its Treasury Department grant program alone provided $3.8bn in support for clean energy projects.

China, the world leader in new wind installations in 2009 with 14GW, provided approximately $2bn in direct subsidies, according to the preliminary analysis. This figure is deceptive, however, as much crucial support for clean energy in the country comes in form of low-interest loans from state-owned banks. State-run power generators and grid companies have also been strongly encouraged by the government to tap their balance sheets in support of renewables.

This disparity raises the question--if the report is right and fossil fuels require so much backing, can they compete with renewables without government support?

So far renewables just can't provide enough fuel and power to displace fossil fuels. The infrastructure to make and distribute them isn't adequate. That could change overnight if we simply stopped subsidizing fossil fuels, and shifted that Government Investment into renewable infrastructure.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Apparent False Images from BP

From FreedomLink-Radio In this compilation of "news" videos from various reports on the major networks, there is a strange and unexplained reading. If you enlarge the images to full screen, you can read Longitude East 120 and Latitude North 10.4.

According to the Latitude and Longitude readings on the displays of the under sea robots, they are in the Pacific Ocean, the Sulu Sea, near the Philippines. This is very disturbing. What is going on in the Gulf of Mexico?

(Note: I was up all night checking YouTube videos of the supposed BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, they all have Longitudes 120.2021-2810 East, and Latitudes North 10.430092-431600. The question remains why fake it?)

Sunday, July 25, 2010


A Jim Bell & Common Sense Commentary, 619-758-9020

We humans are something special and rare.

In spite of there being an estimated 5 to 100 million species of life on our planet, our species is the only one sufficiently conscious to become conscious of existence and our place in it on all levels.

On the most foundational level, this means that if enough of us become conscious enough, soon enough, we will be able to pass the birthright of a peaceful and life-supporting world to our children and future generations.

Additionally, increasing consciousness will open us to new potential and possibilities on this planet and beyond.

Unfortunately, our pursuit of consciousness will be cut short if we continue to live and make livings in ways that hurt others and cause life-support system damage. The Gulf oil gusher is just the latest example of how economic gambling can hurt people and our planet’s life-support system far beyond what the gamblers risk.

Clearly, whatever threats loom before us, if the world’s population continues to grow and we continue and even increase the average amount of life-support damage we cause per capita, sooner or later our planet’s life-support system will fail in some fundamental way. This will result in a general human and life-form die-back. If such a failure is serious enough, human extinction and even the extinction of life in general becomes a possibility.

Some people believe that such a failure is underway. They offer as evidence that 15% or 1/6 of the world’s population is malnourished or starving. That 70% of us are under-employed, have zero or next to zero health care and are poorly clothed and housed. Additionally, there is an estimated 27,000 species of life that are going extinct each year, 270 to 2,700 times our planet’s average extinction rate.

Additionally, human activities have released 80,000 or more chemicals into our common environment (mostly over the past 70 years) and are now adding 1,000 new chemicals per year; chemicals and concoctions that our planet’s life-support system has had zero experience processing or neutralizing and zero experience in protecting itself from them.


To avoid the utter failure of past civilizations, each individual and the human family as a whole, have to become conscious enough to resolve human differences without violence or its threat; and develop economies and ways of life that benefit everyone and that are completely life-support sustaining.

We are becoming more conscious but we are not yet conscious enough to stop killing and hurting each other and causing damage to our planet’s life-support system.

If we really want to leave our children and future generations the best chance to enjoy a happy, healthy, prosperous and completely life-support sustaining future, we have to become conscious enough and knowledgeable enough to know what to do to bring the human family into life-support system harmony.

If we don’t achieve this level of consciousness soon, we will follow the path worn by previous civilizations, all of which utterly failed at the height of their most advanced knowledge and sophistication.

But, if we become conscious and knowledgeable enough, soon enough -- we can skip the decline and die off phase of past civilizations. Instead, we can propel ourselves to the next level of consciousness and the new potential it will open to us and to the human family’s future.

Obviously, our task is to meet this challenge, but what should we do?

The answer is simple. On the most fundamental and foundational level we need to develop economies and ways of life that are cooperative, mutually beneficial and life-support sustaining and we need to do this wherever we live and ultimately, planet wide. To achieve this goal, the following steps should be followed.

Step One - Become renewable energy self-sufficient.

When a home, community, city, county, region, state or country controls its energy supply and price, it controls its economy, its ways of life, and most everything else -- no matter what happens to the price and supply of energy on national and global markets.

Because solar energy in its various forms is free and even delivered free, the only cost to benefit from it are the labor and materials for increasing electricity use efficiency and manufacturing and installing renewable energy collection devices on our roofs and over our parking lots. And given that our inventors/developers are still getting better at saving energy and converting various forms of solar energy into electricity and other uses, the cost of efficiency improvements and renewably generated electricity and other work will continue to fall.

Every level of becoming renewable energy self-sufficient creates opportunities. In San Diego County, where I live, there is an abundance of direct sunlight. Additionally, the county has substantial wind, biomass, ocean current, wave and tidal energy from which electricity can be produced.

But, even if direct sunlight was its only resource, and assuming 40 kWh of electricity, natural gas and transportation fuels are consumed directly or indirectly per capita per day, San Diego County could become renewable energy self-sufficient by increasing energy use efficiency by 40% and covering 43% of its roofs and parking lots with 15% efficient PV panels.

Economically, becoming renewable energy self-sufficient will increase countywide economic activity by over $175 billion over a forty year implementation period and create over 1 million job-years of employment in the process.

What about cost?

Actually, becoming renewable energy self-sufficient will cost less than continuing our dependences on imported energy -- especially if we make the transformation with a little intelligence and grace.

Assuming an average cost of 10 cents per kWh over 40 years, making San Diego County renewable electricity self-sufficient alone would save the county $24 billion.* Since electricity makes up around 40% of the energy the average person uses per day, it follows that a renewably energy self-sufficient San Diego County would save around $60 billion over a 40-year transition period. Additionally, the higher the cost that electricity rises above 10 cent per kWh on the open market, the greater the County’s positive cash-flow and resulting economic multiplier benefit will be.

Step Two - Become renewable water self-sufficient.

Water is essential to life. It is essential to the water-rich lifestyle most people in the developed world already have and that people in the developing world would like to have.

Using San Diego County as an example, increasing the coverage of its roofs and parking lots by another 5% with 15% efficient PV panels will allow it to become renewable energy and water self-sufficient. The addition electricity will power reverse osmosis (RO) pumps to force saltwater against membranes that let freshwater through, but block salt, other minerals and most pollutants.

Assuming the worst case scenario of zero rainfall and zero imported water, five percent coverage ofSan Diego County’s roofs and parking lots with 15% efficient PV panels would make enough electricity to produce 776,000 acre ft. of water each year. San Diego County now uses around 600,000 acre ft. of water each year. By installing PV panels over 8% of its roofs and parking lots, San DiegoCounty could become a substantial water exporter to inland communities.

Sea life will be protected from RO pumps by extracting the saltwater to be processed through sand filtration (extracting saltwater through coastal wells and through sea bottom sand filtration). Wastewater or brine left over from the RO process will be evaporated in shallow open ponds so salt and other minerals left behind can be mined. When any RO wastewater is returned to the sea, it would be diluted by sand-filtered salt water to no more than 20% saltier than natural seawater, then released diffusely into the ocean.

Step Three – Become renewable food self-sufficient.

With renewable energy and water self-sufficiency, comes the ability to be renewable food self-sufficient. It also allows for the growth of a great deal of the fiber and lumber.

To make this real, it is essential that we protect our agricultural soils from further development and other misuse. Research indicates that we still have enough agricultural soil on our planet to feed everyone a nutritious diet of tasty, sustainably-grown food with lots of variety. With renewable energy powered RO, this is true for San Diego County. Unfortunately, this will not be true for San Diego County or our world for long if we do not protect and preserve our best agricultural soils for life-supporting agriculture.

Step Four – Population

Each person should make a personal choice to be the birth parent of no more than two children unless a child or children die before reproducing themselves. If this was practiced worldwide, the world’s population would decline by ½% 1% to per year. A 1% decline per year would reduce the world’s population to 2.5 billion people in 100 years. This was the world’s population in the mid 1950s. With a population drop of ½% per year, this would happen in 200 years.

Step Five – Develop a Space Debris Detection and Defense System

We already have the technology to locate all earth-orbit-crossing space objects. We also have the technology, to deflect earth bound objects large enough to cause serious life-support harm if they collide with us, if we discover them soon enough. We could an even capture such objects into earth or the moon orbits for scientific study and mining.

Final Thoughts:

Bottom line, if we want to leave the birthright of a happy, healthy, prosperous, life-supporting sustainable future to our young and future generations, these 5 steps are the minimum we must do, and the sooner the better.

We’ve come so far, why blow it now? We know what can be done. All we have to do is do it. If those living over the next 60 years or so develop life-support sustaining economies and ways of life planet wide, there is little to stop us from colonizing space in our own galaxy and beyond.

* For details on this investment strategy, go to, click on “Green Papers”. Although this paper focuses on renewable electricity self-sufficiency in San Diego County, the investment strategies it develops can be used to become renewable energy self-sufficient for gaseous and liquid fuels as well. Additionally, this strategy can work almost anywhere on our planet, modified for climate, renewable energy sources available and other local conditions. With modifications, it will also work for becoming renewable water and food self-sufficient as well. For more depth,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

EfficiencyFirst - The Beginning OR The End

As you may have heard, we learned that the U.S. Senate will not take up comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation prior to the August recess. Even more distressing, it’s very unlikely the Senate will push for a comprehensive bill at all this year.

It's deeply disappointing that Big Oil, Dirty Coal and their allies in the Senate, led by the Republican and Democratic leadership, continue to stand in the way of creating a clean energy economy that creates jobs, makes America more energy independent and protects the planet. The twin challenges of building a clean energy economy and addressing global warming are too important to fail.

Today, Sustainable Future joined with EfficiencyFirst and I am lending them my support toward a nationwide campaign to put political pressure on our Federal Representatives. Efficiency First is the voice of America's Home Performance industry, and we need to work to support policies that will fuel it's growth.

We must address the efficiency solution to the carbon economy. If not now, when?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Elizabeth Warren, on how to avoid the coming recession.

From "Need To Know" on PBS - 2,300 pages of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 and the future 'commercial property depression'. Simply, most American Banks are insolvent, they just don't want to tell their stockholders. See more here ...

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

What does a sustainable economy look like? What is is worth?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Congress Threatens FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

"These guys don't want to pick a fight with Congress," Rep. Mike Thompson of northern California said of Fannie and Freddie. "There's no value in that. I've been absolutely mystified as to how they've come to the conclusions they've come to, and I'm not sure why they're doing what they're doing. I think they're way off base and I'm hopeful we'll be able to bring them back into this universe."

PACE programs let home and business owners pay for rooftop solar arrays, high-efficiency furnaces, insulation, and other improvements through a surcharge on their property tax bills, removing high up-front costs. Fannie and Freddie dislike that those tax assessments have senior lien standing to mortgages, even though analyses and pilot programs have found that energy efficiency and PACE programs can make borrowers more financially secure.

The bill would ban lenders from imposing penalties or stricter criteria on municipalities that use PACE; Fannie and Freddie recently told lenders to do just that. The bill would also prevent lenders from requiring homeowners to pay off assessments before refinancing their mortgages or selling their property.

The finance tool certainly has a lot of friends. It's been backed by $150 million in Department of Energy stimulus funding, the vice president's Middle Class Task Force, 23 state legislatures, governors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger [PDF], and mayors such as Michael Bloomberg [PDF]. California Attorney General Jerry Brown sued Fannie and Freddie yesterday to defend the PACE programs, the largest of which are in California.

More ...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

CA Attorney General, Jerry Brown, Sues Feds over PACE

Today at the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) a press conference was held by California State Attorney General and former Governor, Jerry Brown.

Brown has announced that he is suing the Federal Housing Finance Agency as they recently put the kibosh on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs across the nation, programs that allows property owners to pay for energy upgrades over time through special tax assessments.

On July 6, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a statement saying that PACE assessments would put unusual risk on on Private Mortgage Companies, like government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae (FNMA) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (A.K.A. Freddie Mac).

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received enormous federal bailouts but now they’re throwing up impermeable barriers to bank lending that creates jobs, stimulates the economy and boosts clean energy,” - Says Brown.

In tandem with local and state officials from San Diego City Council's, Marti Emerald and Mayor Jerry Sanders, to County Supervisors, like Pam Slater-Price and Diane Jacob, Jerry Brown called for a common sense approach that will jump start our new economy.

Even State Assemblyman, Marty Block put in his two cents. Yet, the only Federal Presence was Congressional Candidate, Ray Lutz, an electrical engineer who combats the power of big energy utilities. We need to speak to our Federal Politicians, and get them to take their foot off the breaks.

You can add your independent voice to the call for a new clean energy revolution by writing your Federal Representatives about PACE.

PACE programs are an important part of the puzzle, a necessary financing tool to allow building efficiency work and renewable energy upgrades in these tough economic times.

"These PACE programs are literally the catalyst, our sustainable future is waiting."

When these PACE programs become regular practice, we will see thousands of new jobs and hundreds of new industries move forward, as our energy economy shifts to efficient renewable energy sources.

    Three important points about these programs:

  • First, all PACE programs should follow established Department of Energy (DOE) "Best Practices" Guidelines for PACE Programs.
  • They must include third party Energy Audits and require property owners to decrease waste before adding expensive renewable generation, like Solar Photovoltaic Systems.
  • Because they use local property assessments as financing guarinetees, they should require a 'loading order' for energy imporovements that requires the largest 'bang-for-the-buck'.  
For example, after energy efficiency and insulation envelopes are inspected, Solar Thermal Hot Water is the biggest energy saver and more cost efficient than Photovoltaic Electricity. Unless the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system is efficient, all the Solar Panels in the world are just decretive ornamentation.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A little 'accident' in Louisiana

Watch FUEL

"The Best Movie I've Seen ALL YEAR!"

"We use 25% of the world's oil, we have 2% of the worlds oil, we can't drill our way out. It is easier to put a man on the moon than to drill at the bottom of the ocean."

Former Alaska Senator, Ted Stevens, indicted for taking bribes from big oil, ended his three-decade carrier.

America was once the great hope of all man kind, people around the world were hungry for American moral authority and leadership. After 250 years of disciplined leadership by republicans and democrats, the oil slaves in the White House, because of monumental arrogance and incompetence have drained the reservoirs dry. - Robert Kennedy, Jr.

Germany will be "Carbon Free" by 2050. Sweeden will be oil free by 2020, just ten years. Bio-Diesel should be used in every School Bus, Every 18-Wheeler, Every Navy Ship. Every Train should use Bio-Diesel. Is the global ban on Bio-Fuel a big scam?
  • It takes as much energy to create a gallon of gas as is in that gallon, so you really burn two gallons.
  • It takes as much energy to create a gallon of ethanol (CORN) as is in that gallon, so you get out what you put in, no energy.
  • It takes about 1/3rd as much energy to create a gallon of Bio-Diesel (Soy) as you get out, but it takes lots of fertile land, which makes people cut down their forests, and kill millions of species.
  • Is the cost of the oil wars worth more than researching our energy future? Could Algae replace oil, using just our waste?
  • What if we put as much money into wind turbines as we put into Iraq? ($2-Trillion = all the energy we need, forever)
  • Clean, Quick, Cheap, and immediate return. Conservation, we waste 40-50% of the energy we use.
  • It is time for you to lead. Does the mayor know who you are?
Interesting Emerald Energy, and Mega-Flora Trees.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sustainable Government - a Lesson from Lawrence Lessing of Change Congress

So, you are wondering when the recession will end? You want to know when you'll get your job back? Or when you can get your retirement savings back to previous levels? (Ha, ha, he, he ...)

First, you need a democracy dependent upon people, not corporate lobbies. Problem is, most of us work for corporations or unions that lobby? So, in order to have a just system that builds upon the common good, we must all give up some small measure of our 'power to influence' via campaign contribution$. That's not a 'Free Market', say those who believe politics should follow the directions of the funders.

"Who will ever vote against their own 'self-interest'?"
You do.

Until you are enlightened.

Look, until things change, nothing will change. So, Fix Congress First.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Help Support Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)

With the potential stoppage of financing for renewable energy retrofits we risk not only our ability to control our local economy, but also our Sustainable Future.

America’s energy problems — from economic crisis to global climate change — will only be solved by a national transition to renewables. Energy Efficiency and Clean, homegrown, reliable solar energy is ready to play a large part of the solution, but we have still just scratched the surface of our vast energy saving potential. In order to bring the technology to scale, we need to bring down costs, and supply long term financing in these rough economic times. The solution could be Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).

There is an urgent need to get our Federal leaders involved and make them aware of PACE programs to make them viable. Please use the sample letter below and/or go to Vote Solar to send your Federal Representatives a note.

Sample Letter:
Dear Representative:

Cities and counties throughout the U.S. are developing new finance programs that support clean energy building retrofits. Called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), these programs represent a promising tool for local governments to bring new jobs, energy bill savings, and environmental benefits to their communities. To date, 23 states have authorized PACE, and and over $100 million in federal funds have been allocated to implement PACE programs around the country.

Unfortunately, PACE is facing a serious threat that could render these programs dead in the water. On May 5, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issued ‘Lender Letters’ that suggested that property owners with mortgages from these lending giants may be prohibited from participating in PACE programs. The move attacks the constitutional right of local governments to assess property taxes and throws a massive wrench in American green job growth and investment. It’s a big problem.

As a supporter of our new green economy, I am writing to request your assistance in this urgent matter. Specifically, I request that your offices:

1) Engage with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other relevant regulatory agencies to seek immediate clarification of the Lender Letters sent on May 5, 2010. Existing PACE programs—especially the ones receiving federal ARRA funds and following DOE underwriting guidelines—should be directed to proceed without any concern that they might violate the terms of the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac uniform mortgage instruments, or be otherwise subject to adverse action by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs); and

2) Convene a meeting among your offices, the GSEs, FHFA, other interested regulatory agencies, and PACE stakeholders to chart a course toward resolution of the parties’ concerns.

If this situation is not addressed immediately, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “Lender Letters” will likely mean that:
• Federally authorized and supported PACE programs across America will shut down, employees will be laid off, and our nation will lose the ability to unlock an extraordinary new means to retrofit homes and buildings across America.
• A significant and troubling precedent will be set by allowing financial institutions to curtail the authority of local governments to levy taxes in pursuit of a public purpose.

I thank you for your time and support.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nuclear Dialog

From TED: Stewart Brand and Mark Z. Jacobson square off over the pros and cons. A discussion that'll make you think -- and might even change your mind.

The main problem with nuclear is not that it requires carbon energy, or that it takes high security, and a long time to build out. The main problem is that just ONE ACCIDENT, like Tree-Mile Island or Chernobyl will WASTE AN ENTIRE CONTINENT.

The other problem I have with nuclear is that it too is non-renewable, Yes, I know about breeder reactors, but the main source of nuclear fuel today is uranium, mined like coal, and then refined to useful levels. Once that resource is used, just like oil or coal, it is gone forever. We shouldn't waste our resources, we should bank them as a back-up source of energy in case of emergency.

Having said all that, I do think that nuclear should play a part in our energy portfolio. I think we should have Nuclear for special purposes, like space exploration, and National Defense. And I think we need to have nuclear capacity built to handle up to 20% of our energy needs, for security. Then we should use just enough nuclear to balance out the bumps and spikes in our renewable energy supply and demand curve (keeping the nuclear generation to about 3% of our total power used).

Nuclear should NEVER be located near population centers, and it should never be put down-wind of agricultural areas. It needs to be built in the wastelands, seismically safe, underground, and with adequate self-storage of all fuel and waste. Given these restrictions, Nuclear is viable and necessary. Not a profit center, just another small piece of the energy puzzle.

Use the comments section to tell us what you think.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


This is an update on the new Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs in San Diego. At a Home Energy Professionals meeting at the California Center for Sustainable Energy the other day the PACE Program Manager, Jeremy Hutman, enlightened a group of Energy Efficiency Auditors about new developments.

PACE Programs, in general, are a clever way to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofits on existing real-estate. They allow the property owners to take out specialized long-term loans, similar to a second mortgage, but using government property law to place a primary lean against the property. This frees the loan from an individual's credit, and ties it instead directly to the property that the loan is intended to upgrade. That allows the owner to get the work done, to reduce energy waste, and save money on utilities, regardless of their personal credit. Additionally, the property can be sold, and the loan stays with it, transfered to the new property owners, who will directly benefit from the energy efficiency and generation.

The City of San Diego has been preparing such a program since October 2008, and keeps running into obstacles. They had been planning a roll-out of the program in March 2010, but found that they needed to change the Municipal Code. Now the program should begin late Summer 2010, but there's now a new hitch.

On May 5, 2010, the Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) and Fanny May and Freddy Mac, issued letters that questioned the legitimacy of PACE loans as being senior to their mortgages. That was a reversal of what they originally said back in fall 2009, which was that they were going to accept it as an assessment on the property just as any other.

According to Jeremy Hutman from the CCSE, no PACE program anywhere in the nation will be moving forward until the Federal rules are worked out.

The ultimate purpose of these programs is reducing energy waste, and to allow for the creation of new markets for renewable energy, so we can put people to work by directly funding infrastructure improvements on existing real-estate. To this end, many of the unemployed have been re-trained to perform the work necessary, and many start-up businesses in renewable energy and energy conservation businesses are waiting for the money to become available. Yet, because of the unscrupulous corruption of the home financing markets, which have caused our economic recession, these privately owned government sponsored enterprises that actually own the debt, are rightly worried about potential waste or unwise loans with a priority claim on their properties.

There is a learning curve that needs to happen, but unfortunately there is not enough time to get that done before the PACE programs are supposed to get up and running. So, the big push right now is the Department Of Energy (DOE) has put out specific guidelines, or recommendations, for pilot PACE programs nationwide. What they are pushing is that Fannie (FNMA) and Freddie (FHMA) just accept that the new programs that are coming out will follow those guidelines. Including, specific (financial) loan loading order, cost effectiveness and a simple payback, that the system pays for itself in the lifetime of the loan.

The problem with renewable energy technology is that it is EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE, often costing ten to twenty years worth of carbon energy on the front end. Americans tend to worry little about wasting energy, which has traditionally been directly subsidized (editor note: and indirectly through defense expenditures related to contingencies in the Persian Gulf) by our government. So, instead of reducing energy use, we simply buy enough solar panels to meet current usage, and then end up wasting half the energy through inefficiency. Solar installers haven't always required efficiency measures, but for some reason the banks now want property owners to be able to pay back their loans. So, they want to require that any new property loans make financial sense, go figure.

Fortunately, for anyone involved with the energy efficiency business (like me) the only way to meet the DOE requirements is to do the energy efficiency work first, then add just enough renewable energy equipment to meet the need of the building.

There are basically two different legal mechanisms that are intended to be used for financing these PACE programs in the County of San Diego:
1) CaliforniaFIRST - based upon AB811 - a 2008 law that permits cities, counties, and joint power authorities to create clean energy financing districts under an alternative legal framework. Plus, AB474 - from 2009, which added water conservation to AB811 financing options. Property owners can take advantage of financing through CaliforniaFIRST after their local government joins the Program.

2) The City of San diego is not doing an AB811 program, they are using Mello-Roos program for renewable energy, efficiency, and water as well. The City of San Diego's Clean Generation program based upon a special voluntary opt-in Mello-Roos property tax assessment district, designed to see after our communities facilities district (CFD).

The City of San Diego finds itself in California  Climate Zones 7 and 10. In these mild climate zones, some energy efficiency measures make sense and some do not. Therefore, their will be very specific financial loading orders, program guidelines, and vetting and verification. This is to make sure that you take prudent energy efficiency measures before spending money on renewable generation.

Most energy efficiency measures are more effective than renewable energy, but if you have a newer home that was built after 2000, then your home is already meeting tight Title-24 energy efficiency measures. Perhaps all you can do to save money is add renewable energy systems, like solar-thermal hot water.

The bottom line is, right now we're looking late summer at the earliest for the City (of San Diego, Clean Generation) program, and before the end of the year for CaliforniaFIRST program.

Acronym Appendix
Industry Jargon
(apologies for the lack of clarity above, here is s primer on some of the terms and acronyms used in the home energy and finance industry)

AB811 = California State Assemble Bill number 811, from September 2008 - allows local municipalities to create special voluntary property tax districts for energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofits and upgrades. Includes things like Heating and Air Conditioning systems, EnergyStar Appliances, Solar-Thermal Hot Water, and Solar-Photo Voltaic Panels.

AB474 = California State Assemble Bill number 474, from October 2009 - adds financing options for Water Conservation measures, like low-flow pluming, grey water, and landscaping, to AB811 programs.

PACE = Property Assessed Clean Energy. Also know as, CA AB811 programs. Two such programs are the City of San Diego's Clean Generation Program, and the state wide California First program for Counties.

Clean Generation - The City of San Diego's PACE Program provides a financing for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations on private property. Participants agree to be part of an assessment district and will pay for the cost of the improvements, plus interest, over a 20-year period on their property tax bill. Qualified projects include renewable energy installations as well as retrofits associated with energy efficiency and water conservation. By making it easier for City residents to embrace clean technologies, the program will lower GHG emissions, stimulate the demand for local cleantech products, and save property owners money.

GHG = Green House Gas - the reduction of which is one of the major goals, along with energy security, energy distribution, and energy cost.

DOE = The U.S. Federal Department Of Energy,

Mello-Roos = named after the authors of the bill that made it California law in 1982. Mello-Roos is a form of financing that can be used by cities, counties, and special districts (such as school districts). Mello-Roos Community Facilities Districts (referred to as "CFDs") raise money through special taxes that must be approved by 2/3rds of the voters within the district. A CFD is formed to finance major improvements and services within the district which might include schools, roads, libraries, police and fire protection services, or ambulance services. The taxes are secured by a continuing lien and are levied annually against property within the district. The assessment appears on your annual property tax bill. If you are in a Mello-Roos district, you must disclose that information to someone who is buying your house. (Editors Notes: When California Proposition 13 passed in 1978, it severely limited the ability of local governments to use property taxes to construct public facilities and services. As a result, new ways to fund public improvements in respective locales were constructed.)

QA/QC = Quality Assurance, Quality Control. In the case of home energy retrofits and renewable energy installations, the government regulations require vetting and verification in the form of Home Energy Audits before and after the work, in order to realize real results.

IOU - Private Investor Owned Utilities, that have been granted a monopoly on a geographic area, like Sempra and PG&E, as opposed to Utilities owned in a Public Trust (like in Riverside). They have been allocated hundreds of millions in government money to administer energy efficiency (EE) programs. While all parties recognize there is an inherent financial conflict of interest between selling and saving energy, parties differ on the extent to which regulatory mechanisms can align IOU and customer (i.e. public) interests. See: Energy Efficiency Performance Incentives. Usually, these incentives require a 10%-20% decrease in energy use to qualify.

Renewable Funding, LLC - a short-term financing company that also administers some programs. They provide the bridge loans that keep property owners from having to shell-out money up-front, to do the retrofit work and/or buy equipment. The short-term finance company gets paid a percentage, and then re-package the loan for a long-term funder after the work and equipment has been vetted and verified. (editors note: these guys are genius.)

TBD = 'To Be Decided' (Who will verify and audit the buildings and systems to make sure everything works?)

Surveys VS. Audits - A "Survey" is an informal inspection that doesn't meet any legal standards for regulation or certification. For example, a municipal building department may survey a building system to see that it is installed, but not test the system to see that it works. A professional, third-party "Audit" is a required inspection that is used to document scientific measurements of systems and their quality for the purpose government regulations and financial incentives or credits.

FHFA = Federal Housing Finance Agency, their mission is to provide effective supervision, regulation and housing mission oversight of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks to promote their safety and soundness, support housing finance and affordable housing, and support a stable and liquid mortgage market. (Editors Note: at which they are doing a bang-up job!)

FNMA = The Federal National Mortgage Association, nicknamed Fannie May. Fannie May was created in 1938 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Fannie Mae was established in order to provide local banks with federal money to finance home mortgages in an attempt to raise levels of home ownership and the availability of affordable housing.

FHMC - Federal Home Mortgage Corporation, nicknamed Freddie Mac, its mission is to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the housing market.

It is important to note that both Fannie May and Freddie Mac are Private Corporations that are Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), This means that, although the two companies are privately owned and operated by shareholders, they are protected financially by the support of U.S. tax payers. These government protections include access to a line of credit through the U.S. Treasury, exemption from state and local income taxes and exemption from SEC oversight.

To clear up one thing; there shouldn't be any up front fees for participating in the CaliforniaFIRST or Clean Generation PACE programs. So, do not let anyone scam you into putting-up a large 'down payment' toward future work. In spite of some confusion, these programs are setup to be pain free, so the loan process is quick, about two weeks before you have funds in hand. Therefore, all auditors, contractors, and inspectors can be paid by the property owner directly out of the loan funds without the homeowner having any out-of-pocket expenses.

See the CCSE presentation here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Vampires are Unsustainable

Over the years I've seen many unjust business models. The concept of USURY is one of the classics, right up there with Ponzi and PYRAMID SCHEMES.
[Deuteronomy 23:19] Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:
I always wondered why a person would willingly pay 300% interest, or more, on a loan? Even morgages make me sick, paying three-times what a home is worth over thirty years just seems self defeating.

The only reasons to charge compound interest on a loan are to balance risk or make profits. Why would you ever lend money to someone at such high risk that you needed that kind of gross interest rate to equal the exposure and justify the act? What kind of person would lend at such a huge and unfair rate just for an abusive profit? This is not good business.

It seems to me that any such business would have to have a profound disrespect for their customers to participate in the transactions. Perhaps, if we cut the poor a break, and only allowed interest upon loans to reach, say, 30%/year by law, then people would not become trapped in cycles of poverty, and they could eventually become middle class or even wealthy customers? Then our general profits as business people would increase across the scope of the economy, increasing the general welfare of our society.

Listen to Terry Gross interview Gary Rivlin and try to understand why parasitical business practices, busnesses that harm their customers, are unsustainable and harm the general good.

Broke, USA:
From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. How the Working Poor Became Big Business
- by Gary Rivlin

Thursday, June 3, 2010

PRI's The World: Science

This week killer whales have been seen taking seal near Los Angeles. Just as we once clear cut the trees of North America, and killed the American Bison nearly to extinction, our global fishing practices have depleted the seas, and nearly killed off many of the great whales. As we begin to debate new fishing and whaling regulations, we need to rely upon solid independent science. Not numbers produced by the whaling companies. Get out and learn about your environment.

Learn more ...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chemical "Dispersants" can't hide the evidence, BP is doomed.

ABC News went underwater in the Gulf with Philippe Cousteau Jr., grandson of famous explorer Jacques Cousteau (one of my personal heros), and he described what he saw.
"one of the most horrible things I’ve ever seen underwater."
Check out what BP does not want you to see. And please share this widely -- every American should see what's happening under the surface in the Gulf.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Potential Wind Farms Along Coast of USA

Imagine a forest of giant wind-mills all along the coasts of the United States, all connected, so that variations in wind speed will average out and feed right into the large demands of the grid.

This is not some dream, it's all proven technology, and already being used in Europe. The wind resources at sea are superior to those on land, and these wind generators don't risk giant oil spills.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Insisting insulation is "sexy"

President Barack Obama called for new federal incentives to make millions of homes more energy efficient as a way to create jobs for the unemployed, save money for homeowners and reduce pollution.

Speaking at a suburban Virginia Home Depot store cleared of shoppers, Obama said he wants Congress to provide temporary incentives to encourage consumers to rush out and buy such items as insulation, new windows and doors, and caulk leaks where they live.

Obama said homes and offices are responsible for 40 percent of U.S. energy consumption. This is part of the solution, this is how you make America safe, secure, and energy independent.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

SDG&E Continue to Make Mistakes over Sunrise Power-Link Project

Ray Lutz, an Electrical Engineer and Founder of the Community Oversight Project, is running for Congress in the 52nd District against Dunken Hunter Jr.

Ray is a Community Activist and Organizer who courageously documents the meetings and activities of Governments and Corporations, then posts them online.

Receintly Ray was asked not to Video Record a public meeting about San Diego Gas and Electric's Sun-Rise Power-Link Project. You should read the email's between Ray and SDG&E's Public Relations man, Don Parent.

SDG&E Hosted this meeting at the Alpine Women's Club to go over the details of the construction in the middle of Alpine to underground the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line.

They always say the project is one of the most studied in the history of the PUC, but they fail to mention that the 11,000 page EIR concludes with the #1 recommendation that the line should not be built at all. The PUC, in their "infinite wisdom" decided to go against the recommendation of the EIR and build it anyway.

Now, we are stuck with a project that is a waste of rate-payer dollars. We could install solar arrays throughout the SD basin and get the same amount of power the transmission line would bring in, for the same $$.

The bottom line is that the Sunrise Powerlink does not generate one kwhr of power, and they guaranteed that at least 0% of the power would be renewable. Their true game plan is to use this line to transmit power generated in Mexicali using imported LNG through the new Costa Azul LNG terminal.

This project must stop, even if we have to chain ourselves to the tractors. -Ray Lutz"

Prior to the recording of the session, Don Parent, PR Rep for SDG&E said recording would not be possible and the camera had to be removed. Ray Lutz said that he would stand his ground and record anyway, unless Parent would have him arrested. Read the emails that followed, HERE.

The video of the meeting is worth watching too!
Video part 1
Video part 2

"They Opened a Gate to Hell"

When I first heard those words, I thought they were hyperbole. After all, the source was a writer so hard-core liberal that even I consider her fringe. But, I'll eat my crow. She was right (Play the NOAA estimate).

According to British Petroleum (BP) the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was only about 5,000 barrels per day. Now, scientists using BP's own video feed estimate it at 25,000-70,000 barrels per day.

I don't think that our government was lying, I think they trusted the oil company, and didn't have any other information to go on. So, they just accepted BP's claims. Now we know the true extent of this spill, and how the oil is building up underneath the surface of the ocean. What we can not know is what the "chemical dispersants" (i.e. detergents) will do to the environment.

I suspect the Florida Keys are in for a soaking, and this spill will likely fill the Gulf of Mexico, damaging all the reefs and waters off the Caribbean islands. Then it will make its way up the east coast and perhaps as far as Europe. It will be a decade before we understand the full extent of the damage.

This is an "I TOLD YOU SO" moment for the environmentalists, and the economic damage to BP and the Gulf States may be catastrophic. We can only hope that nature survives better than these economies.

And yet, astonishingly, members of Congress are still talking as if the way to respond to the climate crisis is to drill MORE oil wells off shore, and in the Gulf in particular. Driven by their self-serving corporate contributors they want to burn MORE coal to further accelerate global climate-change, and preferentially subsidize absurdly expensive and dangerous nuclear power plants instead of true renewables like concentrated solar technologies, where the same investment would make our country energy self-sufficient, safely.

As bad as the situation in the Gulf is right now, it will unfortunately get so much worse when the hurricane season hits again, and all that oil gets dumped on land by the storm surges, as hurricanes themselves driven by rising global temperatures.

"This is not just a wake up call, this is a kick in the head. Either we get serious about the climate crisis, and STOP burning fossil fuels, requiring literally a Manhattan project to develop alternative renewable resources, or the day will come all too soon when the scientists tell us there no longer anything we can do to save ourselves." - The Pen