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green and sustainable business

Archive for September 2012

Getting the Coal Train Blues

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“People get ready there’s a train a’coming…” Sixteen mile-and-a-half long coal trains a day through West Seattle, my town, to be exact. Or how about 62 coal trains rolling through Spokane every day?

That’s nothing to sing about, unless it’s one of those “low-down dirty blues” songs. A small gathering met at Fauntleroy Church’s Fellowship Hall on Wednesday (Sept. 26) to hear about Big Coal’s noxious plans to ship coal from the Powder River Basin to the Pacific Northwest for export to markets in Asia. On hand were representatives from the Sierra Club, Climate Solutions and Earth Ministry to get out the word about those plans and to talk about the activities to derail the export schemes.

“Coal exports are a dirty business,” said Robin Everett, an associate regional representative for the Sierra Club and its Beyond Coal campaign. “It’s dirty every step of the way.”

I’ve written about these plans before on this and other sites, but now it’s getting personal, and it’s that way for anyone who happens to live in the vicinity of BN Railway’s tracks in the PNW. By the way, that’s millions of people who will be exposed to the harmful impacts of moving coal through the region in terms of health, safety, economic disruption, gridlock traffic congestion at rail crossings and infrastructure pressures. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

September 27, 2012 at 9:14 am

Is Mitt sustainable?

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I’ve been thinking about Mitt Romney and sustainability. This is especially so after his recent abhorrent, error-filled and dumb statements on the American populace, foreign policy and energy policy.

Has he lost the election with his incredibly insulting comments that almost half of all Americans are “dependent on government” and “believe they are victims”? Maybe so – it’s probably too early to say for sure – and Mitt has the advantage of an endless flow of campaign Super-Pac money and the egregious voter suppression activities occurring in many key states.

The money and the voter ID shenanigans may be enough for the Republicans to steal another election no matter what idiocy comes out of his mouth.

I’m reminded of a New York Times op-ed piece that David J. Rothkopf wrote last year, “Redefining the Meaning of No. 1″ in which he said, “The purpose of a society is not merely the creation of wealth, especially if most of it goes to the few.” It’s unlikely that Mitt (and the Republican Party) got that particular memo or would even understand it if he (or they) did happen to read it.

Rothkopf was Deputy Under-Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Policy and Development during the Clinton Administration. Currently he is president and CEO of Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory firm specializing in transformative trends associated with energy, security, and emerging markets.

So here’s the question: Is Mitt sustainable?

Image: Mitt Romney by davelawrence8 via Flickr

Written by William DiBenedetto

September 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Obama slaps down Romney on climate change

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I’ve been obsessing perhaps a little too much about the Romney/Ryan “energy policy” and attitude towards climate change, so it was refreshing to see President Obama’s evisceration of them during his DNC speech.

He rebuked Mitt Romney’s ridiculous joke making climate change a punchline at the Republican National Convention. “Climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future.”

Here are his comments, from the transcript, which Obama followed pretty much verbatim:

“You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day – more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.

Now you have a choice – between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.

“We’re offering a better path – a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

“And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it.”

Great stuff from Obama and the Dems – especially calling out Romney and the Republicans on their lies and lopsided view of America.

[YouTube/Screen capture]

Written by William DiBenedetto

September 7, 2012 at 8:45 am

Does Romney even understand clean, renewable energy?

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No, Mittwit has not a clue. The progressive advocacy group Center for American Progress Action Fund today lacerated the Mittster’s energy policy in an issue brief that says the Romney-Ryan ticket’s opposition to key clean energy investments would result in more jobs shipped overseas and lower American competitiveness.

Despite pledging to protect American employment, the Republican presidential candidate opposes clean energy policies that encourage investment and create jobs on American soil. Romney wrote in a Columbus Dispatch op-ed that, “In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy. This vision has failed.”

“Real energy?” Solar energy is not real? Wind is not real? Someone who can say that with a straight face is the one living in a fantasy world of denial and subservience to the fossil fuel giants. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

September 5, 2012 at 10:20 am

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