Apr 30, 2008

EPA “Air Quality Awareness Week” webpage

Test Your Air Knowledge During National Air Quality Awareness Week

EPA and the National Weather Service challenge all Americans to improve their knowledge of the Air Quality Index (AQI) during the annual "Air Quality Awareness Week" that takes place this year from April 28 to May 2, 2008. As warm weather approaches, using the AQI will help reduce exposure to ground-level ozone pollution. The Air Quality Index is EPA's color-coded tool for communicating air quality to the public.
The daily AQI forecast is widely available from a variety of electronic and print media sources. Members of the public can also receive daily email updates of the air quality forecast by subscribing and following the directions on "EnviroFlash" at: http://www.airnow.gov/ Recent improvements to EnviroFlash make it easier to use. Just enter: the name, e-mail address, and zip code and EnviroFlash will find the nearest local forecast. The information can also be customized to select a specific forecast to be received, such as for "code red" days only.
Information about state and local Air Quality Awareness Week events is available at: http://airnow.gov/airaware and click on state/local activities.
The National Weather Service also provides a national air quality forecast at: http://www.weather.gov/aq
Information on air quality trends through 2007 is available at: www.epa.gov/airtrends

American poor and homeless high carbon footprint

For some people - mainly the better off - the need to take action against global warming holds an almost religious status (honor Al Gore, do not covet your neighbor's gas-guzzling SUV, etc). But does being good do any good?

Not much, says a team of students at MIT. You can swap the Hummer for a hybrid and diet on lentil curry instead of lamb chops, but it will a have only a limited effect on your carbon footprint (read a PDF of their study).

The students interviewed people from a range of different income brackets. They then calculated how much energy is needed to sustain every aspect of their subjects' lives, from the food they eat to health services they receive....and found there is a threshold energy use that almost no one in the US can avoid, and in global terms it's high.

Take one of the Buddhist monks that the students interviewed. He earns $8500, so his travel habits likely involve Greyhound buses rather than Gulfstream jets. But the monk uses 120 billion Joules of energy a year. That's a third of the US average, but almost double the global mean. For those in better paying professions, emissions can reach 10 times the global mean, or between 400 billion to 600 billion Joules.

The source of this carbon is the infrastructure that no one in developed countries can avoid being part of. It's the energy used to mend the roads and heat hospitals. Even homeless people visit soup kitchens and sleep in hostels. That earns them a carbon footprint around the same size as the monk's.

Does this mean we should abandon attempts to be green? Certainly not. Every saving matters, especially when governments are not doing enough. But the MIT work shows how deeply carbon is embedded into our lives. Real change requires reform across the board -  Read full from "Even the homeless have large carbon footprints"

Energy options Quote

Who is thinking, if we all think alike? - Haase

EPA Nets 10 Tons of Used Electronics

EPA E-Scrap Event Nets Nearly 10 Tons of Used Electronics - Environmental News FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Kansas City, Kan., April 29, 2008) - Nearly 10 tons of used electronic equipment will be responsibly recycled instead of going to landfills, thanks to EPA Region 7's successful "E-Scrap for Earth Day" event held last week, organizers announced today... Read here 

Carbon Trading is like, "Trading sand on a beach"

From GAR at Grist...  very gristy indeed.
Carbon Trading is not intended to reduce emissions:
...lobbyists, the carbon traders, do not exist to reduce emissions, but to trade carbon.
, there are strong political economy arguments against carbon trading: We have a big enough carbon lobby to fight without creating a whole additional political sector with a self-interest in maintaining emissions. Specific examples follow.

Unfortunately, the players involved saw the priority as preserving the market rather than as reducing emissions.

Similarly, the CDM market is pretty widely acknowledged to be a failure. The primary claimed goal behind CDM was to develop clean infrastructure for poor nations. (That is why it was called "Clean Development Mechanism," not "Cheap Carbon Credit Provider.")

I would add that that there are serious questions [PDF] about whether CDM carbon credits even represent net reductions, without qualified regulating project-based credit generation.

The evidence is overwhelming that CDM increases emissions.

The world's main carbon markets are all created... with ideological stakes in trading and those with financial stakes in carbon markets lobbying for the interests of these markets over creating actual emissions cuts. That should come as no surprise.

Read full from GAR at Grist...



Bush... Green & Local policy for congress

Bush stated, in a conference yesterday.. One thing I think that would be -- I know would be very creative policy is if we -- is if we would buy food from local farmers as a way to help deal with scarcity, but also as a way to put in place an infrastructure so that nations can be self-sustaining and self-supporting. It's a proposal I put forth that Congress hasn't responded to yet, and I sincerely hope they do.

Energy - Dumb as We Wanna Be

From: New York Times 

It is great to see that we finally have some national unity on energy policy. Unfortunately, the unifying idea is so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation, it takes your breath away. ...deciding to line up in pushing to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for this summer's travel season. This is not an energy policy. This is money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. What a way to build our country.

When the summer is over, we will have increased our debt to China, increased our transfer of wealth to Saudi Arabia and increased our contribution to global warming for our kids to inherit.

No, no, no, we'll just get the money by taxing Big Oil....Even if you could do that, what a terrible way to spend precious tax dollars — burning it up on the way to the beach rather than on innovation?

Peter Schwartz of Global Business Network describes as the true American energy policy today: "Maximize demand, minimize supply and buy the rest from the people who hate us the most."

But here's what's scary: our problem is so much worse than you think. We have no energy strategy. If you are going to use tax policy to shape energy strategy then you want to raise taxes on the things you want to discourage — gasoline consumption and gas-guzzling cars — and you want to lower taxes on the things you want to encourage — new, renewable energy technologies. We are doing just the opposite.

The New York Times appear to push that we can live off 20 years "loans" for no ROI projects???

"It's a disaster," says Michael Polsky, founder of Invenergy, one of the biggest wind-power developers in America. "Wind is a very capital-intensive industry, and financial institutions are not ready to take 'Congressional risk.' They say if you don't get the [production tax credit] we will not lend you the money to buy more turbines and build projects."

If we are not subsidized - If the wind and solar credits expire, said Resch, the impact in just 2009 would be more than 100,000 jobs either lost or not created in these industries, and $20 billion worth of investments that won't be made.

Haase - There is as much wrong as "right" with this NYT article, simply increasing subsidizes without cuts increases inflation... and when the payback on the "clean" energy investment takes 2 decades, why should banks or congress start writing blank checks to "Green Greed" investors. Germany and Japan are NOT models of the climate, economy geography or politics in America. What works there will not work the same here... we are a much larger mass with 10 fold loads.  Solar and wind farms from coast to coast in America will not keep the lights on in NY and Chicago very long (sorry it's a math thing). I think Congress knows this. 

And simply bashing candidate plans without a opposing plan is called "propaganda".  What was Obama's alternate plan?

Earth to America - Billions of tax dollar subsidized investments are not an investment in the economy, it is a withdrawal.  

Read more from New York Times Original URL

Apr 29, 2008

TIME's - Global Warming "War" on the world

The recent TIME article on "How to Win the War on Global Warming", may not offer viable solutions for future energy demands of the U.S... but, it does outline a "world economic war on the third world".

TIME states: No one yet has a comprehensive plan for how we could do so again, but everyone agrees on what the biggest parts of the plan would be. Here's our blueprint for how America can fight—and win—the war on global warming...

Summarized by Haase
  • Tax billion$ in carbon energy sources we "do not like", to invest in potentially higher carbon producing sources that "appear to be" greener

  • Invest billions to rehash old ideas that failed for decades under grants and subsides with "hope" of yield ing better results

  • Continue to divert billions in wind, solar and bio-energy with "hope" that they become viable enough in the next 10 years to "catch up" with our massive demands

U.S. is losing. Indeed, if we're fighting at all—and by most accounts, we're not—we're fighting on the wrong side. ...the U.S. remains the land of the Hummer with vague promises of manufacturing fuel from switchgrass or powering cars with hydrogen—someday... taking a pass on what might be the most patriotic struggle of all.

Environmentalists offer theirs, which too often amount to naive wish lists that could cripple America's growth.

Think I'm Kidding? Read the article here

TIME suggests: devising a coherent strategy that mixes short-term solutions with farsighted goals, combines government activism with private-sector enterprise and blends pragmatism with ambition, the U.S. can, without major damage to the economy, (What kind of vague langue is this?)

TIME - The most important part of a blueprint to contain climate change is to put a charge on carbon emissions. "Cap and trade changes everything," says Krupp.

Soooo wrong their not even "right".

FACT - Krupp. may be fatality flawed in the amount of financial pain and human suffering this carbon market trading will put onto the world. What good for industrialized nations will reign a "holocaust" on the third world. - Haase

TIME Points out - Dramatic reductions in U.S. emissions won't bring the intended environmental benefits if emissions by other countries increase at the same time. The problem is, if we don't clean up our own mess because developing giants don't have to, what's the incentive for them to clean up theirs? "If we don't act, China and India will simply hide behind America's skirts of inactions and take no steps of their own," says Senator John Warner of Virginia.

FACT - The third world has NO means or incentive to follow U.S. actions and we are a decade away from a coherent dialogue.

In fact, carbonizing rapidly industrializing economies may indeed lead to a war...

Particularly when the painful cuts made by North America, Western Europe and a handful of other OECD economies are dwarfed by the emission trail spewing from China and the rest of the developing world.

As OECD countries begin to tax their own economies by charging growing fees on CO2 emissions, their their trading partners will diminish rapidly.... killing the GDP of those countries whose supply chains depend on OECD countries

FACT: Developing World - Principal Source of Emissions (Source )
Total global emissions have risen by a cumulative 25% since the beginning of the decade. But only a small fraction of those emissions came from North America, Western Europe and OECD economies. In fact, emissions in the most advanced economies of the world have grown by a paltry 5%, one-tenth the 50% increase seen of the developing world.

Over the last seven years, China and other developing nations consist of 90% of Emissions Growth...So great has the recent rise in emissions growth in the developing world been that as of 2005, it surpassed the OECD in total emissions at a massive 2,500 million metric tonnes (mmt) or nearly 55% of global emissions.

Within a decade they will account for more than two-thirds.

How much will it squeeze the U.S. Economy?

TIME - 2% of the GDP for a few years...
It's true that there will be costs associated with any carbon-pricing plan; ending climate change won't be free. "You want a clean environment, you have to pay for it," says Peter Fusaro, founder of the green investment group.

All based on a flawed hope that;...carbon cap with teeth will boost electricity and gas prices in the short term, before carbon-free alternatives can be scaled to market, and that will hurt those already struggling to heat their homes and fill their tanks.

TIME - Offering suggestions that are no better than my Grandmas; America has long been astoundingly wasteful about energy use, but for years, that mattered little because power and fuel were so cheap. "Until recently, using more energy was a way to get more productive," says Kevin Surace, of a green building company. "That doesn't change until energy costs go substantially up."

Think of simple, costless changes like turning off the lights in offices at night—that's "money on the table," Efficiency standards could be put in place for household appliances and lighting as well.

And I would love to see the spreadsheet that depicts this;...in the words of efficiency guru Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute. MGI says annual industry-wide investments of $170 billion per year in efficiency improvements like green buildings and higher-mileage cars could yield an additional $900 billion per year in savings by 2020.

TIME - Well it's a crap shoot... go for it!;
But the good news is that there are already thousands of very smart people working on alternative energy...buzzing that "the biggest bubbling is happening in California,"

Adding that:

That's where government can help...whip hand to the process. A firm carbon price will accelerate creativity by making alternatives that much more economical.

TIME - Pointing out that
"There's no shortage of ways to spend whatever money is made available." Solar, Wind power, tidal power, geothermal energy and even nuclear fusion—any of which could take off with enough luck and money.

Suggesting that; Washington should flood the zone with research funding, and refrain from trying to pick a winner... (yikes)

All spending BILLIONS more rehashing a short sighted, misguided future driven by venture capitalist; "developing ways to make better biofuels out of feedstocks like wood chips"???

Finally they suggest more "micropolicies, like tax credits," to further nickel and dime us on feed small misguided projects that offer no ROI.

Summary if we took all the steps outlined by TIME here:
national cap-and-trade system; to break the economy of third world nations
tougher energy-efficiency mandates; should be real easy if we throw money at problems
investments billions more in new public and private green technologies; without strategic investment return projections
absorbing perhaps 2% to 3% of gdp a year for some time; to force further decline of world economy

Going green: What could be redder... After formally insulting our nation and taxpayers by calling America a "loser" in the global warming fight; Kristin Modesto, hails "California" as the "leader" with Schwarzenegger, leading the way on global warming... and yes, she is from California.

What happened to one nation under GOD?

Dear TIME, we have strong a comprehensive plan and very few would agree with yours (unless they are carbon market investors)..

Why wage "war" when we can enjoy and prosper from the obvious opportunities in world energy and trading?

This should NEVER be a war effort, but a business plan within global partnerships with ALL.

For over three decades the science and prevention of "global warming" have not changed – but political and media reaction to it has.

I did love the image by Fredrik Brodén in the headlines... very nice TIME;

Now spend more effort on content. - Haase

Carbon trade market just crashed?

Asia News International: While climate change and carbon emissions are considered to be strongly associated, a new study report suggests that this relationship will perhaps no longer persist in the future. The report published in BioMed Centrals open access journal Carbon Balance and Management, however, makes it clear that it may be some time before this saturation point is reached. Russian researchers Igor Mokhov and Alexey Eliseev, from the Moscow-based A.M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric ... Link
Haase Comment- Our concern should always be on preservation of natural resources, prevention of human suffering and harm to the environment. NOT debate the weather...   Regardless of the global warming "hype" and "pandemic"... resolving our environmental and energy issues ALWAYS needs to be at the forefront of nation. Not just when there are opportunities to make money on "Green" markets or corrupt the democratic process.

Call for Proposed EPA Lead Standard Support

FROM: ucsusa
The Environmental Protection Agency is poised to release its proposed new standards for regulating lead air pollution, known as the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for lead. 
The ucsusa is requesting experts sign the EPA a letter supporting this EPA standard.
Please visit their site www.ucsusa.org/EPAscience if you are an expert who supports improving national air quality standards.
Since EPA first passed the current lead NAAQS in 1978, our scientific and medical understanding of lead exposures and their severe health consequences has grown considerably.  Lead is a cumulative neurotoxin to which children are particularly vulnerable, with evidence linking environmental exposures to lowered IQ levels, increased likelihood of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and decreased school performance.  In adults, lead exposure has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality, atherosclerosis, and renal disease.  While the CDC has repeatedly lowered their level of concern regarding lead, EPA has not be unable to tightened the standard since it was originally written thirty years ago.

Apr 28, 2008

Quote: sale and trading of water

Water is a vital and increasingly rare commodity. It is essential for the maintenance of life which includes cities, towns, small communities, agriculture and industry.
Ownership should be controlled by the state for equitable distribution and use by all on a sustainable basis. This process should be controlled by, and answerable to, the democratic process. It is the right of all citizens to have access to a life-sustaining supply of potable water. Necessity is over. Scarcity and shortage will require the intervention of government to maintain a reasonable quality of life and evenly balanced productivity.
Self-interest and the need to maintain and expand that self-interest in the face of water shortage has destroyed the concept of equity and the benefit of the greater good for long-term survival.

Backyard fuel for less than the pump? Maybe....

This is an exciting option if we decided to drop or nations sugar diet for "sugar powered SUV's"
Kill two birds with one pump ;-)
Winking smile emoticon

NYtimes- WHAT if you could make fuel for your car in your backyard for less than you pay at the pump? Would you?
For $9,995, the E-Fuel 100 MicroFueler will use sugar as its main fuel source, or feedstock, along with a specially packaged time-release yeast the company has developed. Depending on the cost of sugar, plus water and electricity, the company says it could cost as little as a dollar a gallon to make ethanol*
The MicroFueler separates water from alcohol at lower heat and in fewer steps than in conventional ethanol refining. Using sugar as a feedstock means that there is virtually no smell, and its water byproduct will be drinkable. In general, he says, burning a gallon of ethanol made by his system will produce one-eighth the carbon of the same amount of gasoline.
Not even close perfect... but, has hope
For starters, sugar-based ethanol doesn't look much cheaper than gas. It takes 10 to 14 pounds of sugar to make a gallon of ethanol, and raw sugar sells in the United States for about 20 cents a pound, says Michael E. Salassi, a professor in the department of agricultural economics at Louisiana State University. But Mr. Quinn says that as of January this year, *under the North American Free Trade Agreement, he can buy inedible sugar from Mexico for as little as 2.5 cents a pound, which puts the math in his favor. While this type of sugar has not been sold to consumers, E-Fuel says it is developing a distribution network for it.
In addition, it's illegal in the United States to operate a car on 100 percent ethanol, with exceptions for off-road vehicles like Indy cars and farm equipment. Mr. Quinn has a federal permit to make his own fuel, and believes that if MicroFuelers start popping up like swimming pools, regulators will adapt by certifying pure ethanol for cars.
And if oil prices continue to rise, the economics of buying a MicroFueler will become only better and better.
"It's going to cause havoc in the market and cause great financial stress in the oil industry," Mr. Quinn boasts.
Read full from the nytimes.com

Don't undermine Great Lakes compact

It's good that Wisconsin is poised to become the fifth of eight Great Lakes states to approve the historic compact, because the agreement establishes first-ever rules, standards and procedures to conserve water and manage diversions from this precious supply of fresh surface water.
But www.thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com - reported, proposed amendments said to be circulating in and around the state Capitol, which sources say will be inserted into State Senate Bill 523, undermine the compact's conservationist intentions and weaken the compact-implementing bill.
That bill passed in March on a bipartisan vote of 26-6, following - yes - a packed public hearing in Kenosha. Even the GOP-led state Assembly, which refused to vote on SB 523, held a hearing on the bill. So why not hold one if and when the Assembly, Senate and the Doyle administration agree on a package?  Read more on JSOnline

"The snake oil or solar panels"

Energy is no longer a resource we can blindly throw money at with "feel good" intentions...
$25,000 solar install with a 15 year life that only replaces 60% of demand use... sounds like the investors need a economics 101 class.
Article takes a hard look at the economics of home solar installations in even the sunniest parts of America.
SF Gate: Why is it so hard to get solar power in San Francisco?
-worried about the environment, but it's also about money: "I want it to pay for all my electricity," ... Murphy thought installing solar panels would be worth the up-front cost, especially if federal and state rebates made it more feasible. His roof — sturdy and pitched toward the south, unshaded by trees or other buildings, and located in direct sun— seemed perfectly suited for solar energy.
He was told his roof could only fit a 2.8 kilowatt system, which would cover about 60 percent of his energy needs — and cost about $25,000.
Murphy is apoplectic about the results. "What's 60 percent? That's like going out with her for three-quarters of the night. I want to take her home," he said.
While the federal incentive shaves $2,000 off the cost, the state rebate program — in place since January 2007 — is a set allocation that declines over time: the later you apply, the less you get. Today Murphy can get about $1.90 per watt back from the state, whereas at the start of the program it was $2.50 per watt.
"The snake oil salesmen of yesterday are the solar panel installers of today," Murphy said.

Haase Comments:
 I am not sure any of these experts have done a basic ROI study on the solar installs? It is imperative all energy investments (unless research) directly result in a net savings.  
With solar, scale is everything, go big or stay home. No one should be offering loans, incentives or subsidizes to any energy program that does not yield a savings return on capital investment before hardware usable lifespan is depleted.
That is why lease programs are typically structured at 3.2 kilowatt minimums (break even) and would need to be at least 5 kilowatt without loans, incentives or subsidizes just to survive.
Boy, these guys should try energy in Wisconsin...  Solar panels with 3 feet of snow on top is a real issue ;-)

DOE Providing Up To $7M for Research in Stabilizing Fast Pyrolysis

The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for up to $7 million over two years (FY 2008 – 2009) to support advanced research and development in converting non-food based biomass to low-cost bio-oils. Combined with private minimum cost share of 20%, up to $8.75 million would be invested in this research effort.

Recent research has shown that upgrading bio-oils (pyrolysis oil) produced by fast pyrolysis to fungible hydrocarbon fuels—such as gasoline and diesel—by employing conventional petroleum refining techniques, such as hydrotreating and hydrocracking, is a promising pathway for alternate fuels. However, pyrolysis oil has long-term storage stability issues that need to be addressed for this upgrading technology to be commercially viable. In this FOA, DOE is specifically soliciting applications for the development of technology capable of stabilizing the bio-oils.

Under appropriate pyrolysis operating conditions, biomass can be converted to relatively high yields (~70 wt %) of liquids—a mixture of organic compounds (pyrolysis oil) and water. The liquid organics are oxygenated hydrocarbon compounds resulting from the thermal breakdown of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose.

Collectively, pyrolysis oil is comprised of a complex mixture of acids, alcohols, aldehydes, esters, ketones, sugars, phenols, furans, and multifunctional compounds such as hydroxyacetaldehyde. The relative amounts of each compound class can vary depending on the biomass feedstock used and the operating conditions employed during pyrolysis.

These characteristics present practical problems in the storage, transport, and processing of pyrolysis oils prior to and during their upgrading to hydrocarbon fuels.

DOE is seeking technical approaches to producing pyrolysis oil with a stability enabling the resulting pyrolysis oil to be transported and stored, in commercial scale tankage, for at least six months under ambient conditions.

Resources Biomass Fast Pyrolysis Oil (Bio-oil) Stabilization

Cars now no more efficient than '60s

Sydney Morning Herald: CARS are no more fuel-efficient today than they were in the 1960s, a transport expert says. In research for the Garnaut climate change review, Paul Mees, of Melbourne University, has used Bureau of Statistics figures to show fuel efficiency has remained practically unchanged since 1963. The average car then used 11.4 litres of petrol to travel 100 kilometers. In 2006, the bureau's Survey of Motor Vehicle Use shows, it was unchanged. Dr Mees said boasts from ... Link

Apr 27, 2008

Aquafina Labels: It's Tap Water

AquafinaThe label on Aquafina water bottles will soon be changed to spell out that the drink comes from the same source as tap water, the brand's owner said Friday.

A group called Corporate Accountability International has been pressuring bottled water sellers to curb what it calls misleading marketing practices.

Aquafina is the single biggest bottled water brand, and its bottles are now labeled "P.W.S." The new labels will spell out "public water source."

"If this helps clarify the fact that the water originates from public sources, then it's a reasonable thing to do," PepsiCo spokeswoman Michelle Naughton said Friday.

Forbes (via spluch)

The Template for Climate Crisis "Cause"

Biofuels give us an idea what we can expect from "reactive environmental campaigns". All in the name of "the global warming crisis", ...

According to many  environmentalists this has accomplished the following:

  • Helped drive up food prices, contributing to a global crisis;
  • Led to "increased environmental damage," including dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico so polluted by fertilizer runoff that nothing can live;
  • Created "incentives for global deforestation, including in the Amazon basin";
  • Reduced U.S. oil consumption by 1% while eating up 25% of our corn production.

If carbon-induced global warming is "Eco-Reactivist's" primary concern then, more food based biofuels will continue to make it worse by clearing agricultural land and rainforests, which absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide.

The paradox is that "in viral medias" short sighted focus on quick fixes that have proven to fail since the 70's, may in actuality cause a enough to environmental damage and pollution to create "true manmade global warming".

By now everyone has witnessed the devastation of food based, subsidized biofuels. Once started, government initiatives are difficult if not impossible to stop, no matter how disastrous.

Taxpayers will still be subsidizing ruinous biofuels when the next catastrophic solution to the imaginary climate crisis is imposed.

This is a call to ALL regulators, policy makers and academic leaders to address  this pandemic push to reactively control our planets finite energy, food, fuel and water supplies by posting your years of data and ignored regulations. (find out more at millionbloggermarch.org)

IF our nations leaders continue : "Base Legislation on newspaper headlines"...  "Eco-Reactivist's" may push current energy and environmental problems past the point where even I see a viable solution. - Haase

 Read more by WA-Post: Lester Brown and Jonathan Lewis

Well they did it Food up = Profits up,,,

RE: "How to make more money on food' ..."oil & ethanol see record profits" the same will be said of the food futures market later."

I would like to be wrong but one of the world's largest private companies agribusiness companies has just reported an 86 percent jump in its quarterly earnings.

... noted that these strong earnings are being driven mainly by its commodities division, the booming demand for biofuels, as well as increasing demand in new markets, especially Asia.

Last year, Cargill posted total sales topping $88 billion, and a net profit of $2.34 billion. To put that in context: $2.3 billion is the GDP of Belize.

From Bite Blog,  Via Anna Lappe (Grist)

Apr 26, 2008

No one wants to say it...

Seemingly without warning, an additional 100 million people have been plunged into poverty by the abrupt increase in the price of food.  Most of the people on Earth could not dream of owning an automobile. For them the doubling of the price of wheat and rice is vastly more serious than $4 gasoline.  Contributing to the severity is hoarding, the high price of fertilizer, a shortage of fresh water for irrigation, and yes, the diversion of food crops into bio-fuels.  It's been thirty years since the world faced a food crisis of this magnitude, but no one seems willing to mention the Devil's name.  A recent BBC report on the Sudan captured the crisis perfectly: "The reality is that there are more people in one refugee camp in Darfur today than there were in the whole of Darfur and Khordofan in the 1930's!"  The problem is not too little food, but too many mouths.  No matter what advances are made in the human condition, they will eventually be lost if population is not constrained.

Hey, didnt I say that? BPA in plastics "pace yourself parents"...

Read here boston.com
It is important for people to recognized when to "phase" out a chemical and not over react.
Removing the build up bisphenol A and other "bio accumulative" (builds up in system) chemicals from our systems should always be practiced when there are safer and practical alternatives.
There are 1000's of chemicals on the international harmful chemical list to "phase" out, 100's are in current consumer goods that we use in and on or bodies everyday... so "pace yourself parents".
But quite frankly "children's cold medication" kills hundreds of kids a year and I see that is still on the self...
Regardless, this is an important awareness issues for parents who use every precaution possible to protect our children.
If you could wouldn't you?

Can renewable energy make a dent in fossil fuels?

4.2 billion.

That's how many rooftops you'd have to cover with solar panels to displace a cubic mile of oil (CMO), a measure of energy consumption, according to Ripudaman Malhotra, who oversees research on fossil fuels at SRI International. The electricity captured in those hypothetical solar panels in a year (2.1 megawatts each) would roughly equal the energy in a CMO. The world consumes a little over 1 CMO of oil a year right now and about 3 CMOs of energy from all sources. Read the full story from News.com.

Hattip to Laura B

SCIENTIST - UCS job opportunities

UCS currently has exciting new positions open.

Please share these job announcements with anyone you think would be interested. Click descriptions below to see full job descriptions.








Apr 25, 2008

F-earthday was April 23rd (sorry I missed it ;-)

The "GREEN" marketing tool = You

What the 2006 to present "greenwashing" media, social and political blitz has done to environmental issues...

Billions spent on movies, social, political and ad campaigns and there is still no improvement since 2006 film: Gore, and things are looking worse.

Yeah! Were green, their green were all green for what? Green - Completely lost significance...

Greenwashing has:

put Green against greens

turned earthday into a big Green Yawn...

made it far more important to Sell Earth Day, than to change.

given people a huge "Why Bother" attitude.

Just like violence and sex in the media we have now made Americans desensitized to environmental issues. Exploitation and dramatizations of extreme environmental scenarios have eroded genuine concern and care for the the most basic interest in environmental problems.

An normal reaction for people on issues that are overwhelming is get a "Why Bother" attitude, as they feel their own actions can make not make a significant difference.

When enough people share a delusion, it loses its status as a psychosis and gets a religious tax exemption instead. - Ronald de Sousa

Americans easy to "greenwash"

 "green," "environmentally friendly," and "natural.", consumers are naively, trusting...

  • 47 percent trust companies to tell them the truth in environmental messaging
  • 45 percent believe companies are accurately communicating information about their impact on the environment
  • 61 percent of Americans say they understand the environmental terms companies use in their advertising

The Green Gap Survey,  found that almost half of those surveyed believing that anything marked "green" or "environmentally friendly" was good for the environment. Not quite a quarter really understood use of the terms in any meaningful way.

"The gap creates significant risk of embarrassment for companies and disillusionment for consumers," ....The result can be accusations that a company is engaging in 'greenwashing' and is misleading the public."

The survey found that consumers want regulation. Over 75% want certification by third party organizations and/or government regulation.

Read more from the Oxymoron source

EPA Invests $12 Million in safe water for NY

EPA Invests $12 Million to Secure New York City's Drinking Water Supply

(New York, N.Y.) Taking proactive steps to protect the nation's drinking water supply through robust investments in water security, the U.S
Read full at: yosemite.epa.gov

EPA to pull illegal Miracle-Gro pesticides from shelves

EPA Increases Transparency of Regulatory Development

EPA is using Action Initiation Lists (AILs) to notify the public about new rules and other regulatory actions. AILs will be posted on the EPA Web site at roughly the end of each month; each will describe those actions that were approved for commencement during the given month. Formerly, the public had to wait for EPA's Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, which is updated only every six months, to learn about new regulatory actions.

The AILs provide summaries, agency contacts, and other information about the rules EPA has approved for development. For example, the March 2008 AIL announces the agency's plans to issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for greenhouse gases in late spring. This notice will solicit public input as EPA considers the specific effects of climate change and potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary and mobile sources under the Clean Air Act.

The February and March 2008 AILs are now available. EPA expects to release the April AIL around April 30.

Action Initiation Lists: http://www.epa.gov/lawsregs/search/ail.html

Apr 24, 2008

Two more days... to grab data

Just two more days and my blog will be archived offsite. So please steal what you need now
If you do not have time to download the three years worth of 3,100 posts... don't stress. 
Just shoot me an email I would be more than happy to send you the site in a zip file.


The Lakewide Management Plans outline the environmental status of each lake, highlight successes, identify problems and propose solutions.
The plans are called for by the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes.   They are collaborative efforts of the state, federal, tribal and provincial governments, and organizations with an interest in the lakes.
The 2008 Lakewide Management Plans may be found on EPA's web site:

How to make more money on food

I wonder who sat in the main office of a major "food conglomerate" and said:
"hey how can I make a little more money this year on stock prices?"   
I know start a pandemic! Whoo... it's work awesome for the oil industry.
PLEASE. Consider the source of these articles
One has to wonder if this is a "plant" article to drive the price of food futures.
News track oil or ethanol industries the last 8 quarters and you'll see the money trail run from your wallet to their pockets. 
Just like the news headlines stating that corn and oil companies are recording "record profits" the same will be said of the food futures market later.
Maybe they just figured America needed to drive less and go on a diet anyway.
Filed under "Fear and Greed" Marketing : -(

...we will have to conclude that global warming is over...

FACT: The world cooled quickly between January last year and January this year, by about 0.7C.

"This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record, and it puts us back to where we were in 1930," Dr Chapman...

"If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over."

"My guess is that the odds are now at least 50:50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades," Source


-Haase: My conclusion is that if we do nothing to prevent further ecological, energy and water abuse... we will have nothing for hell to freeze over or global warming to boil.

Protecting People and the Planet should never be a "Hot, cold, carbon or social" debate. We are finite as is our planet, lets act like it.



EPA calculates & attaches a dollar value to each life...

I tire of the "kittens and mittens" media shoving in my face - that "one" guy trapped on a mountain was worth a million dollar rescue mission and we will send "any" amount of money to protect kitten, seals, whales, penguins, etc... 
Hard to imagine there are rooms of people debating the "price on life" daily. Worse dramatizing single, simple, tragedy as a preventable "choice"
What do you save babies, bees or kittens and polar bears? The choices decide if we have a future and the other choice leaves us with "no cute news".
Right now a weeks worth of food and water just went to making a few American steaks instead of feeding a town in a third world country
Anyone can "Google" and find out that MORE was spent on protecting polar bears this year than the EPA SMOG regulations they require to "cost justifying human life".
As always my deepest sympathies go out to the EPA staff who have to live with this pressure and budgeting hypocrisies.
Choice -  It sounds like playing GOD for a reason...
P.S. Earth to "prolife supports"... support EPA. After your babies born, someone needs to protect them.

Real answers on BPA hype...

I received a email yesterday asking:
What's the true story on the BPA in water bottles and tin cans?
DO I have to give up storing water in anything but stainless steel?
I gave a long answer below as it may be need depending on your use of plastic.
Short answer: Most ALL plastics are at safe levels for adults under normal use. But, alternatives are recommended for infants and children with developing systems.

No silver bullet
Tin, plastic, alum.... and even stainless all have equal or greater dangers depending on the product.
Preservative, acidic, oil, alcohol and other product compositions plan a large role in what material is best suited for the product.
General rule of thumb is to use caution when you "can taste or smell" the container or wrapper your product came in.

However, if your beverage is not exposed to long periods of heat or light and is in a rugged, older and rinsed bottle ... you should be fine.

Long explanation.... is it safe?
In my EHS world, everything is deemed hazardous until we determine how to handle or use it safely (Cradle to Grave).

BPA is just one of 100's of genuine chemicals of concern that leech from consumable packaging.
I do not sweat the small stuff and rarely do these compounds release (leech) into the consumable under the normal conditions and use.
However, when "new" plastics are exposed to heat & light via UV, microwave, dishwasher or sit for long periods the compounds release into the product (gas off).
Also, beverage / food reactions from sugars, preservatives, acids and other additives can intensify the release of compounds.
Making things worse manufactures integrate plastic injection molding process on the same production lines as the consumable products they package. The result is plastics do not have adequate time to "gas off" the process compounds and they are inadvertently release into the consumer product.

Anything can be harmful when exposed to enough of it...
The extended and justified concern on BPA is the use in products designed and targeted at infants and small children where the plastics require heat exposure and are under UV conditions in normal use (baby milk, juice, soda, water, jelly, snacks... everything is in plastic).
Like any chemical, if you are constantly exposed to, it can build up to levels that are unhealthy.
As an adult and depending on how often you use plastics (under the above mentioned conditions), you may have little to no traces in your system. Like alcohol, it does naturally dissipate out of adults without acute or chronic harm. This is why no one was originally alarmed and the plastic industry deems it "safe for use" still.
When it constantly stays in a Childs system it can quickly build up into harmful levels. And due to their developing biology, even trace levels may cause harm.
But, no third party toxicological experts would or could argue the conditions or cautions I mentioned, and I don't think any of them ever thought our children would be on such a "plastic" enclosed diet.
Suggestion: Glass is certainly a good answer with all consumable products, but has handling safety and manufacturing cost issues that I believe are offset by its health return, easy of recycling and reuse. 
We need plastics: They keep us safe, healthy and are the key to our future. We just don't need them in our: oceans, blood streams or landfills.  
Between all hype there "lies" truth - Haase

Apr 23, 2008

Earthday.. everyday.

EarthDay 2008 was a earmark event again in my life.
Played outside and  watched my son's school program "Go Green" with our family.
Being with family and enjoying the outdoors are the most basic ways to know in your heart and mind that protecting "people and planet" need to be in our actions everyday.
I wonder if the millions of dollars spent on commercial advertising this week, promoting that nearly every channel as "green" buy "green stuff" or watch their "green shows", will be donated to environmental protection?
And as promised, started national campaign to "save the planet in 60days"...  www.millionbloggermarch.org
Hey bloggers, better late than never ;-)

Apr 22, 2008

Message from "Earthdays Daughter" - a long way to go...

38 years later, we have a long way to go before our air is healthy, our water is clean, our communities are sustainable...

We are at a pivotal moment. Unless we act quickly and dramatically to alter our current energy path, climate change will trump all other efforts to protect and preserve our water, air, land and wildlife. Our challenge is to rapidly develop and deploy technologies that put us on a sustainable energy path before irreversible climate change overwhelms us. It turns out this challenge also is an opportunity to transform our economy and assert our energy independence and, in doing so, improve our security as a nation. Tia Nelson, daughter of Earth Day founder Sen. Gaylord Nelson.

Our challenge is to transform understanding into action, and there is no question that climate change must be at the top of our action list.

We know how to do it, and it's effective - Reflecting on the many environmental challenges we face, we should recognize the tremendous progress made since 1970. Our air and water are much cleaner because of the movement spearheaded by Gaylord Nelson. Some argued that regulation would damage our economy. Instead, we adapted. New technologies were developed, and a strong environmental ethic was created. We are much better off because of the changes driven by Earth Day. Roy Thilly is president and chief executive of Wisconsin Public Power Inc.

We're still off track - Much has happened since the first Earth Day. Besides being more tuned in to our relationship with our surroundings and our role in protecting air, water and natural resources for the future, we're witnessing economic development in countries with soaring populations, increasing demand for energy and raw materials.

As such, we can no longer continue along as we did when we celebrated the first Earth Day with Gaylord Nelson in 1970. With American ingenuity and the help of like-minded people in the faith, union and business worlds - and with the assistance of our friends and neighbors - we can increase the use of affordable, renewable energy; we can make our homes, cars and buildings more energy efficient; we can save money, boost the economy and create jobs; - all while leaving a planet that's safe and clean for our children. Eric Uram is conservation chair of the Sierra Club.

Still a long way to go- Much has been accomplished since the first Earth Day, but more needs to be done.

The Clean Air Act amendments passed in 1970 aimed to make our air healthy and to keep it that way. But we still have unhealthy levels of smog and soot in much of Wisconsin, especially in the summer. The Clean Water Act passed in 1972 had a goal of making our lakes and rivers "fishable and swimmable" by 1983, but years later we have beach closings due to excessive pollution and health advisories warning us not to eat too many fish due to mercury contamination.

Certainly, these landmark laws and others have resulted in environmental improvements. Additionally, sewage treatment plants drastically improved some waters such as the Wisconsin and Fox rivers that were largely devoid of aquatic life in 1970 due to the dumping of raw sewage. Yet we still have sewage overflows and excessive nutrient and chemical loading into our waters from polluted runoff.

And some things never seem to change: In the 1970s and today, coal-burning power plants remain our largest sources of air pollution. Several large coal plants were built 30 years ago; today, we have three more under construction. As Wisconsin begins to seriously address global warming pollution, these new coal plants, and 14 older dirty ones in our state, will make significant reductions of greenhouse gases a major challenge. - Keith Reopelle is program director for Clean Wisconsin.

Gaylord Nelson - "The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard."

Read full from JSonline

Apr 21, 2008

Earthday Part 3 of 3 "influencing change"

Message for Earthday Part 3

I saw a friend of mine smoking last week while drinking alcohol around his family in a national restaurant after noticing his SUV parked outside... all legal and socially acceptable at any night of the week, witnessed around the global with most NASCAR fans.
I said HI! and took a moment with my kids and his to hang out and enjoy each others company. He is a good guy with a great family.
That night in the car my kids asked if the "smoking and other issues" bothered me? I let my kids know that it only bothers me because I care for him and his family.
I know he can read, has a degree and loves his family and these kids... he also knows enough about tobacco, oil and alcohol to use this knowledge and love for better choices.
His parents drive a Prius and never drank much or smoked... my mom smoked and family drank socially.
The only deference I can see is striking commonality in similar cases... My parents raised me with "better personal choices and less judgment on others". They expressed they love me and believed "I could do better". Indeed, they made better choices than their parents (eventually giving up tobacco and alcohol).
"better personal choices and less judgment on others" can be the influencing force to positively change our generation of children and even their parents.
...the strength of your will and love in your heart is not determined by your size, age or education. - Haase

Earthday Part 2 - Election 2008

Clinton, Obama and McCain on ecological matters.

Although everyone says they "favor the environment", the issue - as important as any in our lifetime - has been mostly off the table in Congress and during the presidential campaign. Thus you will probably hear nothing during the campaign about improving collapsing utilities draining our energy and water in U.S., rail transportation, redesigning cities and businesses so people won't have to move around them so much or the massive effects of continued population growth, just to mention a few other issues critical to saving our future. 

While the candidates have a plan to mitigate hot topic media issues, I have heard no plans in or averting continued harm to our planet or its people.

The challenges we hear in the "popular media" and candidates discuss "how to fix" are the same problems inherited since the 70's, we need to hear who has plans for the future.

1970 Earthday to Election 2008 - Get with the program. How are we to look forward when we can not solve the same issues for three decades?  Oil, energy, global warming ..

Seriously, what candidate would say "I DO NOT  - favor the environment"? Lip service wins elections, but only action can save our future.

Apr 20, 2008

John P. Holdren - Climate expert on david letterman?

No doom and gloom here... just answers, hope and opportunities.

As I watched John P. Holdren on Letterman last night, I thought "Here we go again"... a social science major with a MS in BS promoting "fearbased" global warming propaganda to influence social change based on current politics or need for government funding...

I was wrong John Holdren was refreshing and clear on cause based solutions and not reactive based mitigation. Noting that "deforestation and dirty energy" are the main contributing climate factors.

He made valid statements, points and references to REAL problems and possible solutions.

Everyone with "two cents" understands his invitation was of political and social nature regarding upcoming legislative and presidential campaigns... but, it was nice to hear from a traditional environmental leader who has plans and hope that we can avert catastrophic environmental harm.

While I may not have enjoyed the statements made towards a few scientists he disagrees with... John Holdren and I may also "agree to disagree" on the small stuff exacerbated by green washing headlines and the Al Gore presentations that perpetuate unsustainable solutions like "ethanol, carbon trading, hydrogen hover cars, etc.".

However his understanding of "major" root cause and their systematic environmental effects will continue to make him a strong advocate on positive change.

If the world (and U.S. ) follows current EHS regulations... we not only have a chance of saving the U.S. economy but stopping China, Europe and Indonesia from irreversible environmental impacts that far surpass anything the U.S. has even modeled. Another good point John Holdren made.

I am not asking for more regulations, I am asking why we do not follow through with good ones for decades - Haase

Who cares - soda, tobacco, oil and alcohol can hurt you?

Just one more thing to think about when asking if Soda a bad idea?
Cola, tobacco, oil and alcohol companies may make the guns, but WE voluntarily do the crimes. 
What would the EHS compensation package for soda claims look like for:
  • The trillion's of gallons of clean U.S. drinking water used without payment (influencing U.S. drought around every production plant) 
  • Increased national onset of childhood diabetes cases due to use of HFCS sweeteners 
  • The increase in bipolar disorders, leukemia and lymphoma associated with aspartame
  • Treat preservative and sweetener induced ADHD that put one out of three U.S. kids on some kind of daily prescribed mind altering drug that can cut kidney and liver lifespan in half
  • Offset the emissions millions of  old-style coolers harmful HFC vending machines deployed in over 210 countries and billion's tones of CO2 emissions from consumable production
  • Treatment of annual increase in osteoporosis cases were Phosphoric acid leaches calcium from bones(soda active ingredient) 
  • Compensation for the lives lost from lack of drinking water surrounding production plants in third world facilities
  • Replace million's of  worldwide damaged dental features
  • Or mitigate the DNA damage to future generations from culprit mitochondria's sodium benzoate inhibiter 
While it look like the case in tobacco, oil and alcohol - it is not.... most soda and consumer beverage bottlers have led the campaign to educate, advocate and research for safe alternatives disclosing know and potential problems as the information is found.
While "one or two" soda's a week are proven to be safe for most, I am not sure the general public understands the "lifetime" ramifications of supplementing healthy daily dietary choices for this soda nightmare.
Unlike past tobacco, oil and alcohol scandals... most soda and consumer beverage bottlers want you to know of these choices.