Alas, it wasn't just campaign claptrap

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During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama gave lip service to nuclear power (with provisos that would appear to rule out much support, at least for the foreseeable future); "clean coal," which of course exists only as a slogan of a can't-be-bygone-soon-enough inddustry; offshore drilling; biofuels; and other environmentally questionable choices.

At least, I'd hoped it was lip service, but it appears he meant it. I'll give him points for being truthful, but I'm disappointed nevertheless.

Shoveling shit

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I must say, begrudgingly, that the coal industry is nothing if not resilient.

Anyone — a-n-y-o-n-e — can see that coal is evil, filthy crap that, though it may be in use today, should be removed from the world's energy mix at the first possible opportunity. Unquestionably. Undeniably. Demonstrably.

Anyone who says different is a) ignorant, b) stubborn beyond the point of personal safety, c) under direct economic threat from acknowledging otherwise, d) all of the above.

What's the payoff period? How about "as soon as we start"?

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If you don't know that rehabbing the homes and other buildings we already have is going to be one of the most important initiatives of the next 20 years, it's OK. That puts you well in the mainstream.

But that's going to change. Buildings use almost half the energy in America, and there are 110 million homes alone. Even if every new building in America over that time were to be zero net energy, we will have continued to squander energy and affect the climate adversely if we don't redo what we already have.

The best way to start is to begin

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People who know of my interest in sustainability sometimes ask where to start, and my answer has varied over time, dependent on what new action I've been exposed to.

Perhaps this states what's obvious to others, but I've only recently come to understand that the right answer is the first one, whatever that is. Whether one starts with here or there doesn't matter nearly as much as having started.

Lovins on the automakers' bailout

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Amory Lovins, the sophisticated thinker who cofounded the Rocky Mountain Institute and easily one of my green heroes, came to Cambridge last week, and I am bereft! It's the second time this year — the other was MIT's energy conference in March — that important topical events took place in Cambridge without my knowing it.

Oh, the affrontery! Don't they know who I think I am?

For $34 billion, the automakers should stop suing us

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Joel Gordes, whom I know of through NESEA, says that if taxpayers are going to give $34 billion to bail out the Big 3 US automakers, one of the conditions should be that they must stop pursuing their selfish lawsuits against state regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

Obama, omnipresent

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The giddiness over the election of Barack Obama was still fresh in the building-industry-related events this week in Boston. Thursday morning, a session exploring New England's clean-energy future started off with a recitation of the president-elect's statement the day before on cap-and-trade and other energy priorities, which prompted the first of two bursts of applause.


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