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Environmental Security

January 20, 2010

President Obama’s First Year Clean Energy Progress Report: 3 E’s and an A?

I am hope you heard the following statement several times during the 2008 presidential campaign.

America has always risen to great challenges, and our dependence on oil is one of the greatest we have ever faced. It’s a threat to our national security, our planet and our economy. For decades, Washington has failed to solve this problem because of partisanship, the undue influence of special interests, and politicians who would rather propose gimmicks to get them through an election instead of long‐term solutions that will get America closer to energy independence -- Barack Obama and Joe Biden: New Energy for America

This campaign was the first time Economic, Environmental, and Energy/national security (the three EEE’s) were connected as one issue -- and the connection was continued to make clean energy and alternative transportation fuels real solutions.  I believe voters were able to make this connection and vocalize that these issues were on the top of their agenda too.

This evolution was also a first for environmentalists. This was the first time environmental organizations were officially embracing clean energy and alternative transportation fuels as solutions and publically recognizing that lowering fossil fuel use was the way they could achieve their air pollution and climate change goals.  People in the environmental community even started having the word “energy” included in new titles on their business cards.  But, in just seven short months the honeymoon was over as -- Disillusioned Environmentalists Turn on Obama as Compromiser. So I started to keep track of headlines so after the environmentalist honeymoon I could see where the Administration stood on connecting the dots on the three EEE’s -- Economic, Environmental and Energy/national security.  Are the dots still being connected?   Is the Obama Administration on the right path?  The  compilation of headlines and stories below are from July 2009 to January 20, 2010.

Economic security is one of the E’s that was often missed by the environmental community – but that may be changing.  Without economic stimulation attached to environmental security, national surveys show fewer consumers will care, and fewer policy makers will vote with only their environmental heart in hand.  We are somewhat lucky that it is highly unlikely that aside from clean energy and renewable alternative transportation fuel technologies – there are very few other choices that can generate the magnitude of wealth our economy needs to sustain its quest for environmental protection, economic stimulation – and defeat our reliance on foreign sources of oil, which is holding our international diplomacy hostage.

New Report Shows Recovery Act Supported 63,000 Clean Energy Jobs Last Quarter:
Sierra Club, January 13, 2010

The White House Council of Economic Advisers has released a new quarterly report highlighting the success of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act at creating jobs and fueling economic growth. The report, which includes analysis from outside economists, shows that the Recovery Act has saved or created  1.5 to 2 million jobs through last quarter. 63,000 clean energy jobs were created by the $5 billion (out of approximately $90 billion total) in clean energy investments spent under the Recovery Act so far. The report estimates that, in total, the Recovery Act's clean energy investments will create 719,600 job-years (one person employed for one year) through 2012.

And then...

In an effort to move 31 renewable energy and transmission projects into high gear, the Obama administration has put them on a fast track permitting process. But such deals, which would take place on federal lands, have some opposition -- and it's coming from those in green corners, who say that certain ones should be relocated.

Everyone still needs to work on connecting the energy security dot to national security.  If the goals for energy security do not become as important and reverent as the goals for national security, the environmental effects from the 3rd Persian Gulf War and resulting scale up of nuclear weapons in the Middle East may make the effects from Climate Change appear distant and miniscule.

Now it's time for President Obama’s first year progress report.  The parade of positive headlines say – nice first year – keep up the good work! The President should get three E’s for helping the United States get closer to achieving Economic, Environmental, and Energy Security and an A for effort.  And ethanol and next generation biofuels should get an A too for the sum of their parts E+E+E.

Survey Finds That Support for Cap-and-Trade Hinges on Economy

Investors Representing $13 Trillion Call for Climate Action Now

Obama Administration Awards $2.3 Billion for New Clean Technology Manufacturing JobsLabor Department Awards $155 Million to Support Green Jobs

Treasury, Energy Announce More Than $2 Billion in Recovery Act Tax Credits for Energy Manufacturers, Tax Credit Program Will Increase Economic Development, Promote Manufacturing of Clean Energy Equipment

U.S. Department of Labor Announces $100 Million in Green Jobs Training Grants Through Recovery Act

Michigan's climate action plan could result in 129,000 jobs

U.S. Labor Secretary Expects More Green Job Hiring

"Cash for Clunkers" Program Will Create or Save 42,000 Jobs in Second Half of Year

Obama Wants Worldwide End of Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $62.5 Million for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants

Obama Administration Delivers More than $106 Million for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Projects in Nine States

Obama implores Senate to pass climate bill

And the seven month accomplishment list goes on and on below, but in the end...by other standards....

League of Conservation Voters Awards President Obama a B+ for First Year in Office

The House narrowly passed a major climate bill

Biofuels Could Cut Global Emissions by 80%:

New Study Shows Cars Running on Cellulosic E85 Have Lowest Carbon Emissions

President Obama Establishes Biofuels Interagency Working Group

U.S. Departments of Energy and Treasury Now Accepting Applications for Funding For Renewable Energy Projects

USDA's Farm Service Agency to Begin Accepting Applications for New Biomass Crop Assistance Program

Federal Funds for Energy Efficiency Set to Rise!

Obama Administration Announces Billions in Lending Authority for Renewable Energy Projects and to Modernize the Grid

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Awards for Up to $11 Million for New Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems

President Obama Declares October National Energy Awareness Month

Funding Up 3 Percent to $2.24 Billion for Renewables & Energy Efficiency in Fiscal Year 2010

Obama Presses Case for Renewable Energy

Novozymes Receives $28.4 Million Advanced Energy Tax Credit to Advance Biofuels Production and Create Jobs Read more

DOE Awards Nearly $80 Million for Advanced Biofuels Research and Fueling Infrastructure Read more

DOE Grants Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Partners $44 Million to Develop Algal Biofuels Read more

Army Corps of Engineers Grants Coventa Energy Corp. $1.5 Million to Develop Technology for Conversion of MSW to Diesel Fuel for Military Use Read more

USDA Undersecretary Tonsager to Address 4th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit on Biofuels Interagency Working Group

DOE to Award $187 Million to Improve Car and Truck Fuel Efficiency

DOE to Award $47 Million to Boost IT and Telecom Energy Efficiency

DOE Announces Additional Energy Efficiency Enforcement Action to Protect Consumers

DOE to Support Clean Energy Projects in Costa Rica and the Caribbean

President Obama Says 'Insulation Is Sexy'

EIA Energy Outlook Projects Moderate Growth in U.S. Energy Consumption, Greater Use of Renewables, and Reduced Oil and Natural Gas Imports

Energy Secretary Chu Pledges $350 Million Clean Technology Fund to Sweeten Deal at Copenhagen

Energy Secretary Chu Announces $100 Million for Advanced Research Projects:

Nine Swing Senate Democrats Lay Out Climate Goals for Obama

Obama Administration Announces More Than $600 Million Investment in 19 Advanced Biorefinery Projects - Private Company Investment Brings Total to Nearly $1.3 Billion:

Energy Secretary Chu Announces $620 Million for Smart Grid Demonstration and Energy Storage Projects

U.S. Department of Energy to Invest $18 Million in Small Business Clean Energy Innovation Projects

U.S. Department of Energy Signs Agreement for New Hydrogen Power Plant

Remarks by President Obama New National Fuel Efficiency Standards

Obama Administration Announces More than $38 Million for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Projects in Alaska, Kansas, Utah and West Virginia

National Outdoor Lighting Improvements Would Save $5.1 Billion Annually

New Economic Data Released on Clean Energy Legislation

Treasury, Energy Surpass $1 Billion Milestone in Recovery Act Awards for Clean Energy Projects

U.S. Energy Secretary Chu Announces $528 Million Loan for Advanced Vehicle Technology for Fisker Automotive

Secretary Chu Announces $144 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Transition to the Smart Grid

White House Clears Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule

House OKs Green Vehicle Research Bill

$100 Million in Recovery Act Funds Go to 43 Transit Projects Chosen to Reduce Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

DOE Awards Up to $14.6 Million to Support Development of Advanced Water Power Technologies

DOE Launches New "H-Prize" Offers $1 Million for Improved Hydrogen Storage

Report Says Strong Copenhagen Deal Means Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Interior Department Launches Response Strategy to Addresses Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Lands and Oceans:

DOE to Fund up to $454 Million for Retrofit Ramp-Ups in Energy Efficiency Projects for Businesses and Homeowners

White House, Oil, Gas Industry Spar Over Taxes

On Energy, Obama Finds Broad Support - Poll Shows Backing for Reform Efforts, But Cap-and-Trade Bill Is Harder Sell

U.S. Department of Energy Selects Biofuels Projects to Receive up to $21 Million in Funding

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Missouri Conversion Facility First with Biomass Crop Assistance Program Producer Payments

EPA to Declare CO2 a Dangerous Pollutant

U.S. Department of Transportation Awards Contract to Prototype Solar Road Panels

Energy Secretary Chu Announces Completion of Critical Energy Conservation Appliance Standards

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces More Than $13 Million to Help Meet Country's Renewable Energy Needs

EPA Raises the Bar for Energy Star Televisions

Poll Shows Support for Energy Bill
Vice President Biden Announces Finalized $535 Million Loan Guarantee for Solar

Secretary Chu Announces Nearly $300 Million in Clean Cities Grants to Support Clean Fuels, Vehicles, and Infrastructure Development

U.S. Department of Energy Announces $6.4 Million for Solid-State Lighting Research

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Awards More Than $4.2 Million for Woody Biomass Utilization Projects

U.S. Department of Energy Sets Awards To Evaluate CO2 Storage Technology While U.S. EPA Seeks Comments on New Information About Sequestration

Obama Administration Delivers More than $101 Million for Weatherization Programs in Guam and Pennsylvania 

Obama Administration Awards More than $51 Million for State Energy Programs in Alaska, Guam and New Jersey 

U.S. Government Seeks to Limit Federal Energy Use

President Barack Obama's Grandmother Joins the 'Solar Generation' in Kenya

U.S. Department of Energy Announces $37 Million for Small Business Clean Energy Research and Technology

Clean Energy Patent Growth Reaches Record High

Companies Secure Nearly $200 Million for Projects in Advanced Clean Transportation Technologies

President Obama Announces $2.4 Billion in Grants to Accelerate the Manufacturing and Deployment of the Next Generation of U.S. Batteries and Electric Vehicles
U.S. Department of Energy Announces Recovery Act Funding of up to $5.5 million for Ethanol Blends Infrastructure and Outreach

DOE Secretary Chu Announces Up to $30 Billion in Loan Guarantees for Renewable Energy, Transmission Grid, and Advanced Biofuels Projects

Obama Administration Awards More than $162 Million for State Energy Programs in Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding Available For Bioenergy Development And Production: 

Energy Secretary Chu Announces More Than $47 Million in Recovery Act Funding to Advance Smart Grid Development

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Policy Statement Seeks to Accelerate Deployment of Smart Grid Technology

U.S. Department of Energy Announces up to $52.5 Million for Concentrating Solar Power Research and Development
Geothermal Lease Sale Generates More Than $9 Million

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Announces Nearly $300 Million Rebate Program to Encourage Purchases of Energy Efficient Appliances

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Nearly $14 Million to Go to 28 New Wind Energy Projects - New DOE Study Shows U.S. Leads the World in Wind Energy Capacity

States Awash in Stimulus Money to Weatherize Homes

Recovery Act Announcement: Secretary Chu Announces More than $37 Million for Next Generation Lighting




August 25, 2009

Your Environmental Security: Code Blue, Orange, and Red

There are three elements to consider when you assess your environmental security. Consider yourself and the air you breathe the bull’s-eye (Code Blue), your immediate surroundings as the next outer circle (Code Orange), and from there to the ozone as the last circle of your personal environmental perimeter, or biosphere (Code Red).

Every Breath You Take… Every Move You Make…

Bulls_eye Code Blue (Risk to Your Health)
The air you breathe has an immediate and long term impact on your personal health.  The known carcinogens in gasoline and the emissions from burning them have been proven to cause cancer (according to the sign on the gasoline pump), respiratory problems like asthma, and even heart attacks.  In the days of carbon monoxide alerts in 39 of the nation’s largest cities – the number of heart attacks increased on days with the safe level was exceeded.  The good news -- the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 required gasoline retailers to add clean burning oxygenated fuels (like ethanol) to gasoline. That move alone has almost eliminated this particular air quality problem. Ozone and smog are also attributed to gasoline emissions and the reformulated gasoline program also required gasoline retailers to include oxygenated fuels (like ethanol) to reduce the level of toxics in gasoline.  Today, the renewable fuel standard is making us all safer at many levels, not only our immediate air quality.

Ethanol: On Target to Improve Your Environmental Security

The Coming of Biofuels: Study Shows Reducing Gasoline Emissions Will Benefit Human Health

A “Life Cycle Impact Assessment” has shown that a biofuel eliminating even 10-percent of current gasoline pollutant emissions would have a substantial impact on human health in this country, especially in urban areas.

Code Orange (Risk to Your Immediate Surroundings)
Many of us have become jaded from hearing “code orange” every time we enter or leave an airport. However, this announcement is a constant reminder of a real and imminent danger and security threat to the lives of a large majority of Americans. Code orange is a real and present danger to those that frequently travel or live in large metropolitan areas -- such as Manhattan.  The differences between the U.S. culture and many countries in the Middle East, where 88% of the world’s proven oil reserves are located, are not going to be resolved soon.  The U.S. is in a long-term war over these cultural differences. As a result, military service is becoming more of an everyday family or neighborhood occurrence. Over 5,000 American soldiers have died and over 30,000 have been wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq protecting our economic, environmental, energy, political, and religious freedoms. Protecting the free flow of the world’s oil has been part of our national security strategy since 1945.  This “oil protectionist” strategy, and our nation’s addiction to imported oil, have a direct impact our geopolitical strategies and our ability to interact with many nations.

Code Red (Risk to Your Biosphere and Planet)
I grew up in an era of code red days.  I was not allowed to go outside and play because of bad air quality – unless I had baseball or football practice.  I was not told why. When I found out why, it was one of the reasons I dedicated my career to advocating alternative fuels for cars and wound up writing this blog with my Oreck air filter running in the background -- and two FFVs and a hybrid in the driveway.  Holes in the ozone and climate change where lessons soon to follow on my selfish journey to protect myself.  It took many years and many millions of dollars, but over time the consensus and conclusion was that man made emission were the culprit -- imagine that. The majority of emissions causing the pollution that were threatening my life, and the planet that I had become dependent on, were coming from jobs or the cars people used to get to their jobs.  From my viewpoint, as a capitalist and patriot, I realized then that our country was not going to give up either of those freedoms without a fight.  The risk is as "easy as pie" to understand.

The Majority of GHG Comes From Burning Fossil Fuels: A Large Portion is From Transportation.

GHG Easy as Pie_lores

The weapon I choose to enhance my environmental security is consumer choice.  I choose to put higher blends of ethanol, like E85, in my FlexFuel Vehicle (FFV).  In my immediate environment, I am doing something right now to impact my economic, environmental, energy, and national security.

I have compiled several articles and studies below that will help you understand the real and immediate threats to your environmental security – resulting from our nation’s addiction to oil, and more importantly, gasoline.  How you choose to protect yourself is always your choice – and for the first time in 100 years, FFVs and E85 give you one.

First and foremost, we are not going to achieve environmental security without economic security being placed first – or the majority of businesses and consumers (i.e., democracy) just won’t care or be able to afford to act responsibly.

More Information and Research:

Connecting Economic and Environmental Security: Survey Finds That Support for Cap-and-Trade Hinges on Economy:  Reuters, Nick Zieminski, July 12, 2009
U.S. manufacturers would be much more likely to support cap-and-trade legislation to limit pollution if they believed the industrial economy was about to improve, according to a survey commissioned by accounting and consulting firm Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, which represents many Midwestern manufacturers.

Is gasoline toxic or carcinogenic?
There are several known toxins in gasoline, some of which are confirmed human carcinogens. The most famous of these toxins are lead and benzene, and both are regulated. The other aromatics and some toxic olefins are also controlled. Lead alkyls also require ethylene dibromide and/or ethylene dichloride scavengers to be added to the gasoline, both of which are suspected human carcinogens. In 1993 an International Symposium on the Health Effects of Gasoline was held. Major review papers on the carcinogenic, neurotoxic, reproductive and developmental toxicity of gasoline, additives, and oxygenates were presented, and interested readers should obtain the proceedings, or just look at some of the papers will put a chill down your spine…

Is unleaded gasoline more toxic than leaded?
The short answer is no. However that answer is not global, as some countries have replaced the lead compound octane-improvers with aromatic or olefin octane-improvers without introducing exhaust catalysts. The aromatics
contents may increase to around 40%, with high octane unleaded fuels reaching 50% in countries where oxygenates are not being used, and the producers have not reconfigured refineries to produce high octane paraffins.

The Real Reason Your Kids Should Not Play in Traffic...
Hodgkin’s lymphoma in children increased 25% and 51% per doubling g of traffic associated benzene and NO2 levels, respectively, during pregnancy (Raaschou Nielsen 2001) doubling traffic-Raaschou-Childhood cancer (OR 5.90), especially leukemia, increased within 750 ft of roadway with > 20,000 VPD (Pearson 2000) within
HAPs  Approx. 280 379/1,000,000 new cases cancer per yr in LA due to ambient levels of benzene, formaldehyde and 1,3 butadiene (MATES II 1999) 280-1,3-MATES-
Approx. 980/1,000,000 new cases cancer per yr in LA County due to diesel particulate emissions (MATES II 1999) to MATES…Environmental & Energy Systems Institute and Shell Center for Sustainability Rice University. Wednesday, November 19, 2003.

...And Why You Should Roll Up Your Windows on the Way to Work

Abstract  Benzene is an established cause of  leukemia in adults, especially acute non-lymphocytic leukemia (ANLL). A few studies have indicated that exposure to gasoline is a cause of childhood leukemia. The purpose of this study was to investigate if environmental exposure to benzene from gasoline and car exhaust was associated with leukemia in children and young adults. The exposure to gasoline and car exhaust was estimated by the number of cars per area. In this ecology study, data on the incidence of cancer in each municipality of Sweden during an 11-year period (1975–1985) were compared with the number of cars per area. For more information: The Mickey Leland National Urban Air Toxics Research Center (NUATRC).

More About Code Orange (Personal Risk: A Real and Imminent Danger):
Absent increased ethanol production figures, it’s all bad news. The Congressional testimony by Jim Woolsey, former director of Central Intelligence, says it all and connects the dots of national security, terrorism and provides a complete and simple explanation of how crude oil/gasoline use are fueling both sides of the Wars we are fighting in the Middle East.  War has placed the Department of Defense as the world’s largest petroleum user and created an immediate threat to the personal surrounding environment of those in battle and at home.

For a number of reasons we must strive for a similar path of decline in influence for oil – away from being a strategic commodity and toward being simply a commodity.  Oil will still be useful and valued for its high energy content and its relative ease of shipment for a long time…But in the interests of our national security, our climate, and our pocketbooks we should now move together as a nation – indeed as a community of oil importer nations – to destroy, not oil of course, but oil’s strategic role in transportation as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.

The national security reasons to destroy oil’s strategic role are substantial. Over two-thirds of the world’s proven reserves of conventional oil lie in the turbulent states of the Persian Gulf, as does much of oil’s international infrastructure.  Increasing dependence on this part of the world for our transportation needs is subject to a wide range of perils.

Just over a year ago, in response to bin Laden’s many calls for attack on such infrastructure, al Qaeda attacked Abcaiq, the world’s largest oil production facility, in northeastern Saudi Arabia.  Had it succeeded in destroying the sulfur-clearing towers there through which about two-thirds of Saudi crude passes -- say with a simple mortar attack -- it would have succeeded in driving the price of oil over a hundred dollars a barrel for many months, perhaps close to bin Laden’s goal of $200 a barrel.”  April 18, 2007, Testimony of R. James Woolsey, U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming Hearings on Geopolitical Implications of Rising Oil Dependence and Global Warming,

Code Red (Risk to Your Planet): Easy as Pie
The possible personal effects of climate change include severe weather damage to property and body, job loss, productive land loss, insurance rate increases, health risks from insect migration and disease, and even national security.  Is climate change real? Who am I to totally disagree and dismiss the findings of scientists from over 130 countries that contributed to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report?  The report included more than 2,500 scientific expert reviewers, more than 800 contributing authors, and more than 450 lead authors.  They have reached a consensus that the impacts from climate change in just 20 short years away.
Believing climate change is happening and its possible risk and impact is an individual choice. However, the source of the man made emissions (e.g., our role vs. the planet) is as easy as pie to understand. Over half of the greenhouse gas emissions come from burning fossil fuels, and the majority of that fossil fuel is used to fuel our cars, homes and jobs.

For more information and reports go to IPCC website. Selected presentations collected on the IPPC link were given by prime IPCC representatives on various occasions. The preparation of each presentation is under the responsibility of the presenter.Original figures from the IPCC reports can be found here.
You can also find information on Wikipedia.