Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step


March 6, 2012

Will Oil Prices Be a Factor in the 2012 Election?

Category: Climate Change,Economics,Energy Independence,Political – Tom Harrison – 2:10 pm

Hmm, what was it again that happened in late 2008?

Once again, the price of oil may be a factor in the outcome of the 2012 US presidential and congressional elections.

Energy security. That’s what we are allowed to say we want. Today, oil prices are well over $100/bbl and are predicted to keep rising. Instability with Iran is the cause, right?

Perhaps, but it’s also possible that gasoline prices are rising because employment rates and other economic factors are improving. The decimation of our economy in 2008 was the best thing to happen to gasoline prices. It’s pretty clear that economic growth and demand for energy, and oil in particular are strongly correlated: (more…)

March 5, 2011

Democracy and Oil Do Not Mix

Category: Climate Change,Economics,Energy Independence,Policy,Political – Tom Harrison – 8:32 pm

Oil and Democracy

Oil & Democracy: A Costly Mix

We are torn here in the US.

We need the oil, and we need to support democratizing movements in the world. And these days, for the right reasons, these two goals are once again at odds.

The precarious balance between the two is getting more so. It won’t get better.

In the last Presidential election the alarmingly high price of oil was framed as energy security, but it’s not about energy. We have plenty of energy in gas and coal. And nuclear and solar and wind. Plenty or energy.

Oil is special because we don’t have easy substitutes at the moment. Liquid fuel is what we run on today. It is technically possible to convert most transportation to alternates, notably natural gas, then electric. But that is happening glacially. (more…)

August 24, 2010

Pakistan, Niger, Russian, US Floods, Droughts: Climate Change Preview

Category: Climate Change,Economics,Political – Tom Harrison – 11:37 am

Click To Enlarge

There’s been a lot of dramatic weather this year, in fact more records than in recorded history — I would like to take a moment to consider their impact.

Many, many people suffer, and much property was damaged or destroyed. These extreme weather events are all consistent with the predictions of climate change. Let’s go out on a limb, for a moment, and consider a world that has, with increasing frequencies, climate events like these. This isn’t going far out on a limb, because this kind of weather instability is one thing climate scientists have been predicting, correctly, as a result of climate change.

What climate change scientists predict are resulting in some downstream impacts, which I tend to think are likely to be the most immediate threats to our “first world” ways of life. (more…)

April 29, 2010

“Spill Baby, Spill” – Oil Leak “May Be Five Times Initial Estimate”

Category: Climate Change,Companies,Energy Independence,Political – Tom Harrison – 8:26 am

Credit: New York Times

I think I should claim a scoop on this story, as when I wrote my post the other day, I had beat the New York Times and most other media to identifying the BP Oil Spill as a rather major disaster. I am sad to say “I told you so”.

The news media seem to be coming around to my way of thinking. The New York Times is now reporting as the lead story that, um, those 42,000 gallons of oil per day leaking into the sea may be more like, um 210,000 gallons (this is all converted to “barrels” now — an oil barrel holds 42 US gallons, so the initial estimate was 1,000 barrels/day is now 5,000).

Holy hole, Batman!

And it appears that BP’s public relations operation has also gotten bigger.

Fortunately, the problem isn’t that bad. No, really. (more…)

April 11, 2010

Cap And Trade: My Comment Turned into a Post

Category: Climate Change,Political – Tom Harrison – 8:19 pm

As anyone reading can plainly see, I am clearly more involved in working for and writing for my new company, Energy Circle which is all about home energy efficiency than about writing here on my personal blog.

As it happens, I am continuing to respond to comments and engage in dialog with people who are reading. And given that I just spent an hour writing a response to a comment on one of my posts about cap and trade, and also because there was a related and article on climate change, cap-and-trade, and science by Paul Krugman that you should take the time to read, I figure I should create a short post for all 12 people who still follow the blog.

So there you have it. Read the article, and read and comment on my comment response!

August 20, 2009

A Simple Call You Can Make To Support Climate Change Legislation

Category: Climate Change,Political,Take Actions – Tom Harrison – 7:58 pm

repower-america-logoThe Repower America campaign (“We Campaign”) has put up a toll free number that you can call to leave a voice message supporting climate change legislation that will be heard by your Senators: call 1-877-973-7693 (1-877-9REPOWER). Punch in your zip code and leave a voice mail message supporting comprehensive climate change legislation.

I think this is a great idea. I am a big believer in the email campaigns, and all the other great grass-roots stuff that progressive and Internet-savvy organizations are doing. But in the end, there’s nothing like the voice of an actual constituent to make Senators do the right thing. I just made my call. Will you?

We know the climate change bill is going to face stiff resistance in the Senate. Every voice counts, and the voices being heard today are mostly just the ones the oil companies are paying to have heard.

Call now, and write a comment when you’re done.

Free, Blue-line PowerCost Monitor For Best Comment

Special promotion, this post only: I will non-randomly select my favorite comment about why we need a climate change law now and send a free Blue Line Powercost Monitor (used) — this is the one I have been using for almost a year now, and have written about — it’s awesome, and has saved us hundreds of dollars (no kidding). But I got a little present in the mail today that I’ll be writing about soon, so I want to pass the PowerCost Monitor along to someone who cares and could take advantage of it.

Please note: this is not a contest, and I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV. I make no money from this site. So what I just said is probably filled with the opportunity for me to get in trouble. Look, I just want you to make a call and support climate change legislation. No promises. And no lawsuits, please?

May 3, 2009

Explaining The Big Picture To Mom

Category: Climate Change,Political,Sustainability – Tom Harrison – 11:18 pm

My Mom is visiting, taking a well-deserved rest from care of my father, who is no longer able to care for himself. After a few days of catching up, I found myself unable to restrain myself from reciting my manifesto. Sorry, Mom.

Condensing the details into a big picture that makes enough sense for a smart, but not-so-technical, and not-as-young person as I is a good opportunity. Throughout my life, I have observed that I only really understand something when I am able to present it in straightforward, no-jargon and instructive manner. For example, I have taught several software development languages to novice computer users — I often learn as much as the students I have taught.

Clean Coal?

We discussed clean coal and carbon sequestration, amongst other things. The simple explanation (more…)

February 17, 2009

Obama. Hope Springs. (Eternal TBD.)

Category: Political,Rants – Tom Harrison – 7:53 pm

No guarantees. No certainty. No proscriptions. A nice little stock market plunge in response. Nope — hope is not something you can take to the bank. But maybe it’s something we can work with.

The stimulus bill is a messy, ugly, sloppy, horrendous thing of beauty.

For in all of its compromise, and stupidity, and waste, the core of the really important things survived. It’s pretty much a sure thing that you know there’s a lot of pork stimulus for green jobs, green energy, and environmental … whatever, when the virulent, progressive community is shouting loudly at how it was us who made all these great green giveaways stimuli happen. And the shouting is loud. Man, the Republicans must be stewing in their own formaldehyde plotting how to undermine any progress we might actually make indignant.

I wrote a few months back that Bush’s legacy might indeed be a novel way to solve global warming … by throwing our country into a massive recession. As it turns out, the recession has indeed been a rather effective and immediate way to mitigate our climate change and energy security issues. We’ll see if Obama’s more … conventional, progressive, liberal methods for solving the issues are equally effective (and who knows, perhaps without all the pesky side effects). No guarantees, of course.

Obama won this round, and it was a big, big, big one. Sure, the press had nearly written him off last week, but as the magnitude of this victory has become evident … and as Obama has taken back control of the message, we’re seeing what we voted for. Damn, he’s good. Heck, he might be as good as Bush was, and what’s more, using an almost entirely different way to manipulate the message. Who knew we could be manipulated in so many different ways. I’ll take mine this way, thanks.

This is not an issue about the economy. This isn’t an issue about education. Or science. Or health care. Or, dare I say it, about the environment. This is an issue of who is best able to direct the message, and how pragmatism makes it all work quickly (if not purely). Why even bi-partisanship isn’t dead!

Next stop: the banks. God help him.

I have hope.

January 7, 2009

Can Obama Be The Environmental President?

Fire ChiefAfter so many years of yelling “fire!”, it may be hard for us environmentalists to accept that we have the leader we need; we must now help put out the fire.

I get a lot of emails from the various environmental, energy, green, progressive and other organizations I follow. It’s no surprise that after the election, there was much jubilation. But lately, there’s a bit of a sulky, mean-spirited feeling to some of the emails I have been getting. One I got today from Environmental Action started with “So far, President-elect Obama’s appointments to top environmental positions have ranged from mediocre to disappointing.” I don’t mean to pick on this fine organization — there are plenty of other cases of people who are feeling let down. But come on, let’s take a careful look.

Disappointing? Really? Mediocre? Really?

Sure, there’s one guy that many environmentalists are not happy about: Ken Salazar, designate for Secretary of the Interior. I wasn’t thrilled with Tom Vilsack, for Agriculture, either.

Obama’s Environmental Picks are Excellent

But come on, all you greenies out there — let’s get real. First, Salazar and Vilsack both fall into a category of being damned by association, for the most part. I mean, these guys are “pretty good”, at worst. That leaves them several heads higher than the very best appointments of the Bush administration. And perhaps a little clear leadership will help these guys use their influence for good.

But the other top positions are stunningly great, if you ask me. (more…)

November 26, 2008

Heritage Foundation: The True Costs of Global Warming Legislation

Category: Climate Change,Political – Tom Harrison – 12:42 pm

The Heritage Foundation published a report on Monday regarding the EPA’s decision (or should I say the supreme court’s decision) to regulate greenhouse gasses.

It may not be a surprise that Heritage Foundation thinks this is a bad and costly idea, concluding “all of this sacrifice is in order to make, at best, a minuscule contribution to an overstated environmental threat.” The report is in the context of our current economic “downturn” and suggests that the true costs of implementing the plan would be devastating.

I can’t disagree with their specific conclusion. I just disagree with their assumptions. (more…)