Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

November 13, 2012

Sandy, The Election, and The Fiscal Cliff: The Perfect Storm?

Category: Climate Change,Companies,Economics,Policy – Tom Harrison – 4:51 pm

I have heard more about climate change in the “big” news in the last few weeks than I think I have heard in … years.

The confluence of several big things may have presented an opportunity: the “fiscal cliff”, the hurricane Sandy, and the outcome of the 2012 election. (more…)

June 14, 2012

Reality: Only Businesses Care about ROI; People Want Sexy

Category: Climate Change,Observations – Tom Harrison – 10:06 pm

I attended a startup conference today, and while I am not professionally in the home efficiency business any more, I couldn’t avoid the session on Clean-Tech Energy. Several experienced company founders described their business models, and it quickly became apparent that they all had concluded the same thing: the vast majority of consumers are not willing to spend money on energy efficiency. And, quite the opposite, businesses will readily adopt efficiency measures that have a reasonable return on investment. (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…)

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?

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…)

October 5, 2008

“Truthful Terms” are not The Truth

Category: Editorial,Observations,Political,Rants – Tom Harrison – 3:39 pm

(Note: this post has nothing whatsoever to do with energy or conservation: it’s a political rant)

Fox reports that McCain spokesman, Tucker Bounds responded to an Obama ad.

“We’re going to talk in truthful terms, which they are not in that advertisement,” Bounds said. “We also want to talk in truthful terms about who Barack Obama is. These are important things for voters to know.”

Just curious, is “truthful terms” anything like talking truthfully? Or perhaps even telling the truth? Or does it just means that the terms (i.e. sound bites) will be truthful, but strung together in such a way as to be effective … which is to say, deceptive.

October 4, 2008

My Kind of Pork: Renewable Energy Credits

Category: Economics,Political,Technology – Tom Harrison – 8:41 pm

I Mean it in the Best Possible Way

I Mean it in the Best Possible Way

This week’s bailout/rescue was a pig for sure, and before it got passed it got even more porky in the application of several coats of lipstick. None of the add-on’s were in themselves bad in particular. But the timing was terrible; at a moment when people are conscious of the government’s sheer magnitude, we managed to add on another 100 billion dollars of so.

But I suppose that one man’s pork is another man’s passion, to paraphrase most terribly. And in the case of this bill, tax credits for renewable energy were … renewed. And unlike several other add-on’s, this one makes sense, in context. (more…)

September 10, 2008

If You Say Something Enough, It’s True (So I Do)

Category: Rants – Tom Harrison – 11:35 pm

It\'s True!

It's True!

OK, so yesterday I wrote a nice review of compact fluorescent bulbs and did my environmental thing. But what’s on my mind these days is a little less direct: is the current strategy of the McCain campaign just to say things that aren’t true, hoping knowing that people listening will believe it?

All evidence so far, and from the last few elections and the administrations that follow suggest that people will believe what you tell them, especially if you tell them over and over.

However, the lie has to be done well (and repeatedly). When Bill Clinton said he had not had sex with “that woman” we all knew he way lying. See, he’s a Democrat, so really not very good at lying in a convincing way, since no one else would repeat his denial.

But when Bush promotes the “Clear Skies Initiative” we kind of all know that it isn’t really going to make our skies clear, in the sense of being clean, or less polluted or anything like that, but instead something more … opposite. Except hat hundreds of spokesmen and spokeswomen and “journalists” all say something about “Clear Skies”, so it’s what we believe. (more…)