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Terry Tamminen's Posts

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Silver Buckshot

Wars in the Middle East and oil rig blowouts in the Gulf have given us gasoline in the range of $4 to $5/gallon. Growing concerns over asthma-inducing pollution from coal fired power plants, not to mention mercury pollution in food supplies and greenhouse gas emissions, have resulted in the termination of numerous coal projects and even the TVA announcing it would soon close eighteen existing coal facilities. The transition from digging carbon out of the ground and setting it on fire to make electricity or power our horseless carriages won’t die from a single technology. No silver bullets in cleantech, …

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The China-Europe-America Smackdown

America, it could be worse. We could be Europe. I mean, we’re still mostly in the race with China - - in the past five years, they improved energy efficiency by nearly 20% and have a new five-year plan for another 20%. I say big deal - - the Empire State Building recently completed an energy efficiency upgrade and cut its consumption by nearly 40% after only nine months of remodeling. OK, so China is doing it with an entire country, but we did it with a really big building that was once featured in a Fay Wray movie. And …

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We CAN Do Something About Tsunami Devastation

The ferocious tsunami that devastated Japan's coast is a tragic reminder that we have an uneasy relationship with our oceans. While we can't prevent earthquakes, we can minimize at least some of the damage from tsunamis on American shores by dealing with climate change and rising ocean levels now. March 20th marked the beginning of National Tsunami Awareness Week. We will continue to hear more about the tragedy in Japan and about which preparations worked or which ones didn't. We will hear much more about awareness and warning systems. Those discussions also need to include the ongoing threat from a …

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Don’t Mess With Mother Nature

A few weeks ago in Lamont, California, a fighting rooster killed a man, when the bird slashed him with the blades he had attached to its legs. A bizarre one-time oddity? No, just days earlier a man in India was also killed when his fighting rooster slashed his throat. Just what is Mother Nature trying to say?“In thousands of years of civilization, the conflict between humankind and Nature has never been as serious as it is today. The depletion, deterioration and exhaustion of resources and the worsening ecological environment have become bottlenecks and grave impediments to the nation’s economic and …

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WH Gig for Mubarak

White House climate policy czar Carol Browner recently left her post “to spend more time with her family” (political-speak for “thanks for playing, but don’t let the door hit you in the backside on your way out”). Given his 2008 campaign pledge to get Congress to deal with US carbon pollution and thereby support a global successor to the Kyoto climate change accord, I assume President Obama will now need to appoint a replacement who can push through what Ms. Browner could not. Let me be the first to nominate Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak is the perfect choice. He will soon …

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We don't need no education

Close the public schools — that's the answer to our deficit problems

Nicknamed "Canary," Billy always looks forward to his shift in the coal shaft.Every state capital in the nation is struggling with massive budget deficits -- over $20 billion in states like California and Texas and comparable red ink everywhere else. States and cities are exploring bankruptcy to get out from under crushing debt and pension obligations, but there’s actually a better solution. Close all public schools. In California, for example, almost half of the annual $80 billion general fund spending is for public schools, so closing them would solve the deficit and allow lawmakers to heed constituent demands for lower …

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No thanks to Tom Hanks

'Cracking the Carbon Code' — Can the movie be far behind?

Here it comes -- a shameless self-promotion for my new book, Cracking the Carbon Code: The Key to Sustainable Profits in the New Economy. I take the liberty to mention the book, because this blog will give you the key for nothing and, once everyone is doing it, can the movie version be far behind? The Carbon Code is a way to measure the efficiency of your business and show you ways to save money and get ahead of otherwise costly regulations. By measuring your company’s carbon footprint (and it’s not that hard to do) you uncover embedded energy and …

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A Lapel Pin With a Purpose

After 9/11, every politician in America quickly donned an American flag lapel pin. Even nine years later, the patriotism of public officials who fail to wear the pin is called into question, while others are called hypocritical if they wear the pin while opposing things like legislation to give health benefits to 9/11 first responders. Could there be a pin that is unquestionably patriotic and that simultaneously makes the world a better place? This week, CBS EcoMedia will unveil a lapel pin for advertising, a small leaf on something they call “eco-ads”. It works like this - - a typical …

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Eyes on a Clean Energy Prize

The Zayed Future Energy Prize is $2.2 million equivalent of a Nobel Prize for clean, sustainable energy recognizing individuals, non-profits, and companies that are doing the most to commercialize and distribute renewable energy to replace fossil fuels and cut pollution. There are two remarkable things about this prize - - it is sponsored by an oil-rich government in the Middle East and the six finalists in 2011 include this author. Yes, I was humbled to be nominated for the prize that will be awarded next January 18th, possibly to join the company of the first winner of the prize in …

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Kristianstad + Cancun = A New Economy

Nearly 200 nations made modest advances in Cancun, Mexico last week towards a new agreement on tackling carbon pollution and modernizing global economies. The incremental progress obscures a bigger question - - can any set of goals, policies, or technologies wean the world off of fossil fuels before the cheap ones run out or before we run out of clean air and a human-friendly atmosphere? The answer may be on the other side of the globe in Kristianstad, Sweden. Like the hopeful delegates in Cancun, officials in Kristianstad pledged a decade ago to power the city entirely from renewable resources …