Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bush Mum on Climate Goals

At a meeting of 16 major greenhouse-gas emitting nations, President Bush said that nations that contribute most of the gases that lead to global warming should set goals to reduce those emissions, but did not specify what those goals should be, according to a report in the New York Times excerpted below.
President Bush said Friday that the nations that contribute most to global warming should all set goals for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. But he did not specify what those goals should be and repeated his stand that nations should not be held to mandatory targets for capping carbon dioxide emissions.
President Bush said Friday that nations should not be held to mandatory targets for capping carbon dioxide emissions.

At the close of a two-day meeting here of 16 major carbon-emitting nations, Mr. Bush also proposed an international fund to help developing nations benefit from clean energy technology. He instructed the Treasury Department to begin work on the proposal, but the administration offered no details.
“We will set a long-term goal for reducing global greenhouse-gas emissions,” the president said in a morning speech at the State Department. “Each nation must decide for itself the right mix of tools and technologies to achieve results that are measurable and environmentally effective.”
He added, “No one country has all the answers, including mine.”
The delegates to the conference listened impassively to Mr. Bush’s 20-minute address, interrupting him with applause only once, when he pledged that the United States would participate in global warming negotiations overseen by the
United Nations. The Bush administration has been a less-than-enthusiastic partner in United Nations-sponsored climate change talks and has not joined the Kyoto Protocol, intended to halt and then reverse the spread of climate-altering carbon emissions.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at
Shop for energy Saving Products at

Friday, September 28, 2007

Vaclav Havel on "Our Moral Footprint"

Former president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel has an editorial in the New York Times about our moral imperative in the face of a possible climate crisis. Read an excerpt below:
Scientific studies demonstrate that any changes in temperature and energy cycles on a planetary scale could mean danger for all people on all continents.
It is also obvious from published research that human activity is a cause of change; we just don’t know how big its contribution is. Is it necessary to know that to the last percentage point, though? By waiting for incontrovertible precision, aren’t we simply wasting time when we could be taking measures that are relatively painless compared to those we would have to adopt after further delays?
Maybe we should start considering our sojourn on earth as a loan. There can be no doubt that for the past hundred years at least, Europe and the United States have been running up a debt, and now other parts of the world are following their example. Nature is issuing warnings that we must not only stop the debt from growing but start to pay it back. There is little point in asking whether we have borrowed too much or what would happen if we postponed the repayments. Anyone with a mortgage or a bank loan can easily imagine the answer.
The effects of possible climate changes are hard to estimate. Our planet has never been in a state of balance from which it could deviate through human or other influence and then, in time, return to its original state. The climate is not like a pendulum that will return to its original position after a certain period. It has evolved turbulently over billions of years into a gigantic complex of networks, and of networks within networks, where everything is interlinked in diverse ways.
Its structures will never return to precisely the same state they were in 50 or 5,000 years ago. They will only change into a new state, which, so long as the change is slight, need not mean any threat to life.
Larger changes, however, could have unforeseeable effects within the global ecosystem. In that case, we would have to ask ourselves whether human life would be possible. Because so much uncertainty still reigns, a great deal of humility and circumspection is called for.
We can’t endlessly fool ourselves that nothing is wrong and that we can go on cheerfully pursuing our wasteful lifestyles, ignoring the climate threats and postponing a solution. Maybe there will be no major catastrophe in the coming years or decades. Who knows? But that doesn’t relieve us of responsibility toward future generations.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at

Shop for energy Saving Products at

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

US to Washington: Act on Environment

Americans want bold action from national leaders on environmental issues, and are dissatisfied with the lack of action, according to a new survey. (See excerpt of the AP article about it below):
People want their leaders to move boldly to help the environment but give them dismal grades for their actions so far, according to a poll released Wednesday that highlighted rampant pessimism on the issue.
Only about one in five voiced approval of how President Bush, Congress and U.S. businesses have been handling the environment. And while decisive majorities said they want strong public and private action, fewer than one in 10 said they had seen such steps in the past year, according to the poll by The Associated Press and
Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment.
The survey, conducted days before Bush was convening an international climate conference in Washington, showed that though Democrats and independents were consistently more critical than
Republicans, anxiety is widespread over the environment and global warming.
''I don't understand why we're letting people destroy the Earth the way we are,'' said Jerry Menees, 34, an independent voter and truck driver from Potosi, Mo. ''It scares me what this world is coming to.''
Only about a fifth think the environment is in good or excellent shape, including 39 percent of Republicans. Just over one in 10 think it is faring better than a decade ago or will improve a decade from now, while about eight in 10 say global warming is under way -- views that were broadly shared across party lines.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at for energy Saving Products at

Connecticut Hydro Power Conference

Hydropower in Connecticut and the Northeast
January 11, 2008

This is the official Conference Announcement.

The starting time and registration procedures are not determined yet.

This conference will examine the role of hydropower in the push forrenewable energy sources as well as the implications of the incentivesthe state and the federal governments are considering for hydrodevelopment. There will be a particular emphasis on small, new hydroand the recent proposals under consideration in Connecticut andVermont. Elements of the discussion will include: * The historical context, parallels with the hydro rush of the1970s and 1980s * Impact of new, small hydro on the ecology of rivers * Alternatives such as increased efficiency, new technologies * What constitutes green hydro, design vs. size

For more info:

Rivers Alliance of Connecticut

7 West Street

POB 1797

Litchfield, CT 06759

Tel: 860-3619349
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at
Shop for energy Saving Products at

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Future Is Electric

The future of cars, that is, according to the New York Times article excerpted below:

Trading the internal combustion engine for batteries could bring well-publicized advantages: reducing pollution, raising mileage, promoting energy independence. E.V.’s and plug-in hybrids could deliver the gasoline equivalent of 100 miles a gallon or more. For consumers, that would in effect roll back the clock to buck-a-gallon gas. Car owners could save money in their sleep, recharging in the off hours when electricity is cheapest.
And compared with hydrogen fuel-cell cars, the infrastructure for electric cars already exists, requiring only more plugs in more places. Aside from home recharging, it would be easier to install pay-per-use outlets at curbsides and in parking lots than to spawn a network of hydrogen filling stations. Wal-Mart and McDonald’s might offer convenient electricity for customers or employees.
Sounds good? There is one problem. There is still not a single E.V. or plug-in hybrid available that can approach the driving range, interior room and performance of a typical gas-powered family sedan, at anywhere near the price that an average consumer would pay.
From a technical standpoint, the Tesla Roadster may well be the most impressive E.V. yet. But this plug-in two-seater, based on the Lotus Elise, is cramped and has near-zero cargo space. Its $100,000 price is well beyond the budget of even most sports car buyers.
So automakers, including Tesla, are again assuring Americans that practical, affordable E.V.’s are on the way.
Experts say the cars’ arrival hinges on two make-or-break issues:
Developing safe, affordable lithium-ion batteries lasting 100,000 miles.
Overcoming a psychological barrier among people who can imagine the benefits — but who can also see themselves stranded with a dead battery and no place or time to recharge.
As for batteries, progress has been made, but more is needed. The EV1 started with old-school lead-acid batteries; today’s hybrids have more robust nickel-metal-hydride units. But the most efficient batteries are lithium-ion, the kind found in cellphones and laptops. These cells would double or triple the power of, say, a
Toyota Prius battery pack, but at half the weight or size.
Prabhakar Patil is chief executive of Compact Power, a company vying to power a G.M. plug-in hybrid based on the Chevrolet Volt concept car — and to have them ready by 2010 or 2011. He was previously chief engineer for the
Ford Escape Hybrid.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at
Shop for energy Saving Products at

Sunday, September 23, 2007

UN Chief To USA: Do Something About Climate Change

According to an AP article in Salon (excerpt below), the UN Climate Chief is calling for the US to act on President Bush's newfound concern for climate change.
The Bush administration has made a "significant" shift on global warming, but still falls short on the "much more aggressive" policies needed to head off its damaging impact, the U.N. climate chief said Saturday.
"It's very clear that we're not on track," Yvo de Boer told The Associated Press.
More than 70 presidents and prime ministers and 80 other national representatives are gathering here for Monday's U.N. "climate summit."
The unprecedented meeting comes in a year when a series of authoritative scientific reports warned of a drastically changed planet by 2100, from rising seas, drought and other factors, unless nations rein in their emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.
Monday's one-day session is designed to build political momentum toward progress at December's annual U.N. climate treaty conference, in Bali, Indonesia, which many hope will launch negotiations for an emissions-reduction agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. Kyoto, which the U.S. rejects, set first-phase reduction quotas for 36 industrial nations.
On Thursday, the Bush administration convenes its own two-day meeting, with 15 other major "greenhouse" gas-emitting nations, to discuss ways to limit emissions.
De Boer, head of the U.N. climate treaty secretariat, cited the Washington meeting as another example of what he called "significant political change over the past year" in the Bush administration's position.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at for energy Saving Products at

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Connecticut Conversation on Climate Oct. 4

A Local Conversation on Climate Action will be held on October 4, 2007 from 7-9 pm at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, Connecticut. This regional discussion will include a Climate expert from UConn and a Climate Change Policy Advisor from the CT Dept of EnvironmentalProtection among others. A past President of the CT Fund for Environment will moderate the discussion. There will be further discussion on what is needed at the local level, what options areavailable and what we can all do to reduce global warming. For furtherinformation contact: Keith Chrisman.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at
Shop for energy Saving Products at

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bill Moyers on Mountaintop Mining

The PBS show Bill Moyers Journal featured a story on mountaintop removal mining on September 7. You can see the tape, read the transcript, see a FAQ and participate in a forum about the show at the PBS website. The intro from the website is posted below:
In August 2007, The Office of Surface Mining in the Interior Department issued a draft revision to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. Surface mining accounts for an increasing share of the coal mined in the United States. The proposed changes relate to the practice of "mountaintop mining" which although cheaper and safer than underground mining, has come under fire from environmentalists and coal-producing area residents.
In the mountaintop process the top of the mountain or the "overburden" is broken up and removed by blasting in order to reach coal seams. Once the rock surrounding the coal is blasted off, in what is known in the industry as "shoot and shove," the excess rock and earth is dumped over the side of the mountain into the valleys below, often burying the streams that run through them. This dumping is primarily where residents and environmentalists have come into conflict with recent rule changes. (View a
detailed description of the process.)
In late 2006,
MOYERS ON AMERICA: IS GOD GREEN? reported on some Evangelical Christians who were turning to their faith to fight the effects of mountaintop mining on their communities. Judy Bonds, West Virginia resident and member of Christians for the Mountains queried:
There are three million pounds of explosives used a day just in West Virginia to blow the tops off these mountains. Three million pounds a day...To knock fly rock everywhere, to send silica and coal dust and rock dust and fly rock in our homes. I wonder which one of these mountains do you think God will come down here and blow up? Which one of these hollers do you think Jesus would store waste in? That's a simple question. That's all you have to ask.
Critics contend that the new rule change is another step in an effort to undercut the environmental safeguards of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act and the landmark Clean Water Act and give "mountaintop mining" interests greater and greater leeway.
Rule Changes and Comments
2002: The Environmental Protection Agency rewrote clean water regulations to add mine waste to the list of materials that can be used to fill in streams for development and other purposes.
2003: The EPA released a draft
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) assessing the environmental and social impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining. The study confirmed that mountaintop removal coal mining has affected forest areas and streams in negative ways, and identified proposed actions that government agencies might take to minimize the adverse effects of mountaintop mining operations and excess spoil valley fills. Despite these findings, the Bush administration called for an easing of existing environmental restrictions on this mining method. The "Preferred" Action Alternative offered in the report recommends that "The agencies would developed enhanced coordination of regulatory actions, while maintaining independent review and decision making by each agency."
2004: Rule changes are proposed which reduce the surface mining law's buffer zone rule that prohibited mining activities within 100 feet of larger streams. New guidelines would required companies to respect the buffer zone "to the extent practicable."
2006: The proposed new rule codifies the 2004 buffer zone proposals and, according to THE NEW YORK TIMES, "seems specifically to authorize the disposal of 'excess spoil fills,' a k a mine waste, in hollows and streams."
THE NEW YORK TIMES in reporting the proposed changes stated: "The Office of Surface Mining in the Interior Department drafted the rule, which will be subject to a 60-day comment period and could be revised, although officials indicated that it was not likely to be changed substantially." On it's Web site The Office of Surface Mining posted an FAQ about the new rulings and responding directly to the TIMES, saying "This statement is not accurate."

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at for energy Saving Products at

A Blow for Environmental Groups

A California judge delivered a victory to automakers in a lawsuit brought by the State of California, according to an article in the New York Times (see below for excerpt.)
Suit Blaming Automakers Over Gases Is Dismissed
Published: September 18, 2007
The courts do not have the authority or the expertise to decide injury lawsuits concerning
global warming, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled yesterday in dismissing a suit brought by the State of California against six car companies.
The decision, by Judge Martin J. Jenkins, was welcome news for automakers, which had suffered a defeat last week in federal court in Vermont.
In last week’s decision, Judge William K. Sessions III endorsed Vermont’s regulations meant to reduce greenhouse gases emitted by cars and light trucks. More than a dozen states have similar regulations, and a lawsuit challenging such regulations in
California is pending.
In the case decided yesterday, California claimed that the six car companies produced vehicles that accounted for more than 20 percent of human-generated carbon dioxide emissions in the United States and more than 30 percent of those in California.
The suit claimed that the emissions were a public nuisance and sought billions of dollars in damages.
Judge Jenkins wrote that a resolving of the questions presented in the suit was not a proper task for the courts.
“The adjudication of plaintiff’s claim would require the court to balance the competing interests of reducing global warming emissions and the interests of advancing and preserving economic and industrial development,” Judge Jenkins wrote.
The two decisions are not necessarily at odds. They collectively suggest that states may address climate change through their legislatures and executive branches but not through the courts.
Given national and international debate on the issues, Judge Jenkins wrote, “the court finds that injecting itself into the global warming thicket at this juncture would require an initial policy determination of the type reserved for the political branches of government.”
Indeed, he continued, a decision from the court on awarding damages for increasing global warming could potentially undermine the choices of the political branches.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at for energy Saving Products at

Monday, September 17, 2007

If A Tree Is Planted In the Forest, Is the Vatican Redeemed?

The New York Times has a story with the details of how, exactly, the Vatican is becoming the world's first carbon neutral state. Check out the excerpt below:
TISZAKESZI, Hungary — This summer the cardinals at the Vatican accepted an unusual donation from a Hungarian start-up called Klimafa: The company said it would plant trees to restore an ancient forest on a denuded stretch of land by the Tisza River to offset the Vatican’s carbon emissions.
The trees should absorb as much carbon dioxide as the Vatican will produce in 2007.
An angler on his way to the Tisza River, near where environmentally degraded land will be restored as a forest.

The trees, on a 37-acre tract of land that will be renamed the Vatican climate forest, will in theory absorb as much carbon dioxide as the Vatican will produce in 2007: driving cars, heating offices, lighting St. Peter’s Basilica at night.
In so doing, the Vatican announced, it would become the world’s first carbon-neutral state.
“As the Holy Father,
Pope Benedict XVI, recently stated, the international community needs to respect and encourage a ‘green culture,’ ” said Cardinal Paul Poupard, leader of the Pontifical Council for Culture, who took part in a ceremony marking the event at the Vatican. “The Book of Genesis tells us of a beginning in which God placed man as guardian over the earth to make it fruitful.”
In many respects, the program seems like a win-win-win proposition. The Vatican, which has recently made an effort to go green on its own by installing solar panels, sought to set an example by offsetting its carbon emissions.
Hungary, whose government scientists are consulting on the project, will take over large swaths of environmentally degraded, abandoned land restored as a native forest. That will have a beneficial effect on the climate here, and provide jobs in an economically depressed area.
Klimafa, an 18-month-old company, gets the Vatican’s seal of approval and free publicity for its first project. In addition to the Vatican, several European governments, as well as Dell, the computer maker, have bought carbon offsets that will be backed by planting trees on the land.
“It seems so obvious, but no one was doing it,” said David Gazdag of Klimafa, who brokered the project with backing from his San Francisco parent company, Planktos International, which specializes in ecosystem restoration. But creating and selling carbon “offsets” or “credits” is still a novel idea for business and science, and much debate remains. The calculation for planting trees is especially complicated.
Planting forests is only “a partial solution, and a temporary one,” said Laszlo Galhidy, a forestry officer for the environmental group WWF Hungary, although he praised the project as useful. Young forests — dominated by growing trees — soak up a lot of carbon dioxide, but once the forests mature, they absorb far less, he said. Also, he said, there is no scientific system for predicting the exact carbon-absorbing capacity of a project like the Vatican forest, whose trajectory depends on rainfall, temperature and how fast the trees grow.
The Kyoto Protocol and the
European Union’s cap and trade program set emissions targets for countries or large companies. Those that exceed their allowances by emitting too much carbon need to purchase carbon credits from countries or companies that do not need their allotment, or from companies like Klimafa that create credits through green projects like planting trees.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at for energy Saving Products at

Support Maine Wind Farm

Western Maine Wind Farm Gets Second Wind!
Public Hearing: September 19th and 20th
Your Support Needed!

Maine Mountain Power has submitted a revised application for their wind power project in Franklin County--near Sugarloaf Ski Resort. The project would produce 54 MW of clean energy, more than any other wind power installation currently operating in New England. The developer has committed to permanently protect the more ecologically-sensitive Redington Mountain from wind development as part of the revised project protecting sensitive wildlife habitat while increasing clean, renewable energy in Maine. This is a win-win solution for Maine's citizens, and we urge everyone to support it.
Although the Black Nubble Wind Farm has earned broad support from more than 20 organizations (see box below) it still faces strong opposition. That is why we are asking for your help. Please:
Write a letter in support of the project, and address it to: Maine Land Use Regulation Commission; Attention: Catherine Carroll; 22 State House Station; Augusta, Maine 04333 (or email it to; and/or

Attend a public hearing on the evening of September 19th and/or 20th to testify in support of the project at Sugarloaf Ski Area.

Need a Ride to the Hearing?
A 32 passenger vehicle reserved for each night will be departing from Portland and stopping in Augusta to pick up passengers. Here are the details :
Portland Pick Up Time: 3 PM (Please be there NO LATER than 2:45pm).
Portland Pick Up Location: Park & Ride lot on Marginal Way (near the U-Haul)--it's right off the 295-Franklin Arterial ramp
Portland Pick Up Confirmation: To reserve your seat please email Sara Lovitz of the Natural Resource Council of Maine or call her at (207) 622-3101 extension # 205.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at for energy Saving Products at

Friday, September 14, 2007

State Fuel Efficiency Laws Win in Court

When historians finally take stock, Vermont may look like the mouse that roared – the tiny state that brought the nation's mighty auto industry to heel by requiring cars that emit fewer greenhouse gases.
This is one scenario that could unfold following a federal judge's ruling Wednesday, which upheld a Vermont law patterned after California's mandate that the carbon-dioxide emissions of cars sold in the state must be slashed 30 percent by 2016.
The judge's finding – that federal fuel-economy laws are not in conflict with state emissions laws – is particularly significant, coming on the heels of a US Supreme Court decision in April. That ruling found that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions, legal experts say.
On the one hand, Wednesday's decision strengthens the hand of
states that want to take action against global warming. But in the longer term, the impact from the ruling could lead to one nationwide standard, which is already expected by many.
In addition to the 12 states with California-style laws on the books, another six are close to acting.
The ruling this week could start dominoes falling by:
• Prompting the US EPA to grant California a waiver from the Clean Air Act allowing it, along with Vermont and the 10 other states with identical laws, to begin enforcing greenhouse-gas requirements for cars sold within their borders.
• Causing six additional states – Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, Utah, Illinois, and Minnesota – to proceed with their own similar emissions requirements. Altogether, the 18 states that have such laws – or are leaning toward them – make up about half the US auto market.
• Spurring Congress to reconsider the new fuel-efficiency standards it is currently weighing, which are not as demanding as Vermont's, and mandate a tougher federal requirement that would also reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
• Causing federal judges in two similar cases brought by the auto industry – one in California, the other in Rhode Island – to dismiss those cases if they determine the industry has had its day in court and further proceedings would be redundant, according to environmental lawyers.
The efforts by the 12 states with laws in place
could cut emissions by 100 million tons annually. By comparison, however, US cars and light trucks emit 1.5 billion tons annually.
Still, this would be "the most significant step so far" on vehicle emissions and pave the way for broader action, says Michelle Robinson, director of the clean vehicle program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Washington environmental group not party to the lawsuit.
Environmental groups, who joined Vermont as defendants in the current case, have been exultant. "This extremely important ruling makes clear that the US EPA and states acting under the Clean Air Act do have the power to set more stringent emissions limits on cars and can also regulate greenhouse gases," says attorney Matt Pawa, who represented the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and Environmental Defense.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at for energy Saving Products at

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Auto Repair Goes Green

Want to get your hybrid fixed but don't want to take it back to the dealer? No problem--if you live in San Francisco, where you'll find the country's first garage specializing in hybrid repair. Read an excerpt of the Wired story below:
Luscious Garage, owned by mechanic Carolyn Coquillette, is part of a small but growing movement. A number of independent mechanics nationwide are now servicing hybrids, but Coquillette's shop is the first aiming to build its core business around hybrids.
"There's a critical mass of hybrids in the Bay Area, enough to support a shop like this," she said. "You could have opened it three years ago but there wouldn't have been enough cars, and I don't think enough public interest to really have fueled it."
Coquillette, 29, has been a mechanic for seven years and began working on hybrids a couple of years ago. There is no formal hybrid certification. She first cut her teeth in auto repair not far from Detroit, when she signed up for a community college course just after graduating from the University of Michigan with a dual degree in physics and English.
"I had had this problem with my vehicle and I thought, I've got a God damn degree in physics, I should be able to turn off my dome light," she said.
Luscious Garage claims to be a green business with a formal sustainability plan.
"Typically people look down upon auto repair as dirty," Coquillette said. "A green auto repair facility is so essential in terms of moving into this next stage where we have to be so mindful of our environmental impact. A lot about this shop is saying we're aware of what we're doing and we're going to consistently try and do better."

To keep its environmental impact low, Luscious Garage avoids VOCs (volatile organic compounds), offers re-refined motor oil, uses local suppliers when possible and recycles its scrap metal. To cut paper usage, the shop registers customers and prints receipts online.
The shop is equipped with a high-efficiency air compressor and relies on the building’s skylights more than its electric lights, which are compact fluorescents. In fact, the only devices left on are the Wi-Fi, fax machine, refrigerator and alarm system. And although Coquillette owns a Toyota Prius, she mostly rides her bike to work or takes the bus, she says.
According to the automotive research and marketing company R. L. Polk, 255,000 new hybrids were registered in 2006, and 21,000 of those were in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Jack Rosebro, a sought-after hybrid technician instructor who has taught with Coquillette, says this type of specialization will put shop owners ahead of the curve.
"I look at this as a natural extension of the industry," he said. "It's only natural that eventually someone would do this and focus solely on the hybrid so they can give the best service to their customer."
Though hybrids have a reputation as being largely trouble-free, there are lots of components of a hybrid that are unique -- not least the complex electronics.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at
Shop for energy Saving Products at

Monday, September 10, 2007

Chris Dodd Calls For Carbon Tax

Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd(D.) has called for a carbon tax in the United States. Dodd just happens to be running for president. Apparently he has decided he has nothing to lose by trying to grab headlines through bold initiatives. Read all about it in this Salon interview excerpted below:
Q: You are the only candidate calling for a carbon tax -- a proposal that some consider political suicide, because you can't make taxes appeal to voters. What are you hearing on the campaign trail about this?
A: The American people handle the truth very, very well. What they don't handle well is people in public life promising results without talking about what has to be done to get those results.
We're talking about a corporate carbon tax that would generate $50 billion a year, with the likely cost passed on to consumers being about 10 cents per gallon of gasoline. My argument is, yeah, this is not inexpensive, but look what's happening to prices today, under the status quo. Gasoline is about $3 a gallon on average across the country. Many think it's going to go to $4 or $4.50 a gallon later this summer. So prices are going up a lot more than the 10 cents a gallon we're talking about.
Even if your prices were not going up that high, we spend about $300 billion a year to purchase fossil fuels offshore. About $100 billion goes to countries who are very hostile to our interests. So the status quo is both dangerous and costly.
Q: Do you have any anecdotes from the campaign trail where you talk to voters about this and they say, "Hey, I get it"?
A: Yeah, they do. It takes you more than a bumper sticker to say it, so if you're looking for bumper stickers I don't have one yet for you. But I'm finding a very strong reaction to it. People are recognizing that this makes sense from a health standpoint, an environmental standpoint, a national security standpoint, a job creation standpoint.
Q: How will the revenues of your proposed carbon tax be spent?
A: They'll be placed into a Corporate Carbon Tax Trust Fund to fund fast-tracked research, development and deployment of
renewable technologies such as wind, solar, ethanol and other biofuels. It will also expedite the process for bringing energy-efficient technologies to market and ensure energy-efficient products such as bulbs and household appliances are price competitive, and it will offer tax credits on hybrids and other clean and efficient automobiles to make these cars affordable for all Americans. Being wealthy should not be a prerequisite to living green.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at
Shop for energy Saving Products at

Saturday, September 8, 2007

An Answer to the Bee Die-Off?

Scientists have discovered that bees imported from Australia may have started a massive die-off of in the United States, according to an article from ABC online excerpted below:
Australian honey bee exports to the US may be in danger thanks to colony collapse disorder suspicions. The US Agriculture Department has pointed the finger at Australian bees as possible carriers of a virus that they say is causing the collapse of the honey bee industry in the United States and Europe.
The claims are likely to harm the Australian industry and could lead to a ban on the import of Australian bees.
The failure to find what has caused the honey bee crisis is an ongoing headache for the industry, which in the US is worth about $17 billion.
The name for the mysterious problem, Colony Collapse Disorder, sums up its devastating effects for beekeepers.
Daniel Weaver, the president of the American Beekeeping Federation says it is also causing alarm for producers in other industries.
"The farmers and orchardists that produce the fruits and nuts and melons and berries and all the other tasty things for the table that depend upon honey bees for pollination," he said.
He says the latest research on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) will harm Australian bee exports. Genetic research has found that Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus turned up regularly in hives affected by CCD.
The US Agriculture Department has also pointed the finger at Australian bees as a possible source.
Mr Weaver says Australian bees will not be quite as welcome in America now.
"It's likely that some beekeepers in the US who might have been contemplating using Australian bees might take a second look at that option now, wishing to avoid any excess risk," he said.
"So they may not import Australian bees that they would have otherwise imported without this report."

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Bethlehem Fair Goes Green

The annual Bethlehem, CT Fair is going green, according to an article in the Waterbury Republican American.

The Bethlehem Fair is this weekend, and it's going green this year. Fair officials have agreed to purchase all of their power from non-polluting sources, which, they say, may make the fair the first in the country to use only clean power. Officials also are initiating an extensive recycling program for the waste generated during the fair. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Ages 12 and under are free, with seniors $5 Saturday and Sunday, and adults $7. For details, call (203) 266-5350 or visit the fairgrounds are on Route 61.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at

Junk the Junk Mail

Save a Tree (and some carbon dioxide). Pledge to get off of junkmail lists as part of this month's Carbon Conscious Consumer Challenge.
Why you should take this pledge:
Everything we consume has a climate impact, but paper more so than most commodities. According to the Department of Energy, the forest products industry is the third largest industrial consumer of energy, behind only petroleum and chemicals, and the pulp and paper industry uses the vast majority of that energy. The production and disposal of direct mail alone consumes more energy than 3 million cars! So if junk mail adds clutter and annoyance to your life AND exacerbates climate change, why not take action to lighten your load?
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 (Including Maine) and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at

Hike or Bike for the Earth in Maine

Hike or Bike for the Planet!
Saturday, September 22nd
A 100% Carbon Neutral Event!!!

Hike the ridgeline of Pleasant Mountain or peddle through the Maine White Mountains to benefit the Loon Echo Land Trust. Working to preserve land and natural resources in the northern Sebago Lake region for recreation, education, wildlife, watershed, and sustainable forests, the Loon Echo Land Trust has protected more than 3,000 acres, including 13 conservation easements and 5 preserves!
This year, Maine Interfaith Power and Light has teamed up with Loon Echo to make this a 100% carbon neutral event--the first of its kind anywhere! Not only will the the electricity at trek site (Shawnee Peak ski area) be offset by wind power, but every mile driven by the 250 or more hikers and bikers will be offset through the purchase of Maine Wind Watts! On September 22nd, participants will drive over 40,000 miles--the equivalent of circling our planet over one and a half times!!! Through the donation of Maine Wind Watts, Maine Interfaith Power and Light will offset over 35,000 pounds of carbon dioxide!
Sign up today! See below for details...
Event Summary

Event Date: Saturday, September 22, 2007
Location: Shawnee Peak Ski Area, Bridgton, Maine
Theme: This year's event is carbon neutral- 100% powered by wind thanks to Maine Interfaith Power and Light! Themes include: Fitness, healthy lifestyle, alternative transportation, carbon reduction, clean energy choices.
Hike Trek: New! -6 mile hike along Pleasant Mountain's ridge- (check-in and departure from 8 - 10 AM) read more...
Bike Treks:- 25 mile - departs at 10 AM (check-in from 8 - 10 AM)- 50 mile - departs at 10 AM (check-in from 8 - 10 AM)- 100 mile (century)- departs at 8 AM (check-in from 7 to 8 AM)read more...
Registration Register Now! Hike Trek: -$55- Adult-$25- Child; under 16-$150- Family rate includes 2 adults & 2 children under 16Bike Trek: Reduced Rates!! -$65- Adult-$25- Child; under 16-$150- Family rate includes 2 adults & 2 children under 16
Pledges & Prizes -Raise money for land conservation efforts in the northern Sebago Lake region and Casco Bay watershed-$100 raised (not including registration fee) qualifies you for the prize pool and a one year membership to Loon Echo!
Food & Entertainment-Live music by the Blue Willow Band and The Sensations & BBQ and veggie lunches when you return from your Trek. -Invite friends & family! Purchase additional meals during the registration process (or call us with a credit card).
Sponsors Over 40 businesses support this event! Top sponsors include Shawnee Peak, Hancock Land Company and Gorham Bike & Ski. View Sponsor List
SupportSpecialists from Gorham Bike & Ski will be tuning and fixing bikes. Over 25 Yankee Amateur Radio Club & Oxford Co. ARES volunteers will be communicating to offer a smooth and safe trek experience.
Places to Stay New!The following local businesses are offering a discount to Trekkers. Reserve your room or cabin today!-Pleasant Mountain Camping & Cottages- (207) 452-2170 -Pleasant Mountain Inn- (207) 647-4505 -Highland Lake Resort- (207) 647-5301 -Bear Mountain Inn- (207) 583-4404
Volunteers Sign up to Volunteer Now!Not riding? Join over 70 volunteers having a blast helping out on the Trek day.
Rules & Safety
Know what you are agreeing to when you register for the Trek. read more...
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 (Including Maine) and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Connecticut Environmental Conference

Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice 3rd Annual Conference

FEATURING: Tom Goldtooth,Executive Director of the National indigenous Environmental Network, Activist, Advocate, organizer, and policy Maker within the Environmental Justice Movement
Senator Toni Harp, Connecticut State Senator and Appropriations Chair, Committee on Children (Vice Chair), andExecutive and Legislative Nominations
Attend Workshops on:

EJ & Global Climate Justice
Adolescent EJ Issues
Advanced Vehicle Technology
Green Chemistry
Global Warming in the Northeast
Asthma/Respiratory Diseases
Research on Brownfields
Env. & Institutional Racism
Urban Rivers and Ports
Hazardous Household Waste
And More!

When: Saturday, October 27, 2007 – 8:30am-5:00pm
Where: UConn School of Business
100 Constitution Plaza
Hartford, CT 06103

Donation: $ 30.00 in advance, lunch incl. (by October 19, 2007), $ 35.00 at the door.
Limited scholarships available.

For more information or if you need transportation from New Haven or Bridgeport or childcare services, please call Dawn Simonsen at 860-548-1133 or email Dawn here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Let There Be Light(bulbs)

Shop IPL, the Interfaith Power and Light online conservation products emporium, has been featured in an article in the Eco-publication Grist. If your state has an IPL chapter, you may very well be eligible for a discount on products. Check out the article below:
Interfaith Power and Light, an organization dedicated to a "religious response to global warming," has just launched an online store,, where religious institutions, people of faith, and freeloading atheists can go to buy energy-efficient lighting, solar cookers, and other environmentally friendly gizmos for house and church alike.
It's creation care in action. I learned about this through my sister-in-law Allison Fisher, who works for the Greater Washington division of Interfaith Power and Light. Heretofore, she's mainly been confined to having one-day church presentations where people can buy compact fluorescent lightbulbs and a handful of other eco-appliances; now, even congregation members who don't make it to church every Sunday can read about the website in their church newsletter and go online. While they're there, they'll be able to purchase a full range of energy-efficient schwag, from LED exit signs to high-tech insulation. (Prices are generally lower than other stores, especially with the discount you get by entering the shopIPL code at checkout.)
This sort of activity could have a significant impact (from an IPL press release):
The EPA reports that if more than 300,000 places of worship ... across the United States reduced energy usage by 10 percent, they would save nearly $200 million. Cutting energy use by just 10 percent would also prevent more than 2 million tons of greenhouse gas (global warming) emissions -- the equivalent of removing 400,000 cars from the road.
Perhaps more importantly, Allison reports that buying LED exit signs has proved a gateway drug to environmental activism; more than 30 percent of the congregations she's worked with on improving the energy efficiency of their churches have gone on to get involved in local climate activism with groups like the
Chesapeake Climate Action Network -- where they've helped pass, for instance, a clean energy standard, a Clean Car Act to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from cars, and even state carbon caps.
I think the prophet Isaiah would agree, this is better than prayer!
If you state has an IPL chapter, you may be eligible for a discount on energy-saving products sold on the IPL website. Interfaith Power and Light has chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at

Global Warming Petition

PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) is circulating a petition urging the US Senate to act on global warming. See the petition and sign if you like at their website.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at

Green: The Pope's New Favorite Color?

You probably always thought the pope's favorite color is red, right? (Exhibit A: those red Prada shoes!) Lately, though, the pope has gone crazy for green, according to a BBC News report published this past Sunday:
The Catholic Church has declared Sunday "Save Creation Day" as Pope Benedict joined about 300,000 young Roman Catholics for an eco-friendly festival.
The youth festival is being held at the shrine of Loreto, in Italy.
In his main homily the Pope urged young Catholics to take better care of the planet and called for "courageous decisions" to safeguard creation.
The weekend gathering is a run-up to the 2008 Catholic World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia which he will attend.
We need a decisive 'yes' to care for creation and a strong commitment to reverse those trends that risk making the situation of decay irreversible
Pope Benedict XVI
Wearing green vestments, the pontiff told the crowd it was up to them to save the planet from development which often upset "nature's delicate equilibrium".
"Before it's too late, we need to make courageous choices that will recreate a strong alliance between man and Earth," he said.
"We need a decisive 'yes' to care for creation and a strong commitment to reverse those trends that risk making the situation of decay irreversible."
He focused on water, which he described as a "precious" resource and a potential source of tension and conflict.
On Saturday, the Pope told the crowds to have faith that they can succeed in marriage and decried what he called a "failure of love" and the decline of family values.
But the BBC's David Willey in Rome says the emphasis of the festival as a whole is on the environment, with each participant receiving a free knapsack made out of recycled plastic.
It contains a hand-cranked battery charger, plates and cutlery made from bio-degradable plastic and bags for tying up their rubbish when they leave.
The Pope is also practising what he preaches, our correspondent adds.
He is installing solar panels on the roof of the main audience hall at the Vatican and is paying for a forestry project to offset the Vatican's carbon emissions.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at

Monday, September 3, 2007

Arizona Gets Green Religion

Although there is no Interfaith Power and Light chapter in Arizona (at least not yet), faith communities in that state have been getting into the environmental movement in a big way, according to this article from the online version of the Arizona Daily Star (see excerpt below):
"A river has a right not to be drained dry. The Earth has rights, and to care for the Earth we can't do it in the abstract," said the Rev. Stuart Taylor of St. Mark's Presbyterian Church in Midtown, who is rereading the Old and New Testaments from an environmental perspective.
Taylor will give a series of sermons this fall, which he is calling "The Green Bible," based on what he believes the Bible says about protecting the environment. Some environmentalists, for example, interpret the Bible as saying the Earth is God's body and that as humans we are assaulting our deity.
"We're looking at the Bible anew. The old interpretations have not served the Earth well," said Sylvia Thorson-Smith, a St. Mark's elder and a retired professor of sociology and religious studies. "Jesus was deeply rooted in the Earth."
Of a more practical nature, St. Mark's plans each week to give its 400 members "climate-change solutions" that they can do themselves. Those tips include replacing older heating and cooling systems with new, efficient models; cleaning the condenser coil on the refrigerator; turning off computers at night and putting them in a power-save mode; washing clothes in warm or cold water; and buying in bulk, which reduces packaging.
Other groups, including the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Northwest Tucson, sell compact fluorescent light bulbs as a way of encouraging worshippers to replace their incandescent bulbs with ones that last longer and use less energy.
The church also is considering banning non-vegetarian food from its premises.
"Eating beef is a huge pollutant of the Earth," said the church's minister, Susan Manker-Seale, who posts the menu of the local vegan restaurant Lovin' Spoonfuls on her church's walls and has the restaurant cater events. "We're not trying to force people to do anything, but we do want to inspire them to learn."
Manker-Seale's congregation recently voted to become a Green Sanctuary, part of a program within the Unitarian Universalist denomination that requires congregations to complete steps, including a community "green" project.
Vegetarianism is one of the less popular ways of going green, but Manker-Seale believes more people should be paying attention to damaging effects of the meat industry. Animal-welfare groups have recently begun promoting a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report that says the livestock business generates more greenhouse-gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined.
Other congregations have held electric-car demonstrations, switched to china and silverware instead of disposable plates and utensils, sponsored alternative gift fairs that included sales of reusable water bottles, and adopted villages harmed by global warming.
St. Philip's in the Hills, Tucson's largest Episcopal church, recently put together a "green team" of people aiming to infuse the congregation with more awareness of environmental stewardship. The church is performing an audit of its own energy consumption, and this month will begin a series of events focused on being green.
"We'd consider the Earth as the ground of all our being. It supports and sustains us and is one binding need we all have. It feeds us and it fuels us," said Greg Foraker, director of adult formation at St. Philip's. "The Earth is really central to Christian tradition, but the news we've been hearing lately reminds us that we can't let go of that core faith."
One of the upcoming speakers at the St. Philip's events will be Susan Kaplan of Tucson's Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.
Kaplan publicly lectures anyone she sees drinking bottled water, explaining that most of the bottles end up in the landfill. Though she doesn't give faith-based reasons for her admonitions, she says the principles of her faith were a key motivator for her newfound passion.
She considers her environmentalism an extension of "tikkun olam" — a Jewish directive meaning "repair the world" — and has even written a rap song about her views that she performs to various Jewish groups.
"Remember those bad plagues we read about at Seder? Well today there are more, and they got greater and greater," the lyrics say. "Trash and rubbish, dirty air and dirty water. Waste and too much driving, The Earth is under slaughter."
Road cleanups, film screenings and education sessions about recycling are among activities that Kaplan's group sponsors.
Recently, the group helped the Tucson Hebrew Academy acquire a grant from Tucson Electric Power Co. to install solar panels on the school to generate electricity. Kaplan hopes to do more interfaith environmental projects in the future.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 22 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at