August 11, 2020

Wood Biomass Projects Advance in U.S.

Just as the Traverse City Record-Eagle aims another editorial broadside to block the local utility’s decision to pursue a right-sized, state-of-the-art, clean, renewable 10 mw wood biomass plant, evidence of public support emerges from other states where the technology is being pursued with vigor. The new wood biomass projects are a clear indication that momentum for the technology and fuel source is pushing ahead despite misplaced public opposition in a number of states, including Michigan. …

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The Unfolding Clean Energy Economy

Last November Senator Hillary Clinton delivered a major policy speech in Iowa, during which she described her clean energy and jobs proposal. Three months later, in a speech in Seattle, Senator Barack Obama outlined his clean energy plan. Every week now, in many of their public appearances, both Democratic presidential candidates mention the millions of “green-collar jobs” they anticipate from an energy strategy that stresses clean renewable sources and moves the nation away from a …

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The Dream Reborn, Onward to New Governing Coalition

Two weeks ago, at the Take Back America conference in Washington, Majora Carter took a moment to explain the motivation behind The Dream Reborn, a celebration this weekend in Memphis that honors the life and marks the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. “The work now is solutions-based,” said Carter, who founded and directs Sustainable South Bronx, a seven-year-old non-profit environmental and economic development organization in New York. “We’re applying our knowledge, …

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Majora Carter and the Green Energy Economy

WASHINGTON — Last week in Pittsburgh, Van Jones, the 39-year-old founder of Green For All and one of the people who introduced the idea of “green-collar jobs” to both Democratic presidential candidates, brought more than 600 veteran union and environmental organizers to an awed hush. His address on the potential of the green energy economy to produce millions of jobs and a pathway out of poverty for disadvantaged inner city residents was a tour de …

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Van Jones; An Economy For Problem Solvers

PITTSBURGH — On the day after he buried his father, Van Jones, arguably the most thoughtful and dynamic young leader in the American environmental movement, addressed the Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference this morning. Jones, who bore his grief in occasional tears, told the more than 600 people in the room that this gathering was such a seminal event in the construction of a new green/labor/business governing coalition in the United States that his father …

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Green Collar Jobs

PITTSBURGH — A long time ago as a young reporter in Pennsylvania I attended a conference in Philadelphia that focused on the ties between jobs, the environment, and the economy. Essentially, said speakers from the state’s environmental community, there were more ties linking working people and environmentalists than hindrances. It was a novel thought then. It’s less so today. In fact, given the rising cost of energy, the threat of global climate change, and dwindling …

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Taut Times For Big Coal

The weight of history is a heavy burden. Just ask the developers of nuclear power, or the manufacturers of toxic farm chemicals, or the makers of cars that aren’t competitive in fuel economy or quality. These industrial sectors, and many more, were reshaped by cultural, political, and economic trends they neither anticipated nor were able to manage. Now that weight appears to be pressing hard on the American coal industry and the utilities that buy …

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More on Midwest Energy Schizophrenia

With as much Midwest fanfare as they dared to muster, nine governors last week announced a regional compact to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. It was the third such multi-state climate change agreement. States in the Northeast and the far West have already ratified similar pacts. Midwest governors also agreed on an economic development plan for our increasingly wintry and troubled region that focused on promoting biofuels, wind energy, efficiency, conservation, and other measures to reduce costs and clear pollutants. Michigan …

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Michigan’s Energy Schizophrenia

Late last month I had the chance to spend the day with scientists at Michigan State University who are involved in carrying out the work of the new Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, a partnership between MSU and the University of Wisconsin financed by a five-year, $125 million federal research grant. It is one of three such centers across the country determined to fill America’s national gas tank with fuel made from plants. Bruce Dale, a chemical engineer at …

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Before Grassoline, Settling A Dispute Among Experts

David Pimentel, an ecologist who spent all of his career at Cornell University after earning his doctorate in entomology in 1951, is one of the most respected environmental scientists of his generation. He was among the select group of young ecologists who in the 1960s first identified the environmental and public health hazards of farm chemicals, and helped build the scientific case for healthier, more environmentally-sensitive agriculture practices. The fact that organic crops are the fastest growing sector …

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