The Hydrogen Economy

We’ve been hearing about the “hydrogen economy” for a long time.  NASA was developing fuel cells in the 1960s and United Technologies started commercializing stationary power plants in the 70s.  Jeremy Rifkin wrote about it in 2002.  The Bloom Box got a lot of attention in 2010.  In 2013, several US states agreed to pursue a mandate for a percentage of zero-emission vehicles, including fuel cell electric vehicles, to be sold in their jurisdictions.  The Hydrogen Initiative was launched in Europe in 2018, building on the work of the EU’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a robust public-private partnership begun in 2008.  An even broader international consortium was launched only last month.  Companies, governments, and research institutes around the world have been pursuing the vision of a hydrogen economy at an increasing pace and with more tangible breakthroughs every year.  I was struck early this year, for instance, by the fact of South Korea’s enthusiastic embrace of hydrogen. Continue reading

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The Climate Candidate

Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington, is running for the Democratic nomination for President.  He’s a seasoned politician, having served in the House of Representatives from two different districts in Washington, first from the rural eastern part of the state and later from Seattle.  He’s in his second term as Governor.  What is unique about Inslee’s campaign for the presidency is his focus on climate change as his primary issue.  He sees this campaign cycle and this time in history as critical for the success or failure of our efforts to overcome the climate crisis.  He seems to have some company:  According to new polling, climate change is now the top concern of Democratic voters and independents who lean Democratic.  And, not incidentally, a new report indicates that experts from 28 global think tanks have now ranked “mitigating and adapting to climate change” as a top priority for policy makers. Continue reading

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Nuclear Power Today

I read Poisoned Power in the early 1970s.  It was written by two seasoned veterans of the nuclear power research establishment.  John Gofman did extensive research on the harmful effects of radiation and became an ardent opponent of nuclear power, founding the Committee For Nuclear Responsibility in 1971.  Arthur Tamplin was a biophysicist and an expert on radiation.  Their book was an eye-opener for me and, to a certain extent, jump started my environmental activism.  After the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, they issued an update.  (Fun fact:  At the time of the accident, I was working on a surveying crew on a power plant construction project – not a nuke – and I went to see the movie, The China Syndrome, the night before the accident at TMI.  Driving to work in the morning, I thought at first that Continue reading

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Food in the Anthropocene

That’s the title of a new report from a world-class working group of scientists commissioned by EAT, a non-profit that means “to catalyze a food system transformation,” and the venerable British medical journal, The Lancet.  The report is ambitious, offering us nothing less than a global agenda “for healthy diets from sustainable food systems.”

The rationale for this critical report is twofold, first, as far as healthy diets go, we are sorely lacking today:  20% of global deaths are caused by poor diet.  Only smoking exceeds poor diet as a risk factor for premature mortality.  But, Continue reading

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Zephyr Teachout for NY State Attorney General

I have known about Zephyr Teachout ever since 2014 when she mounted a quixotic Democratic party primary challenge against Andrew Cuomo in New York.  She bloodied his nose then, but lost.  One of the key charges that she leveled against him was his hamstringing and then premature shutdown of a state commission on corruption.  A NY Times investigation at the time substantially supported her allegations. Continue reading

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Moving the Needle – The Trump Foundation

Just before busting out of NYC for a vacation, I got involved in promoting a cause on MoveOn.  I’m back and wanted to recount the positive experience and hail a few important people and one impressive organization:  MoveOn.  I had not had much traffic with these folks before, but am now fully prepared to attest to their effectiveness.  They are thorough, smart, responsive to questions and equipped to provide good, timely answers. Continue reading

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Connecting the Dots on Oil – Iran, Trump, and the Kochs

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

I wrote here almost a year ago that “It’s the fossil fuels, stupid.”  We, the people, suffer, of course, from Trump Inc.’s self-serving, kleptocratic impulses, manifest in his executive agencies, with the full complicity of that wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America, the Republicans in Congress, aided and abetted by the reactionary majority on SCOTUS.  But if there’s a guiding force behind the greed, the racism, the sheer vileness of the behavior, indeed the treason of these mutants, it’s fossil fuels.  More precisely, it’s the money generated by the fossil fuels. Continue reading

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America, We Need to Talk

America, you need to read this book.  In fact, America, this is a textbook for how to get yourself out of the regressed state in which you find yourself.  It’s more:  It’s an encyclopedia of the reasons why we’ve come to this parlous state in our history, why our democracy is at greater risk than it’s ever been, how we have been lied to and cheated on – including to and by ourselves, the missed chances for righting our wrongs, and the abundant opportunities that are ours for the taking.  This book is a paean to good sense and civic engagement; a laurel wreath for our forebears who fought for freedom – political, economic, cultural, and spiritual; and it’s a recipe book for how to make nourishing, delectable meals to build our moral strength and satisfy our souls. Continue reading

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“Grab Him by the Midterms”

I was the wingman yesterday for my daughter at the Women’s March in New York City.  There were about 120,000 people out to express their determination to make change.  Last year it was about the outrage at the election of such a manifestly unfit person to be the head of America’s executive branch of government.  This year it was about putting some more balance back in our democracy by electing people to office that reflect more traditional Continue reading

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World Energy Outlook 2017

I went to a talk last night at the Council on Foreign Relations:  Dr. Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency IEA), sat down with Amy Myers Jaffe, the Council’s senior fellow for energy and the environment, for an interesting discussion.  (The video is here, along with a transcript.)  The IEA was founded in 1974 to help the world’s major economies respond to the Arab oil shocks of that time.  It has since become a well of knowledge about the world’s energy resources, now and for the future, and many of the critical aspects of our energy production and use, not the least of which are climate change, pollution, and energy poverty.  This year’s World Energy Outlook, in fact, contains an important report on the outlook for energy access for those billion of our fellow world citizens who have no modern energy services. Continue reading

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