Nuclear power is taking a hit. Go Solar ! and Wind !

54 nuclear reactors in Japan, representing 44,200 megawatts of Japan’s nuclear capacity that are listed as “operational” by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are in fact idle with no set date for restart.

Next to Japan, the most dramatic shift in nuclear energy policy following Fukushima occurred in Germany. Within days of the disaster, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany’s seven oldest reactors, all built before 1980, would shut down immediately. And in May 2011, the government declared that Germany would phase out nuclear entirely by 2022. Nuclear power generated 18 percent of the country’s electricity in 2011, down from 24 percent in recent years and well below the peak in 1997 of 31 percent.

Just before Germany’s phaseout decision, Switzerland abandoned plans for three new reactors that were going through the approval process. The government also announced that all five of the country’s reactors—which for years had provided some 40 percent of its electricity—will close permanently as their operating licenses expire over the next 22 years. Italy, which had discontinued its nuclear program after the infamous 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine, had in 2010 decided to restart it. But in a June 2011 referendum, more than 90 percent of Italian voters chose to ban nuclear power. Later in 2011, Belgium announced plans to phase out the seven reactors that provide more than half of the country’s electricity. Even in France, with a world-leading 77 percent of its electricity coming from nuclear power, newly elected President François Hollande has said he intends to reduce this share to roughly 50 percent by 2025.

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Here is another cross country EV trip. Not ours, but we welcome them.

We need more EVs in Times Square next Friday, start of the rally!
Also, if you would be so kind to send this out to all your associate EV Clubs across America, we want a full show EV Power.

We are indeed filming this epic attempt to do an EV Relay across the USA, within the famous supercar rally Gumball3000.
Please check the exact route and details on Gumball 3000 – Official Website

I want to extend our invitation to all local EV owners to display their cars at each check point and join us long the route:
Times Square grid on 24th of May
25th depart for Toronto
26th/27th at the Indy500!
28th in Kansas City
29th Santa Fe
30th Las Vegas
31st Hollywood (more specifics of each day are below)

We will be doing a profile of each car and its driver and ideally interview you for the film.
Owners and their guests can take part in whichever or all aspects, including the glamorous parties hosted each night.
As long as your batteries are charged for the next day!

And of course, if they really want to get involved, they can fill a slot in the actual relay between New York and Los Angeles.
Quite the logistics, timing is everything, so please get in touch as soon as possible.

Pass this around, and have any and all email me with a photo of their beloved Tesla and we will be sure to get you involved in every way possible.

All the best
Karta Healy
Founder of A>>B AgotoB.com

Here is the exact schedule of locations, where most EVs are welcome to be on display and drive a portion of the rally, get in touch asap to book your slot:

Location – Car Display Location – Hotel Date-ARRIVAL-Time Date-DEPARTURE-Time

New York Times Square W Hotel 5/24/12 10am – 3pm 5/25/12 12 noon
Niagara Skylon Tower na 5/25/12 7-10pm 5/25/12 8-11pm
Toronto Cumberland Street Toronto Hyatt 5/25/12 10pm – 12:30 5/26/12 8-10am
Detroit Gm Center na 5/26/12 11am-3pm 5/26/12 12 – 4pm
Indianapolis Monument Circle IndY Hyatt 5/26/12 5pm – 9pm 5/27/12 7am
Indy 500 Indi Motor Speedway IndY Hyatt 5/27/12 7:15am 5/28/12 10am
St. Louis TBC na 5/28/12 1:30pm – 3pm 5/28/12 2:30pm – 4pm
Kansas Hotel Car Park Intercontinental 5/28/12 6pm – 9pm 5/29/12 9am
Topeka Heartland Racetrack na 5/29/12 11am – 12pm 5/29/12 2pm
Amarillo Steak House na 5/29/12 4pm – 11pm 5/29/12 ~
Santa Fe Santa Fe Plaza Inn @ Loretto 5/29/12 9pm – 1am 5/30/12 9am
Grand Canyon GC National Park na 5/30/12 3pm – 5pm 5/30/12 330 – 530pm
Las Vegas Hotel Car Park Cosmopolitan 5/30/12 6pm – 12am 5/31/12 1pm
Death Valley Look Out Point na 5/31/12 3pm – 4pm 5/31/12 330 – 430pm
Los Angeles Hotel Car Park The Roosevelt 5/31/12 7pm 5/31/12 9pm

Military/CEOs say kick our addiction to oil. Yahooo.

No amount of domestic production can ensure safety — military brass, CEOs
Jenny Mandel, E&E reporter

Published: Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Correction appended.

Calling the American focus on energy independence “misguided,” a new report by a cadre of top military officials and corporate leaders says the United States must throttle back its heavy reliance on oil to achieve energy security.

In the simplest terms possible, the report cuts through gasoline price misunderstandings and election-year rhetoric to explain why the U.S. economy, pinned by a 93 percent reliance on petroleum to meet its transportation needs, responds not to domestic production levels but to global oil prices.

“As long as the United States remains a large consumer of oil, no level of domestic fuel production can meaningfully improve energy security,” says the report, issued today by Securing America’s Future Energy, a nonpartisan group dedicated to energy reform.

The study was developed by a panel led by retired Commandant of the Marine Corps P.X. Kelley and Frederick Smith, president and CEO of FedEx Corp. The panel was made up of top names from all branches of the military, a former director of national intelligence, and the current and former chiefs of companies like Southwest Airlines Co., the Coca-Cola Co. and Applied Materials Inc.

Describing the central role of oil in the U.S. economy, particularly in the transportation sector, the authors write, “A nation cannot achieve energy security so long as it economically beholden to oil, which is priced in a global market.” For example, they say, the average American household paid more than $2,000 more for fuel in 2008 than in 2001 as a result of global price increases, getting no new value in return.

But to illustrate the point that the country cannot produce its way to energy security, the authors point to Canada and Norway, both oil-exporting countries, where they said gasoline prices have tracked both global crude levels and U.S. fuel prices.

They also argue that energy independence would not reduce U.S. involvement in the Middle East or ease foreign policy. Because the Persian Gulf region is expected to supply about a third of global oil use over the coming decades, and the U.S. economy is linked to that oil through globally set prices, even expanding production would not protect U.S. consumers from oil price volatility, they say.

The current oil and gas boom is significant in reducing petroleum imports, spurring job creation and reducing the trade deficit, the report says, citing an Energy Department estimate that U.S. crude output will be 23 percent higher in 2020 than in 2010, with a drop in U.S. liquids imports of 21 percent over the same period.

Underlining the economic benefits from that activity, they say the federal government should make available for development the most productive federal oil and gas holdings, after ensuring that environmental regulations “hold the industry to the highest performance standards attainable.”

Focus on fuel economy
Upgrades to vehicle fuel economy standards are described in the report as “the most important energy security accomplishment in decades.”

The group says policymakers should focus on vehicle mileage improvements in the near term and moving to liquid fuel alternatives such as electricity and natural gas in the longer term to bolster U.S. energy security, deploying dollars toward research and development, infrastructure investments, and early adopters of the new technologies.

The report particularly calls for expanded use of electric vehicles, which rely on electricity from the grid paired with batteries, to replace petroleum in light-duty vehicles and for the use of natural gas in heavy-duty tractor-trailers, which it says account for more than 10 percent of all oil demand.

Compressed natural gas, which is used in some light-duty vehicles, is not suitable for tractor-trailers because of its relatively low energy density, but some fleet operators are experimenting with using liquefied natural gas as fuel.

Click here to read the report.

Correction: This story misattributed an estimate that U.S. crude output will have increased 23 percent over 2010 levels by the end of this decade, while U.S. liquid fuel imports will fall 21 percent over that period. Those figures come from the Energy Department.

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Anti-global warming billboards!

And the nonsense that Heartland Institute was putting out there @!
The Heartland Institute, a leading climate denialist organization, has launched a billboard campaign in its hometown of Chicago featuring Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, mass murderer Charles Manson, and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The message? They “believe” in global warming, and they’re crazy; by implication, so are you if you “believe” in it too.

Put aside for a minute the absurd implication that climate change is a matter of faith, rather than of science. Focus instead on Heartland’s tactics. Do they really think that people driving by their billboards are going to buy their guilt-by-association messaging? Here’s what their own press release says about the rationale for the campaign:

“Why did Heartland choose to feature these people on its billboards? Because what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the “mainstream” media, and liberal politicians say about global warming.”

It’s interesting who they fail to mention:

the National Academy of Sciences, whose report “America’s Climate Choices” concluded that “Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for—and in many cases is already affecting—a broad range of human and natural systems.”
the defense establishment, which is increasingly concerned about the national security risks posed by climate change; as outlined by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in a speech just yesterday in Washington, these range from “rising sea levels, to severe droughts, to the melting of the polar caps, to more frequent and devastating natural disasters.”
the City of Chicago, whose climate change action plan notes that climate change impacts on Chicago will likely include “hotter summers and more frequent and intense heat waves,” as well as more intense downpours that “will make travel more dangerous, flood basements, pollute bodies of water, damage crops, stress the city’s infrastructure and disrupt transportation.”
In the face of these and other forceful acknowledgements of the reality and risks of climate change, the denialist movement has grown increasingly desperate, launching information attacks on scientists like Michael Mann, continuing to claim that e-mails messages hacked from a university website in the United Kingdom undercut the scientific case for human-induced climate change (despite the findings of eight independent investigations that they do nothing of the sort), and running disinformation campaigns that, as Donald Brown of Penn State University recently put it, feature “reckless disregard for the truth, focusing on unknowns while ignoring knowns, and specious claims of ‘bad’ science.”

But this latest effort to change the focus of the debate from scientific reality to liberal conspiracy may be a bridge too far. While Heartland’s press release admits that “not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants,” their intent is clearly to plant that association in people’s minds. The tactic is so over-the-top that it’s likely to backfire, and lead more of its corporate sponsors to join General Motors, whose foundation earlier this year withdrew its support for Heartland. If so, the cost of this escapade could far exceed the rental fee for the billboard space along Chicago’s Eisenhower Expressway.

UPDATE: The Heartland Institute has posted a statement by its president, Joe Bast, saying it is ending the billboard campaign, and admitting that “our billboard angered and disappointed many of Heartland’s friends and supporters.” This apparently includes Wisconsin Congressman James Sensenbrenner, whose spokesperson told the Washington Post that Sensenbrenner “will not participate in the upcoming Climate Change Conference if the Heartland Institute decides to continue this ad campaign.” I guess sometimes even denialists like Bast have to acknowledge reality.

UPDATE #2: The response from Heartland’s corporate sponsors has been swift and furious. Brad Kading, president of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, sent Heartland president Joe Bast a letter on Friday evening saying the campaign had made their relationship with Heartland “untenable,” and is terminating its support. Kading told Climate Wire that the billboard campaign ”was disgusting. It was revolting. It was a terrible mistake.” State Farm, which contributed nearly $350,000 to Heartland over the past two years, also announced it was ending its support of Heartland, as did several other insurers. It will be interesting to see what some of the other major companies that have provided funding to Heartland, including Altria, AT&T, Comcast, Eli Lilly, Nucor, and Pfizer, decide about continuing their support for various Heartland projects in the wake of the group’s self-initiated crisis.