31 May 2011

UN Initiative Will Bring Energy Efficiency to East Africa's Buildings


This week, it was announced that a joint plan from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to promote energy efficiency in East African buildings was approved by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to the tune of $2,853,000. Now that the acronyms and numbers are out of the way, here's what's happening:

The Problem

UN-HABITAT cites figures that show that more than 40% of all energy use in developing countries goes to urban buildings. That beats out consumption for transportation and industry. And now that more than 50% of the world's population lives in urban areas, that's a lot of energy.

It's a lot of wasted energy, too: many new buildings in Sub Saharan Africa are not well designed for the local climate. That means a lot of extra energy goes to lighting, ventilating, and especially cooling the buildings.

The Answer

Now, UN-HABITAT and UNEP will work with the governments of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi in the next four years to bring to East Africa the sorts of energy efficiency measures that are becoming more common in the United States and Europe.

They will employ awareness campaigns, fiscal and financial incentives, and policy changes to change housing policies, building codes and building practices. (These days, that means less LEED certification and more Passivhaus design.) Energy saved, carbon emissions reduced.

UN-HABITAT lays out the project's raison d'etre:

The demand for electricity is increasing more rapidly than the supply and generation capacity in all countries in question. Increasingly higher energy prices coincide with a tremendous inefficiency in the use of energy, particularly in the housing sector.
This tendency has led to energy becoming the limiting factor for sustainable development and economic growth in the recent years. Energy efficiency in buildings is a largely new topic for practitioners and most importantly for consumers and end users.

Going beyond CO2 levels and sustainable development, this becomes an issue of economy and equality. Developing nations are in even less of a position than developed ones to waste precious resources, and this program will help them not to let their energy (money) go to waste. The nations of East Africa can then put their saved resources towards better uses than unnecessary air conditioning.

30 May 2011

Classless Teabaggers


About a week ago I did a post about a 16 year-old high school sophomore named Amy Myers who had challenged Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) to a debate or a test. The young Cherry Hill (New Jersey) schoolgirl had gotten tired of Bachmann's seeming inability (or unwillingness) to get her facts straight about her opponents, American history, or the Constitution.

Reposted from Jobsanger

No one really thought Bachmann would take Myers up on her challenge. It was just a humorous way to point out the many gaffes and mistakes being continually made by the congresswoman. But Miss Myers underestimated to lack of class and common decency of some of Bachmann's teabagging followers. These people can't take a joke and react viciously to any suggestion that their heroine Bachmann might not be perfect.

After the story started getting some media attention commenters on some teabagger websites have threatened to make Myers' address public, and many have even threatened violence. And it doesn't stop with comments on websites. The young woman has received mail that calls her a whore, threatens to harm her physically, and even threats to rape her!

Maybe this kind of behavior should have been expected since a lot of these teabaggers seem to be devoid of brain activity. But it takes a special kind of demented and perverted cretin to threaten to harm or rape a 16 year old schoolgirl who has done nothing wrong. A decent person would be proud of this young girl getting involved in politics (regardless of whether she was on the left, the right, or just a moderate). This country would be better off if more young people would get involved.

But the people who wrote Myers with threats didn't just commit a classless and indecent act -- they committed a criminal act. Here in Texas it is called "Making a Terroristic Threat" and it can result in some jail time for the offender. And I'll bet that an adult making these kind of threats to an underage girl would enhance the seriousness of the crime. Personally I wish they would locate at least some of these idiots and make an example of them.

Democracy is a messy system and can result in some heated feelings and words. But when those words rise to the level of outright threats then a line has been crossed. It graduates from a political argument to a crime. Can't we disagree with each other without resorting to criminal behavior?

29 May 2011

New Observations from Tom

Reposed from The Rant

It's happening in Wisconsin. It's happening in Michigan. And to no one's surprise, it is happening in the state of Florida where the election of 2000 was stolen from Al Gore by an ideologically perverted Supreme Court, and handed over to a disgusting, half-witted little frat boy from Crawford, Texas. In fact it is happening in states all over the country where the Grotesque Old Party controls the legislatures. Across America, Republican politicians are working overtime, at this very moment, to ensure that the ballots of a huge segment of the American people are not only ignored - they're not even cast. The United States: Was that a great country or what?

In an article from the Daily Kos that was republished this morning on the deliciously subversive website AlterNet, Chris Bowers wrote the following:

"I'd write that I'm shocked [Shocked!] a party facing recall elections is about to pass a law making it more difficult to vote in those recall elections, but sadly it isn't shocking at all. Limiting voting from Democratic-leaning demographic groups—in this case students, the poor, and those without cars—is a long-standing Republican tactic. Combined with Republican attempts to remove all limits on corporate spending in politics, it's part of a strategy to structurally alter the electorate in their favor."

Here is what is happening: The "party of Abraham Lincoln" (Those words are getting more difficult to write by the day, Thank goodness for quotation marks!) is in the process of a long-expected, long overdue self-destruction. Earlier this month when the majority of them signed onto Rep. Paul Ryan's scheme to destroy Medicaid and Medicare, the electorate - nationwide - hit the roof. They know damned well that if the present voting regulations remain in place they will be utterly destroyed at the polls on Election Day 2012. What to do? Make goddamned sure that the very people who are most inclined to vote for the Democrats next year don't vote at all. How utterly convenient.

There are certain types of people who are not bloody likely to vote for the agenda of the disgusting, criminal enterprise that tries to pass itself off as a "political party". These people would comprise of African Americans, the elderly, city dwellers, the young, people who lack a license to drive, and the poor. And of course the trickiest problem facing them are the poor. As was noted in Matthew, 26:11:

"The poor you will always have with you."

The Republicans are desperate, and as the old adage tells us, desperate times require desperate measures. Their solution is that in order to vote, every person who casts a ballot will be required to purchase a government-issued ID and produce it at their respective polling places. A lot of the elderly - the very same people who stand to gain the most from a Democratic victory in 2012 - tend to vote via the process of the absentee ballot. That is why the plutocracy's handmaidens are trying to make it more difficult for senior citizens to cast their vote in absentia. They are trying to steal the election of 2012. They will succeed only if we allow them to.

I'm going to do something I've never done before (and will never do again - I promise!) I'm going to say something in favor of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis: When they took power in March of 1933, they at least didn't fuck with the electoral process. Hitler's ascendance to power was achieved legally and in conformity to the German constitution as it stood at the time. That's right; I'm comparing the Nazis favorably to the Republican party. Things have gotten that weird.

QUESTION:
How on earth can it possibly be constitutional that convicted felons, who have served their terms and paid their debts to society, are not - for the rest of their lives - allowed by law to participate in the electoral process?

ANSWER:
Because unless they are sporting a squeaky-clean, white collar, convicted felons tend to be poor or working class. Traditionally those people are not very sympathetic to the goals of the power elite. That is the reason - and the only reason - they are not allowed to vote. Let's stop kidding ourselves.

The uber right wing can no longer win on the basis of their ideas. The people are finally waking up to the fact that those ideas are beyond atrocious (What took them so long? I hope they had a nice nap). If the Republican party is to survive, they have no other choice but to disenfranchise a huge segment of the public who bother to participate in democracy.

Well, um, gee whiz, I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, kids, but this is the sort of thing they do in totalitarian societies. Just thought you'd like to know.

New York state is a fairly moderate place in which to live. Even in staunchly Republican Orange County where I reside, those who identify themselves as "registered Republicans" tend to be reasonable and friendly people. Just the night-before-last, one of my closest and oldest friends, Tom Frederick (photo left), won a seat on the local school board. Tom is a Republican and fairly (although not extremely) conservative. Politically speaking we don't agree on a whole heck-of-a-lot. Regardless of our differing worldviews, I voted for him and had no pangs of conscience in doing so. He's a good man and one of the most intelligent and decent people I have ever known. As I said, most people who are registered with the GOP in this part of the country don't have little birdies flying out of their ears. That's why the northeast is such a nice place to live and why I will never leave it. Thus I don't suspect that the moronic and grossly unconstitutional "voter ID" proposal will become law anytime soon here in the Empire State.

But if it does....

I am going to make a pledge here and now: I plan on arriving at my local polling place on Election Day 2012, with no other ID in my procession than my word that I am who I am, and my signature to compare with my previous voting record. Heaven help the person or persons who would dare to prevent me from casting my precious ballot. I promise you this: There will be violence, Buster! I will send to the emergency room anyone who even attempts to disenfranchise me.

On second thought....

The people who run the polling place in the village of Goshen are the loveliest, sweetest elderly ladies who always greet me with warm smiles, cookies and tea. I may need to rethink this.

Back to the old drawing board.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
tomdegan@frontiernet.net

28 May 2011

New solar product captures up to 95 percent of light energy

Patrick Pinhero, an associate professor in the MU Chemical Engineering Department, says energy generated using traditional photovoltaic (PV) methods of solar collection is inefficient and neglects much of the available solar electromagnetic (sunlight) spectrum. The device his team has developed – essentially a thin, moldable sheet of small antennas called nantenna – can harvest the heat from industrial processes and convert it into usable electricity. Their ambition is to extend this concept to a direct solar facing nantenna device capable of collecting solar irradiation in the near infrared and optical regions of the solar spectrum.

Working with his former team at the Idaho National Laboratory and Garrett Moddel, an electrical engineering professor at the University of Colorado, Pinhero and his team have now developed a way to extract electricity from the collected heat and sunlight using special high-speed electrical circuitry. This team also partners with Dennis Slafer of MicroContinuum, Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., to immediately port laboratory bench-scale technologies into manufacturable devices that can be inexpensively mass-produced.

“Our overall goal is to collect and utilize as much solar energy as is theoretically possible and bring it to the commercial market in an inexpensive package that is accessible to everyone,” Pinhero said. “If successful, this product will put us orders of magnitudes ahead of the current solar energy technologies we have available to us today.”

As part of a rollout plan, the team is securing funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and private investors. The second phase features an energy-harvesting device for existing industrial infrastructure, including heat-process factories and solar farms.

Within five years, the research team believes they will have a product that complements conventional PV solar panels. Because it’s a flexible film, Pinhero believes it could be incorporated into roof shingle products, or be custom-made to power vehicles.

27 May 2011

Half naked College Students

http://youtu.be/EZj6UBr2KWo

26 May 2011

Lowe's Pushing into Solar

Lowe's, the world's second largest home improvement retailer recently announced a new partership with residential solar provider Sungevity that will put renewable energy within the reach of millions.

On Monday, the companies announced a new agreement that will offer homeowners the easiest and most affordable solar solutions in the marketplace, marking a significant step in the mainstream adoption of residential solar.

As a result of the partnership, residential customers will have access to Sungevity's iQuote, a process that utilizes satellite images and aerial photography to calculate a same-day, firm installation estimate, eliminating the need for a home visit.

Once the estimate is delivered, customers are provided with a cost-analysis showing what they can save through Sungevity’s innovative solar lease program.

Sungevity's Solar Lease allows households to go solar without the upfront cost. For no money down, the company will design and install a system customized for a home, then lease the panels to the homeowner for a low monthly rate.

Customers typically experience an immediate savings on their electricity bills through Sungevity's solar lease, which includes monitoring, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and a money-back performance guarantee. Additionally, as part of the agreement, Lowe’s has taken an equity position in Sungevity.

"I am thrilled about the potential of reaching Lowe’s 15 million weekly customers at their more than 1,750 retail locations, with Sungevity's services," said Andrew Birch, chief executive officer, Sungevity.

"This partnership marks a major acceleration point in our mission to make solar power easily accessible and affordable to homeowners nationwide."

This collaborative offering will be available at all Lowe's stores in the eight states that have Sungevity locations, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

25 May 2011

My Water's on Fire

http://youtu.be/timfvNgr_Q4

24 May 2011

No Comment Necessary

23 May 2011

I'm a Climate Scientist

http://youtu.be/LiYZxOlCN10

Setting Oceans on Fire

http://youtu.be/MZYBjFdpSak

22 May 2011

A Perspective On Oil


Sometimes people seem to act like we've always had oil and always will. The Republicans assure us that all we need to do is drill more and our energy problems will be solved. That's not only short-sighted -- it's wrong. The truth is that we've had a short but glorious run with oil, but it's nearly over -- whether we like it or not. If we have not yet reached the point of "peak oil" (the point where production begins to fall no matter how much drilling is done), then we are very close to it. It's time to change our energy priorities and find something new (and hopefully renewable) -- either that or kiss our way of life good-bye. Chart is from the pages of the excellent blog

21 May 2011

No Comment Necessary

20 May 2011

Gingrich Would Make America Like Texas



Reposted from Jobsanger

Newt Gingrich (pictured) announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination a couple of days ago. And almost immediately he gave voters an excellent reason to make sure that he never gets into the White House. On Wednesday he told Fox News' Hannity, "I know how to get the whole country to resemble Texas." That one statement should be enough to scare the hell out of American voters.

It should scare voters because it shows that Gingrich, like most of his fellow Republican politicians, cares only for his corporate and Wall Street buddies and not the 90-95% of Americans who are still being hurt by the Republican recession. Texas may look like heaven to corporate bigwigs since it is a low-wage, anti-union, anti-corporate tax state, but it certainly doesn't look that way to ordinary citizens. Consider the following:

* Texas has a very regressive tax system, depending mainly on sales and property taxes. This means that the poor and the working class (and the middle class) pay a far larger share of their income in taxes than the rich do.

* Texas has the largest number of low-wage (and low-benefit) workers of any state in the nation.

* Texas is the biggest polluter in the nation (and if it was a country would be the seventh largest polluter in the world).

* Texas has the largest percentage of its citizens without health insurance of any state -- about 30% of its population.

* Texas is among the worst "per pupil" funders of public education in the nation (and will be even worse after the education cuts being made in the current legislative session).

* Texas currently has one of the biggest budget deficits in the nation -- about $27 billion for the next biennium.

* Texas has the largest prison population in the nation (and executes more people than any other state).

* Texas is seventh in the nation in the percentage of its population living in poverty.

* Texas leads the nation in the percentage of high school drop-outs (about 30%).

* Texas is among the state leaders in teen pregnancy -- and is first in teen second pregnancies.

I could go on, but you surely get the picture by now. Texas is far from the conservative paradise that idiots like Newt Gingrich would like you to believe it is. I just have one question for American voters.

Do you really want America to be like Texas?

19 May 2011

No Comment Necessary

18 May 2011

USGBC and Passive House Alignment

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) and Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) have released the following letter of alignment:

USGBC’s LEED for Homes rating system and Passive House standard are complimentary green building systems. Both programs share the goal of making the US building stock more efficient, comfortable and sustainable places to live. While the Passive House standard focuses primarily on greatly reducing the heating and cooling loads of the home, LEED for Homes also promotes efficient material use, site selection and development, and rewards projects that improve their water efficiency and indoor air quality.

A Passive House is a very well‐insulated, virtually air‐tight building that is primarily heated by passive solar gain and by internal gains from people, electrical equipment, etc. Energy losses are minimized. Any remaining heat demand is provided by an extremely small source. Avoidance of heat gain through shading and window orientation also helps to limit any cooling load, which is similarly minimized. An energy recovery ventilator provides a constant, balanced fresh air supply. The result is an impressive system that not only saves up to 90% of space heating costs, but also provides terrific indoor air quality.

LEED for Homes is a national, voluntary certification system, developed by national experts and experienced builders, that promotes the design and construction of high‐performance green homes and encourages the adoption of sustainable practices by the homebuilding industry.

LEED certification is based on 18 prerequisites and 67 credits across 8 credit categories. Beyond energy and indoor air quality, LEED for Homes also takes into consideration material selection, water use, site selection/landscaping, location to local amenities/mass transit and homeowner education.

USGBC works regularly with Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) representatives to further green home building nationwide. USGBC and PHIUS agree that building and certifying a Passive House is a seamless compliance path for LEED for Homes Energy and Atmosphere section, and that homes are beginning to achieve dual certifications. In fact, USGBC is exploring the incorporation of the Passive House Standard into future iterations of the LEED for Homes program.

17 May 2011

Reducing a building’s heating energy use by 70 to 90 percent can be achieved with three basic ingredients: (1) highly insulated walls and windows, (2


Reducing a building’s heating energy use by 70 to 90 percent can be achieved with three basic ingredients: (1) highly insulated walls and windows, (2) a tightly sealed envelope, and (3) heat recovery ventilation. Not rocket science, but common sense applications of the principle of “efficiency first.”

And those are the three key components of “Passivhaus” design, a highly energy efficient building construction standard that has been successfully applied in more than 25,000 buildings in Europe. So far, only a handful have been built in the U.S. You might wonder—as I have written previously—what’s our excuse?

The photo above shows Dan Whitmore’s nearly completed Courtland Place Passive Project, Seattle’s first permanent building designed to the Passivhaus standard (the Mini-B Passive House isn’t a permanent structure).

The mother-in-law unit has been occupied for two months, and according to Whitmore so far the heat was turned on for a grand total of about five minutes on one especially frosty morning in March. Aside from that brief lapse, the excess heat generated by appliances, people, and the sunlight coming through the windows was enough to keep it comfortably warm inside. I can attest that the space was warm, almost too warm, on the partly sunny but cool spring day of the Ecobuilding Guild’s recent green home tour.

And yes, the heat recovery ventilator has to run 24×7 in cold weather when the windows are closed, but it only consumes about as much as a 50 watt light bulb. Whitmore’s house has no furnace—a significant up front cost savings. On the coldest days it can be heated with two small baseboard electric heaters, or by running water from the domestic hot water tank through the heat recovery ventilator.

But is it expensive? A recently completed Passivhaus in Portland reportedly had a 10 percent cost premium over conventional construction (the windows are a major part of that premium). In Germany where contractors have experience with the standard, typical cost premiums run five to eight percent.

But the reduction in energy use provides both a direct cost payback that is guaranteed to sweeten as energy prices inevitably rise, and a public benefit payback from a reduction of the myriad externalized costs associated with energy consumption. And then there’s the potential payback in “green jobs.” What if all those triple pane windows were manufactured locally?

Furthermore, the impact of “efficiency first” strategies like Passivhaus tend to have broad, positive repercussions across systems. For example, would there be any need for a major investment in district heating systems at Yesler Terrace if most of the buildings were designed to the Passivhaus standard? Seattle City Light gives away fluorescent light bulbs for the same underlying reason.

At this stage in the climate change/peak oil game, projects like Whitmore’s Passivhaus ought to be the norm for new construction. And to help make that happen we desperately need meaningful incentives at the local, State, and Federal levels. Preferably yesterday, please, if not sooner.

16 May 2011

We're Number 1!

14 May 2011

No Comment Necessary

13 May 2011

11 May 2011

10 May 2011

No Comment Necessary

09 May 2011

What’s next for the enviro-business coalition that defeated California’s Prop 23?

BY TODD WOODY

Much of the green movement has been mounting a rearguard fight in Washington to fend off attempts to gut the U.S. EPA in the wake of the Republican sweep of the 2010 elections.

California, as usual, is heading down a different road. The enviro-business coalition that defeated Prop 23, Texas oil companies' attempt to derail the state's global-warming law, is stepping up effort to push lawmakers to expand California's climate-change efforts.

First, the No on 23 campaign led by billionaire hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer resurfaced last month as Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs.

On Tuesday, a second group, the Silicon Valley-based Clean Coalition, emerged to press a similar agenda in an effort it calls the Clean California Campaign. "The Campaign promotes policies to meet Gov. Jerry Brown's call to install 12,000 megawatts of new renewable energy projects in California communities by 2020," the group said in a statement. "The Campaign's initiatives will maximize clean energy job creation, attract billions of private investment dollars, boost state and local government budgets, and reduce electric bills."

In the Golden State, that's like saying you love the beach, dolphins, and sunshine. So what is the Clean Coalition -- whose members range from the Los Angeles Business Council to the California chapters of the U.S. Green Building Council to Westinghouse Solar -- actually going to do?

One, push for the expansion of programs requiring utilities to pay premiums -- aka feed-in tariffs -- for distributed generation of renewable energy, such as rooftop solar and small photovoltaic farms.

The Clean Coalition also plans to lobby to simplify and speed up the process of connecting renewable energy projects to the grid, currently a years-long, laborious process not designed for bringing on hundreds if not thousands of new power sources. Stephanie Wang, the Clean Coalition's program director, told me the group would focus on legislation and regulatory reform to achieve its aims.

In a sign of the Clean Coalition's pull, the organization trotted out California's green elite to endorse its campaign, from a former state energy commissioner to Terry Tamminen, who served as secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

While the Clean Coalition and Steyer's group are pursuing separate if complementary agendas, the result is likely to be a full-court press to get California Democrats, who control all top statewide offices from Gov. Jerry Brown on down as well as the legislature, to ramp up renewable energy production

08 May 2011

Germany Explores Using Train Lines as a Power Grid



One of the biggest question marks surrounding Germany's now-accelerated plans to dramatically increase its reliance on renewable energies has been the need to modernize its energy grid. Plans call for much of the country's wind power is to come from offshore wind parks in the north in the future, but sufficient high-voltage power lines necessary to deliver that power to the south do not yet exist.

The German Energy Agency anticipates that fully 3,600 kilometers (2,237 miles) of such lines will be required by 2020. So far, a mere 100 kilometers have been installed.
Now, though, an attractive alternative appears to be in the making. According to German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer, the government in Berlin is looking into the possibility of using the already existing network belonging to Germany's federal railways. Deutsche Bahn's grid of high-voltage power lines, at 7,800 kilometers, is the second largest in the country behind that belonging to energy giant RWE. The network, the government hopes, could be modified to transport energy to the south and plug other holes in the grid.

"A close cooperation with Deutsche Bahn relating to the expansion of the power grid is something that I find attractive," said German Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle.

'Very Useful'

European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger likewise said that such a "pilot project" in Germany would be "very useful."

While Chancellor Angela Merkel announced an "energy revolution" last autumn, the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Japan has resulted in a concerted push to accelerate the switch to renewable energies. Merkel's administration immediately shut down seven nuclear reactors just days after the massive earthquake and resulting tsunami fatally crippled the Fukushima plant. Those reactors may ultimately be taken permanently off the grid and Merkel's government is working on an a

07 May 2011

No Comment Necessary

06 May 2011

No Comment Necessary

05 May 2011

No Comment Necessary

04 May 2011

No Comment Necessary

03 May 2011

No Comment Necessary

02 May 2011

The above chart (from the good folks at Think Progress) shows the effect the Republican economic policies have had on American jobs. Note that during


Reposted from Jobsanger

The above chart (from the good folks at Think Progress) shows the effect the Republican economic policies have had on American jobs. Note that during the last year of the Clinton administration a few jobs were being sent overseas but just as many jobs were being created in this country. But after Bush took office things began to change radically. More jobs (even before the recession) were being lost in the United States, while an increasing amount of jobs were sent to other countries (and the corporations received tax breaks for doing that).

By the end of his eight years in office, Bush had the job situation really out of whack. The corporations had laid off at least 2.9 million workers while they had hired about 2.4 million workers in foreign countries. And nothing has changed to this day. The Democrats tried to take away the corporate tax breaks for exporting jobs, but the Republicans were able to keep that from happening. So while Americans are suffering (with barely enough jobs being created here to keep up with the number of new workers entering the workforce), American corporations continue to send good American jobs to other countries.

Republicans like to say that cutting taxes and giving subsidies to corporations creates new jobs. But it doesn't help this country to climb out of the continuing recession when the jobs being created are in other countries. This has to change.

NOTE -- The above job loss figures only count the jobs lost from American corporations. Jobs lost at small businesses and from all branches of government must be added in to get the true job loss picture.

01 May 2011

Corporate Anti-Science Propaganda In U.S. Is Working

Reposted from Jobsanger

Just three or four years ago a majority of the people in the United States believed that global climate change was either fully or partially the result of human activity (overuse of fossil fuels) -- about 60% of Americans believed this. And this was in line with the views of most of the rest of the world, especially the developed nations. But a lot has changed in the last few years.

For years now American corporations have spent millions of dollars yearly to propagandize the issue. And they have bought a lot of congressmen (most of them Republicans). These corporations and their political lackeys have used a powerful tool creating doubt -- a tool they learned from the successes of the creationist movement.

The creationists attacked evolution (a proven fact) by repeatedly calling it a theory and getting a few dubious scientists (usually from fields other than biology) to say that. They then used the statements from these very few "scientists" to attack the work and facts of actual science and scientists. And after repeating their lies a few thousand times they have been able to get a substantial portion of the population to believe them -- enough to force religion into many science classes around the nation.

The corporate barons saw how well this tactic had worked for the creationists, and decided to try it for themselves. They figured they could be even more effective since they were willing to spend many millions of dollars to spread their falsehoods. They found a few scientists who could be bought or hoodwinked and used pronouncements from them to make it seem as though man-made global climate change was only a theory that had widespread disagreement in the scientific community (even though it is accepted by more than 90% of the world's scientists).

Then they turned their politicians (who had been bought and paid for) loose to claim that acting on this "unproven theory" would cost jobs and damage American businesses by making them unable to compete in the world market (more well-paid-for lies). And it has worked. Now only 48% of Americans (a 12 point drop since 2007-2008) believe that human activity has anything to do with global climate change, and a full 47% of Americans believe that human activity had nothing to do with it -- that it is just a natural phenomenon.

I believe this drop in the belief that humans are causing the global climate change is due to this corporate-based propaganda, because the numbers of those who believe humans are at least partially responsible remain very high in most of the rest of the world -- especially the developed nations.

The only nations with less than 50% belief in human responsibility, other than the United States, are the developing parts of Asia, the Middle East & North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa (where about half of the populations have never even heard of global climate change). And even in these undeveloped areas, a clear majority of those with knowledge of global climate change believe it is caused at least partially by humans.

In fact, the only place in the world where more people believe global climate change has a natural cause instead of a human cause is the United States. This is sad. This used to be a nation that respected science and scientists. Now a substantial portion of the population has been hoodwinked. And the only reason is greed. American corporations know it will cost them some money to clean up their act, and they don't want to spend that money. They are perfectly willing to endanger the future of all mankind to maximize their own profits today.

It now looks like nothing will be done to delay or prevent global climate change until it is too late, and the United States will have to shoulder much of the blame for that. We not only use the lions share of the world's fossil fuels and produce much of it's pollution (Texas alone produces more pollution than all but six countries, and that is just one of our 50 states), but with our international influence it is unlikely the rest of the world will (or could) act without us.

Some on the right tell us that the Earth is very resilient and will survive. I agree. The Earth will survive whatever humans do to it (just as it always has). It is not the Earth's survival that is in doubt -- it is the survival of humans and the societies they have created that is in doubt. And that is because far too many in the U.S. are convinced that corporate profits are more important than anything else:

Here's what a recent Gallup Poll showed when people in different parts of the world were surveyed on global climate change and its causes. The percentage is those who believe humans are at least partially responsible for it:

Developed Asia...............83%
Canada...............72%
Western Europe...............69%
Eastern & Southern Europe...............68%
Latin America...............65%
Commonwealth of Ind. States...............51%
UNITED STATES...............48%
Developing Asia...............39%
Middle East/North Africa...............37%
Sub-Saharan Africa...............32%

Percentage of those who haven't heard of global climate change:

Developed Asia...............4%
Canada...............4%
Western Europe...............6%
Eastern/Southern Europe...............17%
Latin America...............23%
Commonwealth of Ind. States...............23%
UNITED STATES...............4%
Developing Asia...............48%
Middle East/North Africa...............49%
Sub-Saharan Africa...............54%

And here is how the world collectively views this crises:

human cause...............35%
natural cause...............14%
both causes...............13%
not aware of it...............36%
Posted by Ted McLaughlin