Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More on energy alternatives, conservation...

My main inspiration for this week's 'toon was "Who Killed the Electric Car," which I had a chance to watch last week. It's a generally well-argued documentary that raises a lot of questions about GM's systematic campaign in the early 90's to sabotage their own product, the EV1. A few of these questions remained unanswered for me at the end of the film, but I'd still highly recommend it simply for the fact that it sheds light on events that are not often discussed. Why the hell don't we have these electric cars (which are relatively low-tech, clean, fast, and quiet) all over the highways today? Why did nobody pay attention when a California zero emissions law was killed by a taxpayer surcharge opposition group (which later turned out to be a front for big oil)? For his part, Ralph Nader, who's been fighting on these issues for years, offers an explanation: car companies and big oil make too much money from "technological stagnation" to have any incentive to change.

Here also are some articles to check out:
  • Bill McKibbon in the Sierra Club magazine on energy alternatives. His main point seems to be that most magic energy solutions like hydrogen cells and ethanol are economically unfeasible, and would save as much energy as just a little bit of organized conservation.

  • A great article in Mother Jones by Dennis Gaffney on "hypermilers," a group of nutty guys who are obsessed with squeezing the absolute most out of a tank of gas, and who enter competitions to test the limits. As fanatical as they are, there's a bunch of handy tips in there that I wish everybody would utilize... like all the freakin' idiots who sit idling in McDonald's drive-thrus.

    Of course, I also finally watched "Super-Size Me" last week, so that raises a whole other thing...

  • A blog post on Sen. Inhofe's parting shots at the environment and, y'know, people who like the environment.

  • John F. Borowski on the National Science Teachers Association's refusal to distribute "An Inconvenient Truth."

  • Robert Bryce on "The Ongoing Myth of Energy Independence."

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