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President Barack Obama handed out a passel of money today for "smart grid" projects, much of it going towards house electrical meters that can be controlled by power companies. The meters allow companies to manipulate how much electricity each house uses at any given time -- useful in times of power shortages and for being able to shift power from where it's least needed to where it's most needed.

Two years after Earthjustice successfully fought Florida Power and Light's plan to build the nation's largest coal plant near Everglades National Park, the state is taking a giant leap forward toward clean energy.

Today, President Barack Obama is touring FPL's new DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia —the largest photovoltaic facility in the U.S.

"Instead of having a dirty coal plant to provide power, we have clean solar energy," said David Guest, managing attorney for Earthjustice in Florida. "It is gratifying to know that Earthjustice helped change public policy and moved our state to more common-sense technology. We are finally putting the sunshine back in the Sunshine State."

In June 2007, Earthjustice gathered evidence and experts which helped convince the Florida Public Service Commission to consider the full costs associated with polluting coal plants. It was the first time that global warming played a role in a PSC decision, and the first time in 15 years that state regulators rejected a new power plant.

At 25 megawatts, it will generate nearly twice as much energy as the second-largest photovoltaic facility in the U.S.—Nevada's Nellis Solar Power Plant.
 

The Obama magic is everywhere. The other day in the Covered Bazaar a natty gentleman of a certain age dragged us into his back room to show off a photograph of himself and Laura Bush, who had visited the market on some no-doubt well orchestrated tour when W was hanging with his G-8 buddies or someone.

I said that Laura was OK, her husband not so much, and the old dude agreed. Bush NO! O-Ba-Ma YES! Seems to be universal. . .They've just banned smoking in public places in Turkey, and it seems to be working fine. This in a country where cigarette smoking was virtually universal. I've heard grumbling in a restaurant or two, but no outright defiance so far. . .I'm off to the eastern Black Sea this afternoon to visit a village I lived in in the '60s as a Peace Corps volunteer. We'll see how the ban is playing there. . .Finally, virtually the only cars you see here are compact taxis, which may be the result of gas that costs more than 12 dollars a gallon. At that there are too many cars, but if gas were as cheap as it is in the U.S. I'd hate to think.

Regional officials with Alaska's Tongass National Forest, the crown jewel of our national forest system, recently announced plans to log nearly 1,500 acres of old-growth forest in two roadless areas. The Central Kupreanof and Sue timber sales jeopardize intact blocks of old-growth habitat within one of the last remaining temperate rainforests in the world.

Join a 30-minute online chat about black carbon with Martin Wagner, head of Earthjustice's global warming work, this Tuesday (Oct. 20) at 11 a.m. Pacific Time. You can do it on your personal computer at home or at work. For details and to register, go to this website.

Black carbon—sent aloft in the smoke streams from cooking fires, factories and such industrial equipment as diesel trucks and generators—settles on glaciers and in the Arctic, warming and melting the ice. It is considered one of the worst climate change pollutants, and one of the easiest to deal with.
 
 

It's a rare thing to encounter good news regarding climate change. Which is exactly why a bit of hopeful writing from Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute caught my attention. Brown's post, titled "U.S. Headed for Massive Decline in Carbon Emissions," contends that the U.S. has entered a new energy era characterized by declining carbon emissions. Do tell, Lester.

Today is Blog Action Day, and this year's theme is Climate Change. Here's my pitch for an immediate step that could be taken to reduce the production of greenhouse gases significantly, while promoting good health; improving the economy in rural America; and reducing cruelty to animals. In fact, this suggestion is so logical that it's a travesty that I have to suggest it. It makes Sarah Silverman's recent hunger-ending proposal look paltry in comparison. Here's my suggestion:

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About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.