Exxon,by virtue of its operational sector, is usually a lightning rod for controversy. Whether it is due to the fact that its products contribute to global warming, or because everyone who works for the company is perceived to be like the individual in the cartoon below.


Only $4.09 a gallon?

The result is that the company seemingly is always under attack. Perennially however, Exxon seems to do one thing right: forecasting energy trends. And by all accounts, the company sees North America as becoming a net energy exporter by 2025.

Exxon’s glowing predictions for the continent stem from North America becoming less reliant on coal-based power plants, and instead, depending more on energy efficient natural-gas-fired plants. Overall, the oil giant sees coal use dropping 33% from 2010 to 2025, a substantially larger increase than its previous 23% estimate.

In addition, because North America, and particularly the United States, contains an abundance of natural gas reserves, and is working to perfect the hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques needed to unlock them, the continent has become energy rich in the clean burning fuel of the future. As a result, North America will become the go-to source to feed the growing energy demands of industrialized nations. In fact, Exxon’s report states that, “Global energy demand will increase 35% from 2010 to 2040, with most of the increased demand coming from developing nations like India and China.” By setting the initiative of becoming a global superpower in clean energy technologies, North America has positioned itself well to become less reliant on foreign oil, while at the same positioning itself as a provider of clean energy for other nations.

Remarkably enough, “By 2040 developed nations like the US and Canada are expected to generate 80% more economic output than in 2010 but use the same amount of energy.” This speaks to North America’s attempt to be on the cutting edge of this breakthrough technology and to the unmistakable way in which innovation can change a nation from a net importer to net exporter. (I’m looking at you United States) As clean energy becomes more and more of a priority with each passing day, it is refreshing to see how the green movement has changed political decision making. Let’s continue to make sustainability a priority both at home and abroad so that we can all live green, and be green.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324339204578171583862191830.html?KEYWORDS=energy+exports

In a statement released earlier this week, a bipartisan group of legislators from both the Senate and House of Representatives warned that the expiration of the wind protection tax credit (PTC) would result in the loss of a substantial number of manufacturing and construction jobs, thus triggering a great debate on the relevance of this credit and the efficacy of wind energy.  The PTC “subsidizes new wind generation by 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of wind electricity produced”.  If this credit is not renewed by Congress, it will expire at the end of the year.  The impact of the threat of expiration of this credit already is being felt as wind companies are pushing back projects and laying off workers because of the looming uncertainty of federal funding.

After reading articles and blogs on this subject, I could not help but notice some of the comments made by other readers, many of which were constructive, but others, concerning.  I use the term “concerning” because I see that in most debates or discussions regarding green initiatives, education and understanding of the issues, or the lack of such, clearly guides the dialogue on these topics.

Living green and understanding the need to effect environmental change requires education.  Research and development and technological advancement enable scientists to find solutions to cleaner and efficient energy.  This definitely comes at a cost, albeit a worthwhile expense.  The push to advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in schools today recognizes the benefits of providing opportunities for students to explore new ideas and new worlds related to science.  Education programs, such as STEM, provide a bridge from the old to the new and are so important because they enhance vision, which is a key ingredient in the success of any scientific venture.

Unfortunately, there are many diehards in this country, who are resistant to change, even if it is for the good of people and the environment.  The green movement should not and cannot be dragged down by resistance to change, and modern technological solutions to energy problems should be welcomed, especially in the face of scientific evidence of looming catastrophes relative to climate change directly attributed to human behavior.  This negative mindset is not new in America as history gives us many instances of innovative ideas that prevailed but were met with great resistance.  An immediate example that comes to mind is the case of Henry Ford, who was successful in mass marketing the gas engine automobile in a time when many Americans would have settled for “faster horses“.  In the same spirit of Henry Ford, the green movement must promote efficient wind energy solutions as the future of our nation rather than “clean oil” solutions as suggested by some people.

Another major issue with detractors of wind power, who would be happy to see the credit expire, surrounds the willingness to destroy the job market.  Job creation is crucial to the recovery of the economy, and the market in wind energy projects presents the opportunity to add jobs.  This is especially good for veterans because “work in wind energy offers vets the opportunity to use a wide variety of skills they learned in the military, such as risk analyses, problem-solving and contract negotiation. . .”  So many of us voice our appreciation for the sacrifices of veterans and their families to protect us, and the promotion of wind energy projects through the PTC presents opportunities to reward returning soldiers with jobs, rather than just handshakes and pats on the back for their service.

Another potential base of support which needs to be tapped for wind energy advancement in this country is couples with young children or who are planning to have children.  Today’s energy solutions will frame your children’s tomorrow.  Living green should be the top priority on your agenda so that you can ensure a safe and healthy environment for your children.  Issues of renewable energy, such as wind power should become routine in articles in parenting magazines and blogs designed to educate families on living healthy.

The time is running short to extend the PTC.  As Congress haggles over the many issues dangling on the fiscal cliff, it is urgent that supporters of the green movement band together and speak up to protect the PTC so as to ensure the advancement of wind power as a viable source of energy in America.  We cannot allow the defeat of innovation technology such as this that enables us to live green, be green.

Sources for this article:





Wind Energy

Wind Energy (Photo credit: janie.hernandez55)


Kyoto Protocol Convention

Kyoto Protocol Convention (Photo credit: Marufish)

The opening sessions of the United Nations Climate Change meeting in Doha, Qatar witnessed the United States resisting pledges of steeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.  U.S. Deputy climate envoy John Pershing stated, “President Obama was sticking to his 2009 goal of cutting emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020″.  Even that target was rejected by the U.S. Senate.

The United States’ refusal to back the Kyoto Protocol has been joined by China, Russia, Japan and Canada, leaving the European Union and Australia as the larger countries supporting the pact, along with ore than 100 developing countries and Kyoto backers.  The recent protocol dropouts agree with the position of the United States that “it is meaningless to extend cuts under Kyoto when big emerging countries have no curbs on emission”.  It is for this very reason that the United States never ratified the Kyoto Protocol.  The worry here is that without extension of the Kyoto Protocol, there only would be national actions without any legally binding UN pacts.

With the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and its ever-increasing price tag still on the minds of Americans, along with the acknowledgement of key political figures that climate change and global warming are harsh realities that need urgent attention, it is evident that Americans are ready to tackle these issues.  Additionally, President Obama pledged to do more to address the issues of climate change in his second term.  With or without the Kyoto Protocol, it is important that we as citizens educate ourselves on the issue of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, keeping dialogue on the forefront.  More than ever, we must demand that our elected officials commit to plans to upgrade failing power grids and outdated infrastructure and to implement solutions for cleaner and more efficient energy.  Now is the time for America to take the lead and be the driving force to effect change so that we live green, be green.

Source for this article:



Last night, during his victory speech, President Obama made note that in the coming years we must take notice and attempt to neutralize the threat posed by global warming. Of course, this raises the question of how this will be undertaken and how it will affect the economy. When we looked at this election cycle, we did not see climate change brought up as a campaign point, so to sketch out the next four years, we must look at the past four. With regards to climate change and the economy, we can see some key areas that Mr. Obama has at least focused on, if not attempting to enact policy, namely fuel efficiency, green energy and jobs, high-speed rail, and oil subsidies. Let’s take a quick look at each one of these and see how the President’s policy regarding them could affect the economy.
The Obama administration set new standards in fuel efficiency. These standards will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light duty trucks by the model year 2025. These standards are projected to save US consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump, while decreasing US oil consumption by 12 million barrels.  The adoption of these measures alone will cut down on one of the most painful costs for American families, allowing them to spend more on more beneficial sources of consumption. Furthermore, these standards increase incentives for hybrid and electric vehicles, as well as charging stations. These incentives could help to reduce costs, and as such, decrease barriers to entry into the market. Government assistance also could help propel the US into the coveted position of world leader in the electric vehicle market. The President has made a point to increase exports and promote electric vehicles, and this certainly could play into this.
Concerning green jobs, the President had in the past secured a tax credit for clean energy jobs, research, and production. Many manufacturers awaited the outcome of the elections with trepidation, as Gov. Romney stated multiple times he would end all subsidies to green energy. We will likely see the President push for a continuation, if not an expansion, of these tax credits over the next four years. Justification for these subsidies would be the infant industry theory, wherein the industry would likely not survive for the time being without the subsidies. Another green sector in the economy would be mass transportation. The Administration has laid plans for national high speed rail lines in the past. The stimulus included funds for the upgrading of creating “high speed railroads” as they are known in the rest of the world. The Administration will likely push for high speed rail for both economic and political reasons. Politically, the promise of jobs and a more centralized connection and access to major population centers could entice blue collar voters to go Democrat in rural and economically depressed counties.
Finally, the President has made a continuous push over the last year to end subsidies for oil and gas companies. While it was not discussed much in the election, the fiscal cliff is still on the horizon. It presents a perfect opportunity for the President to press for an end to oil subsidies. Simultaneously extending and or increasing green energy tax credits, while getting rid of oil subsidies, could give the green energy market more of an advantage and make costs of production and prices more competitive.
Regardless of what’s undertaken, transitioning one’s economy is a difficult task. Climate change is very much real, and it presents a very credible threat to our standard of living and economy. However, it also presents new opportunities for economic success. We can either go down with the sinking ship that is fossil fuels or we can jump ship and transition to a green economy. The US has been the hegemonic power for the past century because of its economic might, which has been driven by an innovative spirit and position as the most competitive player on the world stage in the most important industries. For the 21st century, that is green energy. I believe the Administration sees it this way, yet the realities of the world may replace restrictions on what can be done. The President has made climate change an issue.  now he must convince the people and Congress it really of the same.

Sources for this article are:







By Sean McGuire

Despite the criticism of skeptics and conservative politicians, the green job movement is moving forward and progressing.  In fact, a report issued last week by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) states that the growth and benefits of green jobs are even stronger than previously expected.  After its analysis of employment data from the Brookings Institution and the Pew Center on the States, who undertook the task of categorizing green jobs on a detailed industry and occupational level, the EPI concludes the following:

  • Green industries are growing faster than the overall economy, at a rate of 2,5 times as fast as other jobs.
  • States with green jobs withstood the recession and fared better than those without green jobs.
  • Approximately 20% of all green jobs are in the manufacturing sector, which is great for the economy because roughly 5.5 million jobs in this area have been lost since 2000.
  • Green jobs offer pathways into the middle class.  These jobs tend to require less education but pay better wages.  This is good for people who cannot afford to go to college but still need good jobs that pay well, enabling them to support their families in a wholesome and healthy manner.

Now we need to adopt the appropriate governmental policies on all levels–local, state and federal–to support the positive movement in the green economy.  This includes investing in storm water infrastructure and supporting energy efficiency programs in cities and states.  We need long-term commitment to businesses involved in solar and wind energy.  Most importantly, we need a change in mindset.  Only through education and technology with demonstrated successes in improvement of air and water quality and reduction in adverse health conditions attributed to pollution will we reverse our dependence on coal and fossil fuels, which are so detrimental to our environment.

A green economy is a win-win situation for everyone.  We can keep moving forward by practicing healthy living, educating our families and communities on green initiatives and demanding that our elected officials support the green movement through public policy.  We know that these strategies are important ingredients in the recipe to live green, be green.

Green economy pays off

This Monday’s good green news features 350.org.  This global organization, led by author and environmentalist, Bill McKibben, focuses on global grassroots efforts to raise awareness of climate change caused by human impact, to confront climate change denial and to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, all in an effort to slow global warming.  The group’s name derives from climate scientist, James Hansen‘s, assertion that any atmospheric concentration over 350 parts per million is unsafe.  Rather than being one organization, 350.org is a global network of over 200 organizations around the world.

A primary feature of 350.org is its 350 workshop.  This group has helped organize workshops in more than 20 countries.  The staff members assist climate change campaigns in the development of skill building activities that effectively articulate their points.  They focus on leadership, organization and communication as the key components necessary to build the political will to solve the climate crises.  They help local green groups to organize marches, to participate in non-violent demonstrations in the Middle East, and to lobby political leaders on matters relative to climate change and clean energy.  Their primary goal is to utilize a worldwide approach to create a huge wave of climate activism globally that cannot be ignored and will lead to lasting large-scale changes.

Each year 350.org identifies key campaigns of concern.  Its current projects include moving India beyond coal, ending fossil fuel subsidies and showing the human face of climate change.  350.org boasts a very user-friendly website loaded with information on its organization’s mission, projects and available workshops.  The website also provides access to membership, as well as an opportunity to donate to help this worthy cause finance its missions.  350.org leads by example in the movement to fight climate change and to save the planet.  This organization presents a great opportunity to live green, be green.

Grassroots networking to fight climate change



Living in New York, and more specifically for the past four years in New York City, air quality was always a concern. Whether it was the plumes of smog or the beautiful eminence that was city bus exhaust, breathing felt more like a chore than anything else. That being said, the  Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) just released its newest report of its top twenty “toxic” states according to emissions in the US sector from the year 2010.  Pollution statistics were broken down by state into their most prevalent types i.e coal in Ohio. To our delight, the study found a, “9 percent decrease in all air toxins emitted from power plants in 2010, in comparison to 2009 levels.” This was due in large part because of the emphasis on clean energy, and more specifically natural gas. Comparably, the top two states occupying the list, Kentucky and Ohio, ranked so highly because the majority of their emissions were in the form of coal-fired power plants. So take a look and see how your state ranks, if at all, on the “Toxic Twenty”, and be sure to check out the NRDC report below.

The “Toxic Twenty″ list (from worst to best) are:

  1. Kentucky
  2. Ohio
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Indiana
  5. West Virginia
  6. Florida
  7. Michigan
  8. North Carolina
  9. Georgia
  10. Texas
  11. Tennessee
  12. Virginia
  13. South Carolina
  14. Alabama
  15. Missouri
  16. Illinois
  17. Mississippi
  18. Wisconsin
  19. Maryland
  20. Delaware

source: http://livinggreenmag.com/2012/09/07/energy-ecology/worst-states-for-toxic-air-pollution-are-listed-where-do-you-live/

NRDC report: http://www.nrdc.org/air/files/toxic-power-presentation.pdf

We have reached the midway point of summer, and hopefully many of this year’s recent graduates have found some type of employment. For those still looking or for individuals who have part-time jobs to hold them over, now is the time to get creative. The green movement is an olympic drive great way to go. This movement holds many untapped opportunities for job seekers. Green technology businesses are growing at a rapid rate to accommodate the demand for clean energy, especially through solar and wind power companies. This job sector needs employees in all fields, including, but not limited to engineers, ecologists, policy planners and writers, graphic artists, and individuals with business and financial specialties. A good website for information and job listings is www.ecoemploy.com.
There also are job opportunities for marketing specialists in the green industries. A perusal of several websites lists opportunities for green marketing representatives and business managers, clean energy political organizers and media and marketing specialists, just to name a few. These listings are for jobs all over the country and range from entry-level to mid-level positions. To secure a position in this market sector, graduates and mid-level professionals must think out of the box and be willing to relocate to the sites of these opportunities. A good starting place for listings of these job opportunities is www.sustainability.com.
A green job represents a great opportunity for graduates. This job sector is committed to the preservation of a healthy environment through smart living and consistently is on the cutting edge of technology, presenting great opportunities for further education and career advancement. Most importantly, these jobs really give its employees a reason to work as these are the organizations and people who really are making a difference. Green jobs are not just about a paycheck. Rather they are leading a movement to live green, be green.