A Clean Energy Future: Available Now

A Clean Energy Future: Available Now

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By Caroline D’Angelo

The ongoing oil disaster has spurred debate on how to transition away from fossil fuels. Yet it’s a discussion that largely glosses over a crucial point– drilling for more oil is unnecessary. Even the most optimistic estimates for offshore drilling in America account for less than three years of the U.S.’ energy needs. Expanded drilling – which the Kerry-Lieberman bill calls for – is a wasteful and dangerous pursuit of more profits for oil companies, not a necessity. There are clean energy and transportation alternatives available now that can wean us off of our oil addiction.

Table of Contents

President’s Column

Introduction: A Crude Awakening

Behind the Scenes:
Severin Skolrud

Ethanol Greenwash:
Not Clean, Not Green

Ending Corporate Control in Congress

Trading Away Peoples’ Rights

Costing Oceans an Arm and a Leg

Toxic Dispersants in the Gulf

Global Solutions for a Global Crisis

Clean Energy Future:  Available Now

One tactic Friends of the Earth has employed to clean up America’s act is to take aim at the nearly two-thirds of the U.S. oil supply that’s hijacked by the transportation sector. Our goal to lessen California’s vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by tightening regulations and promoting plug-in vehicles complements our work promoting zero-emissions fuel options available for cars through solar energy.

Sara Schedler, Friends of the Earth’s Clean Car Program Associate, heads a regional initiative in California to build and promote solar fueling stations for plug-in electric vehicles. This technology is tried and true and available immediately. Electric vehicles are in production and will be on the market by next year. By installing and using solar fueling stations we can wean ourselves off of dirty liquid fuels like oil and biofuels and create near-zero emissions driving. To aid municipalities around the nation in navigating tax credits and practical matters in building solar fueling stations, Friends of the Earth released a report, a cost calculator and fact sheets. Our push for plug-in vehicles was given a boost last year when President Obama’s stimulus package included $10 billion in funding for plug-in cars.

Severin Skolrud, Federal Transportation Policy Campaigner promotes sustainable transportation initiatives and smart growth planning to reduce America’s reliance on cars. Getting off dirty fuels is possible right now with low-tech solutions like walking, biking and smart growth planning. If less than three percent of the U.S. population commuted by bike three times a week or switched to public transportation, we could reduce gasoline use by more than 7.5 million gallons a day. Severin is also promoting a gasoline tax that would have a greater positive impact than the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (put in place to improve fuel economy of cars and lightweight trucks) in reducing overall gasoline consumption.

Friends of the Earth is cleaning up dirty energy policy as well. Alex Moore, Dirty Fuels Campaigner, was instrumental in axing handouts to extremely dirty liquid and refined coal in the tax extenders bill now being debated. Friends of the Earth is also currently involved in legislation to block the expansion of nuclear power and dirty biofuels.

In direct response to the oil spill, we aired a TV ad promoting clean energy and in May delivered a citizen’s arrest to BP headquarters for the company’s criminal negligence in the Gulf. We’ve compiled our media responses to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, along with fact sheets that provide a roadmap to moving beyond fossil fuels at /gulf-oil-spill, and as part of our effort to increase awareness, individual Friends of the Earth campaigns are now on Facebook and Twitter – follow or friend us to join the conversation and fight for clean energy.

Friends of the Earth Biofuels Campaign

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nodirtybiofuels | twitter: @FOE_Biofuels

Friends of the Earth Dirty Fuels Campaign

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/keystonepipeline | twitter: @FOE_DirtyFuels