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March 2007

GET MOVING

Mr. Gore Goes To Washington

Do You Want To Go With Him?


Virtually, Of Course

Al Gore has worn many hats over the years: Vice President, Oscar winner, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, concert promoter, and inventor of the Internet (oh, it's only a joke), to name just a few. Now Al wants to deliver your mail.

Specifically, he's asking concerned citizens to go to his website and fill out a postcard, asking their representatives to address global warming. On March 21st, he will testify before Congress on the immediate action that needs to be taken to end the climate crisis. So far 294,374 messages have been signed.

Gore wants an additional 55,626 people to sign his message, believing Congress would find 350,000 signatories to be a meaningful and impressive show of support.

So fill out a message and forward to interested friends and family. The cards will then be delivered to Congress by "Big Al" himself.

Check out Gore's website at www.algore.com for more info.

Choo-Choo Choose To Support Tougher Locomotive Emission Standards!

We Need Readers "All Aboard" This Action Alert

In recent years, the US EPA has been steadily ratcheting up emissions standards for diesel fuel and automobile engines. The EPA is currently working on a proposal to cut smog and soot emissions from diesel locomotive engines. Unfortunately, General Electric, by far the largest locomotive producer in the country, is fighting the proposed standards.

The debate centers on the maximum acceptable level of smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions. The EPA wants a limit of 1.3 grams per horsepower per hour's operation. GE is pushing for a limit of 1.9 grams.

In addition to causing smog, nitrogen oxides (NOx) are also believed to aggravate asthmatic conditions, create acid rain, and cause cancer.



Help Drive Change and encourage GE to comply with the EPA's proposed emissions standards for diesel locomotives. You can send GE CEO Jeff Immelt an email or a letter (which is more personal and carries more weight) .

Haiku Activism!

The true spirit of Bushido calls for a balance between the art of war and just plain old art. Once you've signed a petition for the EPA, why not show your sensitive, artistic side by sending them a haiku? It's the honorable thing to do.

Tundra's, desert's oil,
Pumped madly into the sky:
Oops! No more seasons.

- Chris H.
Ithaca, NY

Click here to read more BWC member haikus.

Simple Things You Can Do To Fight Global Warming:

Eat Local

No, we're not talking about your neighborhood Chinese take-out place (unless, of course, they serve locally-produced food). Eating local means buying foods grown in your area. Oranges from Chile taste good, but that fruit has to travel 1/3 of the way around the world to get to you. Buying local reduces the amount of energy needed (and carbon emitted) to get your food to your store.

One of the easiest ways to eat local is to join a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture). Here are some CSA resources: Local Harvest and the CSA Database.

WASHINGTON WATCH
AUTO EXECS MAKE TOBACCO CHIEFS LOOK ALMOST VISIONARY

Auto Chiefs Make Case To Congress: Get Rid of Fuel Economy Rules

Execs Warm Up to Greenhouse Gas Emission Regs and Put More Burden on the Oil Companies, So Hearing Not a Disaster--But Close


A turning point for the American tobacco industry occurred at a 1994 Congressional hearing where a panel of execs told a House Committee that they didn't know whether cigarettes were addictive or caused cancer.

A similar turning point may have occurred earlier this week when a panel of automaker CEOs begged the Congress to release them from fuel economy standards, ignoring the US addiction to foreign oil and the related cancer that eats away at our economy, environment, and national security.

The most heated exchange, and possibly the most telling moment Wednesday, occurred when US Rep. Ed Markety, D-Mass blasted Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally for labeling the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program a failure. "You couldn't be more wrong, Mr. Mulally," said Markey. Toyota Motor Corp. and the United Auto Workers testified alongside the Big 3 in a rare joint appearance before a House subcommittee.

The CEOs and UAW President Ron Gettelfinger argued that increases in mileage standards for new vehicles were too expensive. However, in a pro-environmental breakthrough, they pledged to work with the committee to produce regulations to address climate change.

For the first time, the CEOs separated themselves from the oil industry, agreeing to support the idea of mandatory regulations on tailpipe emissions. The executives touted alternative fuels as a better way to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

The CEOs are not opposing some so-called visionary goals of House Democrats. They have come out in opposition to relatively mild Bush Administration proposal for a 4% increase in fuel economy standards from 2012 to 2017. (More aggressive legislators are looking for those increases to continue through 2032.) This would mean less than a 25% increase in current standards, which haven't changed in 20 years, but still way too dreamy say the auto execs.
Related Story

Interior Dept. Energy Leases Prompt a Suit

By FELICITY BARRINGER
The New York Times

WASHINGTON, March 13 A decision by the Interior Department to reactivate 20-year-old energy drilling leases in southern Utah areas that have since been set aside for protection and recreation will be challenged in court on Wednesday by three environmental groups.

The groups argue that the reactivation amounts to granting illegal new leases on protected lands.

The Bureau of Land Management, the Interior Department agency responsible for the areas, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the Glen Canyon National Recreation area, has said its decisions on the 23 leases were correcting its failure to give the three leaseholders final rulings on their petitions when they were filed in the '80s. Complete Story

More 'Washington Watch' in 'Kicking Asphalt'

- Cheney Gets With the Program: Global Warming Does Exist

GIVING DIRECTIONS

Antarctic Glaciers' Sloughing Of Ice Has Scientists at a Loss

By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post

Some of the largest glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland are moving in unusual ways and are losing increased amounts of ice to the sea, researchers said yesterday.

Although the changes in Greenland appear to be related to global warming, it remains unclear what is causing the glaciers of frigid Antarctica and their "ice streams" to lose ice to the ocean in recent years, the researchers said.

"In Greenland we know there is melting associated with the ice loss, but in Antarctica we don't really know why it's happening," said Duncan Wingham, an author of the review released today in Science magazine. "With so much of the world's ice captured in Antarctica, just the fact that we don't know why this is happening is a cause of some concern." Complete Story.

Additional Ways to Get Where You're Going:

Scientists have discovered seas of methane on one of Saturn's moons. Can an interplanetary pipeline be far behind?


Conservation groups "encourage" Chevron to abandon plans for an LNG facility on the US - Mexico Border. Conservation groups on Saturn say they don't want Chevron either.

Problem: Coal-burning power plants emit billions of tons of CO2 into the air annually. Apparent Solution: "Let's just bury that CO2 instead! I mean, what's the worst that could happen?" (Is it too late to move to another planet? Saturn, perhaps?)

Stop us if you've heard this one: An Israeli rabbi, a Mexican priest, and an Armenian Hummer owner carrying a 12-inch pianist all walk into a bar and are asked to participate in an international poll along with citizens from fourteen other countries, gauging their attitudes toward global warming and the potential threat it poses.

If you would like to contribute your opinion to Driving Change's Giving Directions please email it to us at info@betterworldclub.com.

DO YOU PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS?

Mercedes-Benz A 160 CDI and Mercedes-Benz B 200 CDI Receive Environmental Award

by AutoSpectator.com

The internationally renowned environmental institute Öko Trend has awarded its Car Environment Certificate to two Mercedes-Benz models. Both the Mercedes-Benz A 160 CDI and the Mercedes-Benz B 200 CDI manufactured by the Stuttgart brand achieved top marks during an extensive and critical analysis by specialists at the independent institute.

The two Mercedes-Benz models concerned achieved well-above-average results in all areas. In the view of the institute, they not only achieve excellent values with respect to fuel consumption and exhaust/noise emissions, but also excel by virtue of environmentally friendly production, materials and logistics. Complete Story


BOA Spends Green To Go Green

2nd Largest Bank In The US Announces $20 Billion Environmental Initiative

And Here We Thought Wells Fargo Was Good Because They Ride Around In That Carbon Neutral Stage Coach


Bank of America is investing an eye-popping $20 billion into environmentally sustainable business activities to address global climate change. BOA's ten-year initiative encourages development of environmentally sustainable business practices through lending, investing, philanthropy and the creation of new products and services.

Some of the initiatives include financing green development, carbon emissions trading, preferred lending status for environmentally friendly clients, free money for biodiesel users*, donating $50 million to environmental non-profits, and so on and so forth.

You can get the straight poop by checking out BOA's press release.



[*Okay, we made that one up. But wouldn't it be great?]

More 'Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is' in 'Kicking Asphalt':

- TRX: Yes or No: A Public Utility Gets Bought Out with Environmental Input and Roles Are Reversed


BWC ALTERNATIVE FUEL REPORT

Fuel
Type

West
Coast

Rocky
Mtn.

Mid
West

Gulf
Coast

New
England

Mid
Atlantic

South

U.S.

Gasoline

2.92

2.41

2.49

2.40

2.57

2.58

2.49

2.55

Diesel

2.81

2.74

2.67

2.64

2.73

2.72

2.64

2.71



Fuel
Type

West
Coast

West

Mid
West

North
East

South

U.S.

BioDiesel
B20

2.94

2.75

2.79

2.86

2.62

2.79

BioDiesel
B99

3.22

3.54

N/A

N/A

2.83

3.20

Ethanol
85

2.89

2.27

2.03

3.01

2.38

2.52




With Summer Approaching, The Mercury - And Gas Prices - Are Rising

Virgo Remains on the Cusp of the 12th House

Nationally, fuel prices have been steadily rising for the past month and a half. Petroleum-based Gasoline and Diesel prices recorded the highest jumps, at $0.19 and $0.12, respectively, over the last two weeks. OPEC has announced that it will not increase oil production, despite increased demand. This will likely result in additional petro-fuel price increases. B20 Biodiesel and E85 Ethanol prices crept up $0.07 each over the last two weeks, and B99 Biodiesel remained the same.

Regionally, E85 showed the most interesting price changes over the last two weeks. Price averages remained the same on the West Coast and in the Northeast, but jumped $0.14 in the Midwest and $0.13 in the South.

Do you have an unnatural interest in fuel prices? Are you a fan of tables filled with important-looking numbers? If so, we recommend finding a healthier hobby ( collecting dog urine, jumping down and turning around to pick a bale of cotton, etc.), or you can feed your fetish by checking out BWC's previous Alternative Fuel Report, Fuel Prices Pull Themselves Up By Their Bootstraps And Continue To Climb, as published in the February issue of ‘Kicking Asphalt'.

DRIVING CHANGE Anagram of the Month:

Chard Given Gin

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