Energy Sovereignty

Archives from the Stop the PSU Pipeline Campaign and the early days of CITY-GREEN

Other Meetings This Week


May 5 – Borough Council Meeting – 7:30 p.m. at 304 Borough Building (243 S. Allen St.) Full Agenda.

Interesting Agenda Item:

“At its April 7, 2014 meeting, Council held a public hearing on a proposed zoning ordinance amendment generated by the Planning Commission. The amendment would change the current land development review process by requiring preliminary plans, also called concept plans, to be reviewed by the Planning Commission. Following the hearing, Council scheduled the proposal for discussion at its May 12 work session. The Interim Planning Director, who is familiar with the history of the current review process and why the Planning Commission is presently not included in concept plan review, is unavailable to attend the May 12 work session. Accordingly, this item is placed on the May 5 agenda for Council to receive the Director’s commentary. The Interim Planning Director will overview the history and background of the current review process and what its advantages have been over the years so Council can weigh that information during its next discussion. This is a discussion only item. If Council wishes to proceed with enactment, it should direct the Manager to publish a Notice of Intent to Enact on May 19, 2014.”

[Editor’s Note: This issue relates to the pipeline controversy, in that the Planning Commission currently has no formal role in reviewing land development plans.]

May 7 – State College Planning Commission Meeting – 12 p.m. at 304 Borough Building (243 S. Allen St.) Full Agenda.

Interesting Agenda Items:

“Penn State Course CED 475 Capstone Project for Community Environment and Development – During the 2014 Spring Semester, students from this capstone class worked with the Borough, through the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, on a research topic that has been gaining interest in the region. The students conducted research to identify potential strategies that State College Borough can use to attract and/or retain young professionals. The student group developed a survey to work on this research question, and asked students what is important in selecting a place to live after graduation. The student group will present their findings during this meeting…

Centre Region Planning Agency 2013 CRPC Annual Report, CRPA Activities and Planning for Activities in 2014 and 2015 – Mr. May will briefly review the 2013 CRPC Annual Report and activities completed by the CRPA in 2013. He will also review the importance of the communication loop between the CRPC and municipal planning commissions in programming multi-municipal projects. Mr. May will review the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Program (CHIP) process and CRPA anticipated work activities in 2014 and 2015…”


May 7 – 9 – PSU Board of Trustees – Full Board & Committee Meetings, at the Penn Stater Conference Center

Wednesday, May 7

Time Topic
3:00 p.m. Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning – Public followed by Executive Session (Room 208)

Thursday, May 8

Time Topic
7:00 a.m. Committee on Compensation – Executive Session followed by Public Session (Room 222)
9:00 a.m. Committee on Finance, Business, and Capital Planning (Room 204)
9:00 a.m. Committee on Outreach, Development and Community Relations(Room 106)
10:00 a.m. Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning (Room 211)
1:30 p.m. Committee on Audit and Risk (Room 219)
1:30 p.m. Committee on Legal and Compliance (Room 218)
1:30 p.m. Committee on Academic Affairs and Student Life (Room 204)

Friday, May 9, 2014

All meetings will be held in Deans Hall, The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, University Park, Pennsylvania, unless otherwise noted. FULL AGENDA.Full Agenda

Time Topic
7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Board of Trustees Meeting – Public Session (Room 108)
8:45 – 11:30 a.m. Board of Trustees Meeting – Executive Session (Room 109)
1:30 p.m. Board of Trustees Called to Order
President’s Report
Public Comment
Reports from Standing Committees
A. Committee on Academic Affairs and Student Life
B. Committee on Audit and Risk
C. Committee on Compensation
D. Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning
E. Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning
F. Committee on Legal and Compliance
G. Committee on Outreach, Development and Community Relations
4:30 p.m. Board of Trustees Adjournment

CITY-GREEN Update – May 4, 2014

CITY-GREEN – the Mid-State Community Advisory Group on Sustainable Energy – had its first meeting on April 29 at New Leaf Initiative.

The group’s mission is “to promote energy conservation by assisting in the phase-out of the use of non-renewable energy and to strengthen the use of energy from renewable sources which includes, but is not limited to, photo-voltaics and ground source heat pumps, so that Centre County will be energy independent, sustainable in its energy use, and a net exporter of energy derived from renewable sources.”

CITY-GREEN members plan to “promote a transition to energy independence for Centre County through the use of sustainable energy, that is, energy sources that are regenerative and non-depleting and the energy derived is the safest, cleanest, and longest-lasting option; advise and assist the Centre Region Council of Governments (COG) and the surrounding Centre County municipalities, in their transition to energy independence; promote education concerning the affordability and long term savings associated with renewables over centralized non-renewable energy use; and provide an open, completely transparent participation forum that welcomes all people from all backgrounds who live in Centre County.”

CITY-GREEN’s first specific project is assisting COG during its participation in the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize Competition. CITY-GREEN’s COG liaison is Pam Adams, Centre Region Refuse and Recycling Administrator, working through the CRCOG Public Services and Environment Committee.

CITY-GREEN meets again Tuesday, May 6 (7 p.m. at New Leaf Initiative, Third Floor Borough Building, 243 South Allen St.) and will attend the May 7 COG Public Services & Environmental Committee Meeting (8:30 a.m., 2643 Gateway Dr.) to present preliminary information and seek official recognition as an advisory resource for COG.

CITY-GREEN will subsequently meet at least once a month, to continue collecting and formatting data to support the GUEP competition entry.

The GUEP competition is tightly focused on getting communities to develop programs that displace utility-supplied energy consumption, either by not needing the energy to begin with (conservation) or by getting the energy from renewable sources. GUEP seeks to promote “…innovative, replicable, scalable and continual reductions in the per capita energy consumed from local natural gas and electric utilities…”

Much of the benefit of going through the GUEP process will be creating concrete local climate change & energy scarcity adaptation and mitigation plans and budgets (an Energy Descent Action Plan, in the Transition Towns lexicon).

April 29 launch discussion participants included:

  • Andy Lau (PSU Engineering Faculty)
  • Andy McKinnon (Transition Town State College)
  • Bill Sharp (Transition Town State College)
  • Chip Mefford (State College Bicycle Transport)
  • David Stone (Stop the PSU Pipeline)
  • Elliott Killian (Ferguson Township Supervisor)
  • Janet Engeman (Stop the PSU Pipeline)
  • Jim Freihaut (PSU Architectural Engineering Faculty)
  • Joanne Santamaria
  • Joe Cusumano (PSU Engineering Science & Mechanics Faculty)
  • Johan Zwart (Stop the PSU Pipeline)
  • Jon Eich (community-based planner)
  • Laura Cusumano (Happy Valley Time Bank)
  • Mark Maloney (Greenmoore Gardens CSA)
  • Mike Rybacki, (Convener, Author of PSU Renewable Energy Plan)
  • Scott Patterson (PSU Organizing for Action)
  • Wesley Glebe

And two other people whose names/affiliations I didn’t catch (please update this list by emailing me).

Mike Rybacki kicked off the meeting with a brainstorming activity, asking participants to create their own $5 million energy system spending spree wish lists.

Ideas pitched – including some ideas that won’t meet the GUEP guidelines (tightly focused on residential and municipally-owned buildings) but will be part of overall regional energy conservation programs.

  1. Weatherization – insulation and other measures to reduce household energy consumption.
  2. Financial incentives: zero interest loans and other income-based, prorated financial help for homeowners and landlords of rental units to improve building energy efficiency.
  3. Residential-scale wind turbines
  4. Purchase and install insulating polymer film on Penn State’s single-pane dorm windows
  5. Energy audits – before and after improvements – to measure and demonstrate energy savings publicly.
  6. Public awareness campaign: “What does conservation mean?”
  7. Labor-for-Skills  Program – Penn State students providing free installation labor in exchange for training in energy-related installation skills.
  8. Door to door distribution of LED lightbulbs to launch one-on-one conversations with homeowners about energy and conservation.
  9. Promotion of David McKay’s TED Talk about energy the UK: data-based analysis
  10. Crowd-funded support for 50 kW solar project at Greenmoore Gardens CSA as preparation for a community-owned 1.5 – 2 MW solar array located on two donated acres at the farm.
  11. Solar weather panels installed over the main State College arteries (College Ave., Beaver Ave., Atherton St. and University Dr.) with the solar power fed into the local electric distribution grid, also providing all-weather protection for pedestrians and bicyclists, “like a gerbil tube.”
  12. Hybrid buses – currently in use in York, PA – combining diesel and solar.
  13. Weather shelters for bus stops in outlying areas.
  14. Traffic control to improve safety for pedestrians coming to and from bus routes on busy roads, i.e., East College Ave. “Trying to cross five lanes of traffic, you’re taking your life in your hands.”
  15. Focusing on “sexy” projects (not boring old insulation) on the theory that, in five years, home heating costs will be so high that people will insulate anyway, but in the meantime, attention-grabbing projects will “give people the direct feeling that they’ve done something good, even if what they’re doing makes no difference whatsoever.” Cheeky suggestions: piezo-electric pole dancing facilities, converting the friction from pole dancing into electric power. Also piezo-electric dance floors.
  16. Setting up an online community energy dashboard sp people can track energy consumption decreases alongside their own behavioral changes. Oberlin already has a version of this.
  17. Setting up and maintaining friendly competition programs – sometimes already done between PSU dorm buildings – to encourage, measure and reward energy-saving behaviors, and to track the durability of behavior changes over time.
  18. Installing coin-operated room heaters in Penn State dorms and in homes, to increase direct awareness of the cost of power for space heating. Cheeky suggestion: low voltage shock collars to discourage energy-wasting behaviors.
  19. Weatherize and install solar hot water systems in State College homes purchased through the new flipping-for-neighborhood-stabilization program. (Note: West Penn Power is required to invest $2 million each year in energy conservation measures. This program might be eligible.)
  20. Beneficial reuse of water /geothermal systems in two to three commercial buildings to take advantage of water’s capacity as a heat sink.
  21. Scaleable manufacturing units to build highly-efficient modular homes, and other sustainable, potentially worker-owned businesses.
  22. Energy aggregation programs, allowing consumer groups to broker deals with energy companies.
  23. Organize energy fairs to bring consumers and renewable energy companies together for information exchange.
  24. Lobby West Penn Power to establish lease-to-own residential and commercial renewable energy systems, enabling the energy company to shift assets and revenue streams away from fossil fuels and into renewables.
  25. Establish time management/mentoring programs to teach people how to plan weekly laundry cycles to air dry clothes. Establish programs to install outdoor clotheslines and distribute clothes drying racks, to promote solar outdoor drying of clothes and indoor rack drying of clothes in winter, and remove electric and gas clothes dryers from homes, with a goal of 50% of homes off the grid for clothes drying. Track progress toward goals. (“We’re not going to ever get to sustainability unless we change the culture of convenience.”)
  26. Set up joint energy conservation & renewable system installation curricula with State College Area School District schools.
  27. Involve SCASD kids in documenting the GUEP process through reporting, videography, etc.

There was some discussion about the formality of CITY-GREEN as an advisory organization. Participants seemed to favor keeping it as informal as possible – recognized by COG for the purposes of the GUEP competition, but without formal incorporation or bylaws at this time. COG reportedly anticipates Penn State and energy-related area nonprofits will participate in the GUEP application process as well.

Timeline from here:

  • May 7 – COG-PSE Committee meeting
  • June 4 – COG-PSE Committee meeting
  • June 17 – Draft basic GUEP application package  – including supporting documents, and standardized support forms from the local utility and municipal leaders – due to COG Executive Committee for review and revision.
  • June 23 – GUEP application package due to the COG General Forum for approval.
  • June 30 – GUEP application package due to GUEP; online filing.
  • August – November – All “credible” plans submitted by June 30 will go into the quarter-finals, with detailed program plans due between August and November 2014. Throughout the process, GUEP will match community planners with technical energy consultants for advice and support.

By-Laws Drafting Process Underway

Mike Rybacki sent me his first draft for CITY-GREEN by-laws last week, and asked for proofreading/editing/proposed revisions.

Here’s his original draft:

Here’s my revised draft:

CITY-GREEN meets tonight (Tuesday, April 29) at 7 p.m. at New Leaf Initiative, 243 S. Allen St., Third Floor.


Budget Drafting Process Underway

Mike Rybacki sent me his first draft for a GUEP spending plan last week, and asked for proofreading/editing and line-item suggestions.

Here’s his original draft:

Here’s my revised draft:

CITY-GREEN meets tomorrow (Tuesday, April 29) at 7 p.m. at New Leaf Initiative, 243 S. Allen St., Third Floor.

Steady State College – April 28, 2014 Edition

4.28.14 Steady State College

CITY-GREEN Meeting Location Change

Just in from Mike Rybacki:

The new meeting place for the April 29 and May 6 organizational meetings will be at New Leaf Initiative, 243 S. Allen Street, Third Floor. 
Three items on the agenda:
  1. Discuss application ideas for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize Competition 
  2. Decide whether to formalize CITY-GREEN as a community advisory board for COG’s GUEP application.
  3. If yes to #2, discuss bylaws, nominate officer candidates for May 6 elections, and/or plan a group presentation for the May 7 COG-PS&E Committee meeting.


CITY-GREEN Organizing Meetings – April 29 & May 6

(From Mike Rybacki)

4.22.14 CITY-GREEN – Invitation to Participate

CITY-GREEN has two planned meetings coming up, Tuesday April 29 and Tuesday May 6, to discuss formation, approve its bylaws, and nominate and vote for interim officers. Both meeting times are 7:00 -9:00 p.m. at New Leaf Initiative, 243 South Allen St., Third Floor.

4.22.14 CITY-GREEN Draft Bylaws

CITY-GREEN’s Mission

To promote energy conservation by assisting in the phase-out of the use of non-renewable energy and to strengthen the use of energy from renewable sources which includes, but is not limited to, photovoltaics and ground source heat pumps, so that Centre County would be energy independent, sustainable in its energy use, and a net exporter of energy derived from renewable sources.

 CITY GREEN’s Purpose

  • Promote a transition to energy independence for Centre County through the use of sustainable energy, that is, energy sources that are regenerative and non-depletable where the energy derived is the safest, cleanest, and longest-lasting option.
  • Advise and assist the Centre Region Council of Governments (COG) and the surrounding Centre County municipalities, in their transition to energy independence
  • Promote education concerning the affordability and long term savings associated with renewables over centralized non-renewable energy use
  • Provide an open, completely transparent participation forum that welcomes all people from all backgrounds who live in Centre County

4.22.14 Centre Region Energy Efficiency Plan – Draft

“…This plan is a comprehensive approach to energy conservation in the Pennsylvania mid state area geographically defined by Centre County and its contiguous counties. The ideas and information are presented to the public for comment and review.

Material from this paper may be adapted by the Centre Region Council of Governments for its participation in the Georgetown University’s $5 million Energy Prize Competition; for this reason, the subjects covered closely match the format of the Competition. Necessary material can be formatted for use in its advancement through the Application, Quarterfinals, Semifinalist, Finalist, and winners circle stages of the Competition…”



Personal Transitions – Note to Readers

I’m in the process of changing some time and energy priorities and wanted to give readers a heads-up.

Spring Creek Homesteading Fund

I’ll be resigning as treasurer and program director for Spring Creek Homesteading effective May 15, just after the May 10 Backyard Laying Hens workshop with Leslie Pillen.

We have a few small grants in the works, and Board President Joshua Lambert is coordinating the homesteading workshop series at the Third Annual PCO FarmFest August 2, to include Enjoying Backyard Honeybees with Sylvia Feldman, Fermentation for Food Preservation with Scott DiLoreto, Cold Frames to Extend Your Gardening Season with Josh Lambert, and Basic Composting with Alexa Schriempf. I’ll provide more information about the future direction of the organization when it becomes available.

Friends & Farmers Cooperative

Friends & Farmers Cooperative currently has about 125 member-owners signed up and they’ve collectively made a capital investment of just over $30,000 so far. When we reach 250 member-owners, new board elections are triggered by the by-laws, and I won’t be running for another term as board treasurer.

I’m currently working on insurance, online payment systems and other financial issues, and drafting a summary of the treasurer responsibilities as I’ve learned them since December via crash course in self-taught bookkeeping and financial reporting – to hopefully make it easier for the next treasurer to get up to speed.

Steady State College & Other Writing & Editing – Downshifting to Slow News

After the April 28 edition, Steady State College will no longer be published in an online version, but only in a print version – printed via computer printer for the next 6-12 months, and printed on the hand-powered printing press from then on.

The print version will be available at locations still to be determined – possibly farmers’ markets and local-focused businesses. It will also be available at a distribution box at my house (50 cents per copy), and by mail-order ($25 for an annual subscription of 24 to 26 issues each year mailed to subscribers’ home or business addresses).

Some of the content may be reformatted and published monthly in Voices of Central PA – still working out the details of that arrangement with Voices editor Sean Flynn. I’m also writing a book.

I plan to sharply curtail my Internet use, with a goal of only checking emails once a week on Monday mornings, and will primarily gather information through public and private meetings, in-person and phone conversations with friends and colleagues, and document collection. Social networking – my efforts to link cool people and their good projects to other cool people with similarly good projects – will also be going mostly off-line.

Paralegal Work

I haven’t had a paid job since 2005 – due to both the high cost of child care and my intense preoccupation with the urgency of post-carbon writing and community organizing. My children are now older and post-carbon/economic contraction planning seems to be on the verge of going mainstream, so I’d like to re-enter the paid workforce. I’m looking for 15 to 20 hours per week of paralegal work at $15 to $20 per hour. Primary litigation support skills include document analysis and legal research and writing; primary experience has been in environmental, civil rights, Constitutional, employment, ERISA and family law.

Divestment Campaign at Harvard; Mini-Conference Reporting

From Democracy Now!

Momentum is growing in the movement to divest from fossil fuel companies. On Thursday, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for an anti-apartheid-style boycott and disinvestment campaign against the industry for its role in driving climate change. Meanwhile, nearly 100 members of the faculty at Harvard University released an open letter calling on the Ivy League school to sell off its interests in oil, gas and coal companies. “If the Corporation regards divestment as ‘political,’ then its continued investment is a similarly political act, one that finances present corporate activities and calculates profit from them,” wrote the professors. 

April 9 “Onward on Climate” Followup

I had a good meeting on April 15 with Penn State senior political science major Scott Patterson, one of the student organizers of the April 9 Onward on Climate forum held at the Kern Building. The event was a joint project of Scott’s group – Organizing for America – and Fossil Free Penn State; it was the first public event for both groups, which each got official club status around January of this year.

Organizing for America works on a variety of issues; Scott is leading the climate efforts and his summer plans include working with Mike Rybacki on the Georgetown University Energy Prize project and on a crowd-sourced “solar raising” project to purchase and install solar panels at Greenmoore Gardens CSA farm while training students to install solar power systems – similar to the new crop mob program giving Penn State students hands-on training in sustainable agriculture skills.

Scott mentioned that Sam Richards, faculty advisor to World in Conversation, recently began climate change discussions around the question “Where does the average Penn State student stand on climate change issues?” I’ll be following up with Richards to gather more information about that.

Scott said Fossil Free Penn State is a new student group launched by a group of freshmen led by Nathan Larkin. Scott’s understanding is that many of the Fossil Free students knew each other in high school, worked on climate issues before arriving at Penn State last fall, and are focusing their efforts on Penn State divestment from fossil fuel corporations. I hope to connect with Nathan soon to gather more info about their background and plans.

April 11 “Getting to Zero” Followup

I’ve already reached out via email to a handful of participants in the faculty-organized mini-conference held last Friday, requesting written feedback about the event. I’m interested in publishing substantive feedback (not PR spin) from any participants: issues discussed; content of discussions; decisions made; next steps planned.

Following is a list of the people who took part in each workshop. If you are (or know) these people – and you support public accountability and transparent governance for Penn State faculty, students and administration – please write (or encourage them to write) a few paragraphs and send them along for publication.

I’ll collect and format all submissions received by April 27, and publish them in the April 28 issue of Steady State College.

Physical Plant Retrofitting:

  • ROB COOPER, Director, Energy and Engineering, Office of Physical Plant
  • JESSICA FATICA, Administrative Support Assistant, Dean’s Office, Liberal Arts
  • KEVIN GOMBOTZ, PE CEM, Director of Commercial Services, Envinity, Inc.
  • MARK. D. HUNCIK, Air Quality and Meteorological Consultant
  • JASON MOORE, Operations Engineer, Office of Physical Plant
  • RAYMOND NAJJAR, Professor of Oceanography, Department of Meteorology
  • JAMIE QUAIL, Student, Psychology
  • ERICH SCHIENKE, Lecturer, Energy & Mineral Engineering
  • GORDON TUROW, Director, Campus Planning and Design, Office of Physical Plant

Investing in Existing Technologies for Alternative Energy Production:

  • JAMES BRASSEUR, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Mathematics and Founding Chair of the APS Topical Group on the Physics of Climate
  • JEFFREY R. S. BROWNSON, Associate Professor of Energy and Mineral Engineering, lead for the Solar Option within the RESS program.
  • MARY EASTERLING, Associate Director, Metrics and Assessment, Sustainability Institute
  • JASON GROTTINI, Director of Operations & Business Development, Envinity, Inc.
  • ANDY LAU, Associate Professor, Engineering Design
  • LAURA LITTLE MILLER, Senior Energy Engineer, OPP
  • NICK PRATT, Student, Energy Engineering

Promoting Emerging Technologies for Alternative Energy and Carbon Sequestration

  • DAVID W. JONES, Research Support Assistant, Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • MIKE PRINKEY, Senior Energy Program Engineer, Office of Physical Plant
  • MOHAMMAD AL REBH, Student, Chemical Engineering
  • TOM RICHARD, Professor of Biological Engineering, Director of PPenn State’s Institutes for Energy and the Environment (PSIEE)
  • STEVE TREADO, Associate Professor, Architectural Engineering
  • JILL ZANKOWSKI, Student Intern, Sustainability Institute, Environmental Resource Management and Community, Environment and Development.

Assessing and Changing Carbon Intensive Practices and Cultures

  • LEE AHERN, Assistant Professor, Communications; President, International Environmental Communication Association.
  • HANNAH BRUKARDT, Administrative Support Assistant, Dean’s Office, Liberal Arts
  • JOSEPH P. CUSUMANO, Professor of Engineering Science & Mechanics
  • KENNETH J. DAVIS, Professor of Meteorology
  • BILL SHARP, Director, Transition Centre
  • JANET K. SWIM, Ph.D, Professor of Psychology
  • BRENT YARNAL, Professor of Geography

Market Mechanisms for Encouraging Greenhouse Gas Reductions

  • MELANIE BERNIER, Associate Director, Budget and Finance, Student Affairs
  • ERIK FOLEY-DeFIORE, Strategy & Planning Manager, Sustainability Institute
  • TERRY P. HARRISON, Earl P. Strong Executive Education Professor of Business and
  • Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems
  • STEVE MARUSZEWSKI, Assistant Vice President, Office of Physical Plant, leading the University’s Environmental Stewardship Strategy, Co-chairing the University’s Sustainability Strategic Planning Process and leading the efforts associated with defining and managing the campus deferred maintenance and capital renewal needs.
  • MADISON MILLER, Student, Schreyer Honors College, Business Management and Community, Environment and Development
  • SHAUN PARDI, President, Envinity, Inc.
  • RICHARD READY, Professor of Agricultural and Environmental Economics
  • BRANDI J. ROBINSON, Lecturer, Dutton e-Education Insititute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, formerly worked OPP, maintaining emissions inventories for the PSU campuses. Her graduate research at Penn State focused on mitigation alternatives for University Park.

 Interfacing with Local and Regional Initiatives

  • PAMELA ADAMS, Refuse and Recycling Administrator, Centre Region Council of Governments
  • LARA FOWLER, Senior Lecturer, Penn State Dickinson School of Law, Research Fellow, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment
  • HUGH A. MOSE, General Manager, Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA)
  • PAUL MOSER, Superintendent, Steam Services, Office of the Physical Plant
  • SYLVIA NEELY, Associate Emeritus Professor, History; first president of PA Interfaith Power & Light,
  • ALAN SAM, Environmental Coordinator/Arborist, State College Borough, responsible for coordinating various Borough sustainability initiatives.
  • TERRY SHUPP, Sustainable Communities Collaborative Coordinator, Sustainability Institute

Coordination, Planning, Communication with Partners and Administration

  • JEREMY BEAN, Associate Director of Planning, Sustainability Institute
  • VIN CRESPI, Distinguished Professor of Physics, Chemistry, and Materials Science & Engineering
  • SARINA KATZ, Student President, Eco Action; member, Student Sustainability Advisory Council; International Relations and History major.
  • MARYBETH MCGINNIS, Student Intern, Sustainability Institute; Geography major
  • SHELLEY MCKEAGUE, Environmental Compliance Specialist, Office of Physical Plant
  • DANIEL TOMASO, Graduate Student in Meteorology
  • DENICE HELLER WARDROP, Director, Sustainability Institute; Executive Director, PSIEE

What does the failure to confront climate change tell us about ourselves?

  • PETER AESCHBACHER, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture
  • SUSANNAH BARSOM, Sustainability Institute
  • MELISSA DiJULIO, Student
  • JACQUELINE EDMONDSON, Associate Vice President and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
  • ALEX LINEY, Student, English
  • IAN MARSHALL, Professor of English and Environmental Studies
  • DR. LAURIE MULVEY, Executive Director, World in Conversation Center
  • JENNY TATO, Student
  • CHRIS UHL, Professor, Biology
  • JENNIFER A. WAGNER-LAWLOR, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and English
  • GABY WINQVIST, Instructor, Department of Kinesiology



Gail Tverberg on Oil Limits & Climate Change

Gail Tverberg writing at Our Finite World – Oil Limits and Climate Change: How They Fit Together

…The RCP2.6 Scenario assumes that anthropogenic carbon emissions will still be at 84% of 2010 levels in 2030. In comparison, my expectation (Figure 3, below) is that fossil fuel use (and thus anthropogenic carbon emissions) will be at a little less than 40% of 2010 levels in 2030…

One of the big issues is that energy supplies seem to be leaving us, indirectly through economic changes that we have little control over. The IPCC report is written from the opposite viewpoint:  we humans are in charge and need to decide to leave energy supplies. The view is that the economy, despite our energy problems, will return to robust growth. With this robust growth, our big problem will be climate change because of the huge amount of carbon emissions coming from fossil fuel burning.

Unfortunately, the real situation is that the laws of physics, rather than humans, are in charge…

Kurt Cobb writing at Resource Insights – Did crude oil production actually peak in 2005?

“Haven’t we been hearing from the oil industry and from government and international agencies that worldwide oil production has been increasing in the last several years?” The answer, of course, is yes. But, the deeper question is whether this assertion is actually correct.

Here is a key fact that casts doubt on the official reporting: When the industry and the government talk about the price of oil sold on world markets and traded on futures exchanges, they mean one thing. But, when they talk about the total production of oil, they actually mean something quite different–namely, a much broader category that includes all kinds of things that are simply not oil and that could never be sold on the world market as oil…

The notion that oil is becoming abundant all over again is contradicted by the levitating price and by the evidence that actual worldwide crude oil production is either flat or growing at an infinitesimal rate. But the industry doesn’t want the public or policymakers to know this because the current belief in abundance tends to slow down an energy transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewables.

That transition must come sooner or later. But the industry would like to see it come later. And, if policymakers are fooled by the abundance story, that transition will almost certainly come later.

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