Good-Bye to Camy the Goat
And Solar Power Plant to Shine in North China, Time for a Tesla Drive, A Fan-tasic Idea, and more!
November 27, 2006
Good-Bye To Camy the Goat:
Was Millstone Radiation to Blame?
On July 21, 2006, Camy the Goat died. Camy was one of three goats adopted by the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone after their goat farm at 120 Dayton Road in Waterford -- 5 miles north of the Millstone Nuclear Powerplant -- was sold to a developer.
|Katie the Goat and her kids, keep watch outside the Garde Arts Theatre in New London during a July 18 debate to determine which Democrat would challenge GOP Governor M. Jodi Rell in November. Credit: The Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone|
Camy, Katie and Happy all contributed their milk to Millstone's environmental monitoring program. Their milk always tested high for strontium-90 and several times excessively high.
Strontium-90 is routinely released by Millstone into the air and water. It is carried by the wind and brought to the ground in precipitation. Camy. Katie and Happy ate pasture grass and drank water at 120 Dayton Road. A Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection graph identifies 120 Dayton Road as the location with the highest levels of strontium-90 in goat milk. The levels of strontium-90 in goat milk decline with distance from Millstone.
Camy exhibited no symptoms before she died. Her remains were analyzed in a necropsy. The post mortem examination found that Camys bone marrow was hypocellular, an abnormal condition.
Dr. John A. Caltabiano, a licensed veterinarian who has practiced in southeastern Connecticut for 25 years, as well as the pathologist who performed the necropsy, agree that Camy's exposure to radiation could be a factor in Camy's hypocellular bone marrow condition.
At the Coalition's press conference on August 23, 2006, Dr. Caltabiano stated:
Due to the high elevation of strontium-90 in these goats, I think it's possible that the radiation affected the bone marrow, resulting in a hypoplastic condition. I think that if Camy didnt have a hypoplastic condition in her bone marrow she might very well be alive today.
In May, Camy gave birth to two kids, LC (Little Camy) and Pete, who attended the press conference in her memory. Camy is much missed by all who knew her and cared for her. Was Camy a victim of Millstone radiation? Her tissues are being examined further for more clues.
Human beings are subject to the same damage to their bone marrow from radiation exposure. Dominion, Millstone's corporate parent, knows that radiation exposure, even in small doses, causes cancer and other diseases and can be fatal. Is Dominion committing crimes against humanity and the environment with its routine and intentional releases of radiation to the community? Is our government committing criminal negligence in allowing Millstone to keep operating?
Nancy Burton, the Green Party candidate for Attorney General (www.VoteBurton.org) brought attention to both the Millstone issue and her own campaign with a five-day "Goat Caravan" across the state.
As Burton explained, "My plan is to tow a trailer with Katie the Goat and her two kids and stop at various pre-planned locations when I can put the goats on display, explain the strontium-90 connection to Millstone and Indian Point, shake hands and hand out anti-nuclear and Green Party literature."
On November 7, Nancy Burton won 18,880 votes, taking 1.8 percent of the total votes cast for Attorney General! This means that she secured the Attorney General position for the Green Party for 2010 and will not be needed to mount the next campaign. Burton says she regards the vote as a public mandate for "Clean Air, Clean Water and Clean Government" and for shutting the Millstone and Indian Point Nuclear Power Stations.
Solar Power Plant to be Built in North China
The China Daily reports that Solar Millennium AG, a Germany-based solar energy company, is collaborating on a $2.5 billion-dollar solar powerplant in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The site was selected because of its water resources and abundant sunlight. Construction is set to begin by the end of the year.
The project will be producing of 1,000 MW (megawatts) of free solar-electric power by 2020. A smaller $162.5 million first stage will have a capacity of 50 MW. Solar Millennium hopes to build similar plants in Spain and the US.
"About 20 to 30 percent of the total spending will be financed by investors, with the remaining coming from bank loans," said Wang Genshu, chairman of the Inner Mongolia Ruyi Industry Co Ltd.
Solar-thermal systems use water to generate steam for power production. It is expected that the Ordos solar plant will sell its electricity to the power grid for 1.5-1.6 yuan (18.8-20 cents) per kilowatt-hour.
China, the world's second-biggest energy consumer after the US, aims to increase renewable consumption from 7 percent to 15 percent by 2020. At the beginning of the year, the government passed China's first law requiring the use of renewable wind and solar resources to generate electricity. China's major power companies have been ordered to ensure that five percent of their electricity comes from renewable energy sources by 2010.
Time for a Tesla Drive
Silicon Valley engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning wanted to stop driving cars that ran on Middle East oil, so three years ago, they borrowed $40 million from investors (including the PayPal co-founder Elon Musk and Google-boys, Larry Page and Sergey Brin) and launched Tesla Motors Inc., with the goal to build an electric car that would be nonpolluting and Ferrari-fast. Using cars that can be refueled by plugging them into a lamp socket could go a long way to reducing the "greenhouse" gases that are driving global warming.
|The appeal of this super-costly Tesla Roadster can be summed up in one word: Teslatosterone! Tesla Motors' Martine Eberhard declares "we need to stop using oil altogether," but being able to vault from zero to 60 mph in three seconds isn't likely to much to significantly accelerate the world's critical transition to sustainable transportation. Credit: Photo from AutoBlogGreen.com|
Silicon Valley, with its engineering expertise, entrepreneurs, engineers and venture capitalists, may be able to succeed in the EV business where Detroit failed. While Detroit and Japan are focused on building cars for the mass-market, SV's Evs will be high-performance vehicles designed to appeal to wealthy car enthusiasts.
Three different Silicon Valley startups -- Tesla Motors of San Carlos, Wrightspeed Inc. of Woodside and Li-on Cells of Menlo Park -- are among a cadre of companies nationwide developing electric cars or components. Ian Wright left Tesla to start his own electric car company (www.wrightspeed.com). His X1 prototype lacks doors, roof and windshield but it can zoom from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds, making it one of the world's fastest production cars. The X1 has out-raced Porsche and Ferrari in head-to-head competition.
Spokane's Commuter Cars Corp., has already started selling its Tango T600, a narrow, two-seat electric. George Clooney drove one of the first models to the 2006 Oscar ceremonies in LA.
The first Tesla will have a 200-mile-per-charge range, perfect for the commute and weekend road trips. The lithium-ion batteries can be recharged with a plug shoved into any electrical outlet.
Contact: Tesla Motors, 1050 Bing Street San Carlos, CA 94070. (650) 413-4000. www.teslamotors.com
A Fan-tasic Idea
Issue 24 of Readymade magazine suggests a quick-and-easy way to shave the kilowatts off your household energy bill: "This fall, as you are setting your clocks back and replacing your smoke detector batteries, add more thing to your list: Change the direction of your ceiling fan. By setting your ceiling fan to turn clockwise (reverse), the fan will pull the warmer air away from the ceiling and down into the lower living space, saving you money on heating expenses.
Visit Readymade magazine online at: www.readymademag.com
Whole Foods to Sell Wind Power
The folks are Treehugger (www.treehugger.com) are first with the scoop that Whole Foods plans to begin selling Wind Power Cards in all of their stores beginning November 1. Wind Power Cards (which are similar to the gift cards offered at Home Depot) are priced at $5 and $15.
"Selling wind credits in a card form hasnt been done before and this could be a huge hit for Whole Foods," Treehugger notes. And Whole Foods is preparing to take the next step in commercial stewardship as well by announcing that their stores will soon be 100% wind powered. Renewable Choice Energy, the company that provides Whole Foods with their wind power, is responsible for the Wind Card program.
According to Whole Foods: "Only the California stores will have them starting November 1st. The other regions will follow shortly, but probably after the holidays. Everyone should have them by April." And, while the cards are currently printed on standard gift card PVC, Whole Foods promises: "We are working together to have the next printing of cards on either tree-free paper made from limestone (which we use for certain applications) or recycled cardboard."
Warming 'Threat to Asian Security'
"Heating up the Planet: Climate Change and Security," a disturbing study by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute, warns that rapid global warming poses a grim scenario of disease, food and water shortages, natural disasters, territorial tensions and mass population movements that could threaten political stability in the region.
Rising sea levels could flood China's Yellow and Yangzi River deltas. A one-meter rise in sea-level would flood 17.5 percent of its area -- including much of its food basket in the Ganges River delta. Rising temperatures will accelerate the spread of infectious malaria and dengue fever. Rising seas also threaten the Phillipines' Manila Bay, Indonesia's Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan coasts, and the deltas of Vietnam's Mekong, Thailand's Chao Phraya and Myanmar's Irrawaddy rivers. Many small Pacific islands would be swallowed by the rising surf.
Report authors Dr. Alan Dupont and Dr. Graeme Pearman warn that "the world is facing a prolonged period of planetary warming," fueled largely by modern lifestyles. In the past, climate change has been spread over centuries but today we are faced with the threat of rapid and significant changes "within the space of a single century." Survival will demand daunting challenges of human and biological adaptation."
"Far from exaggerating the impact of climate change, it is possible that scientists may have underestimated the threat," the study's authors say, citing a number of climatic "wild cards," including the collapse of the ocean's Thermohaline Circulation (which could trigger a rapid cooling of Europe's climate), a de-oxygenation of the deep ocean, and reduced capacity of the seas to absorb carbon dioxide.
This unprecedented threat to human survival will require a "fundamental transformation" of the world's approach to energy use and "challenge the adaptive capacities of future generations." [See "Climate Change Threatens World Economy" in this edition of The-Edge.]
Australia Roasted by Record Drought
Australia is in the throes of an extreme drought caused by abrupt climate change and Climate Ark (a project of Ecological Internet) reports that the nation is undergoing an unprecedented debate on how to address global heating. Australia's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are among the world's highest, in large part because Australia's economy is heavily dependent on the coal -- a dirty fuel that is backed by a powerful industry that exerts undue political influence.
Temperatures in Australia are expected to rise by as much as 8 ºC (15 ºF) in the next century. These soaring temperatures will dry up water supplies for millions, causing the collapse of agriculture over huge areas. Rising seas will destroying substantial coastal areas while super cyclones and bushfires are expected to drive countless environmental refugees into the cities, overwhelming Australia's ability to cope.
The solution is clear, says Climate Ark: "Australia simply must ratify the Kyoto Protocol immediately and engage seriously in negotiations to further establish global mandatory emissions cuts."
This means that Oz's emissions must be cut as soon as possible by 60-75% -- as soon as possible. This would require that Australia forgo burning any more of its coal resources. Australia also needs to "stop its obstruction of international climate policies" by signing the Kyoto Protocol on reducing Greenhouse gases.
Pentagon Declares War on Wind-turbines
Looking more like Don Quixote than General Patton, the Department of Defense (DOD) seems prepared to do battle with windmills. A DoD report on "The Effect of Windmill Farms On Military Readiness" concludes
that wind farms located within radar line-of-sight of an air defense radar have "the potential to degrade the ability of the radar to perform its intended function."
The report resulted from a last-minute amendment to the National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, in which Congress mandated that the Secretary of Defense submit a report to Congress on the effects of wind farms on military readiness by interfering with military radar.
On March 21, 2006, the DOD and the Department of Homeland Security Long Range Rader Joint Program Office adopted an Interim Policy on Proposed Windmill Farm Locations that required the government to contest any
construction of any windmill farms "within radar line of site of the National Air Defense and Homeland Security Radars."
At least twelve projects in Illinois, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota received "Notices of Presumed Hazard," which places a de facto
moratorium on construction.
The FAA's actions have the potential to delay future wind projects. According to a statement issued by Senator Durbin of Illinois, the "overwhelming percentage of land in this country is classified as within the 'radar line of sight' and possibly obstructive."
A September 27,2006 DOD report evaluated three mitigation measures
aimed at avoiding or eliminating impact of windmills on air defense radar. These included:
(1) the "bald earth" approach (increasing the distance between air defense radars and wind turbines);
(2) terrain masking (where elevated terrain is located between the radar and the wind turbines); and
(3) terrain relief (when the elevation of the radar is significantly greater than the elevation of the wind turbines).
Let's hope the DOD gets its priorities straight. While there's little chance that the Pentagon will need to defend the US from incoming North Korean missiles, we do know with a certainty that global warming is a bigger threat -- and it is absolutely "coming our way."
For more information contact: