Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A few bright spots...

Uhg the stock market is behaving badly today! The Dow is down 2.25% and the Nasdaq is down 3.75% as I write. To take my mind off that...
It is worth registering that this blog has surpassed 1000 visitors!
or is that five loyal visitors have clicked on through 200 times each?

I was really happy to see that on Sunday, An Inconvenient Truth picked up not one, but two Academy Awards. Congrats, they are well deserved, it was a powerful movie. Not only did Al Gore change (and advance) the debate on the Climate Crisis, but I think he has also changed the way that people make and view documentaries. That is to say that I think every major change/shift in public opinion will from now on be accompanied by a documentary (although clearly not all will be as compelling as AIT). In fact we will probably come to see these as “issuementaries” where different think tanks, NGOs, and special interest groups express their views cinema-graphically much the way they issue white papers today.

Another positive recent headline is the TXU (a Texas power utility) buyout by KKR et al, with the blessing of several environmental groups. While some will argue that TXU would never have actually built all 11 coal power plants it was pushing for, I think the deal sets a great precedent for future involvement by environmental groups. It is even more interesting (music to my ears) to hear all the pundits say that in fact TXU building 11 coal power plants was not even an economically sound proposition! Woot! Actually the pundits said that the buyers will benefit by not doing so…but isn’t that the same thing? Hope the guys planning to build the other 140 coal power plants around the US recheck their figures. Of course I’m counting on the buyout group honoring its pledge to pump $400 million (over several years) into conservation and renewable initiatives. If they do, they stand a chance of demonstrating how a more enlightened utility can operate.

And speaking of enlightenment, wasn’t it cool to hear that Australia is banning the incandescent bulb? Yes, the other country run by an administration in global warming denial has taken up the torch (get it?) of energy efficiency. It seems that consumers will benefit from lower power bills once they install more efficient bulbs (change is set to take effect in 2010), and the power suppliers will also reduce their costs due to transmission congestion and load management improvements (something about reactive loading and inductive capacitance or vis versa). While some will bemoan such intrusive action by government like Geoff over at Energy Outlook, I applaud it. We/they/everyone needs to do so much more, but hey you have to start somewhere, and why not pick the easiest changes first? I’ve obviously embraced the CFL switch, and encourage others to do so post haste.

Edit 2:05pm: yumping yimminy both indexes fell to -4% while I was writting this!


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