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Clinton to Start $1 Billion Renewable Energy Fund 177

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-a-lot-of-batteries dept.
antifoidulus writes "ABC news is reporting that former President Bill Clinton has announced the creation of a $1 Billion investment fund devoted to renewable energy. This will be an investment fund as opposed to charity, and Clinton has said that 'The Green Fund would focus on reducing dependence on fossil fuels, creating jobs, lessening pollution and helping to reduce global warming, all while making a profit.' Former World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn will be managing the fund."
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Clinton to Start $1 Billion Renewable Energy Fund

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  • Finally... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HoosierPeschke (887362) <hoosierpeschke@comcast.net> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @05:39AM (#16165943) Homepage
    Someone is doing something. But our problem is we rely so much on fossil fuels that large industries are built around it (automotive, gas stations, refineries). Even though fossil fuels may be deemed as evil the working guy/gal at these places would probably like to remain employed.

    Moving away from fossil fuels may be for the greater good but we can't forget about the side effects that will have.
    • Re:Finally... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @05:47AM (#16165969) Homepage Journal
      Someone is doing something

      There has been a lot of talk here in .au about our prime minister sucking to to GWB, particularly on environmental issues. Now there is talk of even GWB doing a U turn on energy policy. John Howard is going to look soooo stupid. I hope.

      • John Howard is going to look soooo stupid. I hope.

        You mean he'll look stupid because he's been exposed as a liar?
        Interesting thought, but I wouldn't bank on it concerning him too much...

        "Medicare will be retained in its entirety."
        "I can guarantee we're not going to have $100,000 university degree courses."
        "No, there's no way that a GST will ever be part of our policy."
        "The Government's position remains that we were advised by Defence that children were thrown overboard".
        "The Australian Government

    • the only way for America (and the west in general) will be to obtain cheap (and clean) energy and automate further. Without that, we can not compete.
      • by MtViewGuy (197597)
        In short, invest in General Electric. GE is heavily into wind power, and their 2 MW wind turbines are going up everywhere in the world. There is talk of putting up thousands of 2 MW wind turbines in the Great Plains far away from where people will complain about being an eyesore, and you know GE will jump at a chance to supply these turbines on large scale.
        • 2 MW is nothing. On a trip back from Germany, I was talking to a guy whose company builds 5 MWs and is about to come out with a 15 MW.

          But I would look at GE for their nukes and hope that GWB will pass tax breaks for them in the same way that he did a give away to his oil companies. I doubt that he will push it, but thank god, the dems will when they take over congress.
          • by MtViewGuy (197597)
            However, once you go above 2 MW power generation the size of the windmill gets ridiculously large and unwieldy. People are skeptical of the gigantic 400 foot diameter wind turbines now under construction.

            Expect many 2 MW wind turbines to go up in North and South Dakota over the next 15 years.
        • Actually no. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by skids (119237)
          GE is mainly expanding its foreign labor wind turbine manufacturing. What you thought they'd go and hire all those steel and line workers the big 3 are laying off? Naw. Everyone knows American labor is overpriced and underskilled.

          Everyone except, say, Gamesa, Suzlon, and Clipper Wind and all the other foreign-owned companies from other industries who seem to have no problem at all opening plants in the U.S. like say Toyota. They seem to be able to turn a profit off American employees. Go figure. Maybe
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172) *
      Even though fossil fuels may be deemed as evil the working guy/gal at these places would probably like to remain employed.

      I'm perfectly willing to teach them to fix/build bicycles, show them what sort of fuel/comfort stations cyclists would find useful and spend money at, what sort of road system would better suit cyclists rather than cars, how human muscle can be used to transport goods, make electricity, etc.

      "Paradigm shifts" always result in increased employment, although to take advantage of them one mi
      • by Orgazmus (761208)
        Will you help me too? I want to learn riding a bicycle to work, just like anyone else who is hip and cool.
        The route to my job is 50km long each way, and in the winter the temperature drops to -25C. I have yet to see a hydro refill station with my own eyes, and because of the price of electricity here, an electric car would be way too expensive.

        Not everyone even gets the chance to be environmentally friendly, and without a car, I would be fscked.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by kfg (145172) *
          . . .without a car, I would be fscked.

          So would I. Just because I don't own 'em doesn't imply that I don't use 'em. That's why there are jobs to be found in the enterprise.

          Will you help me too?

          Yes, I will. Although. . .I may well charge you for it. It would be my job.

          The route to my job is 50km long each way, and in the winter the temperature drops to -25C.

          About the same as the local conditions I have operated under. I can show you solutions, some of which would . . .creat jobs.

          Remember that jobs are the co
    • by djh101010 (656795) *
      (Finally) Someone is doing something.

      That's a bit insulting, don't you think, to those of us who _have_ been "doing something" with this topic for years or decades? Also, I don't know or care what your personal politics are, but Clinton's record for actually doing things based on factual scientific data isn't exactly a strong one.

      While I'd love for this to turn into something useful, with Clinton heading it up, I can only see it turning into a "not so hidden agenda" for one political purpose or anothe
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by DerekLyons (302214)
      Finally... Someone is doing something.

      Yes, and just in time for the 2008 elections too...
      • by Jeremi (14640)
        Yes, and just in time for the 2008 elections too...

        Just in time for the 2006 elections actually... but that ignores the larger points: (a) Clinton couldn't run for President again even if he wanted to, he's already served two terms, and (b) why is it that nobody can do anything good anymore without some cynic suggesting that it's nothing more than an empty political ploy? Have we become so cynical that we literally cannot imagine anyone genuinely trying to improve the state of the world?

        I suppose Mother T

        • Yes, and just in time for the 2008 elections too...

          Just in time for the 2006 elections actually... but that ignores the larger points: (a) Clinton couldn't run for President again even if he wanted to, he's already served two terms,

          1 - Clinton is still a Democratic Party stalwart, and said Party is in deep trouble. 2 - *Hillary* Clinton is in the midst of ramping up a campaign for 2008. (And is widely seen wherever her husband is dispensing Good.)

          and (b) why is it that nobody can do any

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            first off, 2 years is not 'just in time'. in politics, 2 years is for fuckin ever.

            second, the democratic party isn't 'in deep trouble'. they seem to be holding their own against the GOP in spite of a cohesive plan for most everything. i'd say the GOP is starting to slip down the slope into 'deep trouble' territory.
    • I say "good for Bill Clinton".

      He has the vision to know just what is needed to get away from the current energy sources, and also has the proven ability to raise money for good causes like this, and to pick suitable managers for the money funds.

      I'm sure something will come of this, Mr. Clinton himself is not doing the research, but those who will be will have grants, jobs and places to work.

      Just as Ford Motor Company managed to move from the Model T to the Model A, and is was hard, every part in the Model A
    • by msobkow (48369)

      With BioDiesel or Hydrogen approaches, there would still be retail distribution jobs.

      BioDiesel interests me because I see it as solar energy in storable and transportable form. The issues of a stable energy supply has always been an issue for wind and solar collection, relegating them to being supplemental instead of primary energy sources.

      Unlike ethanol, biodiesel energy farming is net-positive, even with current technology.

      Where there will be fights is in government, as fossil energy companies fig

      • farmers investing in a biodiesel production facility, and using their own fuel to reduce operating costs rather than selling it as product.

        According to an article I read on a Polish news site, a lot of European farmers are doing that already. They buy a special apparatus for a few thousand euros, and vegetable oil from Ukraine or China (cheaper than locally produced). One farmer claimed that this arrangement paid for itself after a year. The problem in Poland is that these operations are in a legal grey a

        • by msobkow (48369)

          The term "mini refinery" is misleading. I think it's the kind of term the oil companies would bandy about in an attempt to ensure that biodiesel production is regulated by government bodies the fossil fuel companies already know and have leverage with.

          Biodiesel processing is much cleaner than fossil fuel cracking, and it doesn't leave behind a host of fuel variants (gasoline, diesel, kerosene, high-test fuels, paraffin, etc.)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Besides being a great investment with a likely massive return, something like this would make me feel a lot better about investing in managed accounts. Some of these funds you have no idea what kinds of companies you're gonna end up owning peices of-- and quite honestly, there's a lot of 'em that might have some chance of return (oil company, anyone?) but it just isn't worth the guilt...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LaughingCoder (914424)
      Besides being a great investment with a likely massive return

      The concept is not new. "Green" mutual funds have been around forever. They all have the same thing in common ... poor returns. Now, this doesn't make it a bad idea, and perhaps with Clinton's name attached to it that may boost awareness somewhat, but I think anyone who invests in this fund needs to think of it as "doing the right thing" for a small return, rather than treating it like a "real" investment. Of course knowing how ambitious the Cl
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @09:26AM (#16166617)
        The concept is not new. "Green" mutual funds have been around forever. They all have the same thing in common ... poor returns.

        I call bullshit. The very first green fund I found via searching google for performance green "mutual fund" [google.com] was the Winslow Green Growth fund (WGGFX) which has outperformed the S&P and DOW indices by over 30%. [yahoo.com] Since most managed funds (at least 80% of them) fail to even match market indices, clearly not ALL green funds have poor returns.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by LaughingCoder (914424)
          Source: http://www.greencentury.com/funds/performance.asp x [greencentury.com]

          Green Century Balanced Fund 10 year return: 7.71%
          Green Century Equity Fund 10 year return: 6.93%
          S&P 500 Index Fund 10 year return: 8.31%

          The numbers look alot worse if you consider 1, 3 or 5 year returns.

          Here's another one: http://www.domini.com/domini-funds/Domini-Social-E quity-Fund/index.htm [domini.com]

          I couldn't find their 10 year return, but their 5 year is 3.12%. The S&P 500 Index 5 year return is 4.65%.


          For reference, a few well-know
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)
            But I believe that generally these types of socially-conscious funds inevitably wind up sacrificing returns for "principals".

            Considering that in general most funds, socially-conscious or not, underperform the market indices, I think your conclusions are erroneous. I don't have the data to do a comprehensive survey, but considering that it is easy enough to find other high-performing socially-conscious funds like the paxworld family, [paxworld.com] I'm more willing to believe that the group of such funds as a whole at lea
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by scoove (71173)
            Thanks LaughingCoder for a good response to the "I call BS" poster. Readers who don't understand finance should be well served by your post.

            One point I'd also add to your comment about returns is that this data does not include expense ratios, which are usually significantly higher than average in managed green funds. Part of this is due to the funds not getting near as much capital (due to the market's awareness that they deliver poor returns historically) as other funds, so the fund's costs are spread acr
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by KenSeymour (81018)
            Perhaps non-green corporations can financially out perform green ones because they can pass on the environmental costs on to future generations and the government.

            Iron Mountain Mine [epa.gov] in northern California. It is an abondoned open pit pyrite mine. Whenever it rains, it produces sulphuric acid, combined with heavy metals, which would eventually feed into the Sacramento River, if it were not for two intervening dams. During heavy rains, the polution does get past the dams before being sufficiently diluted.

            F
          • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @05:04PM (#16169787) Homepage
            But I believe that generally these types of socially-conscious funds inevitably wind up sacrificing returns for "principals".
            As another poster pointed out, the performance differential is in part because green funds are more likely to invest in businesses that are willing to absorb the costs that they could have simply passed on to the rest of society. If we assume that Fidelity and Green Century are run by equally capable and equally lucky groups of people, then the difference between the rates of return is entirely due to the rat-bastardy behavior of the companies that Fidelity is willing to invest in but Green century is not.

            If you're willing to sacrifice principles for a slightly higher rate of return, then you never had the former and don't deserve the latter.
          • by dalutong (260603)
            But I believe that generally these types of socially-conscious funds inevitably wind up sacrificing returns for "principals".

            Good! I would much rather make less money (note, still making money) investing in green or sustainable businesses than make more money supporting things that disgust me.
      • by mattkime (8466)
        >>Of course knowing how ambitious the Clintons are, once can't help but suspect this is more about Hilary's run in 2008 than it is about saving the planet.

        If only saving the planet and political ambitions overlapped more frequently...
  • by macadamia_harold (947445) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @06:10AM (#16166037) Homepage
    Clinton taped an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace about this today, which is scheduled to be aired Sunday. The interview is supposed to be about the energy initiative, and his charitable work; instead, Chris Wallace ambushes him out of left field with some bullshit hardball question about Osama Bin Laden [thinkprogress.org].

    It's hilarious, because not only does Clinton attempt a diplomatic answer, but when Chris Wallace won't let it go and birddogs him, Clinton completely pwns Wallace, then goes back on topic.

    I'm curious to see if they actually air it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      That's the funniest thing I've read in awhile. I wasn't a fan of Clinton when he was the President, but am more now with all the charity he's doing. And it's always a pleasure to watch ANY media get punked.
      • by pipingguy (566974) *
        Who is being actually "punked" (thank you MTV for the lead-in to whathisface's show/concept) here?
    • Ah the magic they work in the editing room...
    • by will_die (586523)
      The reason that Clinton is doing his show is because he came out so much agaist the ABC mini-series.

      So the chances of you actually seeing it look to really low since it looks like that "transcript" looks like it was false a href=
    • That's good stuff. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Grendel Drago (41496) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:30AM (#16167367) Homepage
      I doubt it'll actually convince anyone, but it's nice to see someone actually thinking on his feet.

      'Course, they'll probably cut it down to:

      WALLACE: Blah blah blah bin Laden.

      CLINTON: I failed to get bin Laden
      And that'll be all.
  • Isn't this initiative very anti-American? I mean: it's on the verge of communism! (joking of course) I think the idea and initiative are very good. Let's see what follows from this.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Since when is charity NOT an investment? I think that helping people live longer than 20 years is a great investment, more minds to think shit up! But that's just me.
    I do like this idea though, Mr. Clinton!
  • by cdn-programmer (468978) <terr@terral[ ]c.net ['ogi' in gap]> on Saturday September 23, 2006 @08:29AM (#16166409)
    Clinton seems to have had sex with Argonne Labs Integral Fast Reactor... and next we'll be hearing he didn't have sex with the energy fund. He just created the problem.

    It was the Clinton Administration that shut down the Argonne Lab's IFR development program in 1994. This reactor design will do more to solve the coming world energy crisis than anything else...and Clinton did have sex with it!

    Read the congressional report: Nov. 6, 1997 (Senate) Page S11890-S11891 here: http://www.anl.gov/Media_Center/Argonne_News/news9 7/crtill.html [anl.gov]

    Quote:

    Unfortunately, this program was canceled just 2 short years before the proof of concept. I assure my colleagues someday our Nation will regret and reverse this shortsighted decision.


    If anyone wants to read the PBS interview with Dr. Charles Till - look here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reac tion/interviews/till.html [pbs.org]

    Quote from the PBS interview:

    The Clinton administration, I think, firmed up quite an anti-nuclear power position....

    Q: What will be our energy source, then?

    A:
    I think that many engineers would agree that there is limited, additional gain to be had from conservation. After all, what does one mean by "conservation?" One simply means using less and using less more efficiently. And there have been considerable gains wrung out of the energy supply and energy usage over the past couple of decades. We can probably go somewhat further. But you're talking, you know, 10% or 20%. Whereas over the next 50 years, it can be confidently predicted that with the energy growth in this country alone, and much more so around the world, it would be 100%, 200%, or some very large number.

    And so what energy source steps in? There is only one. It's fossil fuel. It's coal. It's oil. It's natural gas. Some limited additional use of the more exotic forms of things, like solar and wind. But they are, after all, very limited in what they can do. So it will be fossil.

    Now the question, of course, immediately becomes, well, how long can that last? And everyone has a different opinion on that. One thing that is certain, and that is that the increase in the use of fossil fuels will sharply increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Another thing is certain. You will put a lot more pollutants into the atmosphere as well, in addition to carbon dioxide, which one could argue the greenhouse effect exists or doesn't exist. ...


    So it is very clear that the consequences of short sighted anti-nuclear policies of the Clinton Adminitration were well understood in the early 90's. The lack of solutions to the problems we face now are a direct result of Clinton's administration.

    ----------

    Note the Integral Fast Reactor burns nuclear wastes and will extend the existing uranium fuel stockpile (called Depleated Uranium, spent fuel, and nuclear waste) to over 60,000 years for the existing fleet of over 100 reactors in the Gigawatt range.... and this without mining any more uranium.

    The IFR burns all actinides and hense there are no long term wastes... only light isotopes with 1/2 lives of a few decades at most, and which are used industrially for things like pipe line xrays.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_Fast_Reactor [wikipedia.org]

    When we are in the throws of the worst energy crisis mankind has ever seen, then I want everyone to look and Clinton's contribution to the problem. I think the quote from the congressional report (above) sums it up nicely.

    The short of it is that its prefectly clear we need alternatives to fossil fuels and the issue is that we needed to start developing these alternatives 15 and 20 years ago. It
    • Jimmy Carter (Score:5, Informative)

      by Stalyn (662) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @09:46AM (#16166701) Homepage Journal
      Actually the only President who tried to do anything about our dependence on foreign oil was Jimmy Carter. But of course everyone hates Jimmy Carter.

      What I have to say to you now about energy is simple and vitally important.

      Point one: I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States. Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 -- never. From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now and then reversed as we move through the 1980s, for I am tonight setting the further goal of cutting our dependence on foreign oil by one-half by the end of the next decade -- a saving of over 4-1/2 million barrels of imported oil per day.

      Point two: To ensure that we meet these targets, I will use my presidential authority to set import quotas. I'm announcing tonight that for 1979 and 1980, I will forbid the entry into this country of one drop of foreign oil more than these goals allow. These quotas will ensure a reduction in imports even below the ambitious levels we set at the recent Tokyo summit.

      Point three: To give us energy security, I am asking for the most massive peacetime commitment of funds and resources in our nation's history to develop America's own alternative sources of fuel -- from coal, from oil shale, from plant products for gasohol, from unconventional gas, from the sun. ...

      Point four: I'm asking Congress to mandate, to require as a matter of law, that our nation's utility companies cut their massive use of oil by 50 percent within the next decade and switch to other fuels, especially coal, our most abundant energy source.

      Point five: To make absolutely certain that nothing stands in the way of achieving these goals, I will urge Congress to create an energy mobilization board which, like the War Production Board in World War II, will have the responsibility and authority to cut through the red tape, the delays, and the endless roadblocks to completing key energy projects.

      We will protect our environment. But when this nation critically needs a refinery or a pipeline, we will build it.

      Point six: I'm proposing a bold conservation program to involve every state, county, and city and every average American in our energy battle. This effort will permit you to build conservation into your homes and your lives at a cost you can afford.

                  --- Jimmy Carter, from his televised speech on July 15, 1979.

      • by Grendel Drago (41496) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @11:26AM (#16167343) Homepage
        It's like... foreign oil is an abusive boyfriend. And we're its bitch. So back in the 1970s, there was that oil crisis, a big fight. And we went over to our sister's place, and she was all, "honey, you don't need him", and we cried on her shoulder a lot and said we didn't need him; were going to start a new life without him.

        But the foreign oil bought us flowers, and said it was sorry, and it was morning in America. And now we're back in the same boat we were thirty years ago, and we're acting like no one could have possibly seen this coming.

        You know, Brazil is energy-independent. They followed through on what Carter promised but was voted out before he could deliver on, and the program was plagued by various problems for decades on end... but as of a few years ago, it works. We could have had that. But we didn't.

        And I still don't see what was horrible about that speech. Could someone point out to me why that speech cost him the Presidency?
        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 23, 2006 @04:58PM (#16169739)
          And I still don't see what was horrible about that speech. Could someone point out to me why that speech cost him the Presidency?

          There was nothing wrong with the speech; the problem is with our electorate. The US has been overrun by asshats. Haven't you witnessed the last few elections? People in the US think it's their God given right to drive monster trucks with a big flag flapping in the back. Intellectuals are frowned upon. Creationism is on the ascent. We violate the Geneva conventions. Every day, millions of people pay tribute to bigots like Bill O'Reilly. Greedy self-interested Republicans vs. snivelling cowardly Democrats. Yuck.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          And I still don't see what was horrible about that speech. Could someone point out to me why that speech cost him the Presidency?

          Nothing. That speech actually boosted his approval rating briefly. The reasons for the end of his presidency were a lot more complex, but the kind of pundits who love to say "good news for the Republicans" at every new development prefer to think it was this speech and it's I-Know-What's-Best tone that drove his presidency under, because it fits into the narrative they have built
        • by lavaface (685630)
          But the foreign oil bought us flowers

          more like advanced weaponry and Federal Reserve notes ;P I am continually amazed by how much people love to badmouth Jimmy Carter. Yes, yes, rampant inflation. It's a old canard. The OPEC embargo was largely out of his control and Reagan reaped much of the gain from Carter's policies (much of the improvement in the early 80s economy was a result of executive changes begun in the Carter administration; it takes time to turn an economy around) Of course, I was born in 197

        • by drsquare (530038)
          You know, Brazil is energy-independent. They followed through on what Carter promised but was voted out before he could deliver on, and the program was plagued by various problems for decades on end... but as of a few years ago, it works.


          In Brazil, over a third of the population live in slums with no electricity, running water, education or law enforcement. If this is what happens when you're energy independent then maybe it's not all it's cracked up to be.
    • by Xyrus (755017)
      Yeah the reactor was great idea, so now where to build it.........

      And therin lies the problem. NIMBY.

      You could come up with the best power source ever, but if people don't want it around then it just isn't going to be built. Notice how no one is exactly clamoring for a nuke plant in their state.

      At the time, Clinton was stating the obvious. Nukes were a no go, and alternatives would not keep pace with demand. At the time, fossil fuels would be the only source to "economically" keep up with energy demand.

      You
      • Where to build it? Why here in Alberta!

        World oil production is currently about 85 million barrels of oil per day. OPEC production declined about 2% last month - we don't really know why. The top four (4) feilds produce about 15% of world production and all seem to now be in decline with Kuwait announcing Bergan slipped into decline in Nov 2005 and a Saudi Aramco spoksman admiting Ghawar slipped into decline in April 2006. A 5% decline rate will result in a world wide loss of about 1/2 million barrels of
        • by Xyrus (755017)
          I was not disagreeing with your statements. I was merely pointing out what the thinking was at the time.

          If Clinton had backed it, it would have never gotten out of comitee. Not only that, but the republicans would have used it for fodder putting the worst possible spin on it.

          Even if he had backed it and somehow it did make it through commitee and through the house and senate, you know damn well the Bush administration would have shut it down the first day they were in office.

          My point was simply that you can
          • I think Clinton and his administration has to shoulder a great deal of the blame. IMHO they sold the future of the country for short term political gain. That's a deal with the devil. The kids carrying the guns in the middle east are the price the devil asked.

            Matt Simmons says that oil will hit $350 per barrel when the declines come. I don't know if I will go this far out on the limb. The demand for energy is very inelastic however, so Simmons may well be correct.

            I do agree with you that we will not ru
        • Damn. Sorry... Hydrogen:Carbon ratio of liquid fuels is about 2:1. This is important. This is why we have a huge shortage of hydrogen for tar sands operations. Fischer-trophe grabs the hydrogen from water and marries carbon to the oxygen in place of the hydrogen. The result is CO2 going up the smoke stack where the O2 part of the CO2 comes from two of the H2O's.

          The thing is if we want to use Fischer-Trophe to produce the hydrogen we need then when we get to 5 million barrels of liquid synthetic crude p
  • by bhmit1 (2270) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @09:21AM (#16166593) Homepage
    The United States uses 360 million US liquid gallons (1.36 gigalitres) of gasoline each day.
    If the above wikipedia entry is accurate, that would mean raising the gas tax by 3 pennies would raise the same amount of funds per day. It would also make alternatives more competitive and ensure that as long as we are dependent on fossil fuels, the renewable energy has a source of funding. As an added bonus, people that adopt new technologies aren't taxed and the tax will eventually disappear.

    I'm saying this as a libertarian, someone that hates taxes and big government. But this is exactly where government regulations and taxes should be used, when the free market doesn't value the environment and causes long term damage without intervention.
    • by MtViewGuy (197597)
      One thing we should push for is far more usage of wind power.

      The Great Plains of the USA is one of the best areas on Earth for large-scale wind farms. Imagine thousands of 2 MW wind turbines, located in areas where few people will complain about being an eyesore; we could generate as much as 20,000 MW of power from these turbines.

      Also, thanks to nanotechnology, we could drastically reduce the cost of solar panels to generate electricity; imagine whole neighborhoods where every home has a solar panel with a
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kfg (145172) *
        I love windmills. I hate windfarms. Windmills are a viable energy independence technology. Stop thinking that energy necessarily has to come from some massively centralized third party.

        Make . . . your . . .own.

        KFG
        • by Infonaut (96956)

          Stop thinking that energy necessarily has to come from some massively centralized third party.

          I agree that massively centralized power is a bad idea, but given that most Americans live in urban areas, how can we avoid centralized power collection? I can't put a windmill on my apartment building. I'm sure the definition of "massively centralized" varies, but are you suggesting that individuals are the solution, or do you think community-owned power collection could work? Even there, I'm a bit skeptical.

      • Imagine thousands of 2 MW wind turbines, located in areas where few people will complain about being an eyesore; we could generate as much as 20,000 MW of power from these turbines.

        Yes - just imagine.

        There are currently 113 nuclear plants in the GIGAWATT range operating in the USA. Your 20,000 windmills are equivalent to about 20 of these plants - and only when the wind is blowing. If the duty cycle of your windmills is 33% then you are proposing equivalent to about 7 nukes.

        The USA produces about 10% of
  • As a side note... (Score:3, Informative)

    by NeuroManson (214835) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @10:34AM (#16166977) Homepage
    Virgin's Richard Branson has pledged $3 billion towards this initiative:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/5368194.stm [bbc.co.uk]
  • Day 1 of this new fund looks like its going in a direction that will NOT abuse this planet more, and IS profitable. My definition of planet abuse is were I am not the victim.

    There are 2 areas of investment that hold the greatest reward, but have the the greatest risk; Entertainment, and Energy. The backers of this new Fund have been lucky, and skillful at both. Before you blindly put your money down to invest in such a venture, find out the facts. Do analysis, compare this fund with others that are sayi
  • Those of us in the know are quietly getting on with things....

    http://www.smartveg.com/ [smartveg.com]

  • by iPodUser (879598)
    His plan to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and create jobs is this: Generate electicity by hiring a bunch of overweight people to sit on exercise bikes hooked to generators all day. America is overweight in general, so he will also take care of the obesity problem, while generating clean power and reducing unemployment!
  • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Saturday September 23, 2006 @02:08PM (#16168503)
    Clinton was on The Daily Show the other day, chatting with John Stewart about how powerful the internet was for charity (and how much was donated over the Internet for those affected by Hurricane Katrina).

    He noted that if every family in America donated $10-20 to a fund/concern devoted to alternative enegery, we'd be rid of using oil in short order. Good to see he actually moved forward with the idea.

It's later than you think, the joint Russian-American space mission has already begun.

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