Hydrogen As a Fuel Source

From water to air, there are a number of ways to energize your car. Alternatives to petroleum are a hot topic today. The growing concern for the environment is steadily increasing. It’s an important issue that many people want to feel personally connected to. Hydrogen as a fuel source is not an entirely new idea. But science is taking a closer look at the impact that using hydrogen could have on both the environment and the economy. The best solutions are the ones that have more benefits than drawbacks.

Hydrogen burns in a vehicle much the same way that petroleum does. This makes it a good imitation even though it is not at all the same thing. Many alternatives are not this easy to work with.

Hydrogen makes a great fuel option for more than just automobiles. It can also be used in airplanes and even bicycles. A bicycle is already a great alternative to driving a car. By powering it, you make it faster and more efficient while still avoiding the use of a vehicle.

Major car companies such as Daimler Chrysler are already investing in hydrogen options for drivers seeking a hydrogen vehicle solution. These types of things certainly do not develop over night but the fact that they are in production at all is a great sign.

Hydrogen is an energy source that can be obtained from both renewable and non-renewable resources. This makes it much more environmentally friendly than some other petroleum alternatives currently being used and studied. It is much more flexible.

One really positive aspect of hydrogen fuel is that it can be produced and used continuously. It is highly renewable which is exactly what many consumers are waiting for. Making a fuel change is not a light decision to make. Benefits like this can help to aid your choice.

Every positive thing always has a negative counterpart. It’s just the way the world works. Hydrogen is not a fool proof fuel option. The burning of hydrogen actually produces more emissions than regular petroleum gas does. Since less emissions is what we really need, that just is not acceptable.

There are economic aspects that do come into play here. Hydrogen without fossil fuels is not economically friendly. When it comes to money, unfortunately that is where a lot of decisions are made. Anything that is not good financially just won’t take off no matter how good a fuel it is. The two must go hand in hand.

If hydrogen was to be a leading fuel alternative to diesel and petrol, then plenty of preparation work would have to be undertaken first. In order to properly produce clean, useable hydrogen, new facilities and systems would have to be built. The cost of that would be substantial. These types of developments cannot be done without intense amounts of study and planning.

Hydrogen is a realistic fuel source that is in use in some places. However, it is not yet ready to become a worldwide solution.

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Forget Bailout – Here is My Plan

Anyone facing foreclosure knows that in most cases that they have been snookered. Funny how mortgage contracts will adjust for increasing payments, but none adjust down if the economy goes bad.

Now the government is going to give Wall Street a 700 Billion dollar bailout plan. Now this plan is suppose to help the homeowner. It does not address unemployment and loss of jobs, the adjusting of mortgage rates that are the root causes.

Let us think about this:

• Gas prices are higher than ever
• We spend billions of dollars per month in Iraq
• Unemployment is high
• Food Prices have increased
• Most homes have lost value leaving little to no equity
• Utilities such as gas and electric are higher
• Credit is scarce and refinance market is dead
• Average family income is down
• Bankruptcies are high

Who wins?

• Oil companies recording record profits
• Brokers, who have taken money from the stock and equity markets
• Retiring executives from most markets with golden parachutes
• Those who are operating the banks and brokerage firms

Those responsible will not suffer; the good old taxpayer is coming to the rescue. Okay, so we bail them out and have our government, buy the homes that have lost their value in many ways. Now the government will also have to absorb the cost in foreclosure. That is an additional expense.

Here is the major question, with banks and other institutions having dumped all their bad paper on the government, what is next? The answer to that is who knows.

Here is a solution, when you wean a baby off the bottle; you just take it away from the baby. That is what we have to do to the financial institutions. This has to be fixed in part by government but with a ground floor view.

If you want to help those homeowners and reverse the economy here is the plan

• A 6-month freeze on all foreclosures and those up coming for the next year
• A $ 10,000.00 grant to all unemployed homeowners that need to get back on their feet
• An audit on all mortgage companies that financed the sub-prime market
• Allow modification of mortgage contracts on all distressed property
• Allow 6 months for homeowners to get gainful employment (if they are unemployed)
• Invest 100 billion for new “green” energy jobs
• Invest 100 billion in full scholarships in community colleges for new high tech or “green” jobs
• Financial Institutions that hold vacated property will keep them
• Those pending foreclosures will be turned over to the government
• The government will then administrate the process of implementing the above points.
• The mortgagee when employed will modify their contract with the governmental agency.
• Let the private sector sell the vacated properties through auction or other means

This is what I call trickle up economics. The intention is to assist those who are facing financial distress in most cases this will allow the homeowner to pay off their real estate taxes, allow them to find gainful employment. They will also buy food, pay utility bills, and help offset the price of gas. It is a terrible thing when you must commute 20 to 30 miles and do not have any money for gas. You must go to where the jobs are.

There are three types of people affected here, the employed, the unemployed and the multiple dwelling homeowners. The employed would need a modified contract. The unemployed would need a moratorium and financial aid if not eligible for unemployment. Then there are those who have multiple dwelling units which the economy does not directly effect their primary residence.

Implementation can be administered by HUD, the first action that needs to be taken is an instant moratorium on all forecloses and real estate tax liens.

• Set Up Special Temporary Branch under HUD to implement program
• HUD takes all the recorded default notices
• This program will be voluntary to homeowners
• Residents affected will contact a 1-800 number for the financial grant
• HUD will verify the information given
• Homeowner will fill out application and send to HUD via internet, fax or mail.
• HUD will release half of the $ 10,000.00 grant and in 30 days release the other half.
• If Homeowner is collecting unemployment benefits HUD will reduce the scheduled unemployment benefit amount from the HUD payments for the 6 month period
• Homeowner has 6 months to find gainful employment.
• Within the 4 month period Homeowner will contact HUD for mortgage contract modification
• Homeowners who are employed will contact HUD for assistance in mortgage modification
• When mortgage modification is approved by HUD then the Homeowner will start making payments to the mortgage holder of record.

Mortgage holders are not bailed out, but will be allowed have the distressed properties temporarily moved off their balance sheets into a holding company account. This will relieve their balance sheet on a temporary basis, which will allow them to qualify for appropriate credit. They will report to the SEC (if a public company) and HUD the information on the holding company, with complete details. No other transactions other than that of distressed real estate are to be post to this holding company.

When a homeowner starts to make payments on the modified mortgage contract the mortgage holder will transfer from the holding account the original value back to the mortgage holder’s original balance sheet.

In this way everybody wins, the mortgage holder, the homeowner and the government. This plan will result in more jobs; mortgage holders’ credit restored and distressed properties relieved. Of course, there are more details to work out but overall I believe my plan can be implemented in very little time.

John Tebar Certified Life Coach, Author and Entrepreneur sign up for weekly Ezine at http://holisticlifeplanningandresearch.com

Who is to Blame For High Gas Prices?

With only the possibility of John McCain and Barack Obama, I would say that whose to blame for high gasoline prices has been the most played news story across every media network over the last month or two. The national average for gasoline peaked earlier this month around $4.11 per gallon or regular 87 octane and has recently come down to about $4.03 per gallon. This obviously is a stark increase from the price range around ~$2.50 that we had seen during 2006 and 2007. The issue becomes even more important than “just an extra” $2.53 per gallon as our economy and lifestyle are based on the consumption of gasoline for transportation. The biggest question on everyone’s mind is who is to blame and how can we fix the problem? Like many other questions concerning energy, the answer is not nearly as simple as the media would have you believe. Warning: The information you are about to read may be completely foreign to you as none of the 6 major media networks have ever reported truthfully on this topic in the past.

It must be the E&P companies, right?

Not as much as you would think. While it is true that the exploration and production companies have to make some profit, when you look at the numbers the results are not as horrifying as you may have previously thought. Let’s take a look at the profit margins of some of the larger E&P companies (all of the numbers are for the trailing twelve months):

* Apache Corp. APA – 29.95%

* Anadarko Petroleum APC – 3.78%

* EnCana Corp. ECA – 14.77%

* Occidental Petroleum OXY – 29.2%

* Suncor Energy Inc. SU – 17.98%

* Microsoft Corp. MSFT – 29.26%

Now its time to play the which one of the above is not an oil and gas E&P company game? If you guess Microsoft, you probably have a bright future ahead of you and I wish you my sincerest congratulations.

This is only one example, Goldman Sachs GS has a profit margin of 23.68% and Intuitive Surgical ISRG has a profit margin of 24.68%. Many of the energy companies actually have lower profit margins than companies in other sectors. They are not the ones that are charging you too much for the goods you rely on, they are just participating in the free market economy and helping you achieve economic satisfaction more so than most of the other companies in the world.

Well then it has to be refiners?

This is definitely the last person who is causing your wallet to thin. The refiners (excluding the major integrated companies that incorporate refining and marketing activities into their overall business structure) bring the least to the bottom line when compared to the other sub-sector of the energy universe. The problem with the refiners is that since they do not produce the oil, they are reliant on spot market prices for the input of their product. This difference is called the crack spread. The crack spread is the margin refiners make when the take a barrel of crude oil and “crack” it into another form, either gasoline, heating distillate, diesel, or a number of other products. Generally crack spreads are quoted in the 3:2:1 ratio, or 3 barrels of crude are cracked into 2 barrels of gasoline and 1 barrel of heating distillate. Recently the crack spread has been in a state of free fall as highlighted by the stock prices of Valero Energy Corp. VLO, and Tesero Corporation TSO falling more than 45% each while the rest of the energy sector rallied.

Gas station owners, thats it!

Unfortunately for gas station owners, they fall into a similar category as the refiners. They do not produce the gasoline, so their input prices are out of the control. Because there is a high level of competition and a bunch of stingy consumers, they are not able to raise prices as quickly as they would need to in order to maintain historical profit margins. More than 1,000 gasoline stations closed in the United States last year, many of which were actually losing money every time they sold you a gallon of gasoline because of the rate at which gasoline spot prices were rising over the last year and a half. You should expect more gas station closing through 2008 and maybe into 2009. The business has become so unprofitable that Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM has recently announced that they are planning to sell at least 2,500 of their company owned gas stations in the United States during the next year, mostly likely at steep discounts to their worth even 3 months ago.

What about the government?

If you read my article concerning McCain’s Gasoline Tax Holiday you would know that the government sponsored gasoline tax really has little to no effect on the price of gasoline that consumers pay at the pump. The government definitely has an indirect effect on the price of gasoline due to the current drilling policies. If all United States territory was opened, not only would the markets discount this news into the future and lower energy commodity spot prices but the supply that would come online within 2-3 years would cause the price to be pushed downward in the long run. There is also a counter argument that some day we may actually need those reserves for something truly important, not just saving you a few dollars per fill up. That type of ethical issue is one that is difficult to address because facts will not allow either side to be completely “right” or “wrong” no matter how long the topic is argued. I’ll let you make your own decision on that one.

Wait a second, it can’t be my fault can it?

Actually, yes it can. The unfortunate news is that we as consumers are the cause for almost all of the rise in gasoline price. It is not just “us,” it is actually consumers all around the world who are driving up the price. Because crude and gasoline trade on global exchanges, it is not just the United States thats affects the prices, contrary to popular belief. Increased demand from India and China as well as the rest of the developing world is one of the major factors contributing to the price inflation. For example, an American used 25 barrels of oil per year while the Chinese only use 3 barrels per person per year and the Indians only use 1 barrel per person per year. Gasoline prices could become really frightening if the rest of the world would demand even 25% of the consumption that we have grown accustom to over the past century.

Another important factor is worldwide inflation. Inflation rates are growing at historically fast rates around the world. The United States has year-over-year inflation growth of 5% (if you believe the government data which many experts are suggesting you should not), China is over 8%, Russia is over 9%, so on and so forth. With all of this extra money, it is easy to see that a good portion of the price appreciation is do to the fact that people have more nominal dollars to spend, even if each one is worth less and less every day.

Our modern American economy is so heavily based on petroleum products to function that there is only a certain amount of demand that can be destroyed at these low levels of gasoline prices (I know that sounds ridiculous to say, but bear with me). Children have to go to school and adults must go to work, no matter the price of gasoline. Use yourself as an example. Would you quit your current job because of gasoline prices? At what price would you consider quitting your job? At what price would you have no choice but to quit your job? For most of you, these numbers are going to be much higher than the current price of gasoline. Many of you would be shocked to believe that gasoline spending per capita is actually only half of the historical high percentage that was reached during the 1910s and the 1980s. Do not believe for any moment that gasoline prices cannot or will not appreciate from here.

So what can we do? Are we doomed?

We are not doomed. I for one am long on the idea that the United States will be able to innovate and solve this problem. The solution won’t come from the government, but from the free markets. Only time and extreme necessity can drive us closer to the solution, but I assure you that one day it will come. I will discuss the solutions in another later article, but you should not feel as if there is no hope for America because there most certainly is going into our bright future.

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Oil, Energy, and Congress

Now that Congress has recessed for the end of the summer, what are we to make of the energy situation? At this point, I’m getting tired of hearing that $4.00 gasoline is good for me. How can it be good when Americans are spending less of their money on other goods and investing in their gas tanks? Is it good that transportation costs have sent my food bill sky rocketing? Is it good that many Americans have shortened their vacations and cut back on their entertainment spending? Is it good that the working poor are struggling between putting groceries in their home and fueling their cars to get to work?

Apparently our Congressional leaders and one presidential candidate say the answer is yes. While our Speaker of the House is trying to “save the planet”, the rest of the world is out trying to find more oil & energy. Let’s look at few recent examples:

  • Egypt announced last week the start of a 9 billion dollar oil refinery and petrochemical complex, which will be located on its north coast. The complex is expected to begin operation in 2010 and will be completed in 5 years. The facility will refine 350,000 barrels of oil per day.
  • The Tupi deepwater oil field is located offshore of Rio de Janeiro, one of Brazil’s best tourist destinations. Last November, the Brazilian government announced that the location could contain five billion to eight billion barrels of oil. The Tupi oil field is expected to begin producing 100,000 barrels of oil in 2010, according to Petrobas, Brazil’s national oil company. Petrobas hopes to bring production to one million barrels a day in about ten years.
  • Finland is building a 1600 megawatt nuclear power reactor. The country currently gets 28 percent of it electricity from nuclear power.
  • Japan is working to increase its nuclear power production of electricity from 30 percent to 37 percent by 2009 and 41 percent by 2017.

Now, besides threatening to sue the Saudi’s and adding more taxes to oil, what has the United States government energy policy done? Let’s look at a few examples:

  • From 2000 to 2007 domestic crude oil production fell 12.4 percent
  • Through a congressional mandate, 85 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf is off limits to oil exploration. It is estimated that the Outer Continental Shelf contains 90 billion barrels of oil
  • The Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is estimated to have 10 billion barrels of oil; in 1995 President Clinton vetoed a bill authorizing oil production on 2,000 acres out of 19.6 million.
  • U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, Colorado, inserted language into the omnibus spending bill last December that places a moratorium on enacting rules for oil shale development on federal lands. The Green River Formation is estimated to have as much as 1.1 trillion barrels of oil shale.
  • As mandated by the 2007 energy bill signed by President Bush, the U.S. is now required to mix 9 billion gallons of biofuels into the gasoline supply. The mandate is met primarily with corn-based ethanol. At the start of the biofuel mandates, corn was $2 per bushel. The price of corn now is a little over $6 per bushel.

It seems the more our government gets involved, the worse the situation becomes. And where did common sense go? If I see that you need water, I wouldn’t send you to a desert to find it. Yet, that’s what we do with our oil exploration. Try to find it where we don’t know if it exists.

From 2000 to 2007 American oil companies increased the drilling of exploratory wells by 138 percent (on those 68 million acres of existing leases); oil production still fell to its lowest level since 1947. The American Petroleum Institute reported that oil companies had the highest second-quarter oil well activity since 1986.

The United States has successfully developed other forms of energy; clean coal plants, nuclear power, natural gas plants, solar & wind energy. Our most efficient and cheapest forms of energy production are under constant assault from the environmental movement. The U.S. uses 760 gigawatts of power plants to meet current needs. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) estimates that we will need 135 gigawatts of new capacity in the next 10 years. As of now, only 57 gigawatts of power plants are planned. Why?

  • 59 coal-fired plants were canceled in 2007 because of anticoal activist.
  • U.S. production of natural gas is beginning to decline because of environmental restrictions on exploration.
  • The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) succeeded in stopping 13 natural gas power plants in southern California.

We have the best scientist, engineers and technicians in the world. Give them the opportunity to solve this challenge and they will. There are many private companies working on new technology to bring to the market. If our government is going to pick winners and losers through subsidies, many companies will not get into the market.

For example, NuScale Power, an Oregon-based startup company, is seeking federal clearance to begin its project to build a mini nuclear reactor. The reactor can power 45,000 homes, is 65 feet long and has no visible cooling tower. NuScale states that these reactors require no maintenance and do not need to be refueled. At the end of its useful life of about 30 years, the plant is returned to the factory.

This type of technology should be welcomed and encouraged by all. With a small footprint & no carbon emissions, these plants could replace many traditional coal and gas-fired power plants.

This situation does not require a billion dollar bail out from our government. Nor does it require raising taxes on the oil companies. Remember, we tried the windfall profits tax with President Jimmy Carter. That led to a 6 percent drop in the production of oil and a 15 percent increase in oil imports, according to the Congressional Research Service.

If congress would step back and allow all of the energy companies to explore and develop energy in a responsible way, we would not have to struggle with high energy costs. Take away all of the subsidies and let the market decide which means of energy is cheapest, environmentally sound and durable. American technology is more than capable of producing efficient energy and protecting the environment.

Instead of trying to spend more of my tax dollars, why doesn’t congress spend more of their time, which we pay them for, to fix the regulatory landscape of energy production. Congress needs to enact some common sense environmental regulations. If they do, the market will give us a diverse supply of energy that is reliable – American made – and affordable

It’s time to streamline & simplify this process, now.

Xander is a writer & researcher of current events. For more information, visit his blog at http://xander-xee.blogspot.com

The Dollar and the Gas Prices

One often wonders how today’s economy affects the all might dollar. The truth is that most people have a hard decision to make about where to spend the dollar. The gas prices have risen above $4 a gallon leaving many people without other things they need to live. If you have $40 to spend on food, you could by a couple days worth of food, but if you spend that $40 on gas, you are going to get less than ten gallons of gas. If you have a car that gets twenty-two miles to the gallon, more than likely, your gas is not going to last longer than a week.

The economy has been impacted by gas prices as well as grain and wheat costs. If one would go to the bakery for bread and muffins, that same forty dollars would be short about $10 to $15 dollars. The credit crisis is affecting everyone. The average person does not make enough money to buy food, gas and pay bills with the way the economy is today. The price of gas and foods has gone up, but the pay scale has not budged. People are still making the same amount of money they were before all the price increases, which has placed a hardship on many families.

The decision you make about how to spend that $40 will affect the entire family. If you buy two gallons of gas, which will give you roughly 44 miles of driving and buy meals for a family of three for the day, that $40 dollars is gone and it probably was a little short. Frugal living is becoming more common as the prices go up. Going without certain things has become a way of life. Walking instead of driving is more common in smaller communities. Credit card payments and mortgages have to be paid. However, what do you make the family go without to pay the bills and buy food?

The economy needs help. The price of wire has gone up so much that companies cannot afford to make mattresses and sell them for a reasonable price. So now, that dollar has even less value. If you need a mattress, gas and food, you have to sacrifice something in order to have the things that you need to live every day. The value of the dollar does not mean much these days. In order to make the dollar more for its value, the prices of wire, gas and food products has to drop considerably. This probably is not going to happen.

The credit crisis is affecting everyone. Medical coverage is dropping and the cost to the consumer has risen. Today, it is hard for a family of three or four to live comfortable and have the necessities. Until the credit crisis levels off, one will only feel more pressure and see more homes and property lost. Hard times make it hard for hard working people to survive and have the things that they need.

Susan Duey represents, Debt Help marketplace offering debt management program solution to eliminate your debt and cut expenses. For more information please visit the Dollar and Gas Prices.

Gas Prices Are Not High Enough and You Heard Me Right

As I set here typing this up I have just finished listening to a cable news discussion of our present oil crisis resulting in high gas prices. I have also looked at the latest political polls that have come out for this year’s presidential election showing Obama still holding the lead he has held onto for weeks now. When one looks at the state by state breakdown in what is called the battle ground states it is obvious that Mr. Obama has good reason to believe he will be President in just a few short months.

It is said the economy is the number one issue this year. This I do not understand. How do you say the economy is the number one issue this year and yet vote for Obama which every poll says is presently the publics choice? Please explain.

Gas prices are for me one of the biggest issues as it is an expense that has me trapped for it is a commodity I must have living where I do. Mr. Obama and his party have no plans whatsoever to drill for a single drop of oil anywhere. Yet, I am hearing we have all kinds of oil comparable to Saudi Arabia if we would be willing to drill for it. And, I am hearing that we can get it within 5 years, at least a substantial amount of it.

However, Mr. Obama seems to want to save it for a rainy day as it is not yet raining where he lives. Where I live it is pouring but I guess weather is like that. But, I am sure I am about alone as the American public is saying he is our man and the Democratic Party is our party. Nancy Pelosi will not allow a House vote for offshore drilling and people seem to be fine with that.

I am just stupid I guess or maybe just confused (I can hope can’t I?). I had always heard that the Democratic Party was the party of the poor and the working man and that the Republicans were the party of big business and the wealthy. Yet, it seems to me, and what do I know, that those candidates and that party that will allow oil drilling is more in my economic interest as a poor man than those of the Democratic Party that are suppose to be the Saviors of the poor. I wish I was as smart as the average American who has this figured out – that is how voting for a man who will not drill for oil is what is really best for me and the rest of the poor.

I think maybe I have at least a hint as how that can be – maybe. It could be it is all George Bush’s fault. Use to be if we would get a cold around our house we would say it was George Bush’s fault for we were always hearing everything was and who were we to argue with the consensus?

The more I think about it the more it seems this may be the answer. George Bush will not allow Nancy Pelosi to bring this oil drilling bill (opening up the off shore for drilling) before the House. It is his fault. Yeah, I heard him laying it all on her but then we have heard for years he was a liar. So, could be he is lying about it and if we were to know the truth he is really keeping her from opening the House for a vote.

In any case it is evident I am on the losing side and most Americans feel gas prices are not high enough and that what we need is a man in office who will promise to not drill for a drop and who will find a way to make our cars run on wind or something else. I heard one guy say maybe we could put sails on top our cars. I never did like storms but this may be the answer – a sail on top and a windstorm.

I don’t think the solar will work on my car because it is hot as fire inside with the windows rolled up this summer but so far I have had no luck with this solar energy turning the motor over. That electricity thing might work if I could get an extension cord long enough to get to where I want to go.

I think the worse thing for me, if Obama wins the Presidency, is I may have to get a mule but that is not the best way to travel when it is 30 some miles to the nearest town of any size. Oh, the thought just dawned on me as I typed that last sentence, I bet it is those wicked city women who do not have to drive far that is behind this Obama for President thing (if it is not George). (Tennessee Ernie Ford on “I Love Lucy”.) I did hear, believe it or not, they find him more attractive than McCain. I don’t know how you can dress McCain up enough to make him attractive to women, no slam intended.

But, I probably will be made a stronger man by a little suffering (call it poverty). Thanks ladies. I need that. We men need a good beating now and then. Need a ride to go vote this fall? Maybe you can fuel up your car to get there with a little green energy or catch a ride on one of those ANWAR caribou. Good luck. Donations are appreciated out here in the country.

P.S. You might comment and enlighten me as I can use all the help understanding that I can get. Denny Smith

Renewable Energy – The Future Resource Stock

Renewable Energy is the key to our global energy needs in the future, as we run out of our supply of fossil fuels and uranium or the cost of these fuels rises for economic or political reasons, the cost of renewable energy may become much more competitive. Using current technologies, most ocean energy is not cost-effective compared to other renewable energy sources however the ocean remains one of the important potential energy source for the future. Both renewable and non-renewable energy sources are used to generate electricity, power vehicles, and provide heating, cooling, and light.

Renewable Energy is energy created from resources that are regenerative – or renewable – meaning they cannot be depleted. These resources are safe for our environment and produce energy without the harmful pollutants and emissions associated with fossil-fuels.

As the this industry expands, the expertise of these support industries is being tapped to provide the support and infrastructure needed for the advancement of renewable energy production globally. The reason for the massive growth is global companies are looking for green or renewable resource technologies and companies to invest in, fund, acquire, license or strategically partner with. Priority is given to technologies that are patented or commercial products with existing or near term revenue streams. Renewable energy systems encompass a broad, diverse array of technologies, and the current status of these can vary considerably. Some technologies are already mature and economically competitive.

Globally we recognize that utilizing renewable resources has the potential to provide us with cleaner air, a more diverse energy portfolio, and less dependence on foreign fossil fuels. Currently renewable resources accounts for only 3.4 percent of total global power generation. The International Energy Agency recently issued a report estimating that in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2050, global investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon sequestration will need to reach roughly US $45 trillion dollars by that date.

It is expected that 60% of all our energy will come from renewable resources by the year 2070. The sooner we employ the attitude that today is better than tomorrow, the greater the opportunity to increase this figure to 80%. Renewable energy is sustainable energy that comes from the natural environment. Renewable energy, or green power, is power that comes from renewable resources such as the sun, wind, hydro-electric dams and organic matter (biomass). These resources are constantly replenished by nature and are a cleaner source of energy.

Shane Taylor is the co-publisher and co-editor of TheStockReporter.com, a site that provides many resources and articles for individuals wanting to start investing in the stock market and learn about investing in renewable energy.

Gas Prices – Why They’re So High

It’s a question just about every American wants to know. Why are gas prices so high? While the cost of barrels are hovering at about $100 a barrel it’s no wonder that we would be concerned about the non-stop rise of gas prices. Just in the US alone, personal vehicles consume hundreds of billions of oil a year. There are many reasons why the gas prices are skyrocketing and why they are so high at the time being.

For instance, there is an increasing demand for oil overall.

There is a balance going on between supply and demand for oil and this is something that is playing a huge roll in the rise of gas prices. You can also look at China and India and look at the rapid growth of the population. This two countries have the largest economic growth of the world. The population of both of those massive growing countries are well over a billion and continues to grow, so this makes great call for supply and demand while more people are guzzling gas.

Europe, is beginning to catch up with the US making the demand for more barrels to be processed every day, which plays a factor in the rising gas prices. Many Americans still use SUVs and sports cars which will consume gas at an astonishing rate which demands more oil for being made. It’s been predicted that in the soon near future, there will need to be an increase in barrel production by up to 140 million barrels a day.

It’s traditional that the eastern oil rich parts of the world are the suppliers and the western parts of the world are the consumers, but this is altered. There are many reasons why supply and demand has increased and why gas prices are so ridiculous at the time being and are only going to get worse. There are many more beyond my knowledge of reasons as to why gas prices continue to go up.

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Lead Toy Recalls Continue While Congress Piddles, Parents Urged to Fill Gap With Advocacy, Vigilance

With all the attention on lead in toys after the seven Mattel/Fisher-Price recalls in 2007, you might have assumed the issue was resolved. Think again. From January through June 2008, the there have been more than 50 recalls of over a million products due to high lead content. The vast majority of these recalled products are children’s products.

The latest was a recall of children’s camouflage(!) pajamas with leaded paint from The Children’s Place. Last month, Disney Tinkerbelle wands, Pirates of the Caribbean sleeping bags, Rawlings batting helmets, and children’s brightly painted storage bins sold at Lowes were recalled because they violate the US lead paint standard. Inexpensive children’s jewelry and other similar metal items continue to be recalled regularly.

Why should this register on your very full parent-radar? Just one instance of ingesting lead can permanently harm a child, potentially lowering his or her IQ and impulse control, among other things. Yet many children do not show obvious symptoms. If not identified by a blood test, lead poisoning can continue undetected for years.

Why do lead recalls continue unabated? Chinese manufacturers as well as manufacturers in many other developing countries have used lead paint on wooden and plastic toys for years because it makes the paint last longer and it’s inexpensive. Many continue to sidestep US protocols against the use of lead, putting profit above child safety. Current product inspections can’t possibly catch every product that contains lead.

So parents must do two things: we must be advocates and we must be vigilant. If Congress were to pass legislation that imposes hefty fines on importers of products that violate the US lead paint standard, I think we’d find violations plummeting.

House Resolution 4040 and Senate Bill 2663 are two measures that would increase penalties for violations of lead content standards from $ 1.25 million to $20 million, require third party testing, reduce the number of allowed parts per million from 600 to 100 and increase the budget of the Consumer Public Safety Commission.

But even after parents whose children were lead poisoned by toys visited Washington to tell their stories, the bills are treading water in Congress. HR 4040 has passed the House and is in conference. Representatives Dingell, Waxman, Rush, DeGette, Schakowsky, Barton (TX), Whitfield (KY), and Stearns are the House conferees. S 2045 passed the Senate and then was replaced by S 2663, which has not yet come up for a vote. Senator Harry Reid controls the calendar for senate votes. Congress meets for only 2 ½ more months this year, so please take a moment to contact your elected officials to help push these measures through. You can check the website Open Congress and the Center for Justice and Democracy for the latest information.

The Wall Street Journal reports that as many as twelve states have grown weary of waiting on Congress and are working on their own varying standards, which means confusion for manufacturers and eventually higher priced toys.

Either way, it’s too late to have new standards in place to affect toys being made for the 2008 Christmas season. So in the meantime, parents need to become ever-vigilant experts at minimizing the risk of lead poisoning to our children.

Vigilance means keeping up with lead related recalls of toys, children’s jewelry, children’s clothing and more by watching the news regularly and frequently checking the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall announcements and product safety alerts here: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerel.html But since there is a recall every few days, something you already own could contain lead. So vigilance means keeping all toys out of children’s mouths as much as humanly possible.

Vigilance also means avoiding toys, shower curtains, clothing etc. that have a strong chemical smell because they are probably made of PVC, a material that often includes lead. If you buy US or European made toys, you’ll decrease the risk greatly, though they are hard to find these days.

But because lead accumulates in the body, we can’t restrict our vigilance to toys and other children’s products. Lead is everywhere in our environment. Electronic components contain lead, cadmium, mercury and other heavy metals. So, as tempting as it is when a child is crying, don’t let small children play with cell phones, remote controls, batteries and other similar electronic items until they are old enough to keep them out of their mouths.

Did you know that porcelain bathtubs and sinks can leach lead, especially if the enamel is worn, chipping or stained? If you want to know for sure whether your tub is leaching lead, you can pick up an inexpensive test kit at a hardware store. You might be surprised at what you find. Many bathtub refinishers say that the majority of the tubs they examine test positive for lead. Until you know for sure, don’t let your child drink bath water. Keep all sponges, brushes and anything else you use to clean the tub and sink in child-proof cabinets because they will end up in a toddler’s mouth in a flash.

Ceramic dishes with lead glaze and lead crystal are additional sources of lead poisoning, including leaded glass in doors. Many Christmas light cords, some off-brand crayons, some cosmetics and home remedies, and even some candies made outside the US contain extremely high levels of lead.

Don’t let children chew on any painted surfaces and keep paint chips off the floor because the paint may contain lead. Children should be removed from a house built before 1980 that is being sanded for repainting. Vinyl materials like window blinds can contain lead, so keep them out of little mouths.

The burning of leaded gasoline until 1996 emitted lead into the air which settled everywhere in the soil and dust. So don’t let children eat dirt. Wash children’s hands several times a day and especially after playing outside to remove any traces of lead they may have picked up from our ubiquitous lead-laden dirt and dust.

Bottom line: Try not to let children put anything in their mouths unless you are positive it does not contain lead. I recognize that’s a major challenge, but to be safe, look at everything with a skeptical eye. And educate older children about the things they can do to minimize their own lead exposure.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend that children aged one and two deemed to be at risk receive blood lead level tests. Until recently, the CDC recommended universal screening but scaled back that recommendation due to cost effectiveness in 1997. But because of the prevalence of lead in our environment, all children really are at risk. Some pediatricians conduct these tests, but many don’t. If yours doesn’t, you can and should request it. These simple tests have detected high lead levels in children never suspected of having lead poisoning.

Parents have to be vigilant about so many things. But don’t let lead slip through the cracks. Our vigilance does make a difference!

Patty Bates-Ballard is a writer and editor who advocates respect for the earth and its people. The owner of WordSmooth, she has operated her own business from her Dallas home since 2002, while raising her two sons, Kory and Kaden.

Prior to forming her own business, Patty was the Director of Diversity for the Greater Dallas Community Relations Commission, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving race relations in the DFW Metroplex. Over her 15 years of employment with the GDCRC, she developed and delivered diversity training to a wide range of organizations, corporations and school districts. Patty is a trained mediator who has helped mediate conflict and facilitate public meetings for school districts, corporations and governmental entities.

Patty’s extensive human rights work has given her a deep appreciation and respect for cultural and ethnic diversity that informs all of her endeavors. She has developed a curriculum called “Socha” used by school districts, corporations and non-profits designed to help “Sow, Cultivate, and Harvest” their organization’s full potential.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Patty_Bates-ballard

Want to Get Gas Back Down to $1.30 Per Gallon?

I just checked out the “most popular” Facebook group in the Tampa Bay, FL network: “Want to get gas back down to $1.30 per gallon?”

The group is trying to get people to stop buying gas from two big oil companies in an effort to “force” a “price war” among the companies.

I have a better idea: Why not call or email your Senators and Representative and demand they allow U.S. companies to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve in Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida?

Look everybody, you aren’t going to make a difference in gas prices by boycotting one company or another. The gas will be sold whether it is you buying it or someone else. Let’s do something more constructive.

Drilling for oil in ANWR and along the Gulf Coast will actually increase supply. That’s more likely to satisfy our demand than to drive MORE in search of gas stations not on your boycott list.

Or, here’s a radical concept: Write your Senators and Representative and demand that they remove all Federal taxes on gasoline. Gas taxes represent a regressive tax that hurts poor people and students far more than it helps anything. Rich people can absorb the taxes; poor people end up having to spend less money somewhere else to afford to get around.

While a few of us are wasting our time hurting U.S. companies through ineffective boycotts, the Chinese and the Cubans are–as we speak–drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Do they know something we don’t?

No. They just don’t waste time feeling guilty about drilling for and using oil. Oil-based fuels are the most efficient energy source for automobiles we know of at this point. Furthermore, oil burns cleaner than ethanol (that is, alcohol), and producing oil does not impact the world’s food supply.

So, let’s let the oil companies find some more oil. If Congress had allowed drilling in ANWR when it was first proposed, the billions of barrels just waiting for us would have come online about a year ago . . . you know, back when the price of a gallon of gas started getting ridiculous?

Boycott if you like, but if you want to make a real difference, then let your Senators and Representative know what the real solution is to high gas prices.

Josh Smith is a telecommunications data analyst and aspiring writer. He is the online editor for the Saint Leo University Lions’ Pride newspaper.