Energy Independent Saudi Arabia Is Investing $109 Billion In Solar Energy.

Solar installation in Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia just completed a 12,684 panel solar installation that generates 3.5-megawatts of renewable energy. It’s Saudi Arabia’s largest solar installation to date and part of their ongoing plan to invest $109 billion in solar power to reach 41,000 megawatts of solar capacity within two decades.

As the US strives for liquid fuel energy independence, currently liquid fuel energy independent Saudi Arabia is going solar. Maybe the US can learn from the Saudi’s, realize now that the whole liquid fuel energy independence thing is overrated, and skip that middle step and go directly to solar. [Bloomberg]

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Everything You Need To Know About Tar Sand Oil And Keystone XL In One Video.

The Keystone XL Tar Sands Climate Threat video perfectly explains the environmental costs of the tar sand oil and the importance of President Obama’s decision to build, or not build, the Keystone XL pipeline.

US politicians supporting the Keystone XL pipeline point to energy independence as one of the main reasons why it needs to be built. Unfortunately, they never considered how important energy independence is going to be in our warming future. Sounds like the “Cut off your nose to spite your face” doctrine is in full effect . [CDCW]

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Is The Keystone XL Pipeline Decision A “Shit Or Get Off The Pot” Climate Crossroads For President Obama?

Keystone XL Pipeline decision and President ObamaWith tar sand oil, I truly believe that nature was trying to tell us to leave the stuff in the ground by making the franken-oil so costly to extract. Tar sand’s oil is the shit sandwich of liquid fuels and we’ll be sucking on it for 50 years if the 2000 mile Keystone XL pipeline is approved. President Obama volleyed the decision forward into his second term but he’ll soon have to make a tough choice that environmentalists believe will show what side of the climate change issue he’s on.

But wait – are members of his own party who oppose Keystone XL already giving him preemptive out?

Here’s a quote from Henry Waxman on President Obama’s upcoming decision (Guardian):

“This [Keystone XL] is only a small issue compared to the overall objective that the president and we want to achieve. What would you like me to do? Should I say to the president, ‘If you don’t agree with me on Keystone, I’m not going to work with you on solving the climate change issue’? That would be a little bit childish and counterproductive.”

Henry Waxman… really? Sure sounds like Rep. Henry “Future of our economy lies in clean energy, not increasing our reliance on the dirtiest source of gasoline imaginable” Waxman, who is political bros. with President Obama, is giving him a free pass on this issue and that worries me.

If I were to place a bet today, I would put my money on President Obama approving the Keystone XL pipeline. I think Rep. Waxman’s current take on the decision is very telling – it’s like he’s readying himself for the bad news from the President he normally supports. We’ll see how it plays out. [Guardian]

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Everything You Didn’t Want To Know About Canadian Tar Sand Oil

Extracting oil from tar sands

Processing plant extracting oil from tar sands.

How do you extract oil from sand? Simply put, you pick up and crush 50,000+ sq miles of earth, heat the heck out of it, and then sprinkle in some chemicals to separate out the oil from the sand and water. That is currently how oil is extracted from the tar sands and there’s enough of it in Calgary’s Athabasca oil sands to make Canada the world’s 2nd largest producer of oil. As oil goes, tar sand oil is not that pretty and it costs 3 times as much to produce as oil from a drilled well. The environmental land damage from this type of surface mining is not calculated in the cost but alone, the amount of resources needed to separate the oil from sand makes tar sand oil the world’s most expensive.

I’d mostly stayed away from the tar sands and Keystone XL pipeline story until I read a great article by Carl Pope in The Huffington Post. Mr. Pope is the former Executive Director of the Sierra Club and if you get a chance, read “The Myths Behind the Tar Sands Stampede.”

Related article: Pollutants from Tar Sands Sites Comparable to Mid-Sized City

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We Liked Newt Gingrich’s Moon Colony Idea More Than This One

Newt GingrichFrom the Huffington Post:

In a column in the conservative blog Human Events Wednesday, the former House speaker urged the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project, the expansion of domestic oil and gas drilling, and the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency, in order to help drive gas prices down to $2.50 per gallon.

Yes, the moon colony is looking better and better.

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