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Obama’s Environmental First Hundred Days


The good people over at The Daily Green have put together a list of green accomplishments Barack Obama has achieved during his first 100 days in office.  These guys are serious – putting together an extensive list of one hundred initiatives the Obama administration has implemented since his inauguration.

Here are a few of our favorites:

2. Vehicle Tax Credits
Want an excuse to drive a plug-in hybrid car? How about $7,500 for the first 200,000 buyers from each manufacturer? You can also get $2,500 for plug-in electric motorcycles and other low-speed or three-wheeled vehicles.

6. Declaring Greenhouse Gases Dangerous
In acknowledging the by-now obvious — greenhouse gas pollution causes global warming, and our environment, health and well-being is threatened by global warming — Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency set the stage for the first national carbon regulations on cars and power plants. Whether that regulation comes from the EPA, Congress or both remains to be seen, but for the first time the price of fouling the climate will be factored into the cost of doing business, and ultimately that the U.S. will confront the threat of global warming. Though the costs of higher energy or other regulation may be a short-term burden, Obama and many economists believe that the cost of doing nothing will prove far costlier.

30. The Largest Expansion of Wilderness Protection in 15 Years
Another bill in the works before Obama took office, the Omnibus lands bill nonetheless has his signature, and designates 2 million acres of wilderness, scenic rivers, national parks, historic trails and other public protected landscapes. It’s one beautiful legacy.

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The Staying Power of Sustainability


From a worldwide concert, to a motion picture, it seems that everywhere you look Al Gore is urging people to decrease their carbon footprint. With the latest elections it seems that Al Gore isn’t the only one who is discussing this topic, but does it have the staying power to actually have an impact on our everyday lives?

From the hippies of the 60′s, to the liberal colleges of the 90′s, to the youth of today, there is a growing concern about the stresses that our fossil fuel use is having on the environment. With the rise in the price of gasoline, the market for hybrid cars has taken the country by surprise. What was once thought of as a gimmick is slowly being accepted as normal.

The fact that people are starting to drive hybrids does not necessarily mean that people are putting the environment first. Being “Green” is an expensive and sometimes inconvenient title to have. So what is the solution to making sustainability more than just a hot button topic to those that don’t really care? Some people are finding that the solution is to affect them in areas where they do care – their wallet.

While the rise in gasoline has made the change to hybrid cars an appealing one, it still is in the hands of the consumer to decide whether or not they want to make the change. One solution to the growing concern with the abundance of plastic bags is to ban them in certain cities. This will force consumers to buy reusable bags or shop at a different store. While some people might find this to be a bit dramatic, Ireland has gone even further. In 2003 they introduced a fee of approximately 29 cents for each plastic bag that a shopper uses. Shoppers who do not want to fork out the extra money stop using the bags. This one act reduced Ireland’s bag consumption by 90 percent. This may be the type of action that is needed for the United States to put their best green foot forward.

While all the buzz surrounding sustainability is likely to only grow, there is no magic bullet that will suddenly make our emissions problems go away. The only way that there will be a paradigm shift is if these green issues affect people on a personal and financial level.  Now that the election has drawn to a close, we will see if maybe real environmental change will come to Washington not seen since Solar Panels graced the White House during Jimmy Carter’s term.

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Obama on Leno on Hybrid Vehicles


President Obama on Leno last night and spoke about hybrid vehicles.

Leno referenced the fact that Obama recently visited a plug-in hybrid factory. Obama spoke excitedly about the new hybrid vehicle technology and went on to say that the government would be investing billions into research and development in this field.

Here’ the transcript from this segment of President of Obama on Leno:

LENO: Now, you mentioned cars a minute ago. You went to the electric car, you went to look at some batteries today.

OBAMA: I did. It’s spectacular what is being down now with plug-in hybrids, where not only are you getting the hybrid technology, but now you can plug it in at home in your garage. And potentially we could see cars getting 150 miles to a gallon of gas.

And when you get home you could potentially sell the energy in your car back into the grid, back to your utility and get money.

So we’re going to be investing billions of dollars in research and development around these technologies. I know that you were mentioning you’ve got a hydrogen car –-

LENO: I’ve got the GM hydrogen car. That’s a whole new –

OBAMA: That’s a whole new level of technology. That’s what’s going to create the auto industry of the future. That’s where we’re going to win back manufacturing. But right now we’re behind.

These batteries are being made in Japan –- just like wind power is being made in Europe. We need to bring that here, and that’s part of what my budget and part of what our Recovery Act is all about.

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Utah Police Buying Hybrid Cars


In an effort to become more green-minded, Utah’s Salt Lake City Police Department is planning to add four or five hybrid vehicles to its 450 car fleet. At a cost of $23,084, each hybrid will cost the department $4,000 more than a gas-fueled car. However, the hybrids get up to 10 miles more per gallon than traditional gas guzzling police cars. This presents a very real advantage for a department that spends $1.5 million on gas every year. The new cars are part of the SLC police department’s plan to replace 20 percent of its fleet with hybrids every year. Hopefully other cities will follow Salt Lake City’s eco-friendly lead on this matter.

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Honda Debuts Eco Assist Gauges For 2009 Insight


Honda debuted it’s new Eco-Assist dashboard technology this Wednesday at the 2008 LA Auto Show. Grasping the attention of consumers not only interested in driving a hybrid car to enhance fuel economy, but also how you pilot that car.

When the Honda Insight first goes on sale in the United States in the spring of 2009 it will come equipped with the new Eco-Assist economy enhancement package. This system actually rates how you drive and encourages the operator to drive more efficiently. These enhancements are activated by a green ECON button on the dash which will then tweak the transmission, stop the engine from idling sooner, adjust the A/C and increase regenerative breaking.

The system also includes, and personally this is my favorite feature, a speedometer background which glows a certain color depending on how you are driving; instantly giving you guidance on how to drive with the best fuel consumption without having to read some small digits somewhere on the dash.

With all this technology you would think this car would be for the rich and famous eco-conscious consumer but with this hybrid is starting as low as $18,500 even a poor hippie like myself could afford it. 100,000 units are projected to sell in North America Annually.

Here is a gallery of the Eco Assist Dashboard from Autoblog.com.

Here is a video from Cars.com at the 2008 L.A. Auto Show:

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