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Vol. 15, No. 12 Week of March 21, 2010
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Greening of Oil - Latest from Mac Ackers

LOW CARBON DIETS GAIN TRACTION … Davis, Calif., wants to get a jump on the 300 or so other U.S. cities vying to become America’s first carbon-neutral city. Going up against green havens like Portland, Ore., and Rochester, NY, the university town of 65,000 is pulling out all the stops. The first American city with bike lanes and a year-round farmers’ market, Davis also claims the distinction of being the first city in America to adopt an ordinance requiring energy efficiency tailored to the local climate. The law ultimately led to California enacting Title 24, the first state statute of its kind in the United States.

By teaming up with low-carbon guru David Gershon, author of “Low Carbon Diet: A 30-day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds” and “Social Change 2.0,” Davis aims to ratchet up the savings.

“As a city where 75 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions are coming from residential sources, it was a no-brainer,” said Mitch Sears, sustainability director of the City of Davis. “When you pair the carbon reduction results Gershon is getting with the innovative Cool Community strategy and tools he offers to scale them up, “Low Carbon Diet” is by far the most cost-effective option for our city budget.”

LATEST FROM PICKENS … In his monthly update on the level of foreign oil imports to the United States, T. Boone Pickens said March 15 that based on figures from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, the United States imported 59 percent of its oil, or 322 million barrels in February, sending approximately $24.6 billion, or $609,857 per minute, to foreign countries.

MOVIE MADNESS … Last week I discussed an ad that appeared in the trade pub Variety, linking the movie Avatar to the Canadian oil sands — i.e. Ava tar online at

The ad was basically lobbying for both the movie and director Cameron to win Oscars. Quite a few of you responded to me directly. Some were scientific and some more emotionally charged, but either way, I love a person who takes a position! Do you agree with them? Read on...

• Avatar was bang on the problem. It is historical and contemporary truth. It is natural for a people who can identify themselves as villains of the movie to shun it. However the defeat of these forces by the primitive tribal is not a truth till today but a hidden aspiration of many in the undeveloped world.

• Ava Tar Sands has damaged Canada’s positive image in the world badly. If that could be calculated into economic figures, Cameron would think it over again.

• I would not be surprised if the Chinese who are in the effluents stream for their uncontrolled PV fabrication plants would not think of themselves as the Na’vi also. :-) The film’s theme fits many circumstances. It implies there are easy alternatives, which I am not so sure is the case. After all, if it were easy and cheap to move from oil to solar or wind, the oil companies would do it, make the same or more money, and have less PR headaches.

• The cost to mitigate a ton of CO2 is as high as 40 dollars ($US) per ton, that I have seen. I know American Forests, a non-profit in the USA, can plant for one dollar per tree. Trees for Tigers is a good example program, after all this is the Year of the Tiger (Chinese)! Trees scrub the sky of CO2 and put it in into the ground through a natural process. This balance must be restored. Solar, Wind and other renewable resources are fine, but biomass recovers the emissions. A billion dollars for CCS R&D or a billion trees for carbon capture and storage? My bet is on the trees.

• Interesting and it is obvious that unobtainium was in the end of the movie degraded to an “unobtainable” mineral. Your clean jeans Gideon may be more valuable than you think. Dare I say once again Bloom Box and Silicon or as they like to call it, Sand? Now if we get the Bloom Box to use either unobtanium or grease residue as well as the clean sand, we may have a good business.

ECO-MARATHON REVS STUDENTS ... Forget Cancun! Student teams from across the Americas are spending spring break designing, building, and testing vehicles to see whose will travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy. The teams will compete at Shell’s 2010 Eco-marathon Americas in Houston March 26-28. Last year's winner was Laval University from Quebec, Canada, achieving 2,757.1 miles per gallon [more] (1,172.2 kilometers per liter). The 2010 roster includes 50 vehicles from 43 teams including nine high schools and 29 universities from Canada, Italy and the United States. To learn more about the event and to track the results visit Shell's web site. Photos of the vehicles are a must-see!

Contact me! I am Greening of Oil’s social networker. My weekly column is posted in both Petroleum News and on Greening of Oil’s Buzz and Latest news pages. My e-mail address is

Editor's note: Visit Mac Ackers at one of her following social sites.

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