August 30, 2013
Re "For students, fossil fuels become an issue of conscience," Aug. 26 Congratulations to the students of San Francisco State University who persuaded the trustees of their college to divest from fossil fuel companies. However, this article has an egregious omission: the carbon bubble. This bubble will likely pop and fossil fuel stocks will crash in the next decade or so if we are to preserve the planet for future generations. According to the climate change activist group 350.org, the planet cannot handle more than 565 gigatons of carbon emissions before 2050.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 25, 2013 |
In the 1980s, student protests against apartheid led universities to sell off stocks in companies doing business in South Africa. More recently, concerns about genocide in Darfur, the health effects of tobacco and handgun violence led to more college divestments. Now another issue - the effect of fossil fuels on global temperatures - is rousing a new generation of student activists to press their schools to drop coal, petroleum and natural gas investments from campus endowments. Student campaigns, such as "Fossil Free UC," are underway at about 300 colleges and universities nationwide, organizers estimate.
June 26, 2013 |
In December 2008, University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher impulsively - and successfully - bid on 12 parcels of land in southern Utah whose oil and drilling rights were being auctioned off by the Bureau of Land Management under outgoing President George W. Bush. That might have been OK had DeChristopher planned to pay for and exploit the properties. But the 27-year-old preservationist was actually at the sale as part of a peaceful protest against the fossil fuel industry when he was randomly handed a bidder's paddle: No. 70. DeChristopher's staunch and inspiring journey after that fateful auction (which was later invalidated by incoming Interior Secretary Ken Salazar)
April 29, 2013 |
Once celebrated as an economic mainstay, the tobacco industry has been hard hit by health concerns, bans, lawsuits and the social stigma of cigarette smoking. Now, UC researchers are testing the plant's potential to be genetically modified in order to produce socially acceptable bio-fuels to power airplanes, cars and trucks. Preliminary results are encouraging, but more research is required before tobacco can be commercially farmed as an energy crop to meet the demand for alternatives to fossil fuels.
April 7, 2013
Re "A pipeline to disaster," Opinion, April 4 Climate scientist James Hansen is right to push for reducing our carbon dioxide emissions to minimize global warming, but he has no sense of using the political art of compromise to achieve our goals. As he admits, the oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada will find its way to the market one way or another, where it will replace even dirtier coal. Not allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to be built to transport that oil through the U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico will simply force the use of more expensive and dirtier forms of transportation and would anger our best friends, the Canadians.
March 19, 2013 |
A new National Research Council report says the U.S. may be able to reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 in light-duty cars and trucks. The highly ambitious goal could be reached, the report says, through a combination of more efficient vehicles and the use of gasoline and diesel alternatives such as bio-fuels, electricity and hydrogen. "To reach the 2050 goals for reducing petroleum use and greenhouse gases, vehicles must become dramatically more efficient, regardless of how they are powered," said Douglas M. Chapin, principal of MPR Associates and chairman of the committee that wrote the report.