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Fossil Fuels

January 30, 2006 | Merle Rubin, Special to The Times
MODERN civilization is "the product of an energy binge," Alfred Crosby pithily explains in "Children of the Sun." "Binges often result in hangovers. Fossil fuel supplies are ultimately exhaustible and currently responsible for such worrisome effects as global warming.... Nuclear fission could produce all that we need, but ... [it] may be Mother Nature's version of the Trojan Horse."
June 2, 2010 | Christi Parsons, Tribune Washington Bureau
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill should inspire the U.S. to cut its reliance on fossil fuels, President Obama said Wednesday, issuing his strongest promise yet to fight for Senate passage of a climate bill. The only way the country will ever transition to clean energy is if the private sector has to pay a price for carbon pollution, Obama told an audience of students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon University. The House has already passed a bill designed to do that, and a similar plan is pending before the Senate, but passage is imperiled by a flood of issues competing for attention this election year.
July 15, 2011 | By Jennifer Bennett, Los Angeles Times
After 10 months of negotiations and sometimes nasty public debate, Australia's government has finally announced the details of a carbon tax of $24.65 a ton, aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions by discouraging the use of fossil fuels and increasing investment in renewable energy. In 2015 it will be replaced by an emissions trading program. The plan, announced Sunday by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, will now go before Parliament, but its passage is assured as it is the result of a deal reached with the Australian Greens and two independents with whom the Labor Party formed a government last year.
May 19, 2010 | By Michael Rothfeld, Los Angeles Times
As he wages a Republican primary for governor this year, Steve Poizner has advocated rolling back California's law to curb global warming indefinitely, calling it "a Draconian set of regulations that doesn't help the environment and … destroys the economy." But four years ago, when the law was passed and he was seeking the endorsements of environmentalists for a different race, Poizner said he supported the anti-global-warming law, which had been approved that year. In an e-mail to a campaign consultant, he said he had filled out a questionnaire for the Sierra Club, an environmental group.
July 22, 2008 | Michael Shermer, Michael Shermer is an adjunct professor in the School of Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate University, the publisher of Skeptic magazine and a monthly columnist for Scientific American. His latest book is "The Mind of the Market."
Our civilization is fast approaching a tipping point. Humans will need to make the transition from nonrenewable fossil fuels as the primary source of our energy to renewable energy sources that will allow us to flourish into the future. Failure to make that transformation will doom us to the endless political machinations and economic conflicts that have plagued civilization for the last half-millennium. We need new technologies to be sure, but without evolved political and economic systems, we cannot become what we must.
April 6, 2008
We are not addicted to oil: It is our lifeblood. ("Your Money: The Oil Habit," March 30.) We've been raised on oil and other fossil fuels. This is not a habit we can break like cigarettes or alcohol. We are dependent on oil for our food, transportation, commerce, medicine, communication, sanitation and the job specialization that provides the vast majority of our livelihoods. Breaking our dependency will involve a wholesale change in the way we live and who we are as a people. Sarah Anne Edwards, ecopsychologist Pine Mountain Club
January 26, 2004
Re "Governor Pushes for 'Hydrogen Highways,' " Jan. 20: I'm all in favor of "Hydrogen Highways," but there's a growing misconception about hydrogen fuel. In the hydrogen economy, hydrogen is not a source of energy but only a means of storing and transporting energy. The energy must come from elsewhere. Even though hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, there is no free hydrogen on Earth. It is all bound up in other compounds. Energy is required to separate the hydrogen from other compounds.
February 7, 1999
"Major Car Makers Form Lobbying Group" [Jan. 13] examined the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group made up of nine domestic and foreign auto makers that have joined forces to undercut the effects of new Environmental Protection Agency laws. The timing could not be worse. NASA scientists just released a study showing 1998 to be the hottest year on record and warned that global warming poses a real danger to the planet. By burning fossil fuels, automobiles account for 15% to 20% of mankind's carbon dioxide emissions.
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