CO2 and the Rise of 'Personal Responsibility' on the Left

Someone left an interesting note on one of my comments the other day, pointing out some of Obama's shortcomings on CO2 emissions. I ended up spending an hour or so doing some research and found myself at a rather unexpected and completely unrelated place: Blackle.com

Its a really smart idea - use a black screen for Google's homepage instead of a white one, and save energy in small increments. In the process, each individual person gets a daily reminder that small individual actions add up to big outcomes.

Before anyone dismisses this as just another fad, I want to try out a different spin on it. It seems to me that, given that the only credible political solution to the climate issue doesn't seem to want to represent a nation that re-elected Bush (I don't blame him, shame on all of us), the only way that real change can occur is from the ground up. And what does this entail? Small, daily, and sustained efforts on the part of millions of individuals adding up to larger action.

What if we all decided to pay a little extra for the green option on our electricity bills? What if we all decided to substitute bike rides for car rides whenever possible? Are these ideas really so radical? One of my new year's resolutions this year was to find a way to go carbon neutral, and I achieved this far easier than I initially thought was possible. All I did was give up my car and buy the green option. The money I save from the car far more than offsets the extra money on my energy bill (by about $500 a month), and I am in better shape. I don't even live in a city with public transport (Nashville)! Turns out, biking really isn't that hard. Can everyone do this? No, obviously not - people have families and other circumstances, but I bet that some people can afford to do this. And those who cannot, at least can make sure they get their gas from BP and not (NOT!) Exxon.

Call it silly, but I think that the time is ripe for us to steal one of the Right's most successful ideas, and actually put it to good use (instead of using it to mislead people). Personal responsibility - people love the idea because it is so quintessentially American. What if we, in a very vocal sort of way, proclaimed that personal responsibility is no longer a concept that justifies our turning away while our neighbors loose their houses due to absurd medical bills, but rather a concept that compels us to take small actions every day that take into account our responsibility to our planet and our fellow citizens.

Remember that JFK used this idea in his famous speach, and remember that people LOVED that speach and STILL love that speach. That is what people want. Right now, it seems that there is no solution for the climate crisis, because there is no political will to action. Therefore, we have to approach this challenge differently, and I think that if we approach it as a challenge for individuals and NOT governments, we will not only succeed, but also remind Americans something they seem to have forgotten: the Left, not the Right, has solved this nation's great problems throughout history, and it is the Left that has the ability to continue doing so.

So yeah. Progressive "personal responsibility." Apparently, Google gets it.

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Entire New York Taxi Fleet to Go Hybrid

Mayor Bloomberg is mandating that the city's entire taxi fleet be hybrid - massively increasing fuel efficiency and saving the average taxi driver $10,000 in fuel costs. This is the kind of no-brainer that Democratic Mayors (and the federal government) should be mandating as well.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The city's yellow taxi fleet will go entirely hybrid within five years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday.

''There's an awful lot of taxicabs on the streets of New York City,'' Bloomberg said. ''These cars just sit there in traffic sometimes, belching fumes.

''This does a lot less. It's a lot better for all of us,'' he said of the hybrid plan.

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Obama's Auto Plan Neither New Nor Bold

Cross-posted at Democratic Courage blog.

Barack Obama got huge coverageyesterday for "standing up" to the auto industry by calling on them to accept tighter fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks - and doing it in their own backyard in Detroit. Although it's encouraging anytime a candidate calls for increasing fuel economy, we have to ask:  is Obama's proposal really anything to coo about?

The core of Obama's plan is raising fuel efficiency standards to 40 miles per gallon by 2022 - and paying off American auto companies for doing this by funneling $3 billion in taxpayer subsidies to the big auto companies in exchange, primarily to alleviate their high health care costs.

Two problems: first, Obama's plan doesn't move anywhere near fast enough to address the twin challenges of global climate deterioration and reliance on oil. His plan is about the same as that proposed by the Bush administration (although the administration's plan includes huge loopholes that Obama's doesn't). The 2022 deadline is at least ten years behind what is technically feasible and at least that many years behind what is climatologically essential. The latest international climate report concludes that urgent action is needed to avoid mass extinction, melting ice caps, famine and disease. "We don't have the luxury of time," said Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  What's more, research by the Union of Concerned Scientists shows that currently available technology could raise fuel efficiency standards to 40 miles per gallon by 2012, while still producing net savings for consumers.

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We Need Your Help With an Electric Vehicle Event

The Electric Vehicle Association of Washington, DC and the National Electric Drag Racing Association are putting on an exhibition of electric vehicles and their capabilities called the Power of DC. The event has been held for the last six years at the Mason-Dixon Drag Way in Hagerstown, Maryland. This year, the seventh year of the event, we are adding an autocross event the day before the drag race. This will be an EV autocross event, (dubbed EVautoX). The EVautoX will take place at Hagerstown Community College June 2nd, admission is free. The electric vehicle drag race event will take place at the Mason Dixon Drag Way on June 3rd, spectator admission is $5.

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Will an Oscar lead to another Gore run? Let's hope so....

There have been theories circulating in the main stream media as well as in the blogosphere that Al Gore is slowing ramping up to a 2008 campaign.  The theory goes like this:

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