NewEnergyNews-Butterfield Archive

WALL STREET JOURNAL'S Environmental Capital quotes NewEnergyNews:

  • 06/05/2007
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    WALL STREET JOURNAL selects NewEnergyNews as one of the "Blogs We Are Reading" --

  • 05/14/2007
  • 04/16/2007
  • 03/28/2007
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      Anne B. Butterfield of DAILY CAMERA, a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews


    • My Novels: OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades & OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction
    • Review of OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades by Mark S. Friedman
    • OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades, the second volume of Herman K. Trabish’s retelling of oil’s history in fiction, picks up where the first book in the series, OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction, left off. The new book is an engrossing, informative and entertaining tale of the Roaring 20s, World War II and the Cold War. You don’t have to know anything about the first historical fiction’s adventures set between the Civil War, when oil became a major commodity, and World War I, when it became a vital commodity, to enjoy this new chronicle of the U.S. emergence as a world superpower and a world oil power.
    • As the new book opens, Lefash, a minor character in the first book, witnesses the role Big Oil played in designing the post-Great War world at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Unjustly implicated in a murder perpetrated by Big Oil agents, LeFash takes the name Livingstone and flees to the U.S. to clear himself. Livingstone’s quest leads him through Babe Ruth’s New York City and Al Capone’s Chicago into oil boom Oklahoma. Stymied by oil and circumstance, Livingstone marries, has a son and eventually, surprisingly, resolves his grievances with the murderer and with oil.
    • In the new novel’s second episode the oil-and-auto-industry dynasty from the first book re-emerges in the charismatic person of Victoria Wade Bridger, “the woman everybody loved.” Victoria meets Saudi dynasty founder Ibn Saud, spies for the State Department in the Vichy embassy in Washington, D.C., and – for profound and moving personal reasons – accepts a mission into the heart of Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. Underlying all Victoria’s travels is the struggle between the allies and axis for control of the crucial oil resources that drove World War II.
    • As the Cold War begins, the novel’s third episode recounts the historic 1951 moment when Britain’s MI-6 handed off its operations in Iran to the CIA, marking the end to Britain’s dark manipulations and the beginning of the same work by the CIA. But in Trabish’s telling, the covert overthrow of Mossadeq in favor of the ill-fated Shah becomes a compelling romance and a melodramatic homage to the iconic “Casablanca” of Bogart and Bergman.
    • Monty Livingstone, veteran of an oil field youth, European WWII combat and a star-crossed post-war Berlin affair with a Russian female soldier, comes to 1951 Iran working for a U.S. oil company. He re-encounters his lost Russian love, now a Soviet agent helping prop up Mossadeq and extend Mother Russia’s Iranian oil ambitions. The reunited lovers are caught in a web of political, religious and Cold War forces until oil and power merge to restore the Shah to his future fate. The romance ends satisfyingly, America and the Soviet Union are the only forces left on the world stage and ambiguity is resolved with the answer so many of Trabish’s characters ultimately turn to: Oil.
    • Commenting on a recent National Petroleum Council report calling for government subsidies of the fossil fuels industries, a distinguished scholar said, “It appears that the whole report buys these dubious arguments that the consumer of energy is somehow stupid about energy…” Trabish’s great and important accomplishment is that you cannot read his emotionally engaging and informative tall tales and remain that stupid energy consumer. With our world rushing headlong toward Peak Oil and epic climate change, the OIL IN THEIR BLOOD series is a timely service as well as a consummate literary performance.
    • Oil history journal articles by Dr. Trabish: Oil Stories and Histories
    • Review of OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction by Mark S. Friedman
    • "...ours is a culture of energy illiterates." (Paul Roberts, THE END OF OIL)
    • OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, a superb new historical fiction by Herman K. Trabish, addresses our energy illiteracy by putting the development of our addiction into a story about real people, giving readers a chance to think about how our addiction happened. Trabish's style is fine, straightforward storytelling and he tells his stories through his characters.
    • The book is the answer an oil family's matriarch gives to an interviewer who asks her to pass judgment on the industry. Like history itself, it is easier to tell stories about the oil industry than to judge it. She and Trabish let readers come to their own conclusions.
    • She begins by telling the story of her parents in post-Civil War western Pennsylvania, when oil became big business. This part of the story is like a John Ford western and its characters are classic American melodramatic heroes, heroines and villains.
    • In Part II, the matriarch tells the tragic story of the second generation and reveals how she came to be part of the tales. We see oil become an international commodity, traded on Wall Street and sought from London to Baku to Mesopotamia to Borneo. A baseball subplot compares the growth of the oil business to the growth of baseball, a fascinating reflection of our current president's personal career.
    • There is an unforgettable image near the center of the story: International oil entrepreneurs talk on a Baku street. This is Trabish at his best, portraying good men doing bad and bad men doing good, all laying plans for wealth and power in the muddy, oily alley of a tiny ancient town in the middle of everywhere. Because Part I was about triumphant American heroes, the tragedy here is entirely unexpected, despite Trabish's repeated allusions to other stories (Casey At The Bat, Hamlet) that do not end well.
    • In the final section, World War I looms. Baseball takes a back seat to early auto racing and oil-fueled modernity explodes. Love struggles with lust. A cavalry troop collides with an army truck. Here, Trabish has more than tragedy in mind. His lonely, confused young protagonist moves through the horrible destruction of the Romanian oilfields only to suffer worse and worse horrors, until--unexpectedly--he finds something, something a reviewer cannot reveal. Finally, the question of oil must be settled, so the oil industry comes back into the story in a way that is beyond good and bad, beyond melodrama and tragedy.
    • Along the way, Trabish gives readers a greater awareness of oil and how we became addicted to it. Awareness, Paul Roberts said in THE END OF OIL, "...may be the first tentative step toward building a more sustainable energy economy. Or it may simply mean that when our energy system does begin to fail, and we begin to lose everything that energy once supplied, we won't be so surprised."
    • Oil history journal articles by Dr. Trabish: Oil Stories and Histories
    • My Photo
      Location: Agua Dulce, CA

      *Doctor with my hands *Author of the "OIL IN THEIR BLOOD" series with my head *Student of New Energy with my heart






      Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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    • NewEnergyNews


      Buying us time on global warming

      From Anne B. Butterfield
    • Buying us time on global warming
    • July 27, 2008 (Daily Camera)

      For those who seriously worry about the twin threats of climate change and ocean acidification and pale at the thought of costly geoengineering schemes to save the planet, a powerful and cost effective form of relief is in the works. And like Rolaids, it comes in a simple seven letter word: Biochar.

      Now all the buzz in gardening blogs, biochar (aka char or agrichar) is studied in about a dozen institutions around the world as a soil amendment to enhance moisture retention and productivity for our overworked agricultural soils. It's an old practice, dating back to pre-Columbian Indians who charred their trees and organic waste and buried it in the poor soils in the Amazon basin. Now seven-thousand years later, the black "Terra Preta" soils still yield high fertility with a carbon content of 9 weight-percent compared with neighboring soils having only 2 percent or less.

      Applied globally and organically, the ramifications of agrichar for our food-stressed, toxified world are immense. The practice may end the use of costly fossil fuel based fertilizers whose run-off has caused a dead zone the size of New Jersey in the Gulf of Mexico. Crop yields could rise by 20 percent. Most tantalizing, but still under study, is the potential for a scaled up agrichar practice to be a carbon sink. With the burial of carbon in this persistently stable form, plus its tendency to attract and bond with carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, plus the resulting heavier plant growth, agrichar could capture nearly twice our current annual emissions from fossil fuels (5.4 billion tons per year) while creating bio-oil for our projected demand for renewable fuels by 2100. (Source: Scientific American May 2007)

      Pragmatically, this agricultural and bio-fuel scheme has challenges. We need to assess what agrichar would do over the long term to our foods. Also, we need policy on how to find large amounts of dead biomass for feedstock, lest we deface our forests to run our cars. Also, the ashy char coming from bio-oil production is not as effective at storing carbon and enhancing soils as char made at low temperature, so are we to choose again between great market approaches or showing loving kindness for the Earth?

      Enter stage west, my friend, our local geologist, Alison Burchell. Three years ago she tripped on a rock near a Silverton mine reclamation area and tumbled into a nest of loamy soil topped with ferns, mosses, mushrooms and trees -- a Shangri-la amid the dry grass and barren tailings piles. Digging in and testing her samples Burchell found bits of biochar left over from ancient forest fires. She had landed in a natural biochar lab, and it was sequestering carbon to over 30 weight-percent; that's three times what the agrichar experts are claiming for their niche of this emerging market.

      With partners at three federal agencies plus experts such as Cornell's soil scientist Johannes Lehmann, Burchell has been advancing research on her scheme of Natural Terrestrial Sequestration (NTS) for reclaiming mining areas here in the Rockies where certain of our volcanic soils present a "secret recipe" for drawing more carbon into soils than noted anywhere else. The total sequestration that Burchell suspects could be achieved through NTS (applied to mine areas, forests and agriculture) in the American west could be 15-30 weight-percent. That represents one or two of the so-called "wedges" coined by Socolow and Pacala in their seminal work on climate mitigation.

      With carbon trading likely in the near future, states like Colorado could make money enriching its climate-stressed soils.

      This ministry to help the Earth do what it can is what Burchell calls "geomimicry." It may be labor-intensive, but it's not unsophisticated or unmechanized, and the idea of widespread NTS and agrichar brings images of a revitalized agrarian age that could slowly reverse the legacy of centuries of coal mining. Logically, Burchell is also sketching out plans to help heal the wreckage left by mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. Not bad for a penitent planet.

      Anne Butterfield has known Alison Burchell for a year of watching her give papers and talks on NTS.