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


      Necessary but not sufficient

      Anne B. Butterfield, October 14, 2009 (NewEnergyNews)

      We have all heard about the woman who marries her live-in sweetheart, even though he was known to be a womanizer. Even two weeks before the wedding day Rosie found Mark in bed with another woman, but she was too invested in his wealth to break the engagement. Also his community, so elegant with traditions that she`d not remotely known in her childhood, had become her home. If not marry him, where was she to go?

      Rosie and Mark are a parable for every player in Washington toiling away on the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA) intended to wean us off of fossil fuels. Mark can`t stop womanizing, Rosie has long been giving favors for advancement; leaders like these do not have the mettle to pinpoint and pursue the very finest solutions.

      But we might be wise to see the bill as Thomas Friedman did when he said of ACESA: "It is appalling, a mess. I detest it. Now hurry up and pass it."

      Even the illusion of fidelity can provide some leverage. The bill`s existence for December`s climate treaty negotiations in Copenhagen is pivotal; America is the world`s worst emitter and our failure to bring a comprehensive bill to Copenhagen, even a pockmarked unfinished stinker, will send exactly the wrong signal.

      Those who rationally protest the ACES bill, such as the members of Climate SOS, describe the bill as inadequate for its low targets and, "worse than doing nothing" due to itscap-and-trade structure plus its allowances, offsets, permission for coal plants, plus-size funding for chimerical carbon capture and storage, and reliance on biomass combustion. Worst of all is the waiver of the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases, in the version passed by the House of Representatives.

      SOS prefers direct regulation to bring nearly 100 percent carbon emission reduction in 20-30 years through an energy efficiency portfolio standard as well as extreme ramp-up of renewable energy, zero waste, sustainable agriculture, and more. This would be paid for through a carbon fee or a carbon tax and dividend scheme that pays out most of its resources directly to citizens.

      The problem is that they at SOS seem to believe that Congress can do better. And, behold, our government is still in bed with the other the woman, subsidizing fossil fuels.
      Only last month did the prominent voice of President Obama call for a worldwide stop to such nonsense.

      That`s a little like Mark canceling the Playboy Channel the day before the wedding.

      One prominent supporter of the ACES bill, former Deputy of the Department of Energy and renowned climate blogger, Joseph Romm, advises:

      "And for those who say this doesn`t do enough -- I agree 100 percent. But then the original Clean Air Act didn`t do enough." He cites also the 1987 Montréal protocol as inadequate to save the ozone layer, continuing, "but it began a process and established a framework that, like the CAA, could be strengthened over time as the science warranted.
      The painful reality of climate change is going to become increasingly obvious in the coming years, and strengthening is inevitable."

      In short, the ACES bill is necessary but not sufficient. We have seen this before. Did women earn full citizenship just after suffrage was passed? Did blacks enjoy social equality just after slavery was abolished, or even after the civil rights movement? Did most states impose best available control technologies on updated power plants just because the Clean Air Act said so?

      No, no and no.

      Environmentalists are in no way fooled by the ACES bill`s failure to deliver the needed emissions reductions. The planet`s survival relies partly on a climate bill but mostly on continued grassroots assault on coal plants and other offenders, plus disruptive clean technologies to take our markets by storm.

      It would be nice to have a sterling market signal in the form of a carbon tax, but with only ExxonMobil strutting in favor of this, people are reasonable to look on philanderers as more trustworthy friends.

      The trick is to keep the EPA vested with authority to regulate emissions, as, according to Climate SOS, some biomass and trash incineration schemes portend to have emissions much worse than burning coal.

      Our work will not be finished with a climate bill; it only will begin, just as Rosie and Mark, once married, finally get to learn what fidelity can mean. And if we don`t like this climate bill, we can take our chances on ExxonMobil.