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


      Deniers’ delay game

      Anne B. Butterfield, April 16, 2010 (NewEnergyNews)

      Those who deny that climate change is real and human caused have a position that is irrational and insubstantial. They have no robust theory, peer-reviewed or otherwise, that comes close to explaining why the planet is warming, even as the last decade has proven to be the warmest on record. Labeling climate science as “junk science” one dear friend and denier told me he had no interest in learning the simple chemistry of ocean acidification -- as if he had authority on the former while being unwilling to grasp the latter.

      We need to keep these odd notes in perspective. Republican pollster Frank Luntz recently surveyed 1000 Americans and found that 57 percent say it doesn’t matter if there is or isn’t climate change, it is still in America’s best interest to develop new sources of energy that are clean, reliable, efficient and safe.

      With that baseline view felt in the nation, we can guess that deniers are spinning “debate” and claims of a climate bill “wrecking the economy” to avoid bringing the bitter end to America’s founding conviction: maximal consumption as a birthright (particularly where fossil fuels are concerned).

      We don’t particularly need more perfectly presented scientific evidence, no matter how flamboyantly deniers denounce some errors in scientists’ conduct and proofreading. What we need is to meet Americans where they like and frame this around national security, jobs and good health.

      Colorado is the evidence of these principles: House Bill 1365 just passed 10 to 1 in a House committee with strong bipartisan backing. The lure for the bill, which proposes to rehab or retire 900 megawatts of coal capacity along the Front Range, is to clean up Denver’s brown cloud ahead of the EPA’s plan to do it for us. But there is little doubt the Governor’s office, which negotiated the bill for a year, was pressured by voters clamoring against Comanche 3’s 750 megawatts of new coal capacity.

      Recently, also, a new standard for 30 percent renewable energy by 2020 was also passed.

      Wonderful! But even with this regional progress, we need to screw up our courage and pass a federal climate and energy bill because there is no going back to plentiful coal and oil and virginal coral in every tropical cove. So let’s review a few studies that show that the climate protection is won’t “wreck the economy”.

      According to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, a recent McKinsey report outlines the potential to reduce consumer demand of energy by about 23 percent by 2020 and reduce emissions by 1.1 gigatons each year — at a net savings of $680 billion. (The potential savings were calculated assuming a 7% discount rate, no price on carbon and using only “net present value positive” investments. A full report can be downloaded from

      Likewise, the National Academies found in 2009 that accelerated deployment of cost-effective technologies in buildings could reduce energy use by 25-30 percent in 2030.

      And we know that making buildings more efficient is work that cannot be shipped overseas.

      Nonetheless, on President Obama’s proposed climate bill, members of the GOP have been claiming a $3,100 per household cost increase, a figure that has been openly refuted as misleading by researchers at MIT whose work the conservatives claim as their source. The MIT study puts the cost around $800 per year. Even the pro-Republican Heritage Foundation figured the average family would see its energy bill increase by $1,500 a year under Obama’s plan, but, says these figures don’t account for energy rebates as proposed. If the government did use revenue from cap and trade to rebate households, a CBO expert said, "lower-income households could be better off."

      On the Waxman-Markey bill passed in the House last summer, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates the average cost per household at $98 to $140 per year, the CBO cites $90 in the short run and an average of $455 over 40 years, and the EIA puts the cost hike between 3 percent and 15 percent in 2020.

      These numbers are not likely to “wreck’ the economy when we know that peak coal, peak oil and $120 billion per year in health costs related to burning fossil fuels are already wrecking the economy, with more acute attacks to come. The oil spike of 2008 has been claimed by Hunter Lovins as being the trigger of our economic collapse.

      At a time of great risk, such as we now face, the riskiest choice of all is to make no move at all, and don’t let the deniers cause anymore distraction or delay.