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


      A greener, level playing field: Boulder's SmartRegs

      Anne B. Butterfield, May 5, 2010

      "In 1974…we discovered that Western Europe and Japan were using only a third as much energy as the U.S. for each dollar of gross domestic product, yet they certainly weren’t 'freezing in the dark' as the saying went."
      ~ Art Rosenfeld, Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2010

      Dr. Rosenfeld helped found the center for Building Science at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab that developed lighting and coatings for windows for more efficient buildings, plus tools for state building codes. Starting in 1978 California’s per capita energy use has stayed flat -- while the rest of the nation’s per capita consumption has leaped by over 50 percent. California has saved about $56 billion in electricity and natural gas expenses.

      So Boulder, when it comes to SmartRegs, what are we waiting for?

      The proposed SmartRegs would require rental property owners to update their residential properties on a points system, through measures such as installing efficient light bulbs, dishwashers, insulation or solar heating. Many properties will meet the standard as compliance with ten year old code is sufficient; but many units, which have been written up as being downright windy inside, would need to have lots of work done.

      Sheila Horton of the Boulder Area Rental Housing Association has been a vocal opponent of SmartRegs, scoffing that they are “irresponsible” for not accounting for banks which are not loaning money.

      Uh, remember a little thing called the ClimateSmart Loan Program? It was authorized by Boulder voters in 2008 so the County could sell bonds and make loans to property owners for efficiency and renewable energy upgrades, with their debts being repaid through property tax bills. (It’s also known as a “Property Assessed Clean Energy” or PACE program.)

      Oh right, the ClimateSmart Loan Program for energy retrofits! D’oh!

      In fact, Boulder’s CSLP is so highly regarded it’s being imitated in fifteen other states. The Colorado Legislature has passed two bills to allow the program to be replicated across the state. Also, partly because of CLSP, Boulder County won a $25 million “Retrofit Ramp Up” grant from the Department of Energy, on Earth Day. The grant was won in partnership with Denver, Xcel Energy, and Garfield County.

      The County Commissioners have estimated that the DOE award could help leverage $180 million for energy upgrades – this is ten times the $18 million that city staff estimated for updating all 19.6 thousand rental properties in the city, and far surpasses the $35 million cost that was grimly estimated by SmartRegs’ opponents who see the program as an unjustified burden.

      Lack of loans is not a problem -- particularly as about one third of the DOE grant is allocated to buy down interest rates. Jonathan Koehn for the City of Boulder has said that grant shall also help with micro loans starting at $300.

      The Climate Smart Loan Program costs the taxpayer nothing. This needs to be understood so the program’s expansion cannot be voted down in future elections over fiscal worries, as it was last November.

      Former County Commissioner, Paul Danish, wrote valiantly of how he used CSLP funding to replace his old furnace and saw his natural gas bill cut in half. The financial payoff of any retrofit is a function of how deplorable the situation was beforehand, so energy audits need to be conducted and interpreted with care to prioritize the biggest bang for the buck. Meanwhile, critics of SmartReg’s puff up the “unknowns” – the sames fear based logic which keeps people from marrying or having children.

      One thing we know for sure is that rental property owners cannot feel how deplorable their properties may be; it is the job of the renter to suffer, often silently, in leaky dwellings as they blast away at their utility bills and our children’s future. This is the “split incentive” that’s been an enduring policy logjam enriching no one but fossil fuel sellers.

      It’s too bad Colorado’s legal tradition is not inclined to allow counties to mandate that owners pay for all average energy costs of their tenants; this would be an elegant way to unite incentives in a snap. But with SmartReg’s instead, owners should not fret – research out of the state of Washington shows that environmentally certified housing sells much faster and at higher prices per square foot than ordinary housing, suggesting that SmartRegs in Boulder can not only create local jobs that cannot be outsourced but they can also allow the free market to compete on a greener, level playing field.