The joke with which Terry Tamminen started his Monday luncheon speech was eerily similar to his talk in Santa Monica last December – although the names were changed (you can compare the audio clip below with our recording of December's event here). Tamminen is an effective public speaker, though, and I didn't mind sitting through another one of his talks.

Kicking the oil addiction is the defining issue of our time, and it reaches into parts of our lives we don't always think about, said Tamminen, who drives a natural gas-powered Honda Civic GX. In California, the "richest state in the richest country in the history of the world," 80 percent of the residents live in areas that are officially designated as "unhealthy." Like he wrote in his book "Lives per Gallon," Tamminen says that the true cost of a gallon of gas in the US is really about $10, based on externalities like health care and crop damage. In some states (like Maryland and Florida) some insurance companies have said they won't be able to sell policies there in the future because they will not be able to pay the claims in the future. They see where the trends are headed.

China's insane growth (on the economic and pollution fronts) is driven in part by America. Huge new coal factories are being built on a rapid scale to power factories to sell us pink flamingoes and Nikes at Wal-Mart. You can listen to part of the speech here (MP3, and remember, AFVI has asked AutoblogGreen not to provide non-attendees with audio recording of full sessions from this conference).

Speaking of insane, there is no way I could've counted all of the wasted meals left on the tables in the dining hall. That's the way it goes.


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