The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
“In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for the nation to rapidly deploy electric cars and trucks to get the United States off oil dependence. The president has now been joined by one of America’s top Republican businessmen, FedEx CEO Frederick W. Smith. In a Fortune column, Smith described how the “670 aircraft and 70,000 motorized vehicles” of his company deliver 7 million packages a day — “nearly every single one of which is fueled by oil.” This dependence “comes at a significant cost,” Smith said, putting the U.S. military at risk and “requiring us to accommodate governments that share neither our values nor our goals.” Oil spikes bring about recessions, and “petroleum was responsible for 43% of U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions in 2009,” Smith, a huge financial supporter of George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain, explained. However, Smith agreed with the president that America can power away from petroleum.”
“In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for 80 percent of the country’s electricity to come from clean sources by 2035. He has been promoting the move as a way to create jobs and improve national security but has been silent about any impact it might have on the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
“In 2010, the Amazon experienced its second major drought in five years — both of which were thought to be once-in-a-century events. Researchers say continued dry conditions could turn the carbon-absorbing forest into a major source of carbon emissions.”
“World carbon dioxide emissions are one way of measuring a country’s economic growth too. And the latest figures – published by the respected Energy Information Administration – show CO2 emissions from energy consumption – the vast majority of Carbon Dioxide produced. A reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions is not only the goal of environmentalists but also of pretty much every government in the world. Currently 192 countries have adopted the Kyoto protocol with the aim of collectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5% of the 1990 levels by 2012.”
“The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government in the United Kingdom have several competing interests to juggle when it comes to the electricity generation industry. Any proposed tinkering in the electricity market will need to show it still promotes competition (even though new entrants will probably complain they can’t compete in auctions), even as it guarantees safe and stable power supplies, even as it needs to make sure consumers don’t get ripped off. The Department of Energy and Climate Change have published a clearly-written consultation document on their proposals for an Electricity Market Reform (EMR), detailing various methods of intervening to ensure long-term objectives on carbon emissions and energy security.”
“Economist Scott Barrett is no fan of the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and get climate change under control. Barrett proposes a different approach: tackle the gigantic problem, one piece at a time.”
“Solar-powered water purification systems sold to Algeria, Malaysia: will they catch on?”
“Events of past 18 months have little effect on Britons’ opinion, as 83% view climate change as a current or imminent threatThe public’s belief in global warming as a man-made danger has weathered the storm of climate controversies and cold weather intact, according to a Guardian/ICM opinion poll published today.Asked if climate change was a current or imminent threat, 83% of Britons agreed, with just 14% saying global warming poses no threat. Compared with August 2009, when the same question was asked, opinion remained steady despite a series of events in the intervening 18 months that might have made people less certain about the perils of climate change.”
“The environmental group WWF argued on Thursday that a radical, near total global shift to clean fuels within 40 years could yield savings of four trillion euros ($5.4 trillion) a year as well as tackle climate change.”
“Earthbags sound like yet another line of reusable totes, but they’re actually a green building material synonymous with sandbags. Basically you fill big bags with sand or gravel and stack ’em on top of each other like heavy, squirmy Legos. (Plaster follows.) Iranian-American architect Nader Khalili developed superadobe, a type of earthbag building where long bags filled with adobe are arranged in a beehive shape. The finished product can look like somewhere Frodo would live. Largely thanks to Khalili and Cal-Earth (The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture, which he founded), earthbag building has permeated public consciousness in recent years, although the technique goes back at least to World War I.”
“In Hawaii, hearings begin Tuesday for the state’s Big Wind project. The plan is for a massive wind farm of hundreds windmills to span several islands. It’s the largest renewable energy project for a state racing to get off oil.
Almost all of Hawaii’s electricity now comes from a few massive generators, which burn oil imported on a never-ending line of tanker ships.
Hawaii would rather get electricity from wind — like that produced by the new 42-story windmill at the Kahuku Wind Farm on Oahu’s North Shore.”
NPR has a page of Science News that includes links on environment and energy.
The New York Times Beyond Fossil Fuels series is also an excellent source and their Science page has additional stories. The Washington Post blog Post Carbon includes stories and commentary on climate and energy issues.
Here are some other links you may find worthwhile:
• Climate Change News Digest
• Climate Progress from Center for American Progress
• Rocky Mountain Institute “an independent, entrepreneurial nonprofit think-and-do tank™ that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources.”
At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.
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