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April 20th, 2012 Archives
By MIREYA NAVARRO April 19, 2012, 5:55 pm
“Chill out – sometimes this stuff takes years.”
That was Bill Clinton’s wry observation on Thursday as he addressed a sustainability conference in New York City, expressing frustration over how long it is taking for the country to move forward on clean energy and energy efficiency.
Appearing before a crowd of around 250 at the annual Sustainable Operations Summit at the Hilton New York in Midtown Manhattan, the former president said there had been some progress but that the upfront costs of adopting better technology — especially in shaky economic times — and a cultural resistance to change remained significant obstacles.
“We are too wedded to the way we’ve done things,” Mr. Clinton said, waving his reading glasses for emphasis as he spoke. “It’s psychological as well as financial. We have to liberate ourselves from that.”
Mr. Clinton, who sees upgrades as a way to create jobs and boost the economy, has made a cause of retrofitting buildings to conserve energy through his Clinton Climate Initiative and President Obama’s Better Building Challenge, which promotes public and private investment in energy efficiency projects. He encouraged his audience of business and environmental executives to lead “by argument and example” to convince people that sustainable growth is the only kind of growth that makes sense in the long run.
“Keep doing the little things that add up,” he said.
To read the entire article go to: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/lead-by-example-clinton-tells-sustainability-forum/?ref=energy-environmentShare This Post
Ken Silverstein | Apr 18, 2012
Energy independence and national security are often used in the same phrase. But now when the words are spoken, it will apply to the American military. The U.S. armed forces are continuing their crusade to go green, not because it may be vogue but because it will save lives.Share This Post
Posted: 04/18/2012 5:04 pm
We come from Vermont. We know our small state cannot reverse global warming on our own, but we can provide a model for America which helps lead our nation and the world to a more sustainable and secure energy future.
We see three major imperatives.
First, we must act to reverse global warming. The scientific consensus is clear that global warming is real, that it is caused by human activities and that it will only get worse if we do not take bold efforts now. At a time when many members of Congress do not even acknowledge that global warming is happening, in Vermont we are taking action. Vermont has more than 100 grassroots citizen-led town energy committees that are working with state agencies to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and such clean sources of sustainable energy as solar, geothermal, biomass and wind.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-bernie-sanders/vermont-is-helping-to-lea_b_1435672.html?ref=greenShare This Post
Does the ascendance of cheap natural gas from fracking come at the expense of renewables?
Eric Wesoff: April 18, 2012
In the real world, outside the echo chamber of Silicon Valley's cleantech events and boardrooms, new U.S. energy is not solar power or electrochemical storage, but rather unconventional gas and oil. "Unconventional gas and oil" means horizontal drilling, fracking, and shale gas. There's an enormous amount of reserves, innovation, and investment in this roaring sector.
Extracting shale gas entails a drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," which involves blasting through rock with a mix of water, sand and additives to split the shale formation and free the trapped gas.
The abundance of these new resources has been dubbed the "Shale Gale."
The questions are:
- Is natural gas a bridge to renewables, as some have said?
- Or is natural gas going to slow the momentum of renewables?
- What are the true environmental impacts of fracking? Is it safe as milk? -- as Halliburton would have us believe -- or is it a toxic time bomb? There are videos of Haliburton executives drinking the allegedly toxic fracking fluid and there are videos of flaming tap water. What is the truth of the impact of fracking on drinking water?
Vikram Rao, former CTO, Halliburton and the current Executive Director of Research Triangle Energy Consortium (RTEC) said last year that the shale gas supply "is the most important energy event in the U.S. since the discovery of Alaskan oil."
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/The-Natural-Gas-Shale-Gale/Share This Post
Monday, 09 April 2012 20:38
With the price of natural gas falling, investments in water-sipping wind and solar energy are slipping.
By Jacob Wheeler and Keith Schneider
Circle of Blue
Original source: : http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2012/world/clean-energy-picture-dramatically-changed-for-midwest-as-u-s-fossil-energy-boom-gathers-steam/?utm_source=Circle+of+Blue+WaterNews+%26+Alerts&utm_campaign=0636319743-Weekly_Water_News_April_20_20124_20_2012&utm_medium=email
It was not very long ago that clean energy production — and the development of a manufacturing sector to support it — represented a cogent business plan for Ohio, Michigan, and other Great Lakes states interested in developing new jobs, reducing stresses on water quality and supply, and contributing answers to climate change and national security.
Before the inauguration in January 2009, President-elect Barack Obama visited Cardinal Fastener, a company that manufactures specialty bolts for wind turbines in Bedford Heights, just outside Cleveland, and touted the company as a model of the future. A year later, the White House commended the solar cell manufacturing sector that was developing in Michigan.
“It’s happening all across America right now,” Obama said at Cardinal Fastener, speaking of the rise in clean energy production, a good bit fostered by $US 100 billion contained in the $US 787 billion federal stimulus bill, enacted in February 2009, and a federal production tax credit for wind power. “It’s providing alternatives to foreign oil now. It can create millions of additional jobs and entire new industries, if we act right now.”
What a difference a few years make.
The president’s energy goals — like the Midwest’s — now reflect a convergence of new oil- and gas-drilling technology, global market demand for fossil fuels, domestic politics (“drill, baby, drill”), and national policy that has elevated fossil fuel production to a top economic priority and weakened the glow of water-sipping clean energy alternatives.
President Obama now talks about an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, as he did in January during the State of the Union, when he hailed the fossil fuel sector for generating more natural gas than ever before and for relying “less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years.”Share This Post
April 19, 2012
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) final Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) quietly took effect on Monday, kicking off the three-year compliance period mandated under the Clean Air Act. Several more groups filed suit before the filing deadline for legal challenges on April 16, including the Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG), Colorado's Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and the American Public Power Association (APPA).
To read the entire article go to: http://www.powermag.com/POWERnews/4576.html?hq_e=el&hq_m=2427094&hq_l=4&hq_v=b60407b3b2Share This Post
Posted: 04/17/2012 7:07 am Updated: 04/19/2012 4:26 pm
TORONTO - A major overhaul of environmental assessment rules for big projects will create jobs and growth, the federal government announced Tuesday, sparking resource industry praise and fierce criticism from environmental groups.
First signalled in last month's budget, the Conservative government said proposed new rules would encourage investment by avoiding wasteful duplication and setting strict time limits for project reviews.
"We intend to focus federal assessment efforts on major projects that can have significant environmental effects, such as energy and mining projects," Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said.
"Streamlining the review process ... will attract significant investment dollars and give every region of our country a tremendous economic boost."
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/04/17/canada-environmental-review_n_1430651.html?ref=green&ir=GreenShare This Post
Published Friday, Apr. 20, 2012
Quality of life in the Sacramento region is inexorably linked to how we build communities and link them with transportation. If we do it right, we can reduce pollution, protect farmland, create a vibrant urban fabric and give people alternatives to congested freeways and highways.
This region has a long history in making bad choices in this realm, but that is starting to change. One big step forward came Thursday when the Sacramento Area Council of Governments approved a 2035 Sustainable Communities Strategy/Regional Transportation Plan. This plan, if fully embraced and implemented by cities and counties, will help the Sacramento area grow without the gridlock, smog and large-scale leap-frog development that marred earlier epochs of our history.
As drawn up by SACOG, the plan will:
• Double transit service, and encourage new housing near transit – reducing congestion even as the region adds 870,000 people through 2034.
• Spend 8 percent of revenue on infrastructure for pedestrians and bicycle riders, resulting in a 77 percent expansion of bike lanes.
• Accommodate a 39 percent increase in population, even though the urban footprint will increase only by 7 percent.
• Meet state targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by 16 percent.
- • Accomplish all this with a 12.5 percent reduction in funding.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/20/4428212/sacog-sets-high-bar-on-transportation.htmlShare This Post
Posted: 04/18/2012 4:00 AM
California leads the nation when it comes to hybrid and electric vehicles and, with record electric and hybrid vehicle sales across the country last month, advanced vehicles are set to break into the mainstream. That breakthrough so far has been held back by the relatively limited number of electric vehicle charging stations available to California drivers. That's about to change.
To read the entire article go to: http://m.sfgate.com/sfchron/db_106687/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=SctkMuL9Share This Post
Special to The Bee
Published Friday, Apr. 20, 2012
Ed Lee is mayor of San Francisco; Ashley Swearengin, mayor of Fresno; Kevin Johnson, mayor of Sacramento; Chuck Reed, mayor of San Jose; Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles.
We are all strong supporters of building the California High-Speed Rail system, and our state has arrived at a critical juncture. In the weeks ahead, state legislators will be asked to release $2.7 billion in previously approved state bond funds to begin construction of the first section of high-speed rail in the United States. Our long-term economic and environmental future requires an alternative to simply adding more highways and airport runways. We need a sustainable, modern way of moving people up and down the state that doesn't rely on gasoline and concrete.
The high-speed rail project will begin in the Central Valley with construction of a 300-mile initial operating section that will form the backbone of the system and provide high-speed rail service in a decade. This early start will be paired with cost-saving early investments in the electrification of Caltrain and Metrolink, the northern and southern bookends of the system. High-speed rail will connect our cities like never before and provide early, tangible benefits to commuter rail in the urban cores of the state.
Recently, the California High-Speed Rail Authority released a revised 2012 business plan, a document that reflects and responds to concerns expressed over the last three months by residents, businesses, elected officials and communities throughout the state. The revised plan puts a new cost estimate of the total construction of the high-speed system at $68.4 billion, with the initial operable segment up and running by 2022 and the rest of the system completed by 2028. The revised plan delivers on the promise made by Gov. Jerry Brown to produce a project that is faster, better and cheaper, and recognizes the fiscal constraints our state faces.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/20/4428222/high-speed-rail-for-a-more-sustainable.htmlShare This Post
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 9:17 PM Updated: Friday, April 20, 2012, 12:38 AM
By Scott Learn, The Oregonian
Oregon's controversial plans to shift to lower carbon car and truck fuels needs a second blessing by the Legislature to move forward, Gov. John Kitzhaber's top natural resources adviser said today.
That means Oregon's "low carbon fuel standard," the environmental highlight of the 2009 Legislature, won't take effect until at least 2015.
The standards would require fuel distributors to cut the carbon in fuels by 10 percent over 10 years. It's an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the state's dependence on foreign oil and boost Oregon producers of ethanol and biodiesel.Share This Post
By VIKAS BAJAJ April 19, 2012
NELLORE, India — India has long struggled to provide enough electricity to light its homes and power its industry around the clock. In recent years, the government and private sector sought to change that by building scores of new power plants.
But that campaign is now running into difficulties because the country cannot get enough fuel — principally coal — to run the plants. Clumsy policies, poor management and environmental concerns have hampered the country’s efforts to dig up fuel fast enough to keep up with its growing need for power.
A complex system of subsidies and price controls has limited investment, particularly in resources like coal and natural gas. It has also created anomalies, like retail electricity prices that are lower than the cost of producing power, which lead to big losses at state-owned utilities. An unsettled debate about how much of its forests India should turn over to mining has also limited coal production.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/20/business/global/india-struggles-to-deliver-enough-electricity-for-growth.htmlShare This Post
By PAUL HOCKENOS April 13, 2012
ACKNOWLEDGING that it makes little sense to spend billions to develop electric cars if charging their batteries produces roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide as the most efficient gasoline models, some European automakers are investing directly in renewable energy.
Wind farms, solar installations, hydroelectric power and so-called e-gas plants are among the experiments intended to demonstrate that zero-carbon transportation can be a viable alternative.
In Germany, several recent studies commissioned by the federal environment ministry concluded that in order for electric vehicles to help reduce the levels of greenhouse gases being produced, additional sources of renewably generated electricity must be created. In other words, the source of the electricity that charges electric cars and plug-in hybrids must not only be clean, but also new, beyond existing sources. Today, electricity from renewables accounts for 21 percent of all electricity in Germany.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/automobiles/in-europe-homegrown-power-for-auto-plants.html?_r=1Share This Post
International demand and new technologies have pushed the nation to the top for hydrocarbon exports. But massive production has also created worries over water use and pollution.
Thursday, 19 April 2012 10:33
By Nadya Ivanova and Aaron Jaffe
Circle of Blue
Original source: http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2012/world/global-energy-demand-driving-australias-coal-and-gas-export-boom/?utm_source=Circle+of+Blue+WaterNews+%26+Alerts&utm_campaign=0636319743-Weekly_Water_News_April_20_20124_20_2012&utm_medium=email
NEWCASTLE, Australia — Beyond the perfect round waves that break here on Nobby’s Beach, a small armada of empty coal freighters bob restlessly on white seas whipped by the wind. Some 40 to 50 of the big ships are out there on any given day, queued up, waiting to fill their holds at the Port of Newcastle’s busy coal-loading docks.
The line of empty ships and the frantic loading at the port reflect powerful and converging international trends affecting the global economy, population, and natural resources. Just 150 kilometers (90 miles) from one of the largest coal mining regions on Earth, which is also an emerging hub for natural gas drilling, this fast-growing Pacific coast city has quickly become one of the world’s most important energy export gateways.
“It’s just been a gold rush,” Tony Windsor, Independent Federal Member in the Parliament of Australia, told Circle of Blue. “We’ve got all these cowboy companies — and some good ones, as well — out there rushing to get a slice of the action.”Share This Post
Posted: 04/17/2012 12:37 pm Updated: 04/17/2012 7:12 pm
The New Zealand Wind Energy Association’s new analysis predicts the tiny nation of 4 million will go from a mere 5 percent of wind capacity now, to 20 percent by 2030.
“We live in a lucky country with an exceptional wind resource,” says Eric Pyle, the association’s chief executive. “Experienced developers are already seeing wind as the most cost-effective way of generating electricity and our ability to deliver lower cost energy is still improving.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/17/wind-power-in-new-zealand_n_1428675.html?view=print&comm_ref=falseShare This Post