Global environmental challenges
Electric car organization Plug In America revved up the inaugural festivities this past weekend with a parade of 74 plug-in vehicles in Santa Monica, California, dubbing it the “greenest procession of its kind.”
The non-profit group first applied to ride in the Presidential inaugural parade in Washington, but was not chosen. Undeterred, it took the parade west, said spokeswoman Zan Dubin Scott.
“Today we congratulate President Barack Obama, who has called for one million plug-in cars by 2015,” Paul Scott, one of the group’s co-founders, said at the parade on Saturday, taking the moment to make a “plug” for more plug-ins by 2016. “With the audacity of hope and the confidence born of years driving these cars, we’re asking Obama to accelerate his plan and make it happen three years sooner, then to boost that number to ten million plug-ins by 2016.”
The procession featured a colorful array of electric vehicles including Toyota RAV4 EVs, Tesla Roadsters, Zero Motorcycles, Chevy 2-10s, a Solectria, a school bus, and even a converted battery-powered Hummer bearing an Obama poster on its side.
It was a disarmingly simple question but, embarrassingly, I didn’t have a clue when first asked that 18 months ago. Even though I’d have to describe myself as a genuine tightwad when it comes to expenditures, I simply had no idea, strangely enough, about how much money my four-person household was spending on electricity — nor how much carbon dioxide was being produced.
Now, after a year of carefully tracking the daily use of electricity, I’ve discovered a bit about when and where power is being used and, in theory, saved — without much pain. It seemed like a no-brainer and it honestly was not hard to cut our consumption by 1,000 kilowatt hours in 2008 to 5,000 kWh — saving about 200 euros and 500 kg of CO2 in the process. There were only minor sacrifices: rigidly turning off “standby” switches and unused lights, pulling plugs on little-used appliances, putting in energy-efficient lightbulbs, using the washing machine sparingly and the dryer only rarely, and replacing an inefficient dishwasher with a low-energy model.
from UK News:
The government has approved the third Heathrow runway, in the interests of jobs and British competitiveness.
The third runway -- something airport operator BAA pledged it would not seek if it was granted permission to build Terminal 5 -- will open up a sharp political divide, with several Labour MPs, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats opposed to the idea.
Several exhibitors took up the “green” theme at CES 2009 as the “Pre” party continued. Any chance Dell had to upstage Palm disappeared in a cloud of secrecy with the “Adamo” laptop it briefly presented, but gave no details about.
Fuji said its EnviroMAX alkaline batteries were made of more than 90 percent recycled materials, had no mercury, cadmium and were PVC free.
My wife and I were walking on Christmas Day with our dog through some heavily forested trails in a suburban park north of Dallas when we came across a coyote cruising on the paths ahead of us.
We have seen coyotes in the same park before — it is part of an almost unbroken system of forest that wraps around Lake Grapevine near the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport — and it was a nice reminder that wildlife and humans in the early 21st century often live in close proximity if not always in peace. The same park contains deer, wild turkey and other critters.
Was that a dig at outgoing President George W. Bush? President-elect Barack Obama introduced his new environmental team and insisted his administration would focus on “the facts” as it put together policy.
“We understand the facts demand bold action,” he said.
In case listeners didn’t get the point that the new administration thinks it’s different from that of outgoing President Bush, Veep-to-be Joe Biden gave it a try.
U.S. consumers are pulling back spending on everything, and carbon-cutting products like hybrid cars and solar panels are no exception. After all, being green often requires us to pony up big chunks of change with the promise of cost savings later. That pitch, according to many green business owners, isn’t working so well these days.
Now that Bank of America is cutting back on lending to mountain top removal mining companies, citing the environmental costs, rival Citigroup is weighing its options.
“Bank of America’s announcement has just been released so Citi will study the content,” the bank said on Friday. Citi and Bank of America were prime targets of Rainforest Action Network and others for their support of mountaintop removal mining for coal in Appalachia. Cutting the top off a mountain is a cheap and efficient way to get coal — and environmental groups call it an ecological disaster.
from The Great Debate:
Steel giant ArcelorMittal has shut down furnaces at a dozen sites across Europe for at least six months as its customers, mostly automakers, downsize because of the economic downturn. While environmentalists crack into the bubbly, serious polluters realize that carbon is about to get a whole lot cheaper. And cheap carbon is only bad for the environment.
Kenyan blogger Juliana Rotich is the editor of Green Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world, and is a regular contributor to this page. Thomson Reuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.
Green buildings, a man walking the planet and a net metering law have been inspiring bloggers in South Africa in recent days.