Sometimes it’s good to get an overview to put things into perspective…
News: ‘Ideas, Options, Solutions’ Archive
‘WASHINGTON — The Obama administration says it will defend a 2001 rule imposed by President Bill Clinton that blocked road construction and other development on tens of millions of acres of remote national forests.’
‘HIROSHIMA, Japan – Hiroshima’s mayor urged global leaders on Thursday to back President Barack Obama’s call to abolish nuclear weapons as Japan marked the 64th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bomb attack.’
A report released by McKinsey Wednesday calls for increased energy efficiency in the United States as a means to abate up to 1.1. gigatones of greenhouse gases annually by 2020.
Expanding upon their widely referenced 2007 chart of the comparative costs of different approaches to mitigating greenhouse gas, McKinsey’s new report makes a strong case for energy efficiency, already an important component of Obama’s energy and climate plan. Just last week Obama’s energy advisor Steven Chu commented in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “In fact, energy efficiency is not just low-hanging fruit; it is fruit that is lying on the ground. And energy efficiency means money back in your pocket because you pay less on your energy bills.”
While there are enormous potential benefits, the report sites persistent barriers to implementation: “By their nature, energy efficiency measures typically require a substantial upfront investment in exchange for savings that accrue over the lifetime of the deployed measures.”
“The central conclusion of our work: Energy efficiency offers a vast, low-cost energy resource for the U.S. economy – but only if the nation can craft a comprehensive and innovative approach to unlock it. Significant and persistent barriers will need to be addressed at multiple levels to stimulate demand for energy efficiency and manage its delivery across more that 100 million buildings and literally billions of devices. If executed at scale, a holistic approach would yeild gross energy savings worth more than $1.2 trillion, well above the $520 billion needed through 2020 for upfront investment in efficiency measures (not including program costs). Such a program is estimated to reduce end-use energy consumption in 2020 by 9.1 quadrillion BTUs, roughly 23 percent of projected demand, potentially abating up to 1.1. gigatones of greenhouse gases annually.”
A key report perspective appears to elevate energy efficiency to the standing of solar, wind, and other renewables: “Recognize energy efficiency as an important energy resource that can help meet future energy needs while the nation concurrently develops new no- and low-carbon energy sources”
‘…The long, segmented, low-emission buses are part of a novel public transportation system called bus rapid transit, or B.R.T. It is more like an above-ground subway than a collection of bus routes, with seven intersecting lines, enclosed stations that are entered through turnstiles with the swipe of a fare card and coaches that feel like trams inside.’
‘It’s not your average science fair when the 16-year-old winner manages to solve a global waste crisis. But such was the case at last month’s year’s Canadian Science Fair in Waterloo, Ontario, where Daniel Burd, a high school student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, presented his research on microorganisms that can rapidly biodegrade plastic.’
As humanity faces a myriad of environmental and economic problems, the choice of appropriate solutions depends to a great extent on how these problem are framed. These two articles reveal part of that spectrum:
Should we live a less resource intensive lifestyle?
Live like a green heroine – and hold the stuff
Or should we spend our way out of recession?
In rural China, a bumper crop of new car owners
The link between the environment and militarism is too often left unexamined. Accidental or intentional the use of nuclear weapons would have devastating environmental effects.
Ted Turner, founder of CNN:
“We have designed, built, deployed and armed our own suicidal destruction – now is that smart? No, so why don’t we get rid of them while we still can before the get rid of us”
See the Video on FORAtv.com
An attempt to revive a coral reef by transplanting coral discs in Japan:
‘The project has drawn national attention, coming after alarming reports in the last decade that up to 90 percent of the coral that surrounds many of Okinawa’s islands has died off.
…The result has been what marine biologists call one of the largest coral restoration projects in the world, begun four years ago. The goal, say biologists, is to perfect methods that could be used around the world to rescue reefs endangered by overfishing, pollution and global warming.’
Consume these vegetarian statistics with a grain of salt:
‘If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:
● 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;
● 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;
● 70 million gallons of gas–enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;
● 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;
● 33 tons of antibiotics.
If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:
● Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;
● 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;
● 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;
● Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.’