Archive for February 17th, 2009

Stimulus Could Put California’s High-Speed Rail on the Fast Track

In November, Californians voted in favor of 800 miles of high-speed rail connecting cities throughout the state. The initiative promised major reductions in CO2 emissions and tons of new jobs, but the major drawback has been the hefty $10 billion price tag.

Californians should have felt some relief today as President Obama signed the stimulus bill that includes $9.3 billion in incentives for high-speed and intercity rail projects. Last Thursday, it was announced that California’s high-speed rail project was eligible for assistance from the stimulus package, although an exact amount has yet to be allocated. Although voters approved the rail project, tax payers have been skeptical about the amount of the cost they’ll be responsible for. Also, many people have criticized the 22-year schedule for building the rail system. An influx of federal money may help on both fronts – the tax burden may be lessened and construction may be able to move forward more quickly.

The $9.3 billion allotted for rail systems is actually an increase from the Senate version of the bill and is separate from $8.4 billion assigned to public transit agencies in the bill. Congress has definitely been responding to the growing need for mass transit and the money in the stimulus bill has the potential to do a lot of good in California and beyond.

via NBC

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Will China and the US Go Big on Climate Cooperation?
china-us-climate-agreement-clinton.jpg
Credit: How Hwee Young / EPA

At the center of efforts to bring down greenhouse gases — efforts that must involve the world’s two highest-emitting countries — aren’t just issues of politics and security, but the curious conflicting desires of both of those countries. The US has said it cannot lower emissions unless China does so too (while also providing Americans with affordable products). For its part, China wants lower emissions (and more) from the US first (while it increasingly a…
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Why Driving Slower Saves Lives as Well As Fuel
One can make the case over and over about how significant an impact reducing speed limits and enforcing them is, or one can just show this British PSA.

via Tom Vanderbilt see also
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When Population Growth And Resource Availability Collide
World Population Growth 2050 image
World Population Growth to 2050 Image credit:SustainableScale.org

As land and water become scarce, competition for these vital resources intensifies within societies, particularly between the wealthy and those who are poor and dispossessed. The shrinkage of life-supporting resources per person that comes with population growth is threatening to drop the living standards of millions of people below the survival level, leading to potentially unmanageable social tensions….
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$3.6 Billion in Economic Stimulus To Go To Greening the US Military
US army solar panel photo
photo: US DoD

Another part of the $787 billion stimulus package is going towards green energy projects: About $20 billion in fact, including $3.6 billion for energy efficiency improvements and facility upgrades at the Department of Defense. Nathan Hodge over at Wired points out some of the US military’s genuine efforts to green, such as a planned 500MW solar thermal power plant at
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John Bielenberg Gives Designers 48 Hours to Change the World (Video)
project m john bielenberg image

John Bielenberg has a mission: Change The World. And there is one method that keeps that lofty goal from being mission impossible. Bielenberg formed Project M – a design program that challenges participants to quickly and with little or no resources effectively tackle one small goal and implement change through design. It’s a test of pure energy and creativity, and it’s incredibly successful. Check out videos of the actions Project M has inspired. …
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Six Gigawatts of Wind for Scotland!

Six Gigawatts of Wind for Scotland!

A coalition of energy companies and the Crown Estate (who owns the land) are hammering out a deal to build six gigawatts of wind power off the coast of Scotland. You heard that right, gigawatts. That’s the equivalent, roughly, of seven humongous nuclear power plants and will account for tens of billions of dollars in investment.

The Crown Estate (that’s right…the Queen) owns the rights to develop the land off the coast of the U.K.. They’re working with nine different energy companies on the deal, and have granted each of them access to build wind farms on specific plots of the continental shelf.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the same as the projects being a done deal. They each have to be regulated by the Scottish government (wouldn’t it be simpler if the UK were still a monarchy?) That isn’t expected to be completed until sometime in 2010, and then the projects will have to find funding. Depending on how well the economy recovers (or doesn’t) by 2011, that could be a tall order.

Via Earth2Tech

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Obama signs stimulus plan, touts clean energy

President Obama signed into law a government stimulus package Tuesday and said the energy provisions will pave the path for doubling the amount of renewable energy in the next three years.

Energy is a major piece of the massive $787 billion package, totaling about $38 billion in government spending and …

Visit the original post at: Green Tech

Obama signs stimulus plan, touts clean energy

President Obama signed into law a government stimulus package Tuesday and said the energy provisions will pave the path for doubling the amount of renewable energy in the next three years.

Energy is a major piece of the massive $787 billion package, totaling about $38 billion in government spending and …

Visit the original post at: Green Tech

Sustainability News Headlines – 2/17/2009
News of Sustainability Benefiting People Today
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Car Czar’s Crown Swiped By Presidential Task Force
car czar presidential task force image
Image via Capital Research

Looks like the Car Czar that Obama was planning to appoint to oversee the ailing auto industry is out—and a new Presidential Task Force led by the Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is in. What? There’s going to be no Russian emperor-styled authority figure that will singlehandedly fix all of Detroit’s many, many woes?

What is Obama thinking? Perhaps that appointing an automobile monarch would serve as more symbol than substance—and that he may have genuine hopes for salvaging the future of the beleaguered auto ind…
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Clinton Foundation Organizing LED Project in Los Angeles

The Clinton Foundation has announced a partnership with the city of Los Angeles to retrofit buildings with LED lighting over the next five years. In all, 140,000 LEDs will be installed throughout the city.

The foundation says that the project will reduce CO2 emissions by 40,500 tons a year and will save $48 million over seven years. After seven years, the loan for the installation of the lights will have to be repaid, but the city will continue to save $10 million a year in energy costs. No word yet on which lucky vendor was chosen to provide the LED lights.

The city will still have to secure financing for this large project, which may be tricky right now, but the savings in energy costs will easily make up for the money invested in the installation. It’s great to see the Clinton Foundation back making positive headlines now that Bill and Hillary are done being politically vetted. This project has the potential to show other cities the benefits of investing in retrofitting and with an organization like the Clinton Foundation involved, it’s bound to be successful.

via Earth2Tech

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7 Neglected Diseases You’ve Never Heard Of
Hookworm in Foot Photo
Image via: Scienceblogs.com

Well, maybe you have, but now that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is championing their cause, to the tune of a $34 million grant to fight these diseases, you just might be hearing a lot more about them. So, what are these neglected, but treatable, diseases affecting 1.4 billion people around the world?…
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The Brumby Pump Needs No Moving Parts to Gather Well Water (Video)
brumby pump demo photo

The Health Ranger – AKA Mike Adams from Natural News – demos the Brumby Pump, a pump system that has no moving parts. It utilizes compressed air to suck water from wells, making it an ideal piece of equipment for farmers and villagers in rural areas. Click through to watch a video of the Brumby Pump being installed in Vilcabamba, Ecuador, and check out the local dog’s reaction to the water hose….
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