Archive for November 11th, 2009

Media Ignores Massive Costs of Inaction on Climate
As the climate change debate ramps up here in America, I’ve heard quite a bit of coverage of opponents of progress whining about how solving climate change is going to wreck the economy.  So, they say, we can’t take action.

That’s like saying that since treating your cancer is going to drain your bank account, it’s better to just do nothing about it.  We know what the outcome of that decision would be…

Lest we forget, as David Suzuki point out in this article, that when it comes to solving climate change, the costs of inaction are likely to dwarf the costs of taking bold action now:

Former World Bank chief economist Lord Stern has estimated that to keep heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions below levels that would cause catastrophic climate change would cost up to two per cent of global GDP, but failure to act could cost from five to 20 per cent of global GDP.

And those are just numbers. In the real world, runaway climate change could have devastating impacts on our water and food supplies, could lead to waves of refugees escaping uninhabitable drought-stricken areas or vanishing islands, and could wreak havoc on the world’s oceans and cause major extinctions of plants and animals. Some of this is already happening.

With all of the promise offered by solutions, we can’t stand by and let the traditional media continue to roll out the hackneyed — and false — line that taking action on climate change is going to wreck the economy.

Those of us who are familiar with the promise offered by climate change and clean energy solutions need to step up — in our schools, communities, states and country — and write letters to the editor, contact your Congressional representatives, and contact your major news networks.  Let them know them what former World Bank Chief Economist, Lord Stern, said about the costs of action vs. inaction.  Tell them that for the sake of all of our well-being, they’d damn well better accurately inform the public about the importance — and benefits — of taking bold action now.

If a story on CNN, NPR, MSNBC, Fox, ABC, you name it mentions the cost of the climate bill and its impact on the economy, it should also mention not only the benefits of the solutions to our environment, economy, health and security.  It should point out the costs of doing nothing.  Otherwise, the reporter is guilty of dereliction of duty. 

Read more>>

Visit the original post at: Conservation Value Notes

Media Ignores Massive Costs of Inaction on Climate
As the climate change debate ramps up here in America, I’ve heard quite a bit of coverage of opponents of progress whining about how solving climate change is going to wreck the economy.  So, they say, we can’t take action.

That’s like saying that since treating your cancer is going to drain your bank account, it’s better to just do nothing about it.  We know what the outcome of that decision would be…

Lest we forget, as David Suzuki point out in this article, that when it comes to solving climate change, the costs of inaction are likely to dwarf the costs of taking bold action now:

Former World Bank chief economist Lord Stern has estimated that to keep heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions below levels that would cause catastrophic climate change would cost up to two per cent of global GDP, but failure to act could cost from five to 20 per cent of global GDP.

And those are just numbers. In the real world, runaway climate change could have devastating impacts on our water and food supplies, could lead to waves of refugees escaping uninhabitable drought-stricken areas or vanishing islands, and could wreak havoc on the world’s oceans and cause major extinctions of plants and animals. Some of this is already happening.

With all of the promise offered by solutions, we can’t stand by and let the traditional media continue to roll out the hackneyed — and false — line that taking action on climate change is going to wreck the economy.

Those of us who are familiar with the promise offered by climate change and clean energy solutions need to step up — in our schools, communities, states and country — and write letters to the editor, contact your Congressional representatives, and contact your major news networks.  Let them know them what former World Bank Chief Economist, Lord Stern, said about the costs of action vs. inaction.  Tell them that for the sake of all of our well-being, they’d damn well better accurately inform the public about the importance — and benefits — of taking bold action now.

If a story on CNN, NPR, MSNBC, Fox, ABC, you name it mentions the cost of the climate bill and its impact on the economy, it should also mention not only the benefits of the solutions to our environment, economy, health and security.  It should point out the costs of doing nothing.  Otherwise, the reporter is guilty of dereliction of duty. 

Read more>>

Visit the original post at: Conservation Value Notes

The Fight Over the Future of Food: Monsanto, GMOs, and How to Feed the World
wheat-fields-gmos-future-food-photo.jpg
Photo credit: KevinLallier via Flickr

On the eve of the World Summit on Food Security, Reuters has an excellent two-part special report about the future of food. Specifically, it covers the intersection of two notions that are being linked with increasing frequency: Feeding the skyrocketing world population, expected to hit 9.4 billion people by 2050; and the perceived benefits (things like increa… Read the full story on TreeHugger
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

Production on GM’s Cadillac Converj Begins by 2013
Talk about a “Looker”-check out the Cadillac Converj. Gm has announced they’re going to put it into production using the same technology as their Volt. This eye-catching electric vehicle is on schedule to begin production by 2013, barring unforeseen problems.

As you can imagine dealers are thrilled. A beautiful premium car at a premium price.

Big sister the Chevy Volt will begin production next year at this time. GM says buyers will be able to get 40 miles on electric power before the engine kicks in after the battery has drained 70%. After that the car will go several hundred miles.

More at The Detroit News.


Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Production on GM’s Cadillac Converj Begins by 2013
Talk about a “Looker”-check out the Cadillac Converj. Gm has announced they’re going to put it into production using the same technology as their Volt. This eye-catching electric vehicle is on schedule to begin production by 2013, barring unforeseen problems.

As you can imagine dealers are thrilled. A beautiful premium car at a premium price.

Big sister the Chevy Volt will begin production next year at this time. GM says buyers will be able to get 40 miles on electric power before the engine kicks in after the battery has drained 70%. After that the car will go several hundred miles.

More at The Detroit News.


Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Baby Power! U.K. Companies Convert Diapers to Energy

Versus Energy and Knowaste are building a recycling plant in Birmingham, England that will generate energy from used diapers.In a move that fairly reeks with symbolism, The U.K. companies Versus Energy and Knowaste have teamed up to build the first diaper recycling plant in England, and it will be located in a region that was once the heart of the Industrial Revolution.  The new recycling plant will power itself with sustainable energy generated from the organic materials recovered from disposable diapers.

Organic waste accounts for only 2% of the materials in “pre-owned” disposable diapers.  What happens to the other 98%?  It will be dried, sterilized, and separated into reusable paper pulp and plastic.  The end use of those materials has not yet been announced but based on Knowaste’s past experience, roof tiles, shoe insoles, wallpaper, plastic “wood,” and industrial thickeners are likely candidates.

Read more of this story »


Visit the original post at: Energy News

Japan’s Tokai University Solar Car Wins the Global Green Challenge
Powered by Sharp multijunction solar cells developed for
satellites, the Tokai University Solar Car blazed 3,000
kilometers down the center of Australia at an average speed
of 62 miles per hour to win the Global Green Challenge race.


Visit the original post at: Energy News

BLM and CEC Release Draft EIS for the 400-MW Ivanpah Solar Project
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the California
Energy Commission (CEC) have completed a draft
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposed
Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Project, which will
produce 400 megawatts using solar power towers.


Visit the original post at: Energy News

ACEEE: California Leads the Country in Energy Efficiency Policies
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
(ACEE) ranked California at the top of its annual survey of
state energy efficiency efforts. The nonprofit grades the
states on six categories, including transportation policies and
appliance efficiency standards.


Visit the original post at: Energy News

EIA: Oil and Fuel Prices on Their Way Up as Economy Recovers
If U.S. and world economic conditions continue to improve, oil
prices are expected to escalate to $81 per barrel by
December 2010, according to the DOE’s Energy Information
Administration (EIA). The rising oil prices are already driving
up the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel.


Visit the original post at: Energy News

Report Charts Path for U.S. Offshore Wind Power Development
A new report lays out the efforts needed to make offshore
wind power a reality in the United States, while summarizing
the efforts currently underway. Projects have been proposed
up and down the East Coast, while recent studies are
examining the wind power potential of the Great Lakes.


Visit the original post at: Energy News

Algal Tidbits from the Pacific Rim Summit
My presentation is tomorrow, but I have sat through some very interesting presentations over the past couple of days here at the Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy. They have five panels going at once, but I have been sitting in on the cellulosic ethanol, algal fuel, and biomass logistics sessions for the most part. They will have links up to the presentations at some point, but I have been taking a lot of notes (12 pages of notes so far!)

On algae, these were some of the more pessimistic comments from various presenters, some of whom are executives at algae companies:

“Algae carries a great deal of technical risk.”

Asked about expected cost of algal oil: “I don’t know, because we don’t have any plants.”

“Photobioreactors (PBRs) are not a smart way to make algal fuel.”

“To scrub the emissions from a coal-fired power plant would require 35,000 acres of PBRs at a cost of $5 million per acre. But we might be able to get that down to $1 million per acre.”

“I calculate that it will take 36,000 acres of PBRs to scrub a power plant. The bottom line for those who would propose to use algae in this way? Abandon all hope.” – comment from the next presenter

“ExxonMobil is investing in algae but they said it would take 10 years to figure out if it was going to work.”

“Based on the absolute maximum solar capture at the equator, the theoretical maximum production of algal oil at the equator is 17,486 gallons per acre per year. The reality in Honolulu is about 833 gallons per acre per year. The energy balance – even with very optimistic assumptions and not including all of the unit operations – is well below 1.7 units out per unit in.”

“25 gallons of water is consumed per gallon of algal oil produced.”

“Algal oils are not economically viable.”

Now in fairness, these were comments of various presenters and some of the audience members took exception to some of the comments. One person commented that the water usage from corn ethanol when the corn has to be irrigated is much higher. Someone else pointed out that these comments did not apply to the fermentation approaches.

Incidentally, as a science project my oldest son is growing Spirulina at home under different conditions. We are also attempting to extract oil from some Haematococcus samples that we have. As a science project, I think this is fine (although it is more difficult than you might imagine). But nobody here seems to be too optimistic about algal fuels in either open ponds or PBRs anytime soon. I think the jury is still out on the fermentation approaches such as what Solazyme is working on.



Visit the original post at: Energy News

Algal Tidbits from the Pacific Rim Summit
My presentation is tomorrow, but I have sat through some very interesting presentations over the past couple of days here at the Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy. They have five panels going at once, but I have been sitting in on the cellulosic ethanol, algal fuel, and biomass logistics sessions for the most part. They will have links up to the presentations at some point, but I have been taking a lot of notes (12 pages of notes so far!)

On algae, these were some of the more pessimistic comments from various presenters, some of whom are executives at algae companies:

“Algae carries a great deal of technical risk.”

Asked about expected cost of algal oil: “I don’t know, because we don’t have any plants.”

“Photobioreactors (PBRs) are not a smart way to make algal fuel.”

“To scrub the emissions from a coal-fired power plant would require 35,000 acres of PBRs at a cost of $5 million per acre. But we might be able to get that down to $1 million per acre.”

“I calculate that it will take 36,000 acres of PBRs to scrub a power plant. The bottom line for those who would propose to use algae in this way? Abandon all hope.” – comment from the next presenter

“ExxonMobil is investing in algae but they said it would take 10 years to figure out if it was going to work.”

“Based on the absolute maximum solar capture at the equator, the theoretical maximum production of algal oil at the equator is 17,486 gallons per acre per year. The reality in Honolulu is about 833 gallons per acre per year. The energy balance – even with very optimistic assumptions and not including all of the unit operations – is well below 1.7 units out per unit in.”

“25 gallons of water is consumed per gallon of algal oil produced.”

“Algal oils are not economically viable.”

Now in fairness, these were comments of various presenters and some of the audience members took exception to some of the comments. One person commented that the water usage from corn ethanol when the corn has to be irrigated is much higher. Someone else pointed out that these comments did not apply to the fermentation approaches.

Incidentally, as a science project my oldest son is growing Spirulina at home under different conditions. We are also attempting to extract oil from some Haematococcus samples that we have. As a science project, I think this is fine (although it is more difficult than you might imagine). But nobody here seems to be too optimistic about algal fuels in either open ponds or PBRs anytime soon. I think the jury is still out on the fermentation approaches such as what Solazyme is working on.



Visit the original post at: Energy News

"The New Directions of Social Impact Investing" at "Green Salon" on November 18th
The Green Salon, home of eco-art sages, musicians and earth lovers, will present the next venue in its provocative series of expert speakers and beautiful music, Wednesday, November 18th at Klavierhaus, 211 West 58th Street at 5:30 p.m. Michael Van Patten, CEO of Nexii, will address “The New Directions of Social Impact Investing.” As a cultural punctuation to the stimulating intellectual discussion, world concert virtuoso pianist Sandro Russo will perform.
Visit the original post at: Renewable Energy News – RenewableEnergyWorld.com

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