Climate Solutions Update
These Updates are edited from the sources listed. Special appreciation to:
* Chad Carpenter, who publishes Climate News every two weeks, distributed on the IISD's Climate List (http://sdgateway.net/mailinglists/list93.htm)
* Bill Edgertson, who publishes REAccess News (aka TRENDS in Renewable Energy) on a daily and weekly basis (Bill@SolarAccess.com).
* Planet Ark: www.planetark.org
* ENN: www.enn.com
A New Carbon Calculator
Check this one out, from the EPA:
Date: July 9th 2001
Solution #21 (Cities & Towns)
San Francisco Aims for 20% Reduction by 2012
Willie Brown, Mayor of San Francisco, has issued a call for the city to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by 20% below the 1990 level by 2012 - that could amount to a 25% to 30% reduction below the current level.
* A city referendum has approved the issue of $100 million in revenue bonds to invest in 12 MW of solar and additional wind energy. Another city-wide vote approved the issue of future solar bonds without need for a future referendum.
* The city will offer energy audits to 4,000 small businesses through a 'Power Savers' program
* City agencies must buy low-emission vehicles, or get a waiver
* An energy plan will be released this February, looking at further strategies to encourage renewable energy, conservation and efficiency
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Date: Jan 29th, 2002
Chicago to take 20% Green Power
Chicago chosen Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) to supply 20% of the city government's electrical needs from renewable energy sources. The city government has teamed with the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago City Colleges, the Chicago Park District, and 48 suburban governments to buy power as a group. In the first year of the agreement, ComEd will supply 10% of the group's electricity needs from power plants fueled with methane recovered from landfills. Within five years, ComEd will add new renewable energy facilities, including wind and solar plants, to provide 20% of the group's electrical needs -- a total of 80 megawatts, or enough to power 80,000 homes.
Source: EREN Network News
Date: June 13th 2001
Hyderabad, India, plants trees to cool local climate
The Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH) is working on a `Hyderabad Micro Climate Project' that aims at bringing down the temperature by two to three degrees. The project envisages to create a forest like atmosphere in the city by going for massive plantation. The Government has identified several institutions which have space, including defense establishments, national science laboratories, big industries and open areas. The idea germinated after the positive results of the Neeru-Meeru program apparently increased the water table in several parts of the State.. The impetus came from the United States Agency for International Development, which chose Hyderabad to take up programs to prevent global warming. About 200 places will be forested in 2001, and 100 more places will be added every year. Trees like peepal, banyan, neem and tamarind will be planted massively. The idea is to bring the average temperature of Hyderabad back to 35 to 37 degree Celsius.
Source: The Hindu
Date: 17th May 2001
Berkeley proposes Eco-pass for transit
In an attempt to cut down on traffic, the city of Berkeley has proposed an Eco-pass plan, meaning that the city would purchase metro passes in bulk and sell them at a discounted rate, encouraging more people to use public transpiration. Growing over the past five years, the Eco-pass plan is used by 120 companies in Silicon Valley, available to over 105,000 employees.
Date: June 13th 2001
Australia to control cattle's methane emissions
Scientists in Australia plan to vaccinate millions of sheep and cattle to reduce the amount of harmful methane gas they emit. About 600,000 sheep and 400,000 cattle have been signed up to test the vaccine, which inhibits some of the organisms which inhabit animal digestive systems.
Commercial production of the vaccine - which took 10 years to develop - could begin as early as 2005. Scientist Rob Kelly, head of the Australian Government's Commonwealth Scientific and
Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), told the BBC the vaccine would not stop burping and flatulence in sheep and cattle. But it will reduce the methane content of the emissions by about 20%. Methane accounts for 14% of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and 50% of New Zealand's. Australia's 114 million sheep and 27 million cattle produce methane emissions equivalent to 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. The goal is to have one million cattle and two million sheep available for vaccination every year from around 2005 to 2012.
Source: BBC News
Date: 7 June 2001
Oregon housing developer to build ground-source heating subdivision
Over the next two years, Mike Foote plans to install expensive geothermal heating and cooling systems for the remaining 200 or so homes he plans to build at Avalon Village, in Oregon - the first Lane County developer to install geothermal systems on a broad scale in a large subdivision. Geothermal, or ground source, heating systems can save homeowners 25 to 60% on energy bills, according to the Eugene Water & Electric Board. Installing geothermal is about $4,000 more expensive than a high efficiency natural gas heat pump system, which can cost from $7,000 to $10,000 for a new home. Oregon offers a $1,500 tax credit for homeowners who install geothermal, and EWEB offers a $1,500 rebate for each geothermal home. A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found geothermal systems are about 48% more efficient than the best gas furnaces and 75% more efficient than oil furnaces. A EPA study found geothermal systems to have the lowest lifetime costs of all systems on the market today.
Source: Eugene Register-Guard
Date: June 4th, 2001
Electrolux to develop hydrogen fuel cell vacuum-cleaner
A vacuum cleaner being developed by Electrolux will run on a hydrogen fuel cell that promises to be more efficient than conventional machines. The vacuum will not need to be plugged into the electric mains. The fuel cell, weighing not much more than 500g and capable of powering the cleaner for several hours, will deliver 1,000 watts; the cleaners will have a retail price similar to today's mid-range cleaners, which Electrolux markets for $850. Recharging the cleaner will involve snapping on a new cylinder of fuel; Electrolux will have to arrange for local outlets to sell replacement containers. The cells are likely to use sodium boro-hydride, an innocuous and non-flammable substance used in the paper manufacture. Ruthenium within the cell acts as a catalyst to render hydrogen from the compound and the by-product is borax, a chemical commonly used in the production of soap. This may be thrown away or recycled, as may the ruthenium. Manhattan Scientifics wants to extend the fuel cell to other appliances such as lawnmowers, leaf-blowers and DIY power tools.
Source: Financial Times
Date: May 21 2001
GM takes new steps towards fuel cell vehicles
General Motors Corp. has taken a 20% stake in Quantum Technologies, a hydrogen-storage company that will speed up the development of vehicles using cleaner-burning fuel cells. Quantum has developed a hydrogen storage tank coated with a shell similar to the material used in bulletproof vests, that can safely store hydrogen at 5,000 psi, extending the driving range to 175 to 250 miles. By the end of the year, the company will have available a tank that stores hydrogen at 10,000 psi, increasing the range to 300 to 500 miles. Fuel cell propulsion systems are now about 10 times more expensive than an internal combustion engine, but costs are coming down. GM and Quantum will also work on other means of storing hydrogen, such as in liquid form or metal and chemical hydrides.
Source: Reuters News Service (Michael Ellis)
Date: June 13th, 2001
Solution #57 (Auto Corporations)
Honda and Ford to produce new hybrids in 2003.
Honda is bringing out a gasoline/electric hybrid version of the Civic in 2003. It will be in dealerships by March and cost around $20,000 - $1,500 more than the gasoline model. It will do 51 mpg on the highway and 47 in the city (manual), or 48 mpg on both highway and city with automatic transmission. The conventional Civic does 39 on the highway and 32 in the city (manual), or 38 on the highway and 30 in the city (automatic). Honda expects to sell about 2,000 per month.
And Ford will be offering its popular SUV, the Escape, with a hybrid option in 2003, which they expect to do 40 mpg using a four-cylinder engine and an electric motor.
Toyota plans to sell as many as 300,000 hybrids annually worldwide by 2005.
Source: Royal Ford, Boston Globe
Date: February 3rd, 2002
Solution #61 (State & Provincial Governments)
Lombardy to phase out gas and diesel vehicles
Italy's bustling Lombardy region plans to phase out petrol and diesel-powered cars and replace them with "green" vehicles to clean up its polluted cities and towns. With smog soaring to more than five times the permitted level, President Roberto Formigoni told Reuters he was counting on Europe's automobile industry to come up with electric, gas and other alternative fuels. "I want to establish a date, for example January 1st, 2005, after which all new cars that are sold will be ecological." Formigoni said it was too early to estimate the cost to public coffers of a switch-over to clean cars, but said Lombardy planned to spend 60 million euros ($52 million) on new electric buses, research on hydrogen fuels, and water-heater conversions. There are an estimated four million vehicles on Lombardy's roads.
Source: William Schlomberg, http://www.ENN.com
Date: Jan 29th, 2002
New York State aims for 20% green energy by 2010
Gov. George E. Pataki of New York State ordered today that all state facilities draw at least 10% of their electric power from renewable sources by 2005, and 20% by 2010, an effort that environmentalists lauded as the most ambitious of its kind in the country. The governor also appointed a task force of industry leaders, state officials and environmentalists to find ways to reduce CO2 emissions in New York, to combat global warming, and renewed his call for federal emissions standards for older power plants. The order applies to the state's buildings and those of quasi-independent agencies like the State University of New York and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Date: June 11th, 2001
Source: Climate Solutions, Richard Pérez-Peña
Nevada Approves Law to Require Renewable Energy
Legislation has been approved in Nevada that will require electric utilities in the state to buy more power from solar, geothermal and other renewable energy sources. Senate Bill 372 was signed into law on June 8 by Governor Kenny Guinn. The law will require Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power to generate at least 15% of their electricity from renewables by 2013. The utilities must generate 5% of their electricity from renewables by in 2003, and that level will increase by 2% every other year until it reaches the target of 15% in 12 years. The law moves Nevada into a leadership position in the United States in the promotion of renewable energy development. The 15% renewable portfolio standard is the largest percentage for new renewables in the country, with only Maine leading in absolute percentages.
Date: June 12th 2001
Oregon Advances Renewable Energy Tax Credits
In June 2001, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D) signed into law two bills providing energy tax credits. S.B. 521a provides a credit against corporate or personal income tax liability for businesses that make investments in renewable energy, energy conservation, recycling projects, or cleaner transportation fuels. The credit is expected to cost the state $500,000 annually in the first two years and up to $2.5 million annually by 2005. The second bill, S.B. 520a, extends the expiration date of the alternative energy system property tax exemption program for another 10 years until 2012.
Source: Tax News Update
Date: June 28th 2001
Solution #66 (State & Provincial Governments)
California aims to regulate vehicle carbon emissions
A new bill that has passed the California Assembly could make California the first state to regulate the emission of CO2 from vehicles. AB 1058 instructs the California Air Resources Board to develop the maximum technologically feasible, cost-effective reductions of CO2 by January 2004. Auto manufacturers will be given the maximum flexibility to decide how to achieve these standards.
The California Legislature will then have one year to review the regulations. The Senate will vote on AB 1058 this spring. If AB 1058 is signed into law, California will become a national leader in reducing the impacts of global warming, and other states will be able to adopt California's air quality regulations according to a provision in the Clean Air Act.
Source: Blue Water Network, www.bluewaternetwork.org
Date: Jan 30th, 2002
Solutions #74 - #76
Canadian government pledges 20% green electricity, 31% GHG reduction, in operations
The Canadian government has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations, purchasing 20% of its electricity from renewable sources and reducing its emissions by 31% below its 1990 levels over the next decade. It will also improve the energy efficiency of its buildings, and reduce the toxicity of its 23,000 vehicles. The government owns or leases about 25 million square meters of floor space and operates vessels, aircraft and military equipment, making it the country's leading source of greenhouse gases. The new measures include training programs for employees, and the use of alternative fuels such as ethanol in federal vehicles. Environment Minister David Anderson acknowledged that a number of federal government initiatives adopted in recent years to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide "have not accomplished what they were designed to do" and promised to set a better example.
Date: June 8th 2001
Britain looks at geothermal for entire UK
Britain could be powered by one massive underground geothermal power station if plans unveiled by a group of scientists reach fruition. The concept is for a $115 billion power station six miles beneath Cornwall in southwestern England, designed to harness the heat found beneath the Earth's surface and turn water piped from above into steam at 400 degrees Celsius (750 Fahrenheit). The steam would then be converted into cheap, plentiful and clean electricity. The proponents, who have created the Mining for Heat Consortium, believe the project, despite costing nearly eighty times a conventionally-sized power station, is viable. The plant would produce 10 gigawatts, enough electricity for the whole UK. The project would need about $86 million to finance a 3-5 year research period, and take 25 - 30 years to complete. New techniques for sinking deep shafts should make a six-mile depth achievable, even though two miles is currently considered deep for commercial mines. The plant will use hot dry rock technology where water is artificially driven into the Earth's core to be heated; conventional geothermal power requires naturally occurring fissures.
Source: ENN, Reuters
Date: April 26, 2001
Solution #77 (National Governments)
Senate Democrats plan bill to require 37 mpg by 2014
The Democrats on the US Senate Commerce Committee have outlined a plan to increase the average fuel efficiency for cars and light trucks to 37 mpg by 2014, in place of the current requirement of 27.5 mpg for cars and 20.7 mpg for light trucks, SUVs, minivans and pick-ups. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers just loves the plan. They say "It's a job killer. You can kiss your SUV, minivan and pick-up goodbye". David Friedman, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, called the idea a positive first step - and said automakers could do much better.
Source: Associated Press
Date: Feb 5th, 2002
Last updated Feb 5, 2002