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President Obama Announces Second Term Climate Change Agenda
June 28, 2013 04:39 PM - Jonathan Kalmuss-Katz, Sive Paget & Riesel, P.C.
In a speech at Georgetown University on June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama unveiled his administration's climate change agenda for its second term, featuring a series of rules and initiatives that can implemented by the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and other federal agencies without congressional action. While the details of these proposals will be determined through subsequent rulemaking, the plans and timeframes set forth in the speech signal a major expansion of federal climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, with potentially significant impacts upon electric utilities and other regulated entities as well as units of state and local government most affected by the impacts of global warming. The centerpiece of President Obama's speech is a new Presidential Memorandum directing EPA to finalize proposed greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions standards for new and significantly modified power plants by September 2013, to propose the nation's first GHG emissions guidelines for existing power plants by June 2014, and to finalize those guidelines by June 2015.
Backing Up Wind Power: The Policy Issues Associated with Hydroelectricity
June 27, 2013 10:08 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
What happens when there's no wind and wind turbines stop turning? What provides the back up power for this clean energy source on calm, windless days? While wind may be the fastest growing renewable energy source in the US, in order for us to rely on wind power, there needs to be some backup technology to fill in when wind does not blow.
Commuting on an e-bike
June 26, 2013 09:26 AM - Susan Clark, The Ecologist
It's week two riding an e-bike to work and it looks like a romance might be blossoming between Susan Clark and her borrowed bike...... It's only been a week but already I am feeling better, healthier, fitter and even a little trimmer. I have a nasty ripened mango-shaped and size bruise on my bottom. Raising just one eyebrow, my husband has casually enquired how I might have acquired this? In all honesty, I am not sure but I have a hunch it might be linked with my recent acquisition (on loan) of a supercharged e-bike which I have now spent a whole week using to cycle to and from work.
Very Little Soy is Actually Sustainably Produced
June 26, 2013 07:03 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
While other commodity crops have much higher sustainable certification levels, only three percent of the world’s soy supply is certified sustainable, according to a new paper by KPMG International, titled A Roadmap to Responsible Soy. By contrast, 50 percent of non-farmed whitefish is certified, 16 percent of coffee, and 14 percent of global palm oil production. The paper is part of KMPG's Sustainable Insight Series.
Half the Oil Plan
June 25, 2013 08:42 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
With the consumption and price of oil on an upward trend, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has come up with a realistic plan that will help cut the United State's projected oil use in half over 20 years. The plan hopes to dramatically reduce US oil consumption while saving consumers billions of dollars and making the United States a global leader in transportation technology.
Tel Aviv Testing Electric Scooters
June 24, 2013 05:57 AM - SHARON UDASIN, THE JERUSALEM POST, NoCamels
As part of a broader citywide program to reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and noise, the municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa is launching a pilot program to potentially replace its fleet of scooters with electric versions. To this purpose, the city has decided to purchase about 25 electric scooters to examine their effectiveness in comparison to the gasoline ones that municipal workers employ today. If the pilot yields positive results, the municipality will explore the possibility of gradually replacing its entire 300-scooter fleet with their electrical counterparts, the city said. City officials will be examining a number of parameters during the pilot program, including the scooter performance capabilities, riding experience, environmental footprint, cost effectiveness and safety, they explained.
A new approach to calm potential EV battery worries
June 23, 2013 07:26 AM - MOVEFORWARD, Electric Forum
While the Nissan Leaf is perhaps the best known EV in the mass market today there have still been issues with regards to the journey capacity and battery technology. Even though battery technology continues to catch up with EV technology there is something of a vacuum while this process is completed. As a consequence, like competitors such as Tesla, Nissan is now launching a new service to put EV driver's minds at rest. In simple terms Nissan will offer Nissan Leaf drivers in the US the opportunity to replace their battery for whatever reason while part of the battery replacement program (cost $100 a month). When you bear in mind that the cost of the battery pack in an EV is the single most expensive piece of equipment this will certainly help.
A Catalyst to Convert CO2 to Fuel
June 21, 2013 10:26 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Carbon dioxide is the result of burning fuel to make things like cars work. Plants slowly convert that CO2 back to something organic to begin the process again. Working in his lab in the University of Delaware's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Joel Rosenthal and doctoral student John DiMeglio have developed an inexpensive catalyst that uses the electricity generated from solar energy to convert carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, into synthetic fuels in a far faster manner for powering cars, homes and businesses.
Plastic Bag Ban Passes in LA
June 21, 2013 06:17 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday, June 18 to approve a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. The Coucil voted 11 to 1 in favor of the ordinance, and a final vote is scheduled for next week. Last year, the Council voted 13 to 1 to move forward on banning single use plastic shopping bags. The ban will go into effect for large stores on January 1, 2014, and for smaller stores on July 1, 2014. Paper bags will not be included in the ban, but stores now have to charge 10 cents per paper bag. When the ban goes into affect, one in four Californians will live in a city that bans single-use plastic shoppings bags, according to the environmental group, Heal the Bay. There is good financial reasoning behind the ban. Only five percent of single use plastic bags are recycled every year across the state and California municipalities spend almost $25 million a year to collect and throw away plastic bags that litter the streets and clog storm drains. Currently there are almost two billion plastic shopping bags and 400 million paper bags are distributed every year in Los Angeles.
Are Coffee Pods a Recycling Problem?
June 20, 2013 05:58 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
As the consumption of coffee pods surges in the U.S., so do the questions about their disposal and recycling. Although using a pod to make a cup of joe takes about the same amount of time as it does to fire up some water and then make a French press of coffee, the popularity of the single-serve coffee pod machines has taken off. For now, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters-owned Kaurig has taken the lead in the coffee pod market share race, but Nestlé’s Nespresso and Starbucks' Verismo also fare well among java fans. All of the coffee pod machine manufacturers use flowery language on their sustainability pages to describe how they are working to make the pods' disposal and recycling more "sustainable." The fact is, however, that there is no differentiation in what happens to these pods after use; all of them are creating more waste.