Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 28th, 2007 by Patrice Frey


Unnatural Disaster: Global Warming and our National Parks -- From National Parks Conservation Association Press Release. Global warming has escalated the risk of wildfire to national parks including Sequoia and Kings Canyon and Yosemite.

Our Moral Footprint – NYT.  Former Czech President  Vaclav Havel on climate change:  “We can’t endlessly fool ourselves that nothing is wrong and that we can go on cheerfully pursuing our wasteful lifestyles, ignoring the climate threats and postponing a solution. Maybe there will be no major catastrophe in the coming years or decades. Who knows? But that doesn’t relieve us of responsibility toward future generations”

Billions Committed for Environment at  Clinton Global Initiative – ENS.  Today in New York, the opening day of the third annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, CGI, brought together some 1,000 leaders of business, government and nongovernmental organizations from over 70 countries, including 52 current and former heads of state, who made commitments focusing on the Initiative's four focus areas: education, energy and climate change, global health and poverty alleviation.   

Economic Models Overestimate the Costs of Energy and Climate Polices – Sustainable Business. Testifying today at the U.S. House Science Subcommittee on Research and Science Education today, ACEEE Senior Economist for Technology Policy John A. "Skip" Laitner said that "most current economic policy models substantially overestimate the costs of energy and climate policies, because they consistently overlook the economic benefits of energy savings from accelerated adoption of energy-efficient technologies, changing social preferences, and more energy-aware behaviors." 

Britain to start phasing out high energy lightbulbs - Reuters.  Britain will begin phasing out energy-guzzling incandescent lightbulbs early next year in favor of low energy varieties as part of its battle against climate change, the environment ministry said on Thursday 

PG&E And Start-up To Create Giant Solar Projects - Reuters - Two of the nation's biggest power companies are teaming up with a solar start-up to create one of the world's largest solar power projects, which they say could make electricity at a competitive price.

Prius A No, No - Peugeot, Citroen And Ford Are All Greener, Says New Study – Environmental Graffiti. It looks like bad news for the Toyota Prius. A joint study between Cardiff University and Clifford Thames an automotive consultancy revealed tht far from being the greenest of the bunch, the Prius lagged behind the likes of Peugeot, Citroën, Ford, Smart, and other cars in a new environmental rating system. 

Climate Change Bill Calls for 50-cent Fuel Tax – ENN. U.S. drivers would pay a 50-cent tax on each gallon of gasoline they pump to encourage less fuel use and cut greenhouse gas emissions, under draft legislation to fight global warming released on Thursday.  

Arctic Thaw May be at "Tipping Point" – ENN. A  record melt of Arctic summer sea ice this month may be a sign that global warming is reaching a critical trigger point that could accelerate the northern thaw, some scientists say. 

Bush Under Pressure at Climate Change Conference – ENN.  President George W. Bush kicks off the second day of a conference on global warming on Friday under pressure from the world's major economies to accept binding limits on emissions of greenhouse gases. 

China Starts Countdown To Save Biodiversity By 2010 – ENN. As the rate of biodiversity loss accelerates worldwide, civil society organizations and governments are joining forces to fight the global extinction crisis.  On September 7 in
Beijing, twenty Chinese and international organizations signed the Countdown 2010 declaration, committing themselves to additional efforts to reduce biodiversity loss by the year 2010.

EU Struggles To Walk Its Talk On Climate Change – ENN. The European Union pressed world leaders this week to follow its lead in fighting climate change, but a battle looms at home over how to share the burden of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 27th, 2007 by Patrice Frey


Like a Virgin: -- National Review. This past February, Richard Branson announced the “Virgin Earth Challenge,” a $25 million prize for the development of “a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate.” His aim was to unleash the creative energies of innovators and inventors around the globe with the promise of a substantial economic reward.  If federal policymakers are serious about encouraging climate-related technological innovation, they would match or replicate Branson’s efforts. 

Pay-As-You-Go Solar – ENN.  You want solar but can't afford it? Purchase the power, not the panels.  That's what the solar energy company Sun Run Generation is doing. The company  announced a partnership with REC Solar,a company providing residential and commercial solar electric systems, to offer homeowners in California a discounted way to buy solar power. Homeowners have the option of purchasing solar energy the same way businesses have for years, by purchasing power instead of panels. 
US Businesses Conflicted About Adopting Climate Change Practices – ENN. While U.S. businesses are concerned about compliance costs related to climate change legislation, those same companies still believe that the federal government should be doing more to combat global warming, according to a new survey. 

Hidden Hazards of Air Fresheners – ENN. Washington - Could the floral scent of your air freshener contain toxic chemicals known to cause birth defects? NRDC recently tested 14 different air fresheners and found that 12 contained chemicals called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates), chemicals that can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. Even air fresheners marketed as "all-natural" or "unscented" contained the hazardous chemicals.  

New Analysis Shows Energy Bills Would Let Global Warming Emissions Rise for Decades – Environmental Defense. New analysis shows that energy legislation passed by the House and Senate would let greenhouse emissions continue to increase for the next three decades, even if the best fuel-saving and renewable energy provisions in both bills were combined in conference committee.  

Lead, Follow, or Move Aside – NYT.  Tom Friedman – it’s good to not have to pay for your columns again (NYT ditches “Times Select.”)   Leadership is about “follow me” not “after you.” Getting our national climate regulations in order is necessary, but it will not be sufficient to move China [to do the same.]. We have to show them what Wal-Mart is showing its competitors — that green is not just right for the world, it is better, more profitable, more healthy, more innovative, more efficient, more successful. If Wal-Mart can lead, and California can lead, why can’t America?

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 26th, 2007 by Patrice Frey


Rising Seas Likely to Flood U.S. History -- AP.  Ultimately, rising seas will likely swamp the first American settlement in
Jamestown, Va., as well as the Florida launch pad that sent the first American into orbit, many climate scientists are predicting.

Reporting from the UN: Schwarzenegger Steps Up, Moves Beyond Kyoto Washington Note. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addressed to the UN general assembly session demonstrates that, while the federal government is not fully engaged in climate change policy, a number of states are.

Finding the Limits of LEED – Chronicle of Higher Education. Posting looks at the limits of LEED, especially in giving credit to existing buildings.  

Carbon windfall to go to clean energy: - Reuters.  The European Commission wants to back alternative energy like wind and solar with the money it raises from sales of carbon emissions permits, which could reach billions of euros, a senior EC official said on Wednesday.

World Energy Revolution Needed For Climate, Says Condoleezza Rice -- Reuters. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday the world needs a revolution on energy that transcends oil, gas and coal to prevent problems from climate change.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 25th, 2007 by Patrice Frey


A Manifesto for a New Environmentalism – New Republic. Authors Ted Nordhaus & Michael Shellenberger argue that increasing investment in clean energy technology is the key to addressing global climate change, not reducing overall energy demand.

Wal-Mart To Push Suppliers On Energy Efficiency Reuters. Wal-Mart Stores Inc has formed a partnership with the Carbon Disclosure Project to look for ways for its suppliers to better manage their energy efficiency, as part of its environmental push, the company said on Monday.

World energy revolution needed for climate: U.S. –Reuter. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday the world needs a revolution on energy that transcends oil, gas and coal to prevent problems from climate change.
"Ultimately, we must develop and bring to market new energy technologies that transcend the current system of fossil fuels, carbon emissions and economic activity. Put simply, the world needs a technological revolution," Rice told delegates at a special U.N. conference on climate change.

U.N. chief sees major commitment to climate change -- Reuters. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a one-day high-level meeting on climate change on Monday was a turning point in the battle against global warming. “What I heard today is a major political commitment for a breakthrough in climate change in Bali," Ban said.

Gore urges U.N. to "overcome paralysis" on climate – Reuters. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore bluntly told a U.N. conference on Monday that the planet would be better off if people cared more about global warming and less about O.J. Simpson and Paris Hilton

Deal Reached to Phase Out Greenhouse Gas – AP. Governments of almost 200 countries have agreed to speed the elimination of a major greenhouse gas that depletes ozone, U.N. and Canadian officials said Saturday, describing a deal they said was a significant step toward fighting global warming. The agreement reached Friday night will accelerate a treaty to freeze and phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) which are used in home appliances, some refrigerators, hair sprays and air conditioners, said Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the United Nations Environment Program.

Dumpster Dive – The Digital Way – Chicago Tribune. Freecycling is all the rage.

US Telecommuters save 840 million gallons of gas per year – Environmental Leader. That’s enough to power 1 million households for a year.

Report recommends cutting urban sprawl – Pittsburgh Post Gazette. The report by the Urban Land Institute, Smart Growth America and other national and state organizations warns that total vehicle miles driven in the United States are on track to increase 59 percent by 2030, and the exhaust from all those vehicles driven all those millions of extra miles will overwhelm expected emissions reductions produced by more efficient, cleaner-running cars and trucks

Follow the Money: The (Slow) Rise of Green Financial Services – Joel Makower. We seem to be on the cusp of a cluster of green financial services -- everything from energy-efficiency mortgages to green consumer banks to climate-friendly credit cards. It's hardly approaching a tipping point, but financial services companies seem increasingly interested, almost eager, to cater to green-minded consumers and companies.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 24th, 2007 by Patrice Frey


Do to technical error - my morning round-up wasn't posted yesterday (the 24th). Enjoy a double dose of news today.  

News to Keep you in the Know - September 24th.

Cut sprawl, help environment, report says -- Baltimore Sun.  Living in pedestrian-friendly area would cut emissions, according to report's author Suburban sprawl is the missing link in climate change, a group of urban planning researchers said today, warning in a new report that global warming can only be slowed by changing development patterns to reduce the need for driving.   Living in more compact, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods actually would do more to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide -- the chief climate-changing gas -- than driving a hybrid car while staying in a typically spread-out suburb, the report asserts.

LEED - The Green Standard?  -- Fast Company.  As alarm over the environment intensifies, LEED has been in the right place at the right time. But critics say that the LEED standard falls short of what's possible in terms of saving energy.

Athena Hits the Mark with Green Building Tool - Tree Hugger. The construction industry has gained the Athena Assembly Evaluation tool for use (free!) with the Green Building Initiative’s™ (GBI) Green Globes™ environmental assessment and rating system for commercial buildings. The intent is to leverage life cycle assessment within the industry and provide a simple framework and tool that can be incorporated into the system.

Sunny Outlook: Can Sunshine Provide All U.S. Electricity? - -Scientific American. Large amounts of solar-thermal electric supply may become a reality if steam storage technology works—and new transmission infrastructure is built

China Could Be Top Wind Market inThreeYears -Reuters.  China could become the world's top wind power market in three to five years but will grow faster if it reforms its subsidy system, executives of major wind turbine maker Vestas said on Friday

UK Sees Need For Global Biofuel Standards, Protections -- Reuters. Global standards must be developed to ensure the growth in the use of biofuels does not have damaging consequences for the environment, Britain's Climate Change Minister Phil Woolas said on Thursday.

New Software Designs & Calculates The "Green" In Your Building – ENN. Green Building Studio, Inc., today announced the beta availability of Green Building Studio V3.0, offering architects, owners, and building design teams the opportunity to use the new web service’s advanced capabilities firsthand

Combating Climate Change Given Big Confidence Boost in Canada – ENN. Governments Agree to Accelerated 'Freeze and Phase-out" of Ozone and Climate-Damaging Chemicals at Montreal Protocol's 20th Anniversary Celebrations

10 Solutions to Save the Ocean - ENN. The most inspiring thing I’ve read lately about the oceans is “10 Solutions to Save the Ocean,” a series of short, upbeat, and to-the-point essays in the latest issue of Conservation magazine.

Global warming meetings put focus on U.S. role -- Reuters. A trio of climate change meetings in the United States this week will focus attention on how Washington can deliver on its pledge to play a lead role in combating global warming.

Bush Seeks Global Warming Process – ENN. Bush administration officials set out Friday to convince the world it can cool the Earth with voluntary "processes," more cooperation and fewer barriers to trade among the U.S., China and other major polluters, contrary to the U.N.'s mandatory approach to global warming.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.