Sustainable Information

Reflections on The Climate March

I wish I had taken the opportunity to participate in the Climate March at the UN Climate Summit in NYC this past September. It was awe inspiring how many people from all walks of life, in over 160 countries, organized themselves to stand up and demand action.  Some may argue the movement began as early as 1982, when over one million people gathered and demonstrated against nuclear weapons at the Nuclear Disarmament Movement in Central Park. Now three decades later, the movement has shifted focus to the environment. Action on the part of our government against the fossil fuel industry has been little more than a nod, acknowledging the need for change.

Some leaders like George Busch Sr. advocated the fossil fuel industry supported many American jobs.  Well present day, and many more jobs will be lost to the effects of climate change; from fishing, to farming, to transportation, to something as insignificant as winter skiing. Multiple sectors of the economy have or will feel the negative effects of an industry, who’s long running defense has been job creation. It’s the lack of forward thinking and a short-term outlook on the part of our government that the industry still exists today. The U.S. as an economic leader sets an example for the rest of the world, and as of now we’ve set an extremely poor complacent example.

The clean energy revolution will employ more people than the fossil fuel industry ever did, starting with finding solutions to what are only hurdles that will be overcome. Solar energy exists today, and is significantly more efficient than it was, just a half decade ago. The solar industry needs more publicity than it has received. Homeowners and the general public need to be made aware there are no longer upfront cost, and that installing a solar array can actually be less costly to finance than a monthly electric bill. Years ago cost competitiveness was the solar industries largest barrier to market entry; that is no longer the case.  The industry needs more communicators and advocates, armed with facts and financing tools to help solar spread across the rooftops of the world.

There is promise in Cap and Trade in helping to curb emissions that began in California on July 1st 2013.  It effectively limits the amount of greenhouse gas emissions a company can produce, and allows companies to trade and purchase credits with one another, depending on their ability to stay within regulations. Each year the cap is lowered, further reducing emissions. Opponents say this will raise the cost of energy and fuel. That may not be such a bad thing, considering a majority of the fuel and energy that may be affected are the dirty forms, namely coal and oil. This will cause solar and wind energy to be even more competitive, against the disproportionately subsidized oil and gas industry.

It is of utmost importance the revolution continues and picks up in momentum. That is why I’m making a vow to be in Paris for the UN Climate Change Conference, beginning on November 30th 2015, to take part in the next installment of the Climate March. My voice, along with millions of others will be heard. I see it as my moral duty and obligation to future generations, this industry we call fossil fuels, goes extinct within my lifetime.

Toyota Seeks Prius-Like Success with 2015 Fuel-Cell Model

Interesting read. We’ll see if Toyota can lead the automotive industry yet again. In my opinion though, Hybrids are currently the greatest interim vehicle when you consider both environmental effects and cost, but they won’t last. The next stage in automotive development is Hydrogen Fuel Cells (very infantile) and the current Electric Vehicle that still has a lot of room for refinement before it’s as desirable as a comparably priced 25k Hybrid. What doesn’t sell me on the electric car is the fact that most consumers won’t be deriving its energy from renewable sources, so you’re inadvertently supporting corrupt fuel suppliers who burn oil and coal to power your home, which will in turn power your Electric Vehicle. Where’s the energy independence in that? The only fully sustainable way is to retrofit your home with Solar Photovoltaic Panels, and purchase an Electric Vehicle. Then you can say goodbye to both your electric and gasoline bill. The problem is most adequate Electric Vehicles (taking into account efficiency and miles per charge) still cost 50k plus. But they will come down in price over time, and there will soon be plenty more demand and options.

I can’t be sure what car will conquer the other, but I am confident that within this decade, Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Electric Vehicles will go to battle for market share. Elon Musk has every bit of reason to dismiss Hydrogen Fuel Cells; he’s built an empire around Electric Vehicles. But let the marketing and innovation begin, and may the most efficient vehicle remain. I am also confident that within two decades the gasoline engine will be scarce and that’s music to just about anyone’s ears, but the oil industry. But to this I say, fuck them. They haven’t benefited anyone but themselves. They were needed at the turn of the Industrial Revolution, when electric powered vehicles were merely the thought of a few intellectual visionaries. But now they’ve just gotten in the way and have stalled an entire industry from forming that just can’t be stalled anymore. Plus the biggest perk from the Renewable Revolution-thousands of jobs from automotive production, marketing, logistics, solar cell manufacturing, engineering and so on. Has $4 a gallon improved the economy….no, it only dictates whether people travel as much, and spend less. Will a $4 investment in the renewable sector improve the economy? That’s for you to decide. What I will leave you with is this sobering thought. If we don’t change our ways, our environment will.

Global Warming has a Score?

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I went with a friend yesterday to give him morale support in shopping for a new car and was surprised to see something on the window sticker, along with mpg and features… a Global Warming Score. I guess we as a society are finally coming to terms with reality.  I’m happy to see something of the sort on cars, but I’m also surprised to see the Toyota Prius received a 10. A 10 in my opinion means zero-emissions, along with all the parts being derived from recycled materials. The Toyota Prius is a great car that is far better for the environment than most other vehicles, but in my opinion if this scale was legitimate, it would receive an 8.5. I hope that in the near future we not only have zero-emission vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, (that should score a 9, unless it’s being recharged off renewable sources in which case it deserves a 9.5) but car manufactures that actually care about the environment in which they do business and not the oil companies who clandestinely subsidize them.

A car manufacturer of the future that is environmentally responsible would not only make a full lineup of zero-emission vehicles, but also create their cars from recycled and reclaimed parts. It’s something we should already have in 2012, but sadly don’t. Since car manufactures are subsidized by oil companies and continue to take money from them, we continue to see cars with subpar mileage and not enough of a variety of zero-emission vehicles. Government is not going to step up and demand change. Politicians’ biggest campaign contributors are oil executives, whose contributions no longer need to be disclosed to the public. It’s no surprise that the most corrupt industry in the world is also the most destructive. It’s a sad thought that the political underdog is likely an underdog because they won’t put up with the oil lobbyist shit, and therefore have no money to make their voice heard, garnering them no support and attention.

We’re losing a battle with every day that passes and we continue to sit around content with the way things are. I read in a book by Paul Gilding, former head of Greenpeace International, that even if at this exact moment within a split second, we were transition to a carbon-free economy, we wouldn’t see the effects of what we’ve previously put into the atmosphere for another decade. In other words, the earth will only continue to warm over the next ten years, even if suddenly a miracle were to happen. We have the technological capacity to have a carbon-free economy within this century, but the effects of what we’re doing right now, and the coming years, will be felt for generations to come. It’s a sad reality, one that can be quite frightening if one comes to terms with what it all means. But society is still very much in denial. It’s one thing to have a car with a Global Warming Score produced by the EPA, which may or may not be accurate. It’s another thing for consumers to pay no attention to it and drive a car that scores anything less than a 9.

NY Governor Cuomo Calls for Quadrupling Solar Capacity by 2013

Cuomo's State of the State Address

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) made solar a priority in his “State of the State Address” on Jan. 4.

“In its first year, the NY-Sun Initiative will be capable of doubling the customer-sited photovoltaic capacity that was installed in 2011. By 2013, we estimate that NY-Sun will quadruple the 2011 capacity,” Cuomo said during the speech.

The move drew praise from solar advocates in the state, who remain steadfast in their resolve to push the short-term goals but continue to look long-term.

“It’s great that he’s focusing in on it and making it a priority as promised in his campaign. It’s putting us on [the right] trajectory,” said New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) President Ron Kamen. “This is a great step that he’s taking and showing leadership.”

Kamen also is chairman of solar installer EarthKind Solar Energy.

Cuomo proposed achieving the expansion of solar in the near term through executive order rather than legislation. That could take some time and not produce results. After all, legislation introduced last year that would have created a solar carve-out was introduced, but failed to win passage, Platt’s reported.

“I think [Cuomo] got the political will to do what’s he’s laid out, and he’s going to expand solar significantly. He’s pretty popular. He’s come in and shown real leadership, which New York has lacked for a long time,” Kamen said. “The good part is, he’s respected by people on both sides of the aisle and is getting things done.”

That’s not to say NYSEIA is ready to rest on the work Cuomo’s doing.

“This is just a 3-year plan, a short-term plan. While it’s great, it’s not the overall state goal that we’re going to work toward,” Kamen said.

Under the Cuomo’s direction the state will install about 350 megawatts of solar over the next three years.

“That by itself is significant and measurable,” said Kamen.

NYSEIA’s goal is to see 5 gigawatts of solar installed throughout New York.

“What we don’t want to see is to have the legislature decide the Governor’s doing enough,” Kamen said.

The organization will continue to build its coalition and support further efforts to grow solar in the state.

Original Post: http://www.cleanenergyauthority.com/solar-energy-news/ny-gov-cuomo-calls-for-quadrupling-amount-of-solar-011012/

Probably the wittiest follow up to a b/s ad put out by oil companies. They’ve even created their own spoof site: http://www.vote-4-energy.org/

Why I Buy Green Energy Contest

EarthKind Energy is currently holding a, “Why I Buy Green Energy Contest!” The point of the contest is to find the family with the best testimonial for why they’re buying green. Energetix is an Energy Services Company that provides electricity and natural gas supply, green energy, Renewable Energy Credits, and other energy related products, to residential, small business, and large commercial/industrial customers. You can now choose to purchase energy derived from renewable sources from Energetix over your traditional energy provider by visiting their website: http://www.energetix.net/. Energetix is available to those who currently get their energy from either: Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E), New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG), National Grid, Central Hudson, Orange & Rockland, Con Edison, Pennsylvania Power & Light (PP&L), or Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO). A link to enter the contest is provided above.

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