Saturday, March 10, 2007

Props to the EU on Climate Change - Europe to Ban Incandescent Bulbs in 2 Years


Europe is really pulling way ahead of the US (government at least) in its response to climate change.

ORDINARY light bulbs are to be banned across the European Union within two years!

How much of an impact will it have for Europe's 490 million people to replace their billions of incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents?

Well, using the EPA's light bulb calculator, replacing just ten 60 watt incandescents used 4 hours per day with 12 watt CFL's will save about $75 and 1,000 lbs of CO2 per year.

Most homes have many times more lightbulbs. Used more hours per day. And businesses...

So how many lbs of CO2 will this save, and how much $$ will this pump into non-energy sectors of the EU economy - $ that they used to spend to light their homes and businesses and now will have available to spend on clothing, electronics, food, home improvements, travel, you name it?

You do the math. It's tremendous!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

More Frontiers in Ecology - The Fate of the Amazon Linked to Global Climate

Could tropical deforestation cause dangerous global climate changes?

The answer is yes, according to an outstanding article in the February 2007 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, titled Amazonia revealed: forest degradation and loss of ecosystem goods and services in the Amazon Basin.

The authors of this article note that "the influence of deforestation on climate...may extend far beyond the Amazon basin."

One new study, for example, found that deforestation in the Amazon "causes changes in (global air) circulation that alter the North Atlantic and European storm tracks, which could cause substantial cooling in southern Europe and warming across parts of Asia in winter."

What does this mean in light of the rise of sustainability?

All the buzz about the importance of adapting greener living and business practices to fight global warming is, of course, a wonderful and important development. However, we cannot forget how important it is that government, corporate, and local landowners take actions to ensure the conservation and sustainable management of ecosystems - and the maintenance of critical ecosystem services such as regional and global climate regulation.

So when buying green to fight climate change, don't just think clean cars, EnergyStar appliances, solar panels, and carbon offsets. Think about this new reason to avoid products whose production causes the destruction of tropical rainforests - the crucial role that rainforests play in maintaining the stability of our climate.

Future Cars - Beyond Fossil Fuels

Just back from a day skiing in the sun at Alpine Meadows, and what do I find on TV upon returning home and kicking back with a Lagunitas IPA?

An amazing show on Discovery Channel about 'future cars' that will take us beyond our addiction to fossil fuels.

Hybrids, electric, biofuels, solar, and even cars that run on compressed air!

Very inspiring. Kudos to the Discovery Channel for this series!

My one suggestion would be for them to have gotten more into cellulosic ethanol, rather than corn (which I am not a fan of as a source of ethanol - too inefficient, and too conflicting with food needs). I am increasingly wary of biodiesel as well, having read stories of tropical rainforests being cleared to plant oil palm for this fuel (e.g. in Indonesia and South America). I like the concept of producing cellulosic ethanol from our green waste - turning waste into fuel for our vehicles!

Frontier in Ecology - Using Non-Recyclable Paper Waste for Compost

A tidbit from Frontiers in Ecology:

In "Facing up to our paper addiction", the magazine reports that "new research suggests that non-recyclable paper fibers could be used in compost that is better for plants than current horticultural growth media."

And it reduces several wilt diseases!

"This provides an obvious additional commercial use for the vast amount of paper waste generated by offices and homes," say researchers Ralph Noble and colleagues at Warwick University, UK.