Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
“When our resources become scarce, we fight over them,” she told a Norwegian television station near the time of her award. “In managing our resources and in sustainable development, we plant the seeds of peace.”
This is the first post of material for Quiz #3.
Monday, September 26, 2011
The first thing that comes up to people’s mind when they think of hybrid cars is a Toyota Prius. It is because Prius is considered one of the best hybrid cars in the market. However I find it a bit ugly. It looks like a four door Lamborghini that eats McDonalds everyday. Hybrids work in a very simple way. They all have one or more batteries that are bigger than the ones that we use in our cars. When you apply the brakes, Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) takes the energy and charges the battery. These cars have 70% lower emissions, meaning that they are 70% cleaner than gasoline powered cars. In addition, they emit fewer greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The government has been trying to increase the demand for these vehicles by offering tax incentives. For example, the government is willing to give a rebate for those who buy new hybrids. Also they are willing to pay for a home charging unit and install it as well. For people who convert from regular gasoline powered cars to hybrids the government is willing to give a rebate of 10% of the car’s value. I think that is a pretty good deal. You save 10% on the new car you are buying, and the car has good mpg and is better for the environment. Plus, people from the government are going to come to your house to install that “free” home charging unit. However there are a few disadvantages. These cars are expensive because it is all new technology. They are also very ugly in my opinion. If I were to buy a hybrid, I would get a Tesla, which I am assuming is very expensive.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
In comparison to the CAP’s proposal that the government should finance retrofits, Ygrene Energy Fund’s tax plan seems pretty great. It has the potential to decrease commercial footprints without relying on the federal government. With Barclays’ financial support and Lockheed Martin’s technical support, companies can increase efficiency and profit in the long-term without bottoming out with start-up costs. However, companies similar to Ygrene Energy Fund have experienced issues with financing qualified businesses. If Barclays Bank fails to supply sufficient funds for the amount of loans demanded, the program could face the same fate. Another potential drawback to the program is that contractors may aim to capitalize on retrofits through exaggerated upgrades and fabricated improvements. The chairman of Ygrene Energy Fund, Dennis Hunter, stated that, “Contractors are cowboys.” However, Hunter claimed that hired partners would be thoroughly inspected.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
h/t Marion Nestle
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Coastal marine habitats such as mangroves, salt marshes and sea grasses are best known for their natural aesthetics, filtering pollution, and housing many plants and marine life. Mangroves are especially important because they protect coastal lands from tsunamis and hurricanes. However, many people are not aware that these coastal habitats are one of the most important carbon sinks in the world. According to environmental writer Robynne Boyd, these carbon sinks absorb five times as much carbon as tropical rainforests, which absorb only 18% of carbon dioxide released by carbon fuels. This absorbed carbon is called blue carbon and represents the 55% of green carbon that is absorbed by marine life; the other 45% is stored in terrestrial ecosystems.
Just like any other natural habitat, coastal wetlands are subject to harmful manipulation by man. Over 100 years ago 1800 square kilometers of wetlands of the San Joaquin River Delta were drained causing two gigatons of CO2 to be released into the atmosphere. As a result, up to 15 million tons of carbon dioxide continues to be emitted yearly. Due to the large amounts of carbon held by these coastal habitats it is vital that they are kept protected from human encroachment in order to prevent further CO2 emissions and climate change. Since coastal ecosystems are the preferred foundations for rice paddies and shrimp farms, many farmers and land developers see mangroves as a great financial opportunity. However, with carbon credits costing between $15- $20 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted, an assessed tax might cause many farmers to opt for cheaper alternatives. These economic incentives can persuade communities to save their local marshes and mangroves in order to manage their countries’ greenhouse gas emissions. While blue carbon might decrease jobs in aquaculture in the future, it can create jobs in mitigating climate change and conservation of these coastal habitats.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Here's a look at one recent failure: the Peanut Corporation of America's production of contaminated peanut butter. That led to 714 illnesses, 166 hospitalizations, and 9 deaths. How much would it have cost to prevent that? The charge Nocera cites as having been approved by Congress in 2009, right after the incident, was $500 per food facility, totaling $300 million nationwide. Fortunately we haven't had any incidents that major since then (that I'm aware of, anyway) so maybe now's not a bad time to be underfunding those agencies. Still, my personal preference would be for adequate monitoring....
Nancy Folbre, an Economics Professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the many people talking about the green jobs market. There has been a great deal of discourse lately as to whether or not Green Jobs really have potential, are affordable, or if the benefits even compensate for the costs. The Obama administration has tried to facilitate the creation of green jobs, and it seemed at times they presented it as a panacea to solve all of our unemployment and energy problems. While there have been recent, obvious failures, there are other programs in this direction expected to create a significant number of jobs. Renewable energies are still rapidly growing sectors of the green/clean economy. Though clean energies and technologies currently represent only a small slice of the economy, this industry is largely immature because companies can’t market to the consumers that would benefit most. The people who are going to have the real need for cleaner, and more efficient energy are the generations to come.Nancy suggests that public policies could be a potential solution, such as taxing carbon emissions and adopting clean-energy standards. These policies would be used to better account for the hidden social costs of fossil fuel use and increase the demand for cleaner production, providing more incentive for private investors. While both of these proposals are good, neither of these ideas are novel, as similar policies have been successful in Germany. Others have suggested that the economy is suffering because businesses aren’t spending, and that regulations requiring businesses to invest in cleaner production would help the economy. However, to be realistic, Republicans in congress could hardly be more resistant to any proposal entailing stricter environmental regulations. The Republicans have been quick to say that these regulations would only kill jobs by increasing costs of production, but can we afford to keep sacrificing our natural heritage and public health for the sake of job creation? There’s no easy answer because while jobs have monetary value, the true value of the environment, cannot so easily be appraised. Likewise, nor do we yet understand the full ramifications of our environmental procrastination.