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News: ‘Ideas, Options, Solutions’ Archive

The very big (and very small) picture

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Sometimes it’s good to get an overview to put things into perspective…

The Scale of the Universe 2

Hiroshima mayor calls for abolishing nuke weapons – Yahoo! News

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

‘HIROSHIMA, Japan – Hiroshima’s mayor urged global leaders on Thursday to back President Barack Obama’s call to abolish nuclear weapons as Japan marked the 64th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bomb attack.’

via Hiroshima mayor calls for abolishing nuke weapons – Yahoo! News.

McKinsey Report: Energy Efficiency in the US Could Abate 1.1 Gigatones of Greenhouse Gases Annually

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

A report released by McKinsey Wednesday calls for increased energy efficiency in the United States as a means to abate up to 1.1. gigatones of greenhouse gases annually by 2020.

Expanding upon their widely referenced 2007 chart of the comparative costs of different approaches to mitigating greenhouse gas, McKinsey’s new report makes a strong case for energy efficiency, already an important component of Obama’s energy and climate plan. Just last week Obama’s energy advisor Steven Chu commented in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “In fact, energy efficiency is not just low-hanging fruit; it is fruit that is lying on the ground. And energy efficiency means money back in your pocket because you pay less on your energy bills.”

While there are enormous potential benefits, the report sites persistent barriers to implementation: “By their nature, energy efficiency measures typically require a substantial upfront investment in exchange for savings that accrue over the lifetime of the deployed measures.”

“The central conclusion of our work: Energy efficiency offers a vast, low-cost energy resource for the U.S. economy – but only if the nation can craft a comprehensive and innovative approach to unlock it. Significant and persistent barriers will need to be addressed at multiple levels to stimulate demand for energy efficiency and manage its delivery across more that 100 million buildings and literally billions of devices. If executed at scale, a holistic approach would yeild gross energy savings worth more than $1.2 trillion, well above the $520 billion needed through 2020 for upfront investment in efficiency measures (not including program costs). Such a program is estimated to reduce end-use energy consumption in 2020 by 9.1 quadrillion BTUs, roughly 23 percent of projected demand, potentially abating up to 1.1. gigatones of greenhouse gases annually.”

A key report perspective appears to elevate energy efficiency to the standing of solar, wind, and other renewables: “Recognize energy efficiency as an important energy resource that can help meet future energy needs while the nation concurrently develops new no- and low-carbon energy sources”

Read executive summary (PDF – 1.52 MB)
Read full report (PDF – 6.37 MB)

Also see:
New York Times – McKinsey Report Cites $1.2 Trillion in Potential Savings From Energy Efficiency
Reuters – Energy efficiency could save U.S. $600 billion

Buses May Aid Climate Battle in Poor Cities –

Monday, July 13th, 2009

‘…The long, segmented, low-emission buses are part of a novel public transportation system called bus rapid transit, or B.R.T. It is more like an above-ground subway than a collection of bus routes, with seven intersecting lines, enclosed stations that are entered through turnstiles with the swipe of a fare card and coaches that feel like trams inside.’

via By Degrees – Buses May Aid Climate Battle in Poor Cities – Series –

Problems and solutions: two articles

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

As humanity faces a myriad of environmental and economic problems, the choice of appropriate solutions depends to a great extent on how these problem are framed. These two articles reveal part of that spectrum:

Should we live a less resource intensive lifestyle?
Live like a green heroine – and hold the stuff

Or should we spend our way out of recession?
In rural China, a bumper crop of new car owners