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Showing posts from October, 2012

Stormageddon

October 29, 2012 - Considering that there's an 800 pound gorilla occupying all the available space, I guess we better pay attention to her.  She's big, she's bad, she's ugly: Hurricane Sandy.  From all appearances, she's on target to live up to her advance billing.  Storm of the Century, and then some.  Anything to celebrate here?  Maybe.

First of all, a closer look is in order.  Hurricane Sandy is 1,000 miles across, with sustained winds of 90 mph.  Storm surge will be her worst aspect.  Sandy, moving at a snail's pace, is scooping up and pushing water out ahead of her that may create a water wall 15 feet in height in New York City.  Should subways flood, as they are likely to do, clean up and repairs could take weeks. Furthermore, this hurricane's storm surge will last throughout three - count them, three - high tides, thereby significantly magnifying the effect.

Did you know that a cubic yard of water weighs nearly a ton?  Small wonder that a state of em…

China's Impact on Global Warming

October 22, 2012 - China surpassed the United States as the world's largest producer of carbon dioxide in 2006.  Three quarters of a million people died prematurely in China, that same year, from the effects of air pollution.  The Chinese government censored the World Bank report in which these data appeared, saying it was "too sensitive and could cause social unrest."  I find it hard to believe the Chinese people don't already know that they're choking to death on their own waste.  Unfortunately, I think they also believe that their pollution problem is no worse than that of other large countries.  It is, in fact, much worse.  For while per-capita energy consumption in the United States is five times as high as it is in China, China is the global leader in overall energy consumption.  Far too much of that energy is created by burning coal.

China is the world's largest consumer - and producer - of coal.  According to the U.S.-China Economic andSecurity Review…

While You Were Sleeping

October 15, 2012 - This is interesting: businesses that have incorporated environmentally friendly practices are enjoying more growth than those that haven't.  The jobs created, known as green jobs, can be found in the renewable energy sector, water management, recycling, and anywhere within a company that is attempting to reduce its carbon footprint.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines green jobs this way -

"Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources; or, jobs in which workers' duties involve making their establishment's [employer's] production processes more environmentally friendly or ensuring that they use fewer natural resources."

According to the Brookings Institution's 2011 Green Jobs Assessment, the "clean economy" grew by 8.3 percent between 2008 and 2009 - the height of the economic downturn.  That growth rate was almost double that of the conventional econom…

A Rock and a Hard Place

October 8, 2012 - Such a pickle: we have the coal, but no longer want to burn it.  China wants the coal, but shouldn't burn it because of the resulting air pollution.  Coal mining companies in the U.S. are ready and waiting to ship their coal to China.  Citizens of the U.S. living on its west coast are adamant they want nothing to do with exporting coal.  That includes Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. 

Kitzhaber's April 25 letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar expresses his profound skepticism about shipping coal by way of Oregon's ports.  He has requested that a programatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) first be conducted for all five of the export projects currently being considered, as well as a comprehensive policy review.  Here is part of a press release announcing his letter:

"I have concerns about proceeding in this direction [exporting coal to China via Oregon ports] in the absence of a full national discussion about the ramifications inherent in thi…

President Obama: Less Waste and Less Air Pollution

October 4, 2012 - Hi Everybody.  Sorry to be so late getting back; I had some major catching up at work to do.  Things are under control now, and there's lots to write about.

Does it bother anybody else that President Obama is so bad at tooting his own horn?  Our president is not an easy person to get to know.  He has many layers, and the deeper you go, it almost feels like the less you know.   There's something he ought to be bragging about right now, but he keeps all his contributions to an improved environment to himself.  While I do understand that the Republicans turn everything he does or says upside-down, somebody ought to be spreading the word.  Let's get started right here.

At the end of August, President Obama signed an executive order initiating a huge increase in the number of combined heat and power systems used by industry.  The president is a smart man, and knows how to get the most bang for the buck.  After all, virtually all industrial facilities need to k…