Friday, October 19, 2007

Ocean Potion

Toxic Stew the Size of Texas Floats in the Pacific
Justin Berton, SF Chronicle, October 19, 2007

The so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and ocean debris worldwide, has been growing tenfold every decade since the 1950s, says Chris Parry of the California Coastal Commission.
Cleaning it up probably isn't an option, but its growth is certainly preventable. A Greenpeace report found that 80% of the oceans' litter originated on land. According to Parry, "The long-term solution is to stop producing as much plastic products at home and change our consumption habits."

Read the complete story, as well as many others, and get tips on recycling and reducing your carbon footprint in the Chronicle's Green Section.

Flip a Switch for the Earth

Lights Out SF invites you to turn off your lights for one hour this Saturday night, October 20th.

The US consumes more energy and emits more greenhouse gases than any other country in the world.

By turning off your lights for one hour, we could save as much as 15% of the energy consumed on an average Saturday night. Replacing one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent will conserve even more (San Francisco Safeway stores are giving out free CFL bulbs through tomorrow, one per household).

Many SF restaurants will be hosting candlelit dinners, and there will be an acoustic concert in Dolores Park by local band Crowsong.

Lights Out SF is affiliated with Lights Out America, a grassroots community group organizing a nationwide energy savings event on Saturday, March 29, 2008.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

First Step Towards Cutting US Gasoline Use by 20% by 2017

EPA Will Meet 2008 Deadline To Issue Emissions Rule
Dean Scott, The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., Washington, DC, October 12, 2007

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson pledged that the agency will propose regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and light trucks by the end of 2007, with final rules completed in 2008. The rulemaking is expected to expand the use of renewable and alternative fuels, call for increased vehicle efficiency, or mandate some mixture of those approaches.

Johnson said EPA continues to work with other federal agencies, including the Transportation Department, on the emissions regulations but said he has made no decisions on how EPA will proceed. Johnson noted that the transportation sector accounts for approximately one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, second only to electric power generation.

Johnson also said that EPA will have to consider if it should also regulate the capture and storage of carbon dioxide, or carbon sequestration. The technology would help the US, China, and other coal-rich nations to continue their reliance on coal to produce electricity. According to Department of Energy figures, the US has approximately a 250-year supply of coal available given current coal prices and rates of consumption, and coal-fired power plants, which produce nearly half of US electricity, are expected to continue to do so through 2050.

There is no existing regulatory regime, either at the federal or state level, for regulating long-term carbon and capture storage efforts, therefore, EPA may have to consider regulatory approaches given the environmental concerns and technical complexities of one day storing large amounts of carbon dioxide underground.

Read the complete article at Bureau of National Affairs.