Realistic and sustainable urbanism

Many cities are following the path to a green horizon.
Many cities are following the path to a green horizon.
Many cities are following the path to a green horizon.

That the Earth has more land occupied by virgin ecosystem garbage can feel that the only way out is to leave the skyscrapers and return to living in caves. But the application of certain controls could reduce the damage and start again in another direction. But to take measures for the quality of life of people and the environment is often oppose the convenience of businesses and organizations, which makes the process slower. In China, the State laws tried to cover the environmental problems caused by the growth of their industry. Professor of Peking University Jin Wang said in an article in the China Dialogue environmentalist most of the measures were unnecessary because the government does not deal with or stop the top consumers of renewable energy or pollution , which grew 25 percent in 14 years.

According to Forbes business magazine, Mexico City is the fifth among the dirtiest in the world, so much so that the air does not pass the quality test of the World Health Organization. Yet, in country level, only five percent of the 2449 municipalities is responsible for generating environmental protection projects such as solar water heating, biogas or the protection of biodiversity.

Even in cases such as California, where efforts to improve the ecosystem are welcome, are present corporate pressures with Koch Industries to the head. The second company-largest oil refining attempts to curb global warming law AB32, which calls for reducing carbon emissions in the jurisdiction to return to 1990 levels in 10 years.

Law ?

“The legislation should not generate consciousness, but setting limits, clear criteria and guidelines for sustainable citizenship. The problem is that many laws or rules that aim to change can be resisted, so many governments postpone its regulations and legislate only on matters that already have broad consensus. No risk”, said Matthew Rosenberg, a graduate in Political Science and Director of the Butterfly sustainability consultant.

In some countries the laws are favorable to the environment high on the agenda, and little by little cities that make up its side developed more Amish, changing habits of its inhabitants and landscape.

If one speaks of a city, probably the first problem that arises is that of transportation and the bicycle is the best solution being the most clean to move everywhere. In the United States, the League of American Bicyclists awarded to New Mexico to legislate in favor of transit requiring the two wheels of the cars away, and Portland for their exclusive network of more than 418 kilometers.

Other U.S. cities are also pioneers, such as San Francisco and New York. In the first, a 2007 law banned plastic bags from supermarkets and pharmacies, which were replaced by the gender of recyclable paper or reusable, and the second took effect this year a legislation controlling waste technology displaced, called e-waste. The need to recycle and reuse electronic equipment manufacturer requires a system to collect the products your buyers replaced by new ones. So you’re buying a notebook can leave the old in the business, though not of the same brand.

Further north, in Canada, Vancouver has positioned itself as a mecca of renewable energy by feeding 90 percent of its territory as hydropower. At the same time, the coastal city has a plan for 100 years to reduce their emissions, researching alternatives that offer both natural resources and the capacity of wind, waves and tides to generate renewable energy.

The old continent

In Europe, a practice such as green roofs or sprouts, became law in Copenhagen, which plans to cut its carbon emissions by 2025. In the capital of Denmark, all new buildings under 30 floors are required to plant vegetation on their roofs. The main benefits of the gardens in the highest, in addition to color that give the landscape, is absorbing 80 percent of rainwater, preventing flooding, and reduce urban temperatures acting as an insulator.

Spain was also responsible for sanctioning a new building code in 2006 that requires all homes to be built have solar energy to supply hot water system. This law increased the amount of solar panels of 1650 square meters to 14,028, according to the Energy Agency of Barcelona.

Germany’s rescue mainly ecological Vauban district in Freiburg, home to 5000 people and no cars coming. It is the largest consumer of solar power in the world, followed by Italy, Japan and the United States. In addition, their energy policies aim to close all nuclear plants in ten years, as explained by the Environment Minister, Norbert Röttgen, The New York Times. The process began shortly before the disaster of Fukushima in Japan, and since there are only nine of the 16 had.

In South America

More here, the collective system of Curitiba, Brazil, the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT), is probably the best example to follow that brings South America. Its efficacy makes it use more than one million passengers per day, of which one third was traveling by car. Result: reduced by 30 percent fuel use per capita.

Economic Analysis of “American Power Act of 2010”

Economic Analysis of "American Power Act of 2010"

With economy and jobs ranking as top priority for U.S. voters looking forward to November midterm elections, the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) today unveiled a comprehensive study, which shows the harmful ways that a major policy initiative being debated in the Congress — the Kerry-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill — would hamper rather than help America’s economic recovery. In 2030, compared to the ACCF/SBE Council baseline forecast, the American Power Act would trigger;

  • Cumulative loss in U.S. GDP up to $2.1 trillion;
  • As many as 1.9 million jobs lost
  • Residential electricity price increases up to 42 percent and
  • Gasoline price increases (per gallon) up 18 percent

The study, which was conducted by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) using input assumptions provided by the ACCF and the SBE Council, assesses the impact of the Kerry-Lieberman Bill on manufacturing, jobs, energy prices and the overall U.S. economy. The ACCF and SBE Council released national data and will include state-specific analyses for all 50 U.S. states in the coming days. These study results reflect a combination of the Kerry-Lieberman provisions and ACCF assumptions about future electricity generation technology availability.
Dr. Margo Thorning, senior vice president and chief economist for ACCF, said “The analysis shows strong negative impacts from the American Power Act on economic and job growth and severe impacts on manufacturing given our assumptions about the potential deployment of future generation technology. This is exactly the wrong prescription to restore the vitality of the U.S. economy.”
“The report makes clear that Kerry-Lieberman would impose additional burdens and hardship on small business owners, who have suffered considerably during this recession,” explains SBE Council President and CEO Karen Kerrigan. “Come November, federal lawmakers will be hard pressed to explain their support for such a costly, economically damaging plan, especially to voters who are out of work or struggling to make ends meet. Small business owners cannot create more jobs when costly policies such as Kerry-Lieberman take more of their hard-earned resources.”
In Analysis of the Kerry-Lieberman Bill “The American Power Act of 2010”, ACCF and SBE Council employed a project-specific version of the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS), NEMS/ACCF-SBE Council, and the ACCF-SBE Council input assumptions to assess Kerry-Lieberman’s potential impact on manufacturing, jobs, energy prices and our overall economy.
Researchers accounted for all federal energy laws and regulations currently in effect, as well as increased access to oil and natural gas supplies, new and extended tax credits for renewable generation technologies, increased World Oil Price (WOP) profile, and permit allocations for industry and international offsets. The ACCF-SBE Council input assumptions also included assumptions regarding the likely availability of domestic and international offsets — key factors influencing analysis of the cost of limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Resource

ACCF-SBEC Powerpoint Presentation on Kerry-Lieberman Bill Analysis

ACCF-SBEC Full Report on Kerry-Lieberman Bill

ACCF-SBEC National News Release on Kerry-Lieberman Analysis

Photographs of the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico: The story of a desaste

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico
The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico
In this aerial photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning Wednesday, April 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico
In this aerial photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning Wednesday, April 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The Big Oil Rig Explosion of the Gulf of Mexico

U.S. scientists took a key step toward controlled nuclear fusion

U.S. scientists have crossed a key step toward controlled nuclear fusion,
atomic process that could result in an inexhaustible source of clean energy and solve problems around fossil fuels and emission of greenhouse gases.

The researchers managed to produce an unprecedented level of energy and break the barrier of megajoule, said the National Nuclear Security Administration of the United States.

“Breaking the barrier of megajoule us closer to the fusion ignition,” said agency administrator, Thomas Dagostino, in a statement.

U.S. scientists managed to produce one megajoule with concentration of 192 laser beams simultaneously at a temperature of 111 million degrees Celsius on a tube the size of a pencil sharpener filled with deuterium and tritium, two isotopes of hydrogen.

“This milestone is an example of the benefits achieved with our nation’s investment in nuclear security and other areas, from advances in energy technology to better  understanding of the universe, “he added.

Nuclear fusion is the engine of the sun and the stars and their artificial production would provide an unlimited choice of clean generation to replace the reliance on dwindling fossil fuel reserves. However, until now controlled fusion technology is an unresolved challenge for researchers because of the very high pressures and temperatures involved.

In the experiment the laser energy was converted into X rays, which compressed fuel to levels of temperature and pressure billions of times greater than Earth’s atmosphere, the statement said.

The process leads to the fusion of hydrogen nuclei, releasing energy from nuclear fusion precursor.

The temperature produced by the device during the few billionths of a second experiment, was equivalent to 500 times the energy consumed by U.S. in that same time.

It is also thirty times greater than that obtained so far by any other process with a group of lasers in the world.

Nuclear energy can be released in two forms: nuclear fission, which already occurs in a controlled and arises from the division of nuclei of radioactive elements and heavy as uranium-and nuclear fusion, which in turn binds (hence the name of fusion) of hydrogen nuclei into helium, the two lighter elements.

Twenty years ago, chemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann caused a sensation by announcing that they had succeeded in producing a cold fusion, a very coveted by scientists in its search for energy sources, clean and economical.

But the dramatic announcement that lost strength after several scientific research teams failed to seek to replicate the experience.

Source:

192 Laser Beams Combined to Form One Megajoule Laser Shot

References

1. Statement by Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Under Secretary for Science and Director, Office of Science, US Department of Energy (22 May 2008) [Back]

2. Sandia’s Z machine exceeds two billion degrees Kelvin, Sandia National Laboratories news release (8 March 2006) [Back]

3. Safety and Environmental Impact of Fusion, I. Cook, G. Marbach, L. Di Pace, C. Girard, N. P. Taylor, EUR (01) CCE-FU / FTC 8/5 (April 2001) [Back]

General sources

Iter website (www.iter.org)
JET website (www.jet.efda.org)
National Ignition Facility website (https://lasers.llnl.gov)
PETAL website (www.petal.aquitaine.fr)
HiPER website (www.hiper-laser.org)
The Fusion Power website of the EURATOM/UKAEA Fusion Association (www.fusion.org.uk)
European Fusion Network Information website (www.fusion-eur.org)
Website of the Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) program of the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science (www.er.doe.gov/Program_Offices/fes.htm)
Large Helical Device website (www.lhd.nifs.ac.jp)
HiPER activity, Nuclear Engineering International (November 2008)
Fast track to fusion energy, Michael H. Key, Nature 412, 775-776 (23 August 2001)

Wal-Mart “Green”

wal-martWal-Mart to Nearly Double Solar Energy Use in California.

Expansion expected to generate energy equal to powering more than 1300 homes annually.

LOS ANGELES, April 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Today Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) , as part of its commitment to accelerate and broaden its sustainability efforts, announced it is expanding its solar power program in California. The company plans to add solar panels on 10 to 20 additional Wal-Mart facilities within the next 18 months.

This commitment is in addition to the 18 solar arrays currently installed at Wal-Mart facilities in California. When combined, Wal-Mart’s total solar installations are expected to:

  --  Generate up to 32 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy per
      year - the equivalent of powering more than 2,600 homes*;
  --  Avoid producing more than 22,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide
      emissions per year - the equivalent of taking more than 4,000 cars off
      the road*;
  --  Provide 20 to 30 percent of each location's total electric energy
      needs.

“Increasing the use of solar energy is the right thing to do for the environment and makes tremendous business sense, especially in these economic conditions,” said Kimberly Sentovich, Wal-Mart’s California regional general manager. “Thanks to Governor Schwarzenegger’s leadership, California is an excellent environment for us to grow our investment in renewable energy and help create more green jobs for America. Wal-Mart is excited to continue collaborating with our partner BP Solar on expanding our solar footprint.”

“All over the state we are harnessing the power of the famous California sun and creating energy that is pollution free,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “This project is all about taking bold action so we can see solar panels on commercial rooftops all across California while putting people to work. Today’s action helps prove that even in an economic downturn, it is possible to get serious about clean, renewable energy.”

“Wal-Mart is a leader in implementing cost-effective clean energy solutions,” said Christopher Lau, World Resources Institute’s California Green Power Group manager. “With this commitment to expand the use of solar power, Wal-Mart demonstrates that businesses can pursue long-term sustainability goals during tough economic times to the benefit of the environment, customers, and bottom line.”

This latest series of projects is expected to create about 130 jobs, including engineering, design, and installer technician jobs. Smaller numbers of workers will be engaged during the periods leading up to and following peak construction.

Wal-Mart is committed to expanding its solar presence in California. As construction nears completion on this group of 10 to 20 sites, Wal-Mart will evaluate the feasibility of expanding the program to additional sites. The company will take into account a variety of factors, including available locations, economic conditions, energy prices, as well as local, state and federal renewable energy policies and programs.

Wal-Mart will continue learning from its renewable projects to find additional ways to achieve its goal of being supplied by 100 percent renewable energy. In November 2008, Wal-Mart announced a major purchase of wind energy that will supply up to 15 percent of the retailer’s total energy load in approximately 350 Texas stores and other facilities. In Puerto Rico, the company is planning to outfit up to five stores with solar panels this year, and expects the project to expand to 22 stores in the next five years. Additionally, Wal-Mart de Mexico will eliminate approximately 140 tons of CO2 emissions annually through the completed installation of more than 1000 solar panels on the roof of the Bodega Aurrera Aguascalientes.

Wal-Mart’s ongoing commitment to renewable energy projects is helping the retailer build a more diversified energy portfolio and create more opportunities for advancements in clean energy through research and innovations.

* According to the EPA (http://www.epa.gov/solar/energy-resources/calculator.html)

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Walmart discount stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club locations in the United States. The company also operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. The company’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com.

Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.

Energy Independence Doesn’t Get Us Out Of The War On Terror

Many people seem to be under the impression that if the United States could attain energy independence, we could stop worrying about the war on terror/militant Islam because without our petrodollars, the mullahs would be out of cash. Would that it were so. Leaving aside the moral implications of abandoning a third of the world to rot under an oppressive theocracy, it’s not likely that the Islamic world is going to become economically incapable of bringing the war to us any time soon.

If we get rid of our dependence on foreign oil (a good idea on its own merits, so don’t think I’m arguing against that), we free up room in the consumption pipeline for Africa and Asia to increase their use of cars and other oil-burning technologies. Saudi Arabia is likely to stay rich no matter what we do; we might just make the multitrillion dollar investment to move America to renewable sources, but we certainly aren’t going to make the megatrillion dollar investment to turn China, Africa, India, and Indonesia (to point to the first four billion people who would like cars now, please) into Ecotopia.

So they will have leverage, despite the fact that we hypothetically-don’t need their oil anymore, because they will still have money and power. And quite likely nukes, since for some strange reason, President Obama’s hypercharisma has failed to convince Iran that they don’t need nukes because the community organizer has their best interest at heart, and we all know he doesn’t have the clankers to go after Iran in any effective way. Nuclear-armed states don’t need us to need their export products for us to be embroiled in conflict with them; the USSR had nothing that we needed.

And even if tomorrow morning Al Gore wakes up with a ready-to-go patent application for the Galt Engine and we all start generating a personal terawatt using nothing more than the morning dew, mild sexual desire, and bits of yarn, all THAT will accomplish is to launch the biggest boom in plastic production since Pamela Anderson went shopping for new boobs. Oil price crashes, plastic starts costing eight cents a ton to make, and we all start building plastic houses – and oil ramps right back up to $30/barrel. Plastic houses would be cool and all (I personally want them to make giant Lego bricks about 3′ long that people can snap together to build their own structures because that would be awesome) but would leave the ayatollahs with plenty of cash on hand.

In the long run, readily-extractable hydrocarbons will always have significant economic value, even if nobody would dream of setting them on fire.