For those that follow the political realm, you may be aware that the Senate is considering a huge energy bill over the next 24 hours. Some of the details of this bill were the subject of an opinion article in the LA Times today. There are pros and cons of the bill affecting all sorts of energy concerns such as renewable fuels, coal-to-liquid technology, and automobile efficiency standards. Up for consideration is the Bingaman-Reid renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requiring the nation to get 15% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. An RPS requires electric utilities to include a specific percentage of clean, renewable energy in their generation portfolios, or to purchase renewable energy credits from others. If you want to help see that the Bingaman-Reid RPS is supported, feel free to use the Power of Wind website to let your Senator know.
- North America sees the installation of +3M square feet of new green roofs in 2006– an increase of 25% over 2005.
- Home Depot launches $100M plan to support the development of 100,000 affordable, healthy homes, and the planting/preservation of more than 3 million trees over the next decade.
- Troubled Waters: drought, pollution, mismanagement and politics have made water a precious commodity in much of the world.
- New proposed green building standard (Standard 189P) nears completion and is now open for public comment.
Do you ever just get outside and look in the sky? Last night, it was about 10:15 pm here and I could still see light peeking through the clouds on the horizon. I can dig that, light until 9:30 pm. Moving across the country, I’ve had the opportunity to watch the clouds and weather from early morning until late night. It’s fun. I think this is why I like The Daily Green‘s feature called the Weird Weather Watch: the photo blog of climate change. It’s important to recall the concept that weather is not climate, but weather over a period of time is climate. To my knowledge, there’s nothing on the world wide web like this feature that gets so many diverse, quality, and unique images specifically on odd weather. It’s pretty cool.
Here’s what it’s all about: "Calling all backyard environmentalists, cell phone climatologists, citizen photojournalists, weekend bird fanatics and others in The Daily Green community! The warmed climate is throwing us surprise after surprise, and Weird Weather Watch is your destination for the photos that capture the moment and your conscience. While it may be impossible to scientifically link any one weather event to global climate change, Weird Weather Watch will collect photos of everyday weather-related changes that concern our community. Help us create THE photo blog of the new environmental movement."
Looks like the new TXU is really moving in a green direction. This is what I was looking for, so let’s hope similar news follows in the future. Today TXU Wholesale, a subsidiary of TXU Corp. (NYSE: TXU), announced the purchase of about 209 megawatts of wind power from Airtricity. This will be Airtricity’s third project in Texas and it will use 209 1.0-MW Mitsubishi 1000A turbines. In total, the purchase now brings TXU’s investment in wind to 914 MW (powered by 965 turbines). The farm, known as Roscoe Wind Farm, is currently under construction 45 miles southwest of Abilene, Texas. By my BOE calculations, this news means that the portion of wind in TXU’s total energy portfolio (18,100 MW) is about 5.05%. Five percent of TXU’s energy is generated from wind. It’s not cheap, but this is the direction we need to go. Nice work.
+$300,000,000 Facility Will Provide Power to TXU [doc][Airtricity]
+TXU Adds to Wind Energy Portfolio with 209-MW Deal [TXU]
At some point over the past year, the American population surpassed 300 million, and if we continue as expected, we’re going to have another 92 million people over the next 34 years. That’s a lot of people and they’ll need places to live. Over that period of time, it’s real important that we get planning right. The problem is, however, planning decisions are made by thousands of different people with thousands of conflicting interests. The gist, though, is that sprawl isn’t green. Here are ten good reasons to back that up.
- Sprawl development contributes to a loss of support for public facilities and public amenities.
- Sprawl undermines effective maintenance of existing infrastructure.
- Sprawl increases societal costs for transportation.
- Sprawl consumes more resources than other development patterns.
- Sprawl separates urban poor people from jobs.
- Sprawl imposes a tax on time.
- Sprawl degrades water and air quality.
- Sprawl results in the permanent alteration and destruction of habitats.
- Sprawl creates difficulty in maintaining community.
- Sprawl offers the promise of choice while only delivering more of the same.
I’m a child of sprawl. I’ve seen the effects of it. I’ve personally experienced #3, #4, #6, #9, and #10. Every smart person in this country needs to realize the effect of various policy and regulatory decisions and find a way to dig out of the mess we’re in. If not, sprawl will continue to hamper us more and more in the future.
Is there a silver bullet to fixing the problem? That’s tough. There is a temporary solution for some people: live near your work, church, and family. It will make your life more abundant when the places you go are close. Just find a way to live near the places you frequently go.
This list was created by James M. McElfish, Jr., Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program, Environmental Law Institute.