Justin Gillis, NEW YORK TIMES.COM
In decades of public debate about global warming, one assumption has been accepted by virtually all factions: that tackling it would necessarily be costly. But a new report casts doubt on that idea, declaring that the necessary fixes could wind up being effectively free.
A global commission will announce its finding on Tuesday that an ambitious series of measures to limit emissions would cost $4 trillion or so over the next 15 years, an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power plants, transit systems and other infrastructure.
When the secondary benefits of greener policies — like lower fuel costs, fewer premature deaths from air pollution and reduced medical bills — are taken into account, the changes might wind up saving money, according to the findings of the group, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.
“We are proposing a way to have the same or even more economic growth, and at the same time have environmental responsibility,” said the chairman of the commission, Felipe Calderón, the former president of Mexico and an economist. “We need to fix this problem of climate change, because it’s affecting all of us.”
The commission found that some $90 trillion is likely to be spent over the coming 15 years on new infrastructure around the world. The big challenge for governments is to adopt rules and send stronger market signals that redirect much of that investment toward low-emission options, the report found.
Read more via Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs, Report Says – NYTimes.com.
Rory Carroll and Leslie Adler, REUTERS
California’s greenhouse gas emissions rose about 2 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year as more natural gas was burned to compensate for the closure of a nuclear plant and a drop in hydro-electricity due to a drought, the state’s air regulator said on Wednesday.
Higher utility sector emissions were offset somewhat by a modest decline in output from the transportation sector, which remains the state’s largest single source of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.
Emissions from manufacturers stayed relatively flat despite a 13 percent increase from the cement sector as the state’s eight plants ramped up production.
State air officials said that despite the small overall increase, long-term trends show California is cutting emissions even as the economy recovers from a lengthy recession.
Transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 12 percent over the past seven years due in part to a larger number of fuel-efficient vehicles on California roads, regulators said. The Toyota Prius, a hybrid that gets about 50 miles to the gallon, was the best-selling car in California in 2012.
Californian’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions have dropped 12 percent over the past decade, regulators said.
via California greenhouse gas emissions inch up 2 percent | Reuters.
Julia P. Valentine, U.S. EPA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 19th annual report of overall U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions today, showing a 3.4 percent decrease in 2012 from 2011. The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, which is submitted annually to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, presents a national-level overview of annual greenhouse gas emissions since 1990.
The major contributors to the decrease in emissions from 2011-2012 were the decrease in energy consumption across all sectors in the U.S. economy, and the decrease in carbon intensity for electricity generation due to fuel switching from coal to natural gas. Other factors included a decrease in transportation sector emissions attributed to an increase in fuel efficiency across different transportation modes and limited new demand for passenger transportation.
Greenhouse gases are the primary driver of climate change, leading to increased heat-related illnesses and deaths; worsening the air pollution that can cause asthma attacks and other respiratory problems; and expanding the ranges of disease-spreading insects. Climate change is also affecting the frequency and intensity of heat waves, droughts, and other extreme weather events.
via 04/15/2014: EPA Publishes 19th Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
Justin Gillis, NYTIMES.COM
Delivering the latest stark news about climate change on Sunday, a United Nations panel warned that governments are not doing enough to avert profound risks in coming decades. But the experts found a silver lining: Not only is there still time to head off the worst, but the political will to do so seems to be rising around the world.
In a report unveiled here, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that decades of foot-dragging by political leaders had propelled humanity into a critical situation, with greenhouse emissions rising faster than ever. Though it remains technically possible to keep planetary warming to a tolerable level, only an intensive push over the next 15 years to bring those emissions under control can achieve the goal, the committee found.
“We cannot afford to lose another decade,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report. “If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization.”
via Climate Efforts Falling Short, U.N. Panel Says – NYTimes.com.
It’s official: Solar Sonoma County is now the Solar Action Alliance (SolarActionAlliance.org), a new name reflecting the organization’s expansion to Marin and Napa counties and broadening impact in advancing solar energy at the local level. Solar Sonoma County has become a “chapter” of Solar Action Alliance, which now also includes Solar Marin County and Solar Napa County.
Continue reading “Solar Sonoma County becomes Solar Action Alliance”
Robert Digitale, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Nearly two years after it launched amid national media attention, Santa Rosa’s Ygrene Energy Fund has financed its first projects for making older buildings green.
The company, which fashioned its business after a program pioneered by the County of Sonoma, is providing financing and administration to retrofit homes and commercial buildings in Sacramento and Miami. The public/private programs allow property owners to install solar electric systems and other energy- and water-saving improvements, with borrowers repaying the debt on their property tax bills.
via Ygrene seeks green in energy retrofits | The Press Democrat.
Climate Protection Campaign
Sonoma Clean Power, the county initiative to purchase greener electricity, comes back to the Board for a vote on April 23rd. Topics include potential rates, start-up financing, and marketing services. Please attend and show support.
The most recent story in the Press Democrat:
Eleven bidders compete to provide power to Sonoma County
The North Bay Electric Auto Association and Sierra Club’s Sonoma Group co-sponsored a show and tell of electric vehicles at Montgomery Village’s ‘Day on the Green’ in Santa Rosa today. Dealers and enthusiasts brought Leafs, Volts, Fits, Priuses, Teslas and home-converted vehicles to exhibit.
Electric cars are growing in popularity in the North Bay, and charging stations are multiplying. For a current list of stations, go to plugshare.com.
Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A legal fight to protect a program that allows Sonoma County residents to pay for energy-saving retrofits to their homes through property taxes was dealt a significant and possibly final setback last week.
via Court deals blow to county energy retrofit program | PressDemocrat.com.
by bvesser, CLIMATE PROTECTION CAMPAIGN
Windsor Efficiency PAYS®, available to eligible Windsor residents starting August 2012, provides water and energy upgrades for residential properties that provide immediate utility bill savings— with no upfront cost or debt.
On July 18, 2012, the Windsor Town Council gave final approval for Windsor Efficiency PAYS®, a new, innovative water conservation program that provides residents with immediate savings on utility bills and requires no upfront cost or new debt. The program provides for the installation of very efficient products and appliances, as well as dry-summer, drought resistant landscaping that will reduce water use, conserve energy, and save money.
via Windsor Approves Innovative, Water Conservation & Energy Efficiency Program – First in California! | Climate Protection Campaign.