Friday, May 14th, 2010
We’ve been hearing a lot about a drop in energy consumption as a result of the economic downturn. In fact, U.S. energy use per person declined last year to its lowest level since 1968.
Economic activity and energy use are directly linked. But lately, several reports have noted that the economic slowdown is not the only reason energy consumption is falling. Aggressive energy efficiency efforts also have impact.
That impact will be “major” in the years to come, according to the Energy Information Administration, the chief energy data collector for the U.S. government. The agency this week released its “Annual Energy Outlook 2010” with projections to 2035.
The federal report shows us decreasing energy use significantly if we employ best available efficiency technologies over the next 25 years – that is if we buy the most energy efficient appliances and build homes to the highest efficiency standards. Under this scenario, energy consumption could drop by as much as 27 percent. But if we stick to the status quo, homeowners will increase energy use by about 0.2 percent. (more…)
Friday, May 7th, 2010
Carbon dioxide emissions dropped significantly in the United States in 2009. The economy played an obvious role; not so obvious was the influence of power generation and its increasing efficiency.
Emissions of CO2 have been trending down for the last decade by about 0.9 percent. But the 2009 drop was far more dramatic — seven percent — the largest decline since the Energy Information Administration began keeping energy data more than 60 years ago.
This tells us a lot about just how bad economic conditions were (As if we needed to be told!). (more…)
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
It’s been a busy Earth Day at the White House and around the administration. Yesterday Vice President Biden kicked off the Administration’s Earth Day Celebration by announcing $452 million in Recovery Act funding to support a “Retrofit Ramp-Up.” This program will create thousands of jobs and allow these communities to retrofit hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses while testing out innovative strategies that can be adopted all over the country. President Obama also issued a Presidential Proclamation on Earth Day calling on Americans to join in the spirit of the first Earth Day forty years ago to take action in their communities to make our planet cleaner and healthier.
This afternoon, Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, hosted a live chat on WhiteHouse.gov to answer your questions about how the Administration is working to improve the environment and build a clean energy economy that supports the jobs of the future. This evening, the President hosted an Earth Day reception in the Rose Garden at the White House where he discussed some of the challenges that lie ahead in achieving a clean energy economy: (more…)
Friday, April 16th, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the15th annual U.S. greenhouse gas inventory report, which shows a drop in overall emissions of 2.9 percent from 2007 to 2008.
The downward trend is attributed to a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions associated with fuel and electricity consumption.
An emissions inventory that identifies and quantifies a country’s primary anthropogenic1 sources and sinks of greenhouse gases is essential for addressing climate change. (more…)
Thursday, February 4th, 2010
The green economy is thriving despite the economic downturn, according to the State of Green Business 2010 report released Wednesday by Greener World Media.
“Green professionals weren’t among the first to be thrown overboard,” said Joel Makower, report author and Executive Editor of GreenBiz.com, in a statement. “Their budgets were slashed, their headcounts frozen, all while their mandates sometimes increased. But they managed to survive, even thrive, during tough times.”
What top trends are now driving green business? To start, the report says more companies and consumers are embracing “radical transparency.”
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The recession has slashed U.S. output of planet warming gases and puts the country on track to reach President Barack Obama’s short-term emissions goal, but cutting the pollution further will take more effort as the economy recovers.
“Losing weight by starving is different than shedding pounds through exercise,” said Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners, LLC.
He said as the economy recovers electricity demand should rise, pushing up emissions from that sector. That will require the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China to move faster to low-carbon sources like renewable energy if Obama’s short-term goal is to be met, he said.
Friday, October 9th, 2009
In the September issue of Harvard Business Review, authors Ram Nidumolu, C.K. Prahalad, and M.R. Rangaswami provide a framework for adopting sustainable practices to bring about technological and organizational innovations that will ultimately yield top-line and bottom-line returns, providing a competitive advantage when the recession ends. They feel that sustainable companies will emerge from the recession ahead of their competitors, who will face difficulties trying to catch up.
The authors argue that sustainability is not the drag on the bottom line that many executives perceive it to be, and that it can actually lower costs, and increase revenues. This is an indicator that business leaders will have to rethink business models, processes, technologies, and products.
Thursday, October 8th, 2009
Slow down, high-speed rail seekers. In the race for stimulus money, the Obama administration has received applications from 24 states requesting $50 billion for high-speed rail projects, reports The New York Times.
That’s more than six times the amount of money designated. Joseph Szabo, head of the Federal Railroad Administration, told the Times that the selections will be merit based, and will be made this winter.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Utah Sen. Bob Bennett is involved in a fickle love affair with stimulus money. Two days before the Republican senator voted against the nearly $800 billion package – which he said would only stimulate the national debt – Bennett wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu asking him to pay special attention to a few projects in Utah. He wasn’t alone, reports the Tribune. All four of Utah’s Republicans in Congress voted against the bill, before using congressional stationery to try to nab a portion of the stimulus package for their state. (more…)
Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
Global emissions of carbon dioxide will drop 3 percent in 2009, including a 5.9 percent decrease in the United States, as a result of the economic recession, according to energy forecasts.
A decrease in industrial activity accounts for three-quarters of the global emissions decline, the International Energy Agency reported at United Nations climate talks in Bangkok. The rest of the decline is the result of nations switching to renewable energy sources and nuclear power.
In the U.S., coal demand will likely drop 9 percent this year as electricity demand slips and more states switch to natural gas in the face of stiffer government oversight of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Economic recovery would likely reverse the trend, and the agency predicts a 1.1 percent increase in CO2 emissions in 2010.
Sunday, September 27th, 2009
The United States has entered a new energy era, ending a century of rising carbon emissions. As the U.S. delegation prepares for the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December, it does so from a surprisingly strong position, one based on a dramatic 9 percent drop in U.S. carbon emissions over the past two years and the promise of further huge reductions.
Prominent among these carbon-cutting initiatives are stronger automobile fuel-economy standards, appliance efficiency standards, and the potential to heat, cool and light buildings with carbon-free sources of electricity.
On the supply side are efforts supporting the development of U.S. wind, solar and geothermal energy resources.