The Green Wrap-up 20.February, 2013

Keystone is getting all the attention, but the brewing battle over coal exports in the Pacific Northwest is, from a pure carbon standpoint, far more significant. Right now one of the main problems for climate hawks is that all the decisions about new coal trains and coal export terminals are being made locally, one at a time, as rail and coal companies bribe this town and that town with promises of economic development. There’s no global assessment being done and no real plan in place.
All eyes have been on Tesla Motors this past week as it disputed the veracity of an account of a long distance drive by The New York Times reporter John Broder. While it was somewhat amusing to watch NYT counter the original accusation of fakery made by CEO Elon Musk, only to be then publicly slapped with a handful of revelatory vehicle logs, today’s release of Tesla’s shareholder letter and fourth quarter financial results are certainly more relevant to the company’s future. And, if Tesla manages to keep performing as it has these past few months, that future looks bright.
New York City has been working diligently towards its planNYC goal to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2030. But that number is not nearly enough according to recent studies that show that countries need to reduce emissions by 80% in order to combat global warming effectively. According to “90 by 50”, New York has a shot at reducing its carbon footprint by a whopping 90% largely by focusing on their biggest polluter – building energy consumption.
Estonia has officially launched its nationwide electric car charging network, which it’s calling the “world’s first nationwide EV charging network.”
While grid-scale liquid metal batteries might be a more exciting technology, good old pumped hydro storage is one of the ways we can store power from intermittent sources (like solar & wind) or shift supply around (from the night to peak use). Ideally, you would use existing hydro to act as a buffer, so that when the sun is shining on your solar panels and/or the wind is blowing in your wind turbines, you reduce your use of hydropower and let the water level rise behind the dams, and when there’s no sun or wind, you can use that stored kinetic energy to pick up the slack.
As someone who appreciates self-sufficiency, I have subscribed to several homesteading websites in an attempt to broaden my knowledge and skill set. My family has been delving into traditional methods of home industry, and in addition to the gardening, herb-craft, canning, and preserving that we already do, we’re hoping to learn about cheese-making, beer-brewing, etc. After going through a number of posts on these sites, I’ve noticed that there seems to be two camps of people involved in the forum discussions: those who refer to themselves as homesteaders, and those who are self-proclaimed preppers.
The latest Energy Infrastructure Update released yesterday by the Office of Energy Projects at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reports that the US had 1,231 megawatts (MW) of new in-service generating capacity come online in January of 2013 – all of it from renewable sources including wind, solar and biomass. The new capacity for January represents a three-fold increase from the 431 MW of new renewable generating capacity that came online in January of 2012.
Most conventional personal care, cleaning and perfume products contain artificial fragrance. You may have even seen the word “fragrance” on the label of a product you have at home. What you probably don’t know is that fragrances can be made up of over 100 different “top secret” chemicals. And many of these chemicals trigger allergic reactions as well as other harmful effects in sensitive people.
  • GreenJoyment(Ally): I realize this may sound dorky, but man-oh-man do I love infographics! The most amazing point in this “secret scents” one, to me, is how little the consumer is actually told about what’s in the product he or she uses. Feeling itchy? It could be an allergic reaction to an unlisted additive in your cleaning or beauty products!

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