A Cooler Planet

Saturday, August 25, 2007

5 Things You Can Do Against Global Warming Today!

The tricky thing with global warming is that, when you read about hurricanes, thunderstorms and melting glaciers, you tend to feel that, there is not much you can do about it, therefore you follow the easiest way: ignore the problem and hope for the best. On the other hand, if you switch from the broader picture to the level of your everyday life you will find a whole bunch of things you can do, without involving any real effort on your side. And, to tell you the truth, these small things matter a whole lot more, than you could ever imagine. So, without further do, I’ll show you five things, you can do against global warming before the end of the day.

  1. Air conditioning. We all know that, air conditioning sucks, in the way it destroys the environment. Still, we all hate sweating, especially when not on the beach or tennis court. So what you can do is find a compromise. Why don’t you set your air condition system to 1-2 degrees higher temperature than it is set right now. You wouldn’t guess how much that means concerning the energy consumption, but, as Mr. White said in Madonna-speech: A lot. And anyway, when it’s 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 degrees Fahrenheit) out there, even 25 will make you feel cool enough, you won’t need 18 for that. Do the same in your car!
  2. Your computer. For god’s sake, shut your computer down at the end of the day! I was always amazed to read (and my experiences are the same) that, around 80% of people won’t shut their computers down for the night. Not even for the weekend. I mean, why the hell not? Do they expect to save on the boot-up time, or what? Come on, your computer will boot up while you drink your coffee, no matter what kind of computer that is. It doesn’t need to be running all weekend for that!
  3. Think twice before hitting Ctrl+P! Printing pages you want to read is okay, since nobody likes to read much on the screen of a monitor. But printing every page you come across is way beyond necessary, and, unfortunately, quite a lot of people still do it. Before printing a page think it over whether you really need it to be printed. And, as for this post, please bookmark it instead of printing it!
  4. Drive less! I know, your given conditions may vary in wide range, but if you are anything like me, working and living in a busy city, you can always consider using public transportation at least sometimes, when you are not in a hurry. If you still must drive, consider driving somebody. The more persons sit in your car, the fewer cars you’ll need.
  5. Switch off a light! I work in a huge office building. As far as I guess, around 500-600 people work here. The building has 5 stories, countless offices and corridors. And for the night, lights on every corridor and stairway are switched on. Security says it is because of the security cameras, Still, I don’t understand. Values (computers, documents and anything that could possibly be stolen) are in the offices not on corridors and stairways! I assume it is a huge waste of energy. So please, at least in your office, when you leave it: switch the lights off!

I’m sure you have more ideas or experiences. Please, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or drop me an email!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness list by Ernst & Young

United States is leading each list of Ernst & Young’srecentlypublished Attractiveness survey for the second quarter of2007,concerning the surveyed countries’ use of renewableenergysources.India, the UK and Spain are following the US on eachofthe AllRenewable Index, the Long-term Wind Index and the Near-termWind Indexlists. The report also contains a discussion on supply-chaingluts inthe alternative energy market.

"Givencurrent rates of industry growth of 20% to 30% and manufacturers’ focuson profitability, supply chain constraints are likely to continue inthe medium term notwithstanding new future entrants from China, SouthKorea,India,and possibly Japan," Ernst & Young experts note.

Theglobal highlight lists include top 25 countries of each index, and thereport also covers recent happenings in the sector like Offshore Issuesand Wind Power in Norway.

You can download the entire report from here.

Ernst & Young publishes surveys on the use of renewable energy sources since 1993.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Toyota's new hybrid model is to be out in 2009

Toyota's new hybrid model
I personally like hybrid cars, and most of all, of course the Toyota Prius. If only it was a bit less ugly, that it is... If you haven't already considered buying a hybrid car, according to analysts, in a few years, there will be so many chances on the market within the category, competing with each other, that you will be left no reason not to.

Toyota is reportedly working on a second hybrid model, that is expected to hit the market in 2009. The all new 2.0 liter - or even larger - engine would increase the company's market share in the eco-friendly category even further.

Toyota is already the dominant seller of hybrid vehicles, resulted mostly buy the ever growing market success of their flagship model, the popular Prius. Prius has a 1.5 liter engine, and Toyota is aiming to sell a million Priuses per year by the end of the decade. The new model - now under construction - is reportedly targeted to sell at the rate of 100.000 per year, worldwide.

By 2007, Toyota has sold more than a million hybrids in total, dominantly including, of course the Prius (around 750 000), that went on sale in 1997 in Japan, and in 2000 in the rest of the world. The latest hybrid product of Toyota is the Lexus LS 600h luxury car, that went on sale in Japan, earlier in 2007.

Meanwhile the construction of the new model, Toyota is about to close a cross-shareholding deal with Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial, to help increase cooperative battery-making ventures for hybrid vehicles.

What that means for you is that both the competition and the category of hybrid cars will grow wider, more accessible and cheaper. And hopefully, with nicer cars, too.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Armies must get ready for global warming role

Mad Max comes true through global warming
I don't know about you, but my first associations of global warming, climate change and the expected ecological disasters come from catastrophe movies like the Water World, Day after tomorrow, and ultimately from Mad Max.

And sometimes I have to wonder, how close that might be to our expected future.

Global warming now becomes such a treat to global security, that military planners must build it into their calculations - the head of Britain's armed forces said on Monday.

Sounds really foreshadowing, eh?

According to Jock Stirrup, chief of defence staff, climate change includes risks like lack of drinking water supply, agricultural disasters, therefore possibilities of famine, and most of all the need for evacuating millions of people from their homes, that could cause weakened states, and had to become a feature of military planning.

First analyses, however show, that this new approach doesn't mean the georgaphical focus needs to be changed, because the areas, seem to be most vulnerable to climate change and major humanitarian disasters coming from global warning are those, that's security risks are already extremely high.

"Just glance at a map of the areas most likely to be affected and you are struck at once by the fact that they are exactly those parts of the world where we see fragility, instability and weak governance today." - Stirrup told yesterday.

Scientists say average temperatures will rise by between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius this century due to burning fossil fuels for power and transport, melting ice caps, bringing floods, droughts and famines, and putting millions of lives at risk.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

California is in focus in the fight with global warming

Californian governor Schwarzenegger is all for a greener planet
US. state California is the world's eighth largest economy, the most populous state of the USA, and meanwhile the 12th largest producer of greenhouse gases in the World.

California, on the other hand, have a rich tradition of environmentalism. As the former home of the hippie revolution, California's lawmakers seem to be aware of the importance of their natural heritage, even when they have to defend it against federal interests. California has set the agenda for clean air, clean water and other health standards, that now are the norms in the whole US. It was also the first, to ban smokers out of bars, order tailpipe smog checks, put warnings on beer bottles and allow hybrid cars driving in carpool lanes, even when their driver is alone.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently endorsed California's strategy to regulate greenhouse gases from vehicles. That validates the state's claim that the emissions should be classified as air pollutants over the objections of the Bush administration.

This means, that - if the Environmental Protection Agency gives California the right to set the standard limits of auto emissions, a decision, which is expected later in 2007 - at least a dozen other states will immediately follow the new rules.

Meanwhile, another new law is being prepared, that would judge the value of electricity based on the emission levels of the power plant creating it. The revolutionary idea also includes a bar for state institutions to buy electricity from out-of-state coal plants, that don't meet the emission standards set by the lawmakers. Coal produces more carbon dioxide, than any other fossil fuel source, and so emission of coal plants - especially old-fashioned ones - are still a major source of greenhouse gases.

Last fall, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation - written originally by Democrats - that imposed the first statewide cap on greenhouse gases, garnering worldwide attention for a move that put California at odds with the Bush administration. According to the new law, the state will reduce emissions by an estimated twenty-five percent by 2020, which adds up a yearly 174 million metric tons.

"What we do in California has unbelievable impact and it has consequences," said the governator to an audience at Georgetown University this spring. "When you look at the globe, California is a little spot, but the kind of power and influence that we have on the rest of the world is an equivalent of a whole huge continent."

Labels: , , , ,

New Boeing 787 consumes 20 percent less fuel

Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Although the flight industry is still focused on the long-delayed giant, the Airbus A350, the great rival's all-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is about to take off. The new aircraft - due to be flying by March, 2008 - is the most innovative and most eco friendly commercial aircraft ever made.

The single greatest innovation of the Dreamliner is the material used: Boeing 787 will be the first aircraft made of composites. These materials - graphite fiber and poly-cyanate ester plastic composite material to be as precise as possible - are four times stiffer and forty percent lighter than aluminium - by now the most important material of aircraft structures. The new material conducts heat as well as aluminum, which is an advantage over other composites that have low conductivity and require additional equipment to cool the electronics, for example that are used on composite-made satellites.

The new material and aerodynamical changes result not only in a smoother and more confortable flight, but will also be quieter, and lower the costs of the maintenance as well. Fuel consumption for these aircrafts will be an estimated 20 percent lower, than any other commercial aircraft's.

"Our expectation is that fossil fuels will be around for some time." - sais Tom Cogan, the Chief Project Engineer of the 787 Dreamliner. "As the world’s population grows and nations become more industrialized, obviously alternate power sources are going to be required. When the fuel cell technology becomes evolved, we can replace the jet engine in the back (APU) producing electricity with a fuel cell. That should not be in the too distant future. The 787 was targeted to be 20 percent more fuel efficient than anything out there flying today. The whole reason for the program was recognizing we needed to reduce fuel burn."

Labels: , , , ,

Can you tell the exact price of global warming?

Hurricane over North Carolina casued by Global Warming
It seems that in some particular cases, the price tag of global warming is much more visible that what we expect it to be. And when general warnings and theoretical threats come down to specific facts and prices - the whole idea of climate change turns more and more inconvenient.

In this case, economist predict, that US. state, North Carolina will soon face billions of dollars of expenses caused by the global warming. The state at the south-east coast of the US has been identified as one of the United States' most vulnerable regions to climate change.

According to a recent report - done by three North Carolina universities and the Department of Global Change and Natural Systems at the Potsdam Institute in Germany, the low-lying coastline of North Carolina will be especially prone to hurricanes and erosion if ocean levels rise as projected between 1 foot and 3 feet over the next 25 to 75 years. The result would be more destructive hurricanes that will cause billions of dollars of damage to private property.

Estimates of the project said that by 2080, each hurricane could cause $157 million in damage. Researchers also expect the changing climate to affect coastal industries such as recreational fishing and beach tourism.

Labels: , , , , , , ,