When people hear that scientists predict only a 2-4 degree rise in global temperatures due to global warming, they often shrug. That doesn’t sound too bad. If a warm summer day is 85 degrees instead of 82, what’s the big deal? But a 2-4 degree rise in temperatures means much more than that, and it’s important to know what it means if we’re to understand why climate scientists call for an immediate reduction in carbon emissions world-wide.
Topics: Public Policy
Renewable energy resources – including solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass (any organic non-fossil material of biological origin), ocean thermal, wave action, and tidal action – are becoming a larger part of the American energy portfolio.
I originally posted this in 2014. But, with Killington recently hosting a World Cup race in November, and given how much they relied on artificial snow, it seemed appropriate to bubble it back up. Snowmaking can be an extremely energy-intensive activity. With fewer solidly snowy winters, can skiing be sustainable [PDF]?
The 2014 Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia are located at one of the warmest locations in the history of the games. Setting aside for now the slow creep of a warming climate, Sochi, located at the eastern shores of the Black Sea, is a humid subtropical climate with an average winter temperature of around 50F during the day and still above freezing at night. In the higher elevations in the nearby Caucasus Mountains, where the events are taking place, daytime temperatures still average above freezing during the day. So, while it is a far better location for the actual “winter” portion of the games than the palm-tree-lined streets of the city of Sochi proper, it still is not the ideal location to host the Winter Games.
An Amendment to the Montreal Protocol
Last month, representatives from over 170 nations gathered in Kigali, Rwanda to negotiate and ultimately agree to an amendment to the Montreal Protocol—the landmark international treaty, signed in the late 1980’s, which led to the phase-out of the manufacture and use of ozone-layer-depleting chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants (CFCs). The 2016 amendment focused on phasing out hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants (HFCs) which, while safer for the ozone-layer than CFCs, are themselves very powerful greenhouse gasses with far more global warming potential than CO2.
I fell asleep to a TED Talk while visiting New York City the other night, but a startling statement brought me back to consciousness. New studies predict the oceans could rise by close to two meters (more than six feet) by the end of the century. That’s double original estimates and only 83 years from now - in our kids’ or at least our grandkids’ lifetimes!
Inspired by a recent vacation to Ireland, I was compelled to research Ireland’s energy sources and what forms of renewable energy they are utilizing. Ireland is not a large country (slightly smaller than Indiana, geographically) and is not densely populated with the exception of a few cities. My vacation toured the southwest/western coast as well as Dublin on the east coast. In this blog post, I will discuss what I learned about Ireland’s energy sources and how the country is utilizing renewable energy.
Many of the readers of the Building Energy Resilience blog may not know that when I started working in the field of energy efficiency, my focus was on multi-family housing serving people with low incomes. ACEEE recently published this study on the income burden for low-income households. The energy burden is the percent of income paid for energy. It turns out that low-income households have two times the energy burden of the median household – paying over 7% of annual income in energy costs.
While watching coverage of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, I started looking into what it took to create the venue which accommodates many of the events. Similar to every Olympic game, Rio had a short period of time to build the extravagant stadiums and the other venues required. In this post, I will discuss what it took to construct this venue and some challenges with this particular location.
Vermont is a small, hilly state in the northeast corner of the US, and is often claimed to be the “second cloudiest” state in the nation (a subjective statistic). Although our state has been adopting solar in leaps and bounds, there is a debate over whether solar is an applicable technology in our state and, nationally, if solar should be subsidized now that the production costs have decreased dramatically. I decided to research the history of subsidies and production costs of various fuels to determine if solar deserves to be an incentivized fuel source for electric generation.
Image via Wikipedia.
On January 25, 2016, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) v. Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA). The ruling, which was 6-2 in FERC’s favor, is great news for the bright future of a practice which can help grid operators better match electrical grid power supply and demand in real-time, known as Demand Response.