- Global Methane Initiative Moves Forward
- New Racing Records Set by Electric Vehicles at Pikes Peak
- Broken-Hearted Lawmakers Just Can’t Quit Incandescent Light Bulbs
- Honda Hybrid Too Fast for Formula 1000, Asked to Leave
Posted: 30 Jun 2011 07:09 PM PDT
Carbon dioxide isn't the sole contributor to global warming and climate change. An even larger and more dangerous chemical is methane, the abundant naturally occurring gas that can be found almost anywhere — from coal mines to cow farts and composting piles.
To this end, the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) reports that an enhanced global focus on methane is critical for furthering an international response to the real threats of climate change. GMI gets right to the point: "Methane is a potent and short-lived greenhouse gas whose emissions currently account for over one-third of today's atmospheric warming."
The organization points out that numerous commercially proven technologies exist that can reduce or eliminate methane emissions while providing cost-effective clean energy. The practices of Waste Management (WM) at some landfills in converting waste methane to electricity or liquid fuels provide two shining examples.
Making sound a solid economic platform part of managing methane has helped create market traction. Although actual numbers haven't been posted, WM at the Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site (DADS) launched the Denver program by producing enough electricity from landfill methane to fuel almost 3,000 homes – and that was over three years ago. The volume has no doubt increased by now – and the global climate has benefitted.
GMI says that its Methane to Markets Partnership, founded in 2004, has served as an important international initiative to focus global attention on the importance of reducing methane emissions. "But we can and must do more," GMI adds.
Among the key strategies in the Methane to Markets Partnership are efforts to initiate methane abatement and avoidance programs from sources like municipal wastewater, and encouraging all Partner countries to coordinate methane reduction efforts at home and abroad.
GMI reports that the Methane to Markets Partnership has successfully generated methane reduction projects in the agriculture, coal mining, landfill, and oil & natural gas industries. Accomplishments include:
Why does methane happen to be so important? GMI provides these sobering facts:
The significant challenge involves finding better ways of balancing methane emissions by creating sensible energy solutions.
Photo: Josh Sommers
Posted: 30 Jun 2011 07:00 AM PDT
Posted: 30 Jun 2011 05:13 AM PDT
America’s love affair with the incandescent light bulb may still be smokin’ hot, but the affection appears to be somewhat one-sided according to a recent article by Rob Lever for AFP. Lever details more than a dozen cases in which state lawmakers are trying desperately to ensure that the beloved bulbs stay on the market, despite new federal energy efficiency standards that effectively phase out the old technology. The real kicker comes at the tail end of the article, with a line from a spokesperson for the American Lighting Association. While certain legislators may carry a torch for incandescent tech, the bulb manufacturing industry has already “moved on down the road” to more attractive new technologies.
Light Bulb Industry Responds to New Efficiency Regulations
There is nothing in the new federal law that prohibits consumers from buying or using incandescent light bulbs. It simply establishes new efficiency standards, and manufacturers were not interested in investing in the R&D needed to improve the old technology. In particular, Philips has made the whole issue moot by coming out with a new energy efficient LED light that looks and acts just like the century-old incandescent bulb, but uses 28 percent less energy. Major retailers are also moving along. IKEA, for example, no longer carries incandescent bulbs even though the new energy efficiency standards aren’t phasing in until next year.
New Light Bulbs, New Green Jobs
Pushing U.S. manufacturers to continue churning out incandescent light bulbs doesn’t seem to make much sense when you consider that U.S. consumers are also ready to move along. According to a study commissioned by the lighting company Sylvania, the majority of U.S. consumers are “eager” to try more energy efficient lighting options. That makes the prospects look good for U.S. manufacturers to invest in new tech. Ironically, one of the states cited by Lever is Texas, where even as legislators try to keep the old flame alight, new lighting tech is creating new green jobs.
Light Bulbs and Politics Make Strange Bedfellows
While there does not seem to be any statistical evidence of widespread incandescent light bulb hoarding, some federal legislators have also latched onto the light bulb issue and are pushing for a repeal of the new energy efficiency standards. Seems like a weird way to spend time – on the taxpayer’s dime – that could be put to better use creating jobs and such-all, but whatever. Love is blind.
[Update/correction: As a couple of alert readers have pointed out, I mixed up Philips's LED product with Ecovantage, which is an incandescent bulb modded out with halogen technology to achieve a 28 percent energy savings. Philips's AmbientLED bulbs save about 80 percent].
Image: Compact fluorescent light bulb by Dottie Mae on flickr.com
Posted: 30 Jun 2011 05:10 AM PDT
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