Monday, November 23, 2009

World leaders set to attend Copenhagen talks

With the U.N. Climate Change summit set to begin two weeks from today in Copenhagen, over 60 world leaders have confirmed they will be at the summit, including the heads of state of the UK, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia. President Obama has said he may attend but has not confirmed that he will definitely be attending.

Leaders from over 192 countries have been invited in hopes that their presence will help increase the chances that a politically- and legally-binding agreement is made. In addition to Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have not confirmed that they will be attending the summit.

So, what do organizers of the conference hope to accomplish? The short answer is a legally-binding agreement on emissions reductions. The problem is that each country has its own agenda and own ideas on what should and should not be in such an agreement. This Daily Green story has more details on what the organizers are hoping to accomplish and the politics behind a potential agreement.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Treasury Department releases green energy bonds

The U.S. Treasury Department released about $2.2 billion in bonds earlier this month aimed at jump starting the renewable energy sector.

The bonds will basically serve as low-interest loans to people who want to start renewable energy projects, giving them an opportunity to begin projects despite the fact that other sources of funding have dried up because of the current recession.

Government officials hope that the bonds will get several projects, such as wind or solar farms, quickly into the construction phase of development. To read more, check out this story from Business Green.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Easily save 10 percent on your energy bills

Government data suggests that the burning of natural gas and heating oil for the purpose of heating homes accounts for up to six percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Plugging leaks and stopping drafts in your home can quickly and easily result in saving 10 percent off your energy bill. If you want to go a step further, there are federal tax credits available for installing green insulation and energy-efficient windows and doors.

Stopping drafts can be as easy as noticing where they are in your house and caulking the gaps around windows and doors. This guide from The Daily Green can help you get started.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Study finds climate bill could add over $100 billion to U.S. economy

A study conducted by researchers from the University of California at Berkley, Yale University, and the University of Illinois has concluded that the proposed climate legislation being debated in the United States Senate could boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the U.S. by as much as $111 billion by 2020.

The study found that the roll out of a cap-and-trade system for emissions would speed up the development and adoption of clean technologies and create between 900 million and 1.9 million jobs. The study even concluded that the average household income in the U.S. could grow by about $500 to $1,000 as a result of the bill over the same time frame.

The report;s findings are in conflict with the arguments from many industry groups as well as many Republican lawmakers, who argue that the legislation will cost the U.S. billions and also cost Americans job.

For more on the study, check out this story from Business Green.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A dozen or so things you probably didn't know you could rent

Renting things instead of buying them can save you a lot of money as well as keep the environment cleaner. The Daily Green has put together a list of a dozen or so items that most people probably don't know you can rent. Some of them are very practical, while others are downright silly but humorous nonetheless.

For instance, a new power saw will cost you around $150. However, many retailers and other places will rent it to you for $30. Given that most power tools are only used on average for a half-hour over their entire lifetime, this can save you a fortune. Other things you can save big bucks on renting include textbooks, sports equipment, camping gear, and other items.

Check out the full list on The Daily Green's website.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Senator Kerry pushes climate bill ahead

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry said today that he hopes to release a new, compromise draft of the Senate climate bill before the U.N. climate change talks in Copenhagen next month.

Such a move could slightly increase the chances of a binding agreement coming out of the conference. It is believed that the likelihood of a legally-binding agreement coming out of the talks hinges largely on the United States' willingness and ability to commit to emissions reduction targets.

The current bill would require the U.S. to cut emissions by 20 percent by 2020, but the bill has been met by opposition from both Republicans and moderate Democrats. Senator Kerry is holding bi-partisan meetings in hopes of working out a compromise that enough lawmakers will agree to vote for.

For more information on the U.S. climate bill and the Copenhagen climate change talks, check out this story from Business Green.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Study finds that workers are more productive in green buildings

A San Diego University study has concluded that workers in green buildings are more productive than workers in more carbon-intensive environments.

The research team examined 154 buildings with over 2,000 businesses to make their findings. The researchers found that tenants in buildings that had either Energy Star or LEED certification reported that their workers were five percent more productive in terms of workload and sick days. In addition, businesses in the greener buildings reported higher employee morale, lower employee turnover, and greater ease in recruiting new employees.

For more information on the study, check out this story from Business Green.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Which countries are the world's biggest polluters?

Some of the answers may surprise you. China has overtaken the United States as far as most total emissions go, as the Asian country has seen its emissions double in the last 10 years.

The biggest surprise, however, may be that Australia has passed the United States as far as highest emissions per capita. It is very surprising to see them higher on the list than countries such as the United States and Canada, which are colder and use much more fossil fuels for heating homes and businesses.

Both the United States and China pledged to address global warming and work on reducing their emissions at a recent U.N. meeting in New York. Both of these countries, as well as many other countries from around the world, will be meeting in Copenhagen next month for the U.N.'s Climate Change Conference. Representatives from countries around the world will work on negotiating a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire.

For more information on which countries are the biggest polluters, check out this post from The New Ecologist.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Senate puts climate bill on hold

Democratic leaders in the Senate decided today to put off more debate on the proposed climate change legislation for at least five weeks so the EPA can do an analysis of what the bill would cost to implement.

The delay will mean that any vote on the bill will almost certainly not occur until next year. This also means that no bill will be passed before the U.N. climate change summit in Copenhagen on December 7 despite pleas from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the U.S. to set the tone for the discussion by passing its own binding legislation.

With a lack of legislation before the summit, the U.S. team of negotiators will not have any mandate from Congress on what they should negotiate for. This could limit the team's willingness to agree to binding carbon emission reduction targets, something that U.S. negotiators have been hesitant to agree to in the past.

For more information, check out this story from Business Green.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Electric car goes 313 miles on a single charge

Who says electric cars don't have the range necessary to replace that traditional gas motor vehicle that you and your family rely on? An Australian businessman made his own argument for the viability of electric cars by completing a 313-mile trip in his Tesla Roadster.

The man completed the trip during the Global Green Challenge, an Australian solar car race that has been held since 1987. The Global Green Challenge includes a division for production cars, which is what the Tesla was competing in.

The trip smashes the previous record of 241 miles, which was also held by a Tesla Roadaster. For more info on the historic trip as well as the Global Green Challenge, check out this story from The Daily Green.