Enviro News Wrap: The Will for Climate Action; Exxon Spills Big, Pays Little; Distributed Power to the People, and more...
GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
- Climate Change is technically preventable. I'm not talking about historic climate change, not talking about natural fluctuations. I'm talking about the phenomenon of our environment changing due to human caused disruptions. We are pumping out waste, using up resources, transforming landscapes, increasing temperatures, killing off species, removing habitat, and Earth is responding. We could reduce our emissions of junk , we could change how we create and use energy, we could do large carbon capture projects, we could do a lot, and everyday, as our technology advances, it gets cheaper to accomplish these things. But, are our governments going to act in the next 10 years? I don't think so, I think governments will get really involved when we clearly need a collective response to the devastating effects of climate change. We are on track to do very little prevention followed by a long saga of adaption.
- ExxonMobil keeps spilling oil and only getting small fines for big damages. As long as they can profit off of damaging the environment illegally they will continue to do it.
- Better Place was a company that had a great idea: provide a battery service to owners of electric vehicles (EV) making EV ownership easy. But their effort seems to have been made a little early to be successful. EVs will still rise in popularity in the next 20 years, but companies like Tesla are poised to be the ones that make a long term profit from electric vehicles.
- Oil pipelines are not safe. They are built on the cheap and have minimal regulation, inspection and maintenance. Fossil fuels have an inherent problem, you have to transport, refine and distribute a toxic product thousands of miles and there are many opportunities for spilling.
- Pharmaceutical drugs cycle back into nature and other animals consume them. Fish are high on prozac, oxycotin, benedryl, MDMA and so much more.
- If urban density is better than country sprawl, how tall do our buildings have to get to accommodate population growth?Elevator lift technology is improving and will allow us to build super tall buildings, much taller than the skyscrapers in Dubai.
- Sometimes the sun does not shine and sometimes the wind does not blow, this is a harsh reality for wind and solar power. To get electricity consistently each day we need other energy sources and often they are the dirty, like coal and natural gas. But, what if we had enough advanced batteries to provide consistent energy from renewable sources and could ditch dirty energy? California is leading the way by attempting to install a lot of batteries in a short period of time.
- Energy created by users is called distributed generation, energy created by a utility and sold to users is called centralized generation. Utilities centralize generation where they hold the power and the users only have the power of government influenced by private interests. Distributed generation is becoming disruptive generation as utilities struggle to control a new power structure. I wonder if they will figure out how to get us back under their thumbs? The utility could only allow distributed generation that is leased by themselves and then pay subcontractors to do the installations.
- The renewable energy industry is shifting its focus to the developing world where there is a lot of untapped potential for energy projects.