Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Random thoughts

No more redeyes
GreenBiz blog has an interesting post on airplane CO2 emissions:
Carbon dioxide accounts for only half of a flight's contribution to the greenhouse effect. Just as important are thermal impacts of jet contrails -- a phenomenon known as radiative forcing. Contrails are high ice clouds whose development is catalyzed by the particulate in jet exhaust. These clouds block sunlight entering and heat leaving the atmosphere and account for half of total jet warming effects.
The effects of jet contrails are lowest in the summer and during the day. Nighttime flights contribute twice as much to the warming effect as daytime flights. Flying during the summer reduces carbon footprint by a quarter. Make that next trip to China a daytime flight during the summer.

Will US be able to ratify post-Kyoto treaty without China committing to carbon caps?

I had naively thinking that the Obama victory and his pleasing rhetoric on climate change meant that it was likely that the US would lead the post-Kyoto negotiation process, but as ClimateProgress notes, that's not necessarily the case. Getting a cap-and-trade or carbon tax scheme in place will take time, and China and India are still unwilling to commit to binding caps on carbon. This will make it tough for the US Senate to ratify the treaty, just like in 1997 with Kyoto. However, I think waiting for China to move is a total abdication of responsibility and leadership on the part of the US Senate, as the imperatives are even more clear this time around.

New Clean Energy Commercialization Center in China
BP and the Chinese Academy of Sciences are teaming up and investing $73 million in a new clean energy commercialization research center in Shanghai. Most of the focus seems to be on technologies I'm not particularly fond of (coal gasification, for example), but the center is also focusing on trying to roll out carbon capture and storage. Coal is a reality for the foreseeable future in China, and if CCS can become viable, this will help reduce emissions. If all went well, it might even allow China's leaders to commit to binding carbon caps.

NYC nightclub goes green...

NY Times GreenInc reports that a New York City nightclub is seeking LEED certification. The club, cleverly called Greenhouse, will seek LEED certification. When told of the concept, Julian of GreenLeapForward asked if they would be using human energy on the dance floor to power the lights. Unfortunately not, but means there is still large scope for innovation in the green nightclub scene. While sort of a silly idea for something as hedonistic as a night club to seek LEED certification, I think this is a continuation of the trend toward linking high-end consumerism with good causes. The RED campaign is a good example of this. While we can't consume our way out of the energy and climate mess we're currently in, responsible consumerism can at least help at the margins.

... and liquor store follows suit

Building Environmental and Performance News reports that a liquor store in Minnesota is seeking Green Globes certification, the first building in the state to do so. The store will be heated with a geothermal heat pump.

1 comment:

Julian said...

I wasn't making it up! Sustainable dance floors are powering eco-nightlife...