Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Holy Cow! Meat Pollution?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

with quotes from Agence France Presse

Many scientists believe the raising of meat for human consumption is a major source of green house gases. “That’s because beef is such an incredibly inefficient food to produce and cows release so much harmful methane into the atmosphere,” said Nathan Pelletier of Dalhousie University in Canada.

“Meat once was a luxury in our diet,” Pelletier said. “We used to eat it once a week. Now we eat it every day.”

“Given the projected doubling of (global) meat production by 2050, we’re going to have to cut our emissions by half just to maintain current levels,” Pelletier said.

“Technical improvements are not going to get us there.”

That’s why changing the kinds of food people eat is so important, said Chris Weber, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.

Food is the third largest contributor to the average US household’s carbon footprint after driving and utilities, and in Europe - where people drive less and have smaller homes - it has an even greater impact.

“Food is of particular importance to a consumer’s impact because it’s a daily choice that is, at least in theory, easy to change,” Weber said.

“You make your choice every day about what to eat, but once you have a house and a car you’re locked into that for a while.”

The average US household contributes about five tons of carbon dioxide a year by driving and about 3.5 tons of equivalent emissions with what they eat, he said.

“Switching to no red meat and no dairy products is the equivalent of (cutting out) 8,100 miles driven in a car … that gets 25 miles to the gallon,” Weber said in an interview following the symposium.

Buying local meat and produce will not have nearly the same effect, he cautioned.

That’s because only five percent of the emissions related to food come from transporting food to market.

“You can have a much bigger impact by shifting just one day a week from meat and dairy to anything else than going local every day of the year,” Weber said.

For more information on how to eat a low carbon diet, visit

Earth: Local Headlines For Global Green Community

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Norristown, PA — Local community groups are taking a global position on the environment. Meetings and events for Spring Clean-up are underway.

Full Article: Norristown, PA Community Clean-up Meeting
Full Article: Norristown, PA Spring Clean-up

Ambler, PA — The Main Street Green Committee released minutes from their last meeting. The initiatives include developing a model environmental policy for local businesses and orginizations.

Full Article: Ambler, PA Going Green Notes

Whitehouse Briefing: Auto Industry To Adhere To MPG Standards

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

SUBJECT: The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

In 2007, the Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). This law mandates that, as part of the Nation’s efforts to achieve energy independence, the Secretary of Transportation prescribe annual fuel economy increases for automobiles, beginning with model year 2011, resulting in a combined fuel economy fleet average of at least 35 miles per gallon by model year 2020. On May 2, 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking entitled Average Fuel Economy Standards, Passenger Cars and Light Trucks; Model Years 2011-2015, 73 Fed. Reg. 24352. In the notice and comment period, the NHTSA received numerous comments, some of them contending that certain aspects of the proposed rule, including appendices providing for preemption of State laws, were inconsistent with provisions of EISA and the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, 549 U.S. 497 (2007).

Federal law requires that the final rule regarding fuel economy standards be adopted at least 18 months before the beginning of the model year (49 U.S.C. 32902(g)(2)). In order for the model year 2011 standards to meet this requirement, the NHTSA must publish the final rule in the Federal Register by March 30, 2009. To date, the NHTSA has not published a final rule.

Therefore, I request that:

(a) in order to comply with the EISA requirement that fuel economy increases begin with model year 2011, you take all measures consistent with law, and in coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency, to publish in the Federal Register by March 30, 2009, a final rule prescribing increased fuel economy for model year 2011;

(b) before promulgating a final rule concerning model years after model year 2011, you consider the appropriate legal factors under the EISA, the comments filed in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the relevant technological and scientific considerations, and to the extent feasible, the forthcoming report by the National Academy of Sciences mandated under section 107 of EISA; and

(c) in adopting the final rules in paragraphs (a) and (b) above, you consider whether any provisions regarding preemption are consistent with the EISA, the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA and other relevant provisions of law and the policies underlying them.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

The Secretary of Transportation is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

THE WHITE HOUSE, January 26, 2009

Fish Help Slow Global Warming With Gut Rocks

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Scientists believe fish excrete lumps of calcium carbonate, known as “gut rocks,” that help maintain the ocean’s pH level.

By drinking salt water, fish ingest a lot of calcium, and they excrete more or less calcium carbonate depending on their size and the temperature of the water. “For a given total mass of fish, smaller fish produce more than bigger fish, and fish at higher temperatures produce more than fish at lower temperatures,” explains Rod Wilson of the University of Exeter in the UK.

The interaction between humans, animals and climage change is becoming more evident.

Department Of Energy

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Energy Sources
Energy is the vital force powering business, manufacturing, and the transportation of goods and services to serve the American and world economies. Energy supply and demand plays an increasingly vital role in our national security and the economic output of our nation. It is not surprising that the United States spends over 500 billion dollars annually on energy.

Increasing energy supplies.
As America’s need for energy grows, the Department of Energy is meeting the challenge by establishing clean fuel initiatives to make the most of traditional fossil fuels while investing in cutting edge research to develop sustainable sources such as fusion and to employ hydrogen (an energy carrier like electricity) which can be produced from diverse, domestic sources and greatly reduce our dependence on imported oil.

Modernizing our energy infrastructure.
By developing the infrastructure to support these fuels, DOE is striving every day to protect our nation’s energy needs and our planet’s environment.

Ensuring the productive and optimal use of energy resources, while limiting environmental impact.
In addition, the Department of Energy is harnessing the power of the earth itself to meet our energy needs. Advances in wind, hydro and geothermal energy allow us to take advantage of clean, abundant energy.

Cooperating on international energy issues.
The Department’s activities are instrumental in establishing the safety, reliability, and efficiency of energy supplies in a global marketplace.

Pennsylvania’s Energy Independence: Protecting Consumers, Growing the Economy, Strengthening National Security

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

January 14, 2009

Harrisburg, PA — At a time when consumers are struggling to manage volatile energy costs and America’s national security is jeopardized by its continuing dependence on foreign oil, Pennsylvania is investing $665.9 million to spur the development of alternative and renewable energy sources and help families and small business conserve energy and use it more efficiently.

The $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Fund and the nearly $16 million Alternative Fuels Investment Fund include $237.5 million specifically targeted toward helping consumers conserve electricity and manage higher energy prices, and $428.4 million to spur the development of alternative energy resources and create good-paying, skilled jobs for Pennsylvania’s hard-working men and women.

The package includes incentives to help households and small businesses take advantage of solar energy technology – a key resource for reducing electricity demand during times of peak demand when rates are most expensive – and make improvements to their homes or buildings that conserve energy.


Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

January 12, 2009 — Harrisburg, PA
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Dept. of Environmental Protection

YORK HAVEN – Pennsylvania’s small businesses can cut costs by improving their energy efficiency through the state’s recently created Alternative Energy Investment Fund, acting Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said today.
Hanger announced the opening of the $3 million Small Business Energy Efficiency Grant Program—the first program available through the $650 million fund signed into law by Governor Edward G. Rendell last July.

Hanger noted that small businesses that work to improve energy efficiency today will be better positioned to compete down the road.

“Small businesses need to cut their costs now more than ever,” said Hanger. “Firms that commit to using energy wisely will be able to weather the current economic uncertainty, enhance their competitiveness, and be better prepared to manage rising electric rates.

“The Small Business Energy Efficiency Grants, and other programs through the Alternative Energy Investment Fund that will be announced in coming months, are part of Governor Rendell’s commitment to create good jobs, secure our energy independence, and foster a cleaner environment.”

Hanger unveiled the new grant program at Die-Tech Inc., a precision metal stamping company that is evaluating energy-efficiency upgrades to its heating and cooling system.

To qualify for a Small Business Energy Efficiency grant, projects must save at least 20 percent of the applicant’s annual energy costs and at least $1,000 a year in energy costs. The grants will provide up to 25 percent of project costs, with a maximum grant of $25,000.

Beginning today, applications are available at, keyword: Small Business Energy Efficiency Grant Program. Applications will also be available by contacting the Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Energy and Technology Deployment, 15th Floor, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., P. O. Box 8772, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8772. Applications can also be obtained by calling (717) 783-8411 or e-mailing

Applications must be received by May 1. Grants will be awarded to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the $3 million in available funds are depleted.

Grants will apply to energy efficiency improvements on systems such as lighting, heating, cooling, refrigeration and process machinery, as well as building insulation and weatherization improvement projects.

Only project costs incurred today and in the future are eligible for funding.

An eligible applicant must be an independent, for-profit small business with 100 employees or fewer whose business or facility is located within Pennsylvania. Examples of small businesses in Pennsylvania that are eligible include manufacturers, retailers, service providers, mining businesses and agricultural operations. The Alternative Energy Investment Fund will make $650 million in new capital available to enable Pennsylvania to compete more effectively in the global clean energy economy, with more than $237 million targeted toward helping families and small businesses conserve electricity and manage higher energy prices.

Other Alternative Energy Investment Fund programs are now in development. Of the $650 million fund, $500 million will be provided through bond financing through the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The highly anticipated Pennsylvania Sunshine Program that will provide up to 35 percent of the costs for residential and small business solar energy projects will be available once the bond is issued.

A Residential Energy Efficiency Loan and Rebate Program is expected to be available in the near future. The residential and small business energy efficiency programs will work in conjunction with energy conservation measures that are part of Act 129, another cornerstone of Governor Rendell’s original Energy Independence Strategy.

Act 129, signed by Governor Rendell in October, requires utilities to adopt and implement cost-effective plans to cut electricity use 1 percent by 2011 and 3 percent by 2013. Utilities must also implement plans to cut energy use 4.5 percent during peak demand periods when market prices are highest — typically the hottest days of summer and the coldest days of winter— by 2013.

“By reducing demand for electricity through energy efficiency and conservation, and by increasing the supply of clean energy, we will be able to help hold down the market prices for electricity,” Hanger said. “Act 129 alone will save energy consumers $500 million over the next five years and up to $800 million annually beginning in 2013. These savings, along with recent declines in fuel costs, if sustained, will likely moderate the expected cost increases when rate caps expire statewide at the end of 2010. “However, we must do more to alleviate what will be a significant hardship for our businesses and families,” said Hanger. “Policies to mitigate further rate increases remain necessary and Governor Rendell has repeatedly urged members of the General Assembly to make this one of their first orders of business in 2009.”

For more information, visit, keyword: Small Business Energy Efficiency Grants Program.

Ambler Main Street Green Committee Seeks Input

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

January 14, 2009 — Ambler, PA

Ambler is committed to green initiatives and earth-friendly practices.  In 2005, Mayors of the United States endorsed a climate protection agreement. Included in the agreement was a pledge to help educate the public on reducing global warming pollution. A website has been established to help fulfill the pledge at

Ambler’s Green Committee is looking for local feedback in two different areas:

1) Please contact us if you are familiar with any bike trails, preferred bicycling routes or location of bicycle racks in and around the borough.

2) Please nominate a business for a Green Ribbon & Gold Star award.  Nominations are considered for any commercial, municipal or educational facility that demonstrates earth friendly practices.

PacWind Develops Vertical Wind Turbines For Ricoh

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

The vertical wind turbines for Ricoh’s Time Square billboard project were designed by PacWind of California.

PacWind, LLC is a wind energy innovator. Since 1998, its founders have been developing a proprietary series of Vertical Axis Wind Turbines that have had a transformative effect on the wind energy industry. The Company has designed wind turbines for a wide variety of applications - from turbines built for NASA to capture 400- mile-an-hour winds for a lander on Mars - to more common uses like the turbine that powers Jay Leno’s 20,000-square-foot Green Garage in Los Angeles. Unlike traditional propeller wind turbines, PacWind’s vertical axis turbines are silent, vibration free, maintenance free, cost-effective and visible to birds. PacWind turbines provide a swift financial return to their owners and users. They are suitable for use in both densely populated cities and rural areas, like wind farms. PacWind’s vertical turbines can be installed on buildings, homes, stand-alone poles and can blend into diverse landscapes.

Ricoh Builds Cylindrical Drum Wind Turbines

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Ricoh is installing an Earth-friendly billboard at it’s Time Square location. The billboard will be powered by the sun and wind. The wind trurbines are a unique design.

There are “26 blades spinning in each of the sign’s 16 turbine drums, piled in four 45-foot-high vertical stacks. When operating at their average speed of 10 miles an hour, they put out 22 kilowatts.”

The sign will reduce CO2 output by 18 tons over the next year.