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Posts Tagged ‘renewable energy

Pope Francis: Care for our common home (4)

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Laudato Si'_cover_ Thomas CizauskasHere’s the next installment of our close read of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on climate change, Laudato Si’.

(Note: emphasis added by me)

Climate as a common good

The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system. Another determining factor has been an increase in changed uses of the soil, principally deforestation for agricultural purposes. (Para. 23) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

5 October, 2015 at 6:00 am

A Shell game?

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shell oil vintage sign_Karen BlahaWhen the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell chats up the importance of renewable energy as part of the globe’s future energy mix, one might well be a tad suspicious—after all this is an oil major speaking, right?

Could it be that Ben van Beurden has seen the light, powered by things other than fossil fuels? Is it possible he is thinking about the future in a way that’s perhaps more enlightened than simply rhetorical?

Speaking recently at OPEC‘s 167th meeting in Vienna, van Beurden said traditional energy sources should integrate and work together with clean technologies to provide sustainable and economically-sensible power for the future. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

13 July, 2015 at 6:30 am

France’s green artistic panache

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img_5446Leave it to the French to make something as mundane as a wind turbine into a work of art by installing two of them on the Eiffel Tower.

Yes, that Eiffel Tower, which itself is a monument to both creativity and sustainability: when it was built in 1889 it was only intended to last for 20 years. In the ensuing 126 years the tower has gone through many renovations, but the latest sends a decidedly green message whirling into the future.

Earlier this year, the renewable energy firm Urban Green Energy installed two wind turbines inside the metal scaffolding of the tower. The turbines will produce 10,000 kilowatt hours, enough to power the tower’s first floor commercial establishments, which include restaurants, a souvenir shop, and exhibits about the history of the tower.

The turbines are part of a plan to reduce the environmental impact of the tower. Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE), the organization that runs the tower, is also installing rainwater collection systems, LED lights, and solar panels on it. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

8 June, 2015 at 6:00 am

Utilities’ use of renewable energy rising

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ceres picThe “new reality” facing electricity consumers and their utility companies is that renewable energy is meeting an increasingly larger share of U.S. energy needs, according to a report from Ceres and Clean Edge.

That translates into more and better choices and a clean energy future.

“Renewables—including wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, waste heat and small-scale hydroelectric—accounted for a whopping 49 percent of new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2012, with new wind development outpacing even natural gas,” writes Jon Wellinghoff, partner at Stoel Rives LLP and former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the report.

Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy Deployment: 2014, is the first annual report from Ceres in partnership with Clean Edge on this subject. It ranks the nation’s 32 largest electric utilities and their local subsidiaries on their renewable energy sales and energy efficiency savings. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

12 August, 2014 at 6:00 am

Less is more, more or less: Matt Ridley’s strange alchemy

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alchemyMatt Ridley, the UK author, journalist and member of the House of Lords, recently asserted in a Wall Street Journal article that the “world’s resources aren’t running out.” Well maybe, sorta. If you are into the mental gymnastics of conservative doublethink.

I could not let his piece pass without providing, shall we say, a different and more intellectually honest (I hope) viewpoint.

He asks: “How many times have you heard that we humans are ‘using up’ the world’s resources, ‘running out’ of oil, ‘reaching the limits’ of the atmosphere’s capacity to cope with pollution or ‘approaching the carrying capacity’ of the land’s ability to support a greater population? The assumption behind all such statements is that there is a fixed amount of stuff—metals, oil, clean air, land—and that we risk exhausting it through our consumption.” Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft doubled renewable energy purchases in FY 2013

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MS citizenshipBefore this difficult year fades into history, I wanted to call attention to an excellent development, care of a local PNW company you may have heard of, Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft’s 2013 “Citizenship Report” describes an ambitious agenda that features making its operations carbon neutral, and using the “power of technology” to promote human rights.

The software giant’s fiscal year 2013 was pivotal on those points, CEO Steven A. Ballmer wrote, because it took the “first big, bold steps” in it its transformation to a devices and services company and in its citizenship work. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

5 December, 2013 at 4:30 am

What about climate change guys?

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Something? Anything? Listening to the debates one might think climate change was not an economic, health, safety and security issue worthy of discussion.

It’s really disheartening, but it’s also a pure calculation – apparently both sides believe that there are few if any votes in numbers that matter by talking about climate change, especially in the swing states where the final battles are occurring.

It’s also startling, and historic. Brad Johnson, campaign manager of Forecast the Facts and ClimateSilence.org: “For the first time since 1984, the presidential and vice presidential debates have ignored the threat of climate change. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Governor Mitt Romney, and Representative Paul Ryan have failed to debate the greatest challenge of our time. Climate change threatens us all: the candidates’ silence threatens to seal our fate.”

In the second debate President Obama and Mitt Romney extolled the virtues of coal and natural gas during a sequence on the high cost of gasoline, but they neglected to mention the costs of climate change now and for future generations by relying so heavily on gasoline and fossil fuels for energy, especially “clean” coal. (This just in – there is no such thing as clean coal.)

In the third debate the focus was on foreign policy, a perfect opportunity to weigh-in on the dangers to security and the environment coming from reliance on oil from the most volatile region in the world, which happens to sit on most of the globe’s oil reserves. But no.

The connection between foreign policy, peace, energy, economic and environmental security is real and needs to be addressed – the candidates’ silence on this is dumbfounding and cynical.

[Image: TV screenshot]

Written by William DiBenedetto

23 October, 2012 at 11:10 am


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