Energy Efficiency has an impediment when it comes to being recognized as a climate solution – it lacks oomph appeal. It doesn’t have Solar energy’s dazzling solar arrays glinting in the brilliant radiance of the sun. Nor does it have Wind energy’s elegantly arching wind mills, so sophisticated and alluring so as to capture the mind of Don Quixote. It doesn’t even have Hydropower’s ferocious tumble and roar of water. Nope, it has none of that. What does it have? It has regulations, excel spreadsheets and technological advances. Energy efficiency is full of abstraction – at best it has cold data.
“Energy efficiency needs to go from a ‘hidden fuel’ to a ‘first fuel’ as it exceeds the output from ANY OTHER fuel source.”
But guess what? Climate change is knocking at our door. Deniers troll the internet, Congress has been reduced to a sideshow of an all-nighter, and the international treaties are a stalled frustration. Meanwhile, in the face of all that nonsense, energy efficiency is getting the job done. The United Nation’s Environmental Program launched a new initiative, ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ (SE4ALL), and will be relying heavily on Energy Efficiency as one of their main pillars for success. Voluntary efficiency programs, such as ENERGY STAR under the Environmental Protection Agency, have saved 1.9 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas over the past two decades. So, those excel spreadsheets end up looking pretty impressive.
Energy savings tips from NEEP staff.
October is passing like the brisk wind that blows leaves from their heightened homes, colorful vestiges of spring and summer are littering the soon to be frozen landscape. The sun emits lower and lazier rays, forcing house lights to switch on earlier every subsequent autumn afternoon. Frigid winds force the windows closed and ramp up the heaters to full blast as the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions dig through their closets in search of winter gear.
Darker, colder months mean brighter and warmer homes.
“The courage to act before it’s too late.” That’s how President Obama framed his address on Tuesday on climate change. Speaking to students at Georgetown University, the President asked for a new generation’s help to keep “the United States of America a leader in the fight against climate change.” The speech laid out a new climate change action plan that includes placing limits on the carbon dioxide emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act, creating new federal appliance standards that will bring emissions down by 3 billion tons by 2030, as well as programs to increase the efficiency of our commercial, industrial, and multifamily buildings by 20 percent by 2020 (see the details of from the White House here).
The diversion of state RGGI funds has everyone scratching their heads.
Some things just make you scratch your head. As Jim’s piece earlier this week illustrated, Connecticut is going to tap funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to plug holes in the state budget. In the past, New York, New Jersey, and New Hampshire have done the same. The move has provoked strong opposition from a broad array of clean energy and environmental advocates in the region. And for good reason. Even in these tight fiscal times, state lawmakers must keep their hands out of the RGGI “jar” for the sake of their economy and the climate. Continue reading
Hallelujah. Finally, we have an American president devoting considerable attention to the topic of climate change and the energy policies that drive it.
In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama made very clear that the time has come to act. For those of us engaged in ending energy waste and believing we can do more with less, his words were most welcome. The President is absolutely right in asserting that “After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future.” But that sentence did more than just allow him to introduce the litany of progress that we’ve made; it also marked a call to end the “phony debate” on whether climate change is real.