Solutions & sustainability - June 30
Click on the headline (link) for the full text.
Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Julian Darley on CJLY in Canada (Audio)
Global Public Media
Post Carbon Institute founder Julian Darley appears on The Ecocentric with host Matt Lowe on CJLY Kootenay co-op radio in advance of his July 11 visit to Nelson, BC, Candada to discuss resource depletion and relocalization.
(19 June 2007)
Creating an Energy Descent Action Plan (Audio)
Global Public Media
Rob Hopkins of TransitionCulture.org and Sonya Wallace of Creating a Sustainable Sunshine Coast (CASSC) tell GPM's Andi Hazelwood about creating an Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP) and dealing with the associated challenges.
Sonya Wallace is just getting started with her EDAP project for the Sunshine Coast region of Queensland, Australia. She details how permaculture is a response to energy decline, tells of the new Sunshine Coast Energy Action Centre, and explains the weaknesses that an EDAP would address for her region. Sonya's local council is positive about the EDAP project, but she talks about the difficulties in getting the community engaged in large scale responses when they're dealing with immediate and seemingly more pressing issues such as debt and transport poverty.
Learn more about Sonya's July 28 course, where students will develop the start of the first Sunshine Coast Energy Descent Action Plan.
Permaculture designer and instructor Rob Hopkins edited the successful Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan, which was conceived by his students at Kinsale Further Education College and approved by the Kinsale Town Council in Cork, Ireland. He talks about the Twelve Steps of Transition, creating an EDAP, and ways to deal with community disengagement. He indicates that often, community members are interested in many of the various aspects of relocalization but simply know it by different names.
(29 June 2007)
Counterpoint: The Peak Oil Tango
by Steve Andrews and Randy Udal of ASPO- USA.
Also there is a big solar energy conference in Cleveland coming up in July: Solar 2007.
Two essays on reducing oil consumption with arguments that are probably familiar to EB readers. Excerpts are at Peak oil - June 30. -BA
Society 'needs the right chemistry'
Stefaan Simons, BBC
Carbon offsetting schemes are all well and good, but do little to change the way people live day-to-day, argues Stefaan Simons. In this week's Green Room, he says instead of wasting money on short-term solutions, attention should be focused on developments that can really deliver a low carbon future.
There has been a real surge in carbon offsetting companies setting up shop, keen to take advantage of increasingly environmentally-savvy consumers concerned about their carbon footprint.
But, paying away the guilt over carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions does little to change our actual behaviour and will not help save the planet from the very real problem of rising emissions and global warming.
...The real issue is how we move to a low carbon economy and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
Chemical engineers are working hard to develop low carbon technologies and carbon abatement processes for industry. This means adopting radical changes in the way we produce chemicals and how they are used.
...At present, the creation of chemicals requires significant amounts of energy as many processes rely on high temperature reactions to produce the materials we use every day.
Simply generating the energy to support such high-energy processes results in significant amounts of CO2 being emitted and, in many cases, the manufacturing process itself adds to the problem as CO2 is produced as a by-product.
We must learn to produce chemicals using technologies that require less energy and produce less carbon if we are to have a real and lasting effect on the level of emissions. This is where chemical engineers have a vital role to play.
For example, in my own laboratory at University College London (UCL) we are developing a process to radically alter the way we produce titanium dioxide, the base pigment used in paints.
The current process is very energy intensive, produces CO2 as a significant by-product and some rather nasty waste streams that are generally disposed in landfill sites.
We believe our alternative process is not only less energy intensive but produces minimal waste and no CO2 by-product.
There are many other examples of current chemical processes that could be redeveloped in similar ways. However, making such radical changes in operations requires considerable investment and support from the chemical industry, backed up by strong political will.
Stefaan Simons is a "Chem Envoy" for the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and a professor at University College London
(29 June 2007)