Zero Footprint
Follow
Find
877 views | +0 today
Zero Footprint
We absolutely can reduce the ecological footprint of humanity all the way down to zero!
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Global Renewable Energy Capacity Has Nearly Doubled to 1,560 Gigawatts Since 2004

Global Renewable Energy Capacity Has Nearly Doubled to 1,560 Gigawatts Since 2004 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
In the past nine years, global renewable energy capacity has nearly doubled from 800 gigawatts (GW) to 1,560 gigawatts with solar and wind demonstrating the biggest gains.

 

 According to the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century‘s (REN21) Renewables 2014 Global Status Report, worldwide solar PV capacity is 53 times higher than in 2004, while wind power capacity is nearly seven times higher.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

While solar and wind energy are exploding, they started with a smaller fraction, but they are bound to dwarf the hydroelectric capacity.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Let’s Use Fossil Fuels To Make Stuff, But Let’s Not Cook The Planet

Let’s Use Fossil Fuels To Make Stuff, But Let’s Not Cook The Planet | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Originally published on Shrink That Footprint, By Lindsay Wilson.


The IPCC just released its third assessment report on mitigating climate change. I’ve spent the morning reading the full summary, and to help you save a little time I’ve whittled it down to a six word summary: Fossils fuels are for making stuff.


Of course we’ll continue to use fossils fuels for making stuff where absolutely necessary (steel, plastic, fertilizer…) but we need to stop using them as our go to energy source for doing things (power, transport, heating and cooling). This of course is a simplification, with obvious exceptions like heavy transport, but it’s a pretty solid way to think about the challenge.

 

If that sounds radical that is simply because it is. According to the IPCC, limiting warming to 2°C means increasing the world’s low carbon energy share from 15% in 2010, to 60% by 2050 and to 90% by 2100. And just to be very clear here when the IPCC says ‘energy’ they don’t mean electricity. They are talking about all the energy we use in industry, transport, buildings and agriculture.


Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

We can do better.  We can achieve 100% renewable energy certainly by 2050, and with a concerted effort, by 2030.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

World Wind Power To Double By 2020

World Wind Power To Double By 2020 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Originally published on Energy Post.
By Karel Beckman
Despite an overall slump in installations in 2013, the global cumulative wind power capacity will more than double from 319.6 Gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2013 to 678.5 GW by 2020, says research and consulting firm GlobalData.

 

“China doubled its cumulative wind capacity every year from 2006 to 2009 and has continued to grow significantly since then."


Ian Perrin comments: GlobalData's analysis requires a year-on-year growth of 11.35% to achieve their expected outcome. That looks impressive but James Ayre's earlier article  http://cleantechnica.com/2014/...  requires wind power to be increased fifteen-fold by 2030 if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe. That implies a year-on-year growth of 17.25%. Can it be done?


Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

We should be able to grow the world's wind (and solar) energy capacity a lot *faster* than merely doubling in 6 years.  Wind energy is already competitive, and the payback time is only 1 year, so we should be able to double wind energy every year.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Economic Value Of Renewables For Environment, Economy & Society

Economic Value Of Renewables For Environment, Economy & Society | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Originally published on PV Solar Report, by Aya Kusch
A recent econValue report outlines how, with the right policies and framework in place, renewables could increase jobs and incomes, improve trade balances, and help industrial development.

 

As Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)), says: Yes, jobs in coal will most likely be lost, but that will be more than offset by the jobs created by clean energy sectors. Improved health also has economic benefits, and consumers will eventually be spending less on energy due to less demand on the grid.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

If it is not already enough for renewable energy to improve the environment, don't forget how it also helps improve society and the economy.  

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Al Gore thinks there's hope for humanity after all

Al Gore thinks there's hope for humanity after all | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

In the current rolling debate over whether we’re already the walking dead, given our presumptive too little, too late actions on climate change, Al Gore is boldly predicting victory in the latest issue ofRolling Stone.

 

“The forward journey for human civilization will be difficult and dangerous, but it is now clear that we will ultimately prevail,” writes Gore in his article, “The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate.” “The truly catastrophic damages that have the potential for ending civilization as we know it can still — almost certainly — be avoided.”

 

But if there’s one overarching theme to Gore’s appeal for hope, it’s that renewable energy is getting less expensive, while coal energy is becoming more of a liability for markets. People like new things, and cheap — especially Americans. So to prevent “game over,” we need only keep looking toward the sun.

 
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

That we indeed CAN avoid many catastrophes does not mean it will be easy or even certain.  In fact, the only certain thing is that our future will be very challenging.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Daniel LaLiberte from Sustain Our Earth
Scoop.it!

Solar Likely To Become Dominant Source Of Electricity Globally By 2050, IEA Forecasts

Solar Likely To Become Dominant Source Of Electricity Globally By 2050, IEA Forecasts | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

The IEA says its core scenarios for reaching climate targets by 2050 call for 68 per cent of generation to be sourced from renewable energy, but in the (increasingly likely) event that carbon capture and storage and nuclear cannot take up their imagined shares, then the IEA has painted a “high renewables” scenario where solar takes an even greater role.

 

Its estimates, however, seem conservative given that most private forecasters suggest that the solar industry will reach 100GW installation a year anyway by 2017 or 2018, and capacity is likely to grow further beyond that. Its “vanilla” scenario for reaching its climate goals require just an average of 67GW of solar PV to be installed a year. The solar market is likely to reach that figure in 2015.

 

This, as many independent analysts have told us before, is going to create a radical change in the way that electricity markets operate. What is interesting is that the IEA is now buying into these scenarios, albeit more tentatively than others.


Via SustainOurEarth
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

It's almost like the IEA is saying "Like it or not, solar is coming and not even the fossil fuel interests will be able to stop it."

 

We need to aim much higher, to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030, so we can completely shut down the fossil fuel industry as soon as possible.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

How One Chicago Restaurant Went Totally Trash-Free

Some restaurants produce eight gallons of waste every hour. Thanks to a sustainability plan, Sandwich Me In stretched that time...to two years.

 

"Any questions you would ask me, we have a green solution to that. To me, that's the only way to let other restaurants know that this can work, and this can happen."

 

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Daniel LaLiberte from > Environmental
Scoop.it!

MARINE DEBRIS: Why would you move through the oceans if the oceans can move through you? - YouTube

Boyan Slat, founder and president The Ocean Cleanup: "I have invented a method to clean up almost half of the great Pacific's garbage patch in just 10 years, using the currents to my advantage." 

 

But the oceans won't get clean by means of just a great idea. The Ocean Cleanup aims to not only study the solution, but actually develop the world's first feasible approach to gyre remediation, by using the ocean's currents to its advantage. So there is much more work to be done. 


Via PeerSpring
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

After watching this video, and another video with Boyan reporting on the feasibility study: (http://www.theoceancleanup.com/blog/show/item/the-ocean-cleanup-release-event.html) I get the sense that we haven't really been trying hard enough yet to clean up our mess.  And that, ironically enough, gives me hope that there is so much more we can do.

more...
Laura Page's comment, June 13, 8:14 PM
I think if we listen inside of ourselves as to what feels "right" it will always be the right decision. Usually by the time you are thinking about it, it has been tapping on your heart for a while.
Daniel LaLiberte's comment, June 16, 9:01 PM
Although Boyan only claims his "gadget" can clean up about half of the plastic in 10 years, the smaller bits, which are probably much more numerous, will also be important to clean up, and it will likely be much more difficult. Some complain that the whole idea seems naive (http://sco.lt/6HvjRB) but it looks like there is a reasonable value proposition here.
PeerSpring's comment, June 16, 9:27 PM
Daniel - if to think without limits or confines is to be naive, then perhaps the world needs a little bit more of youth innovation? Thanks so much for your thoughtful contributions and re-scoops!
Rescooped by Daniel LaLiberte from Sustainable Futures
Scoop.it!

Bacteria-Made Bricks Could be the Building Blocks of the Future

Bacteria-Made Bricks Could be the Building Blocks of the Future | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

The bio-technology startup bioMason, headed by founder Ginger Krieg Dosier, recently introduced an innovative brick that is grown rather than fried. These naturally-grown bricks are made from sand and bacteria, which grow to produce natural cement. The needed building blocks for these bricks are abundant in nature across the globe and can be extracted from waste streams. The natural cementation of bioMason’s bricks occurs in ambient temperatures, which is one of their biggest advantages.

 

Traditional clay bricks are made in an energy-intensive firing process, which also releases a number of pollutants, such as fluorides, chlorides, nitrogen/sulfur oxides, and others. Since bricks are still used for 80% of construction projects worldwide, which means the creation of 1.23 trillion bricks per year, an estimated 800,000,000 tons of CO2 is released into the atmosphere just from brick construction. The bricks designed by bioMason form into a ready-to-use brick in 5 days, and perform just like traditional bricks, and cost about the same to manufacture. They also have a very small carbon footprint.


Via Flora Moon
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

How to Talk to an Ostrich: "We can't Afford Clean Energy" - YouTube

How to Talk to an Ostrich: "We can't Afford Clean Energy" - YouTube | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Some people say transitioning to clean energy will simply cost too much - "leave it to future generations." In Edinburgh, Scotland, Richard Alley explains that if we start soon the cost of the transformation could be similar to that which was paid for something none of us would want to do without - clean water and the modern sanitation system.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Actually, we can't afford NOT to switch to clean energy!

This video gives a useful comparison with why we eventually cleaned up our other human wastes, just to avoid the smell and disease, particularly in cities. But the consequences of not cleaning up our CO2 waste are far worse for the entire planet.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

The Urban Quest for "Zero Waste"

The Urban Quest for "Zero Waste" | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Some cities are leading the way in reducing the amount of trash they send to landfills. Here's how they're doing it.


Across the country, a handful of municipalities are radically reducing the amount of refuse they send to landfills, with the eventual goal of reaching "zero waste." Seattle recycles or composts more than half of what its residents toss out. San Francisco diverts 77% of its waste from landfills. Even sprawling Los Angeles recycles or composts about two-thirds of its garbage.

 

Less Than Zero?

The prime benefits in adopting zero waste are environmental; many cities that have enacted zero-waste plans say they have taken up the task in the name of sustainability.

 

And supporters argue that reducing waste doesn't necessarily mean increasing costs. For cities with limited landfill space—and the higher fees that come with it—most zero-waste activities cost less than normal garbage disposal, says Gary Liss, a zero-waste consultant who has helped about 20 cities form plans to reduce waste.

 

One caveat: "Zero waste" doesn't necessarily mean "no waste." Most cities use a definition from Zero Waste International Alliance, an environmental group, which says that diverting 90% of waste from landfills without the use of incinerators is "successful in achieving zero waste, or darn close."

 

Why don't cities shoot for 100% diversion? "We're not crazy," says Neil Seldman, president of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that promotes sustainable communities. The closer cities get to that goal, the harder it is to go further, largely because there are so many products out there that just can't be recycled—and people continue to buy them.

 
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

By "Zero waste" I really do mean "no waste".  I do recognize that as we get closer to no waste, it will get harder to make more progress.  But perhaps closing the loop will make it easier at some point, by making it more obvious that everything must be made in a way that facilitates 100% recycling.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Daniel LaLiberte from Five Regions of the Future
Scoop.it!

Solar farms can enhance biodiversity and sequester soil carbon too

Solar farms can enhance biodiversity and sequester soil carbon too | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Utility-scale solar farms are cropping up across the world. But what does this growth mean for land-use in the countryside? New research, backed by leading UK conservation charities, suggests that far from being a threat to the countryside, solar farms may actually offer opportunities for supporting biodiversity while still obtaining an economic yield.

 

Here's how Solarcentury reported on the research:


Solar farms typically take up less than 5% of the land they are on so there is a huge opportunity to develop protected habitats to support local wildlife and plant life.


Siting solar parks on meadows can be a plus for the environment according to research carried out by Miles King Director of Conservation for the Grassland Trust. He found that meadows (unimproved grasslands) are very efficient at absorbing and storing carbon – grasslands lock up a fifth of all soil carbon in the UK. So each hectare of solar farm saves about 25 tonnes of carbon each year. In addition, meadows save a further three tonnes of carbon as it is captured and stored by grassland – this would not happen if the land was being intensively farmed or even if the grass being replaced is ‘improved’.


Via Joel Barker
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Solar energy's space requirements are even less if we consider that the same space can be shared with other uses.  A great dual use is sequestering carbon in the soil while preserving and enhancing biodiversity.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Cradle to Cradle and the built environment

Cradle to Cradle and the built environment | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Rather than seeking to minimize the harm we inflict, Cradle to Cradle reframes design as a positive, regenerative force—one that creates footprints to delight in, not lament.  

This paradigm shift reveals new opportunities to improve quality, increase value, and spur innovation. It extends design considerations to all of the cycles of life that run through our buildings and communities. It inspires us to constantly seek improvement in our designs, and to share our discoveries with others. 

 

Everything is a resource for something else.


In nature, the “waste” of one system is food for another. Buildings can be designed to be disassembled and safely returned to the soil (biological nutrients), or re-utilized as high-quality materials for new products and buildings (technical nutrients). Conventional building systems and infrastructures (for example, wastewater treatment) can be redesigned to become nutrient management systems that capture previously discarded resources for safe and productive reuse. 

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Achieving the goal of 100% recycling requires thinking in terms of cradle-to-cradle designs, where everything is a resource for something else.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax Creates Jobs, Cuts Emissions, Grows Economy

Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax Creates Jobs, Cuts Emissions, Grows Economy | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Editor's Note: A carbon tax or some other adequate carbon pricing system is urgently needed in order to deal with global warming and climate change. However, the idea of a “tax” isn’t particularly popular with some segments of society (particularly, those who don’t understand that pollution is an externality that must be internalized in some way in order to achieve a “perfect” free market). But a little bit of attention to how such a tax can be revenue neutral and help the economy should (theoretically) help to break down those barriers. Thanks to the folks at Skeptical Science for this piece:


The main source of opposition to carbon pricing is the perception that it will 'kill jobs' or otherwise hurt the economy. However, economic forecasts have rarely been done for a carbon fee in which 100% the revenue is returned to the taxpayers. Under proposed revenue-neutral carbon tax legislation, about two-thirds of taxpayers are projected to receive more in refunds than they pay in higher energy prices. It's a net financial gain for most people. This is a key factor that differentiates a revenue-neutral carbon tax system and its economic impacts from other carbon pricing systems.


“Personal income per capita goes up because households receive the total benefit of the dividend as well as improved job opportunities and wages in the general economy, which more than counteracts any negative effects from higher energy and commodity prices.”

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

I'd prefer that a "tax" on fossil fuels is revenue-neutral with respect to neutralizing the effects of externalities.  That is, the revenue would be used to clean up the pollution, or pay for mitigation which is likely much higher.  This would raise the cost of fossil fuels to match their true costs.  

 

Just distributing the tax revenue to the people also raises the cost of the fossil fuels, but it also empowers the people with the ability to pay for cheaper alternatives.  It doesn't clean up the effects of burning fossil fuels, but it would effectively subsidize their elimination.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Solar Reaching Parity with Coal by 2017

Solar Reaching Parity with Coal by 2017 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

From China Might Be Winning The Race To Reduce Solar Costs - CleanTechies - 

 

Many people, even fanatical advocates of solar power, are unaware quite how close we are to reaching a critical milestone in the industry. Within a fairly short space of time, solar generated electricity will be fully cost competitive with coal-powered electricity — at least if the governments of the world’s two largest energy consuming nations have their way.

 

Sankowski maintains that, driven by high levels of pollution and national security concerns, the Chinese government asked a question back in the early 2000s: “How Much Will It Cost To Make Solar Cheaper Than Coal?” The answer was based on Swanson’s Law that states that every doubling of photovoltaic (PV) solar capacity results in a 20 percent reduction in unit cost.

 

When Swanson’s Law still worked after a couple of doublings of capacity the Chinese government stepped up their efforts. As a result, Suntech now expects the goal to be achieved by 2016, or 2017 at the latest. 

 

The simple fact is that with both innovation and increased capacity, the cost of solar energy has fallen considerably over the last few years and continues to do so. If, as looks likely, it does become truly cost comparative with coal in the next few years, then the days of cheap, clean, renewable energy dominating the world’s two biggest energy markets may be closer than you think.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

After clobbering coal, we still have to knock out natural gas.  We would already be there if we were paying the full cost of burning fossil fuels.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Musk announces plans to build ‘one of the single largest solar panel production plants in the world’ | KurzweilAI

Musk announces plans to build ‘one of the single largest solar panel production plants in the world’ | KurzweilAI | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Elon Musk: “Our intent is to combine what we believe is fundamentally the best photovoltaic technology with massive economies of scale to achieve a breakthrough in the cost of solar power.”

 

“SolarCity was founded to accelerate mass adoption of sustainable energy. The sun, that highly convenient and free fusion reactor in the sky, radiates more energy to the Earth in a few hours than the entire human population consumes from all sources in a year.

 

“This means that solar panels, paired with batteries to enable power at night, can produce several orders of magnitude more electricity than is consumed by the entirety of human civilization. A cogent assessment of sustainable energy potential from various sources is described well in this Sandia paper.

 

“We absolutely believe that solar power can and will become the world’s predominant source of energy within our lifetimes, but there are obviously a lot of panels that have to be manufactured and installed in order for that to happen. 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Life and Leadership, by Fritjof Capra | DailyGood

Life and Leadership, by Fritjof Capra | DailyGood | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Sustainability is not an individual property, but is a property of an entire web of relationships. It is a community practice. This is the profound lesson we need to learn from nature. The way to sustain life is to build and nurture community.

 

A sustainable human community interacts with other communities — human and nonhuman — in ways that enable them to live and develop according to their natures. Sustainability does not mean that things do not change. It is a dynamic process of coevolution rather than a static state.

 

Living systems generally remain in a stable state, even though energy and matter flow through them and their structures are continually changing. But every now and then such an open system will encounter a point of instability, where there is either a breakdown or, more frequently, a spontaneous emergence of new forms of order.

 

Human organizations always contain both designed and emergent structures. The issue is not one of discarding designed structures in favor of emergent ones. We need both.  The challenge for leaders is to find the right balance between the creativity of emergence and the stability of design.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Wind Turbines Yield Almost Immediate Net Benefit

Wind Turbines Yield Almost Immediate Net Benefit | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Wind energy has often been heralded as one of the saviours of planet Earth, as well as being economically beneficial and efficient: it is the oft-unmentioned winning-point for renewable technologies that they are not only environmentally friendly, but also cheaper to run and invest than traditional energy generation methods.


A life cycle assessment like the one conducted in this research looks at the net environmental impact across the whole spectrum of construction, installation, and running; raw materials, transport, manufacturing, installation, ongoing maintenance, recycling, and disposal at the end of its life.

 

The final analysis showed that the largest environmental impacts were caused by materials production and the manufacturing process, but this impact is paid back within 6 months. Even in the worst-case-scenarios, it is expected a wind turbine will pay for its environmental impact within the first year of its use.


Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

With 100% net environmental pay back within 1 year, we should be able to double our wind energy generators every year, until we run out of places to put them.  The energy generated each year by all the existing turbines in that year can effectively be used to build the same number of turbines in the next year.  

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Daniel LaLiberte from The Praxa Watch
Scoop.it!

Circular economy solutions for a sustainable world

Circular economy solutions for a sustainable world | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

The circular economy - a concept which ensures that products are designed with their eventual reuse, upcycling or biodegradation in mind - emerged as the most prominent trend that is driving the innovation of sustainable solutions worldwide, according to Sustainia100, a report released on Monday by Scandinavian think thank Sustainia.


Circular economy thinking was evident in a quarter of all solutions, including Japanese manufacturer Teijin, whose “Eco Circle” recycling process makes it possible to recycle polyester products multiple times without compromising on quality. This process helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 77 per cent compared to new polyester made by petroleum, according to Teijin.


Laura Storm, director of Sustainia, commented: “We are seeing how especially the circular economy is a growing focus area. Companies re-think consumption, waste, materials and return-systems at impressive scale”.


“The global pressure on our natural resources has led to increased resource scarcity, which calls upon industries to transform their way of operating. Clever use of materials is a key innovation driver,” she added.


Via Praxa Capital
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Researchers Assign Monetary Value to Nature to Promote Sustainability

Researchers Assign Monetary Value to Nature to Promote Sustainability | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

In a study published recently in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) and Yale University have developed a first-of-its-kind, interdisciplinary equation to estimate the current monetary value of natural resources such as fish stocks, groundwater or forests in the U.S. In assigning natural capital monetary value, the approach will have widespread implications for policymakers and various stakeholders, and will also advocate for the creation of robust asset markets for natural capital, a much-needed advance.


Unlike earlier approaches, the method takes into consideration the “opportunity cost” of losing future units of natural capital that could have helped replenish the resource, providing economic benefits in the long run. It is underpinned by the economic principles also used to value physical or human capital.


“Sustainability can be defined as ensuring that the assets the next generation inherits are worth at least as much as they were when the previous generation received them,” said Abbott. “As humans, we are not going to have zero impact on the environment, but we want to make sure that the value of human, physical and natural capital that we pass on to future generations is worth no less than when we inherited them.”

 

“We are pursuing this research to help provide better measurements of society’s wealth, so we can know whether we’re moving in a sustainable direction,” Abbott concluded. 


Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Not only can humans have zero impact on the environment, we can do better than that.  If we can ensure that the world's natural assets have *more* value in the future, then we will be *improving* the environment. This is absolutely physically possible.  

 

We can ensure that enough fish remain in the oceans such that fish populations can actually *grow*. We can ensure that our agricultural practices actually *improve* the soil, as we use some of its products, and recycle 100% of our waste back to the land.  After we shut down the fossil fuel industry entirely, we can sequester some fraction of CO2 out of what we burn in biofuels, until we get back to the balance nature has depended on for millennia.

 

Measuring the value of natural assets could be abused, of course, if it is not done properly. Some might say we should never put a price on nature, but perhaps the proper price for natural resources should gradually grow arbitrarily high until we learn to leave nature alone.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Daniel LaLiberte from Sustainable Futures
Scoop.it!

Rethinking waste: Transforming problems into solutions (video)

Rethinking waste: Transforming problems into solutions (video) | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Sometimes, even the most diehard enviros among us forget that resources are all around, including those things we consider to be waste.

 

There's an argument to be made that the only time something is actually waste is if we don't know how to put it to work, and that by making an effort to recognize so-called waste items as really being resources, we can improve our lives, our homes and communities, and perhaps our entire world.

 

"I believe there should be no such word as 'waste', because as long as there is a word, we're 'wasting'.  We do everything we can to turn waste in to resources." 

 


Via Flora Moon
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Doubling Renewable Energy Will Save Money And Help Climate

Doubling Renewable Energy Will Save Money And Help Climate | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
New research from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) suggests that scaling up the percentage of the world's renewable energy usage to 36% of the world's total energy consumption by 2030 is not only going to be healthy for the environment, but is also able to produce savings of up to $740 billion per year

 

“The central policy question is this: What energy sources do we want to invest in? 


“In answering this question, ‘REmap 2030’ makes a clear case for renewables. It shows the transition is affordable based on existing technologies, and that the benefits go well beyond the positive climate impact. Countries today face a clear choice for a sustainable energy future.”


IRENA believe that by doubling renewable energy usage to 36%, the global demand for oil and gas would drop by 15% and by 26% for coal. This not only benefits the climate as a whole, but has immediate and long-term benefits for health affected by pollution, as well as energy security for countries currently reliant upon energy imports.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

If doubling renewable energy in 16 years will save money, how much more money would doubling it again save?   If we grow all renewable energy sources, excluding hydro which can't grow much more, starting from 16% of total energy, by a mere 12% per year, we will reach 100% in 16 years.  Wind and solar are already growing at about 30% a year.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Carbon Footprint of Solar Panels Made in China Far Exceeds Panels Made in Europe - CleanTechies

Carbon Footprint of Solar Panels Made in China Far Exceeds Panels Made in Europe - CleanTechies | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
How green is the manufacturing process for solar panels? According to a new study from Northwestern University and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, solar panels made in China and used in Europe have a carbon footprint that is about twice as high as solar panels made locally in Europe.

 

The study found that although shifting manufacturing to China might be economically attractive, “it is actually less sustainable from the life cycle energy and environmental perspective – especially under the motivation of using solar panels for a more sustainable future”.

 

According to the study, a solar panel made in China would need to be used for 20 to 30 percent longer than a European made panel to produce energy to cancel out the energy used to make it.

 

The study did not include the energy cost to transport the solar panels to their final destination. Had this cost been included in the study, the gap would be magnified further.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

It is critical to include the full life cycle energy costs for all products, particularly energy related products.  But note that the solar panels from China do eventually cancel out the energy used to make them.  It just takes longer.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Daniel LaLiberte
Scoop.it!

Interview: San Francisco's Quest To Recycle All Trash by 2020

Interview: San Francisco's Quest To Recycle All Trash by 2020 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Jack Macy's recycling crusade that has resulted in the city reusing or composting 80 percent of its garbage.

 

Jack Macy: I think what’s important is looking at nature — in nature all the waste is used in the ecosystem and is a resource. And if we look at what is considered waste, it’s actually valuable material. So “zero waste” acknowledges the inherent value of discarded materials as valuable resources. 

 

For every ton of material that we dispose of in a landfill or burn in an incinerator, to replace those products, we have to go and extract typically virgin resources, raw materials. This extraction process, and the refining, manufacturing, and transportation, results in creating many times more waste — on average more than 70 times the amount of waste. And so if we can reduce, reuse, or recycle that ton, then we are saving up to 70 tons. 

 

e360: And what about the materials in the landfill? 

 

Macy: Those materials in the landfill are basically being wasted unless we go back in the future and mine them — which I think we’ll probably be doing. But once you mix them together, you’re degrading them and contaminating them. Also, when you put materials in the landfill, if they’re organic materials, they’re creating significant methane emissions. And then you have leachate and other pollution — you have all these other impacts. All of that is unsustainable. So if we want to move towards a sustainable system, then zero waste makes sense as a vision. 

 

Macy: People like the fact that they can recycle so many things and compost all their food scraps. Our communication talks about the great benefits of composting and how the compost goes back to feed the farms and soil for healthy food. That’s coming back into the city, so we’re closing the nutrient-organic composting loop, and that is a great sustainability story. 

 

People like having a healthy environment here, and they support sustainability if it doesn’t feel like too much of a burden.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Since San Francisco is already recycling about 80% of their trash without enormous effort or cost, we should all be following their lead.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Daniel LaLiberte from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Microalgae-based biofuel can help to meet world energy demand, researchers say

Microalgae-based biofuel can help to meet world energy demand, researchers say | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Microalgae-based biofuel not only has the potential to quench a sizable chunk of the world's energy demands, say Utah State University researchers. It's a potential game-changer.

 

"That's because microalgae produces much higher yields of fuel-producing biomass than other traditional fuel feedstocks and it doesn't compete with food crops," says USU mechanical engineering graduate student Jeff Moody.


Using meteorological data from 4,388 global locations, the team determined the current global productivity potential of microalgae.

 

Algae, he says, yields about 2,500 gallons of biofuel per acre per year. In contrast, soybeans yield approximately 48 gallons; corn about 18 gallons.


"In addition, soybeans and corn require arable land that detracts from food production," Quinn says. "Microalgae can be produced in non-arable areas unsuitable for agriculture."

 

The researchers estimate untillable land in Brazil, Canada, China and the U.S. could be used to produce enough algal biofuel to supplement more than 30 percent of those countries' fuel consumption.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Land that is not used for food can be used to produce algae-based biofuel to meet a large fraction of the world's energy needs.  But another alternative is vertical farming in urban areas, where we can create as much space as we need.  

more...
CCRES's curator insight, May 29, 1:45 AM

Microalgae-based biofuel not only has the potential to quench a sizable chunk of the world's energy demands, say Utah State University researchers. It's a potential game-changer.

CCRES ALGAE TEAM

Tekrighter's curator insight, May 29, 10:30 AM

Here's a way to produce biofuels that does not compete with food production.

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's curator insight, May 30, 2:50 AM

This study highlights the commercial viability of algae biofuels.


The game changing aspect of the technology is that it does not contribute to food insecurity http://sco.lt/5CifIH, a global issue aggravated by climate change http://sco.lt/86HUtl.


However, would we garner enough political will to wrest monopoly from oil and gas companies?