One sees a lot of estimates these days as to how many “green jobs” will be generated in the U.S. by a shift away from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. Self-interested defenders of the status quo tend to come up with low numbers, while ecological enthusiasts predict lots of green jobs. Of course, it helps if everyone uses the same definitions, so we can applaud the Union of Concerned Scientists who have established a “renewable electricity standard” set at 25% by 2025. By this standard, they found, almost 300,000 new green jobs would be created. Job losses from fossilfuel industries would total about 100,000, so the net gain in jobs would be just over 200,000. This is three times as many jobs as would be produced if the country did not shift toward renewables from business as usual fossil fuels. This wide disparity in job creation is due to the high degree of mechanization of the mining sector. Today renewables do require more labor per unit of! energy than fossil fuels, hence could be considered inefficient. Until some future as yet undetermined date, the trade-off is jobs for dollars. In today’s economic environment, creating jobs is critical. However, advocates of green jobs need to keep in mind that all those green jobs may not last forever.
What’s the best way to regulate greenhouse gases, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or an act of Congress?
This article from the New York Times discusses the pros and cons of each approach. Having the EPA declare carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases dangerous pollutants would avoid the need to have Congress pass federal legislation to cap CO2 emissions. Many view such passage as difficult this year given the economic recession. EPA regulation has its own problems, not the least of which is whether the Clean Air Act covers carbon dioxide. Also, any ruling the EPA made could be overturned by a new administration. What may happen is that the Obama administration may pursue both approaches for now, with eventual passage of Congressional legislation establishing a cap-and-trade system regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
As we get closer to Spring, this short article published in CNN’s SciTechBlog becomes more and more relevant. It urges people to become volunteer backyard scientists by participating in Project BudBurst, which is enlisting people all over the country to report when their plants bloom. These reports, when combined, will help scientists track trends in climate change. The article also suggests that people learn abour their local environment, and try to find local food, either through food coops, public gardens, or farmers’ markets. Check out the links contained in this story, then go exercise your green thumb.
From this week’s Green Home in the New York Times, here are 5 ways to green your own home. The list is provided here, read the article for complete details. All of these ways will not only reduce your impact on the environment, but will help you save money in the long run, even if the initial investment is costly. In general, the ways to green your home are relatively simple and if everyone starts to make these changes, the impact could be tremendous.
1. Unplug appliances and other electronic devices not in use or install a smart power strip.
2. Place a soda bottle in your toilet to conserve water.
3. Install an ultra-low-flow shower head.
4. Reuse gray water in toilets.
5. Put in new thermostats that are programmable.
Can you think of other way’s not listed here to green your home?
Despite the hardships we all face in the wake of the economic recession, these tough financial times are providing benefits to the environment in the form of carbon dioxide emissions reductions. Slowed economic growth has caused some of the world’s dirtiest factories to shut their doors, especially in developing nations such as China and Mexico. Emissions from Europe and the United States are also projected to decline due to the to recession. Around the globe, there are many examples of how environmental quality is improving. It remains to be seen what will happen once economic activity picks up again. While many nations are trying to use the poor economic conditions to implement emissions reductions and clean environment strategies for the future, there are hints that some of the factories that are shutting down (large emitters of carbon dioxide) could reopen should the demand for the goods