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Carbon emissions across the United States

Published on March 4, 2009 by in Causes, Science

From the New York Times, here is a fun and useful way to look at the sources of carbon dioxide emissions from each of state.  The emissions are broken down by sector, and while the two largest sources are electricity production and transportation, this is not the case for all states.  The large variance in the sources of these emissions, which are a cause of global warming, complicates the policy making process. 

What do you notice about the emissions from your state? Do you notice any specific geographic trends?  Is population a good indicator of the quantity of emissions?

 
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Wind power helps ski resort during recession

During these tough economic times, using renewable energy can help save money. 

According to this article from CNN, Jiminy Peak Resort in northern Massachusetts is saving up $450,000 in electricity costs through the use of a wind turbine.  Built in 2007, the wind turbine, known as the Zephyr, generates enough electricity to power approximately 600 homes.  While most of this energy is used during the winter to power the resort’s operations, in the summer months, local homes and businesses also can draw electricity from the turbine.  The complaints voiced against the Zephyr are common wherever wind power is proposed for development.  To some, the turbine is seen as an eyesore and it can also disrupt and harm migrating birds (in the cases bats).

 
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Car crashes to please mother nature

Searching for another example of how people are responding to the climate crisis and starting to go green?

Here’s a hint, a remote might help. 

Believe it or not, even television series are starting to go green.  Fox’s hit, 24, is the first series to go green, as discussed in this article from the New York Times.  From hiring a consultant to measure the show’s carbon footprint to using renewable energy sources to power generators, Fox hopes that 24 will serve as an example for other series on all networks to follow.  Many of the changes the network has taken will go unnoticed by the viewer and maintaining the quality of the series is extremely important. In situations where continuing operations that produce high carbon emissions in necessary to keep the format of the show, such as car crashes and explosions, the network is purchasing carbon offsets. In addition to all these steps, stars from the show will be making announcements on you personally can go green.

 
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When it comes to detergents, what’s the least irresponsible choice?

Looking for some new ways to green your home? 

Starting this week, the New York Times will be publishing a weekly column called “The Green Home,” which will focus on different techniques to make your home more green. This week, the focus is on environmentally friendly laundry and dish washer detergents.  The article features an interview with an EPA engineer who is responsible for awarding the “Design for the Environment” logo to products.  Specifically for detergents, those that receive the EPA’s seal of approval have ingredients that are less harmful for the environment. 

It will definitely be interesting to see what other products are featured in this new column, which draws more attention to the need to green your own home and personally help in the fight against climate change and with cleaning the environment.

 
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In debate on climate change, exaggeration is a common pitfall

Effective communication of information on global climate change, especially the science behind it, can be quite complicated given the biases that exist on both sides of the debate.  The article from the New York Times analyzes how exaggerations of the facts on climate change can influence public opinion of the issue. On one side, those who believe human activity is responsible for the problem often go too far by linking all changes in environmental disasters to climate change (which may not be the case).  On the other side, climate change skeptics also distort the truth to make their argument seem more realistic, with one example being the statement that ice cover expanded rather than decreased (this was later clarified).  The end result of this is that much of the population remains confused on the issue of global climate change, which can prevent action from taking place. 

Regardless of what you believe (in terms of what is responsible for global climate change), the effective communication of this information is critical and must be improved.  How to do this remains the question, as uncertainties still exist.

 
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