Here from CNN is an article on the current status of solar cars. The 2010 Toyota Prius will have a solar panel, but the company has no plans to develop a solar only model. More efficient solar panels and batteries are needed, and lighter engines and car bodies. Production costs must also fall. Given all the problems that need to be solved, an affordable, fully functional solar car will not hit the road for quite a few years
This is a good news, bad news squib from the New York Times.
Over the next 10 years, the suppliers of home heating oil from Maine to Maryland will lower sulfur levels in their oil from 0.2% to 0.0015%, thereby reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide, which contribute to haze. However, consumers should see a small increase in the price of oil, although the added cost may be offset by more efficient furnace and boiler operation in the home. The change, which begins next year, should have public health and environmental benefits. Removing the sulfur will lower the maintenance requirements of oil heat equipment.
Here’s an article about a project that students or teachers could pursue with interest and environmental impact. Any school can be greened — high, middle, or elementary. How much greening will cost will differ with every school, and on how green your school decides to go. Using 30% or 100% recycled paper is a good first step, and switching to fluorescent from incandescent lighting also helps. Occupancy sensors that turn lights off when rooms are vacant may repay their cost in a few years.
The lead editorial from the New York Times on January 27, 2009 lauds President Obama for repudiating the Bush administration’s passive approach to climate change. Calling the decision one “of great significance,” the Times praised Mr. Obama for his commitment to countering the rise in greenhouse gases, and for his willingness to use the regulatory levers of the government to fight global warming. While hailing Mr. Obama’s imposition of regulations, the Times notes that he still must make major investments in renewable technologies and, eventually, unlock private investment by putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, the Times crows, “this is a wonderful start.”
As reported in this article from the New York Times, on Monday, January 26, 2009, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider California’s request for a waiver to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks more stringently than the limits specified by Federal laws. The move represented a break with the Bush administration’s environmental policy, which several times disallowed the waiver. Obama also directed the Transportation Department to write rules to implement a 2007 law mandating a 40% gain in gas mileage for autos an light trucks by 2020. The 2007 bill had no regulation to enforce it.