Day: December 21, 2012

Watch: Captain Planet is finally defeated

Read the full story and watch the video at Mother Nature Network.

FunnyOrDie concludes their ‘Captain Planet’ spoof with a bizarre ending for the birds.

U.S. Manufacturing Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis

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This report documents the energy pathway, from supply through demand, for several of the most energy-intensive manufacturing sectors. It captures step-by-step energy use and losses from offsite sources, onsite generation, and process and nonprocess end uses. A key output of this analysis is the “footprint” that graphically displays energy use and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) combustion emissions across U.S. manufacturing process and nonprocess end uses. Areas of high energy losses and GHG emissions represent central targets of opportunity for more advanced, efficient energy systems.

Energy Department to Provide Technical Assistance to Facilities Impacted by EPA Boiler Rule

On December 20, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a specific set of adjustments to Clean Air Act standards, originally finalized in March 2011, for boilers and certain solid waste incinerators. The National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters (known as Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT)), sets standards to cut emissions of hazardous air pollutants, such as mercury, dioxin, and lead, from large boilers in a range of industrial facilities and institutions. DOE will offer technical assistance to affected sites currently burning coal or oil, highlighting strategies such as natural gas combined heat and power (CHP), and more efficient boilers, to cut harmful pollution and reduce operational costs.

DOE will provide site-specific technical and cost information to the major source facilities currently burning coal or oil through its regional Clean Energy Application Centers (CEACs). The CEACs will visit these facilities to discuss strategies for compliance, including CHP, as well as provide information on potential funding and financing opportunities available for CHP, controls, boilers and energy efficiency assessments. Facilities that make use of this technical assistance can potentially develop strategies to comply with the regulations while adding to their bottom line. DOE has been conducting a pilot of the technical assistance program in Ohio since March 2012 in partnership with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The pilot program has engaged with a variety of industrial and energy efficiency stakeholders in the state and effectively connected affected facilities with clean energy solutions.

In accordance with the August 2012 Executive Order on Accelerating Investment in Industrial Energy Efficiency, DOE has joined EPA in an effort to help ensure that major sources burning coal and oil have information on cost-effective clean energy strategies for compliance. For more information on the DOE technical assistance program, see:

Additional Resources

Information on financial incentives available at the local, state, utility and federal levels to assist facilities with the costs of investing in CHP, boiler tune-ups, controls and/or energy efficiency assessments is available at:

Information about the rule, including links to the regulatory dockets, technical information on how the limits were developed, and impact assessments, is available at:

The Consequential Challenges of Climate Change

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President Obama stated in his 2010 National Security Strategy that the danger from climate change is real, urgent, and severe. Climate change serves as a “threat multiplier”, exacerbating existing problems such as poverty and racial or religious tensions and overwhelming governments of already fragile states. The resultant effect on U.S. national security is threefold. First, regional instability and failed or failing states lend themselves to an environment that radical extremists can then influence to advance their causes- such as seen in Afghanistan. Second, U.S. national security relies upon unfettered access to strategic resources such as oil, and conflict in nations holding these resources may be perilous to the U.S. economy. Finally, the United States will likely continue to be the preeminent first responder to humanitarian disasters worldwide. As the global temperature continues to rise and the effects of climate change multiply, the U.S. military, in particular, may find itself overextended providing humanitarian relief in multiple settings. This paper recommends improvements to a whole of U.S. government approach and enhanced partner nation engagement to successfully tackle the world-wide consequences of climate change.

Brooklyn-Made Furniture Built From Sandy’s Scraps

Read the full post at FastCoDesign.

Hurricane Sandy destroyed hundreds of homes, offices, and schools. It also hit the creative community hard, damaging dozens of artists’ studios and tons of work along the waterfront in Red Hook and Greenpoint. Now, creatives are leading a charge to turn their talents towards the relief efforts.

The true cost of a holiday dinner

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The holiday dinner has always been an occasion to gather family and friends together to enjoy a delicious feast. However, hosting a holiday dinner can come at a high cost — for the host’s pocket and for the environment.

Trucost analyzed the environmental impacts of 2 kg (4.4 lbs) turkey, 1 kg (2.2 lbs) potatoes and 1 kg sweet corn – the average quantities needed to make holiday dinner for a family of four. We examined the stages from farm to supermarket shelf, looking at the carbon and water footprints, and embedded waste and pollution, for each product. Trucost then calculated the natural capital cost of each of these impacts, applying the social carbon cost and the average cost related to water scarcity in the United States. The percentages on our graphic indicate the contribution each impact makes to the product’s total environmental impact.

Top 10 Sustainable Business Stories of 2012

Read the full post from HBR Blog Network.

It’s time once again to try and summarize the last 12 months in a handy list. But before I dive in, some quick thoughts.

It was an odd year for green business, and it began with some mixed signals about how far companies were coming on sustainability. A GreenBiz report indicated that progress had slowed or even regressed, but MIT and BCG also declared that sustainability had reached a “tipping point” with more companies putting sustainability “on the management agenda.”

In reality, both views were right. Corporate sustainability lost some of its sexiness from previous years, as it grew more entrenched in day-to-day business. Some parts of the agenda — eco-efficiency and resource conservation for example — are widely accepted now, and it’s rare to find a big-company CEO who doesn’t have sustainability on his or her radar.

The mega forces driving sustainability deep into business — such as climate change, resource constraints, and transparency — are getting stronger. We may not be keeping pace with these pressures, but leading companies continue to evolve more sustainable strategies and tactics. Let’s look at some top macro- and company-level stories.