Environmental Regulation

Demand response and advanced energy metering use increasing but far from being standard

November 8, 2011

“Demand response and advanced energy metering are spreading rapidly across the US, although both have some way to go before become standard features of the nation’s electricity system.

As of June 2011, 13.4 percent of electricity meters in the US — 9.7 million in all — featured advanced “smart” technologies, compared to 8.7 percent in 2009, according to the sixth annual update on demand response and advanced metering from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In fact, counting advanced meters that have been installed but not activated yet, the penetration of smart meters could be as high as 18 percent as of September of this year.

A large number of those advanced meters, around 7.2 million, were deployed thanks to 2009 federal stimulus funds. By the time stimulus-funded programs are completed, that figure is expected to reach 15.5 million.

The FERC report further cites projections from the Institute for Electric Efficiency indicating that, by 2015, the US will have some 65 million smart meters deployed.”

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Cost of health-related problems due to climate change estimated at $14 billion

November 8, 2011

“A study released Monday looked at six climate change-related events in the United States – three of them specific to the Inland region – and found that the cost of health problems, lost work and deaths totaled about $14 billion.

The work by scientists from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based environmental action group, and UC San Francisco was published in Health Affairs, a public health journal funded by The People-to-People Health Foundation.

Though other studies have estimated future health costs related to climate change, this is the first to look at the outcomes of specific weather events, said co-author Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, a staff scientist in the health and environment program at the council’s San Francisco office.

The aim of the study, she said, is to prompt policy makers to prepare for future problems. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, the group is calling for such measures as expanding programs for mosquito surveillance and control to reduce the cases of West Nile virus and implementing warning systems for heat waves.”

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Less Developed Countries prepared to defend their current stances on greenhouse gas emissions at the Durban Climate Change Conference in Copenahgen

November 8, 2011

“As nations prepare for the most crucial conference on climate change in Durban end of this month, every developing country attending the meeting may not make any fundamental change in their negotiation points.

The rigidity will be born out of the realization that they, as developing nations and least developed countries (LDCs), (as they are aptly described in the Kyoto Protocol (KP) on Climate Change), contributes less to the Green House Gases (GHGs) responsible for the global warming.

The argument has always been that the Industrialized nations, (the Kyoto’s Annex 1) countries contributed more than 95% of the GHGs and so they should equally bear the brunt of financing the mechanisms that will make the developing and LDCs adapt and overtime lessen the impacts of climate change on their people.

This has been the crux of the disagreement since Kyoto came into legal reality on February 16, 2005 almost 8 years after it was negotiated in 1997.”

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10,000 protesters against the Keystone XL Pipeline surrounded the White House on Sunday

November 7, 2011

“About 10,000 opponents of a proposed oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast surrounded the White House on Sunday – exactly a year before the 2012 election – seeking to pressure President Obama to reject the project.

If approved, the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline to be built by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. would carry crude from the tar sands region in Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas, passing through six states.

Supporters such as oil-industry groups and some labor unions say the pipeline would reduce U.S. reliance on oil from the volatile Mideast and create 20,000 jobs in a U.S. economy that desperately needs the boost.

Environmental groups despise the project and call it a needlessly risky method of producing dirty energy. They say the pipeline could leak, endangering drinking water. They say extracting the thick crude from tar sands is itself a greenhouse-gas producing, wasteful process. And they say the promise of jobs is a false one; it would produce only about 6,000 temporary jobs.

On Sunday, the protesters heard speeches from faith leaders, environmental activists and a labor union representative before forming a circle around the White House that organizers estimated was three rows deep.”

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U.S. Department of Energy: 2010 Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide levels exceed “worst case scenario” outlined by climate experts 4 years ago

November 6, 2011

“The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S.Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world’s efforts are at slowing man-made global warming.

The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.

“The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing,” said John Reilly, co-director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

The world pumped about 564 million more tons (512 million metric tons) of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009. That’s an increase of 6 percent. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries — China, the United States and India, the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases.

It is a “monster” increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate Department of Energy figures in the past.

Extra pollution in China and the U.S. account for more than half the increase in emissions last year, Marland said.”

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