Clinton foundation energy efficiency plan: An offset by any other name ...

New financial instruments may one day plug cities’ building codes into global carbon market

The William J. Clinton foundation has arranged billions in financing to help a coalition of sixteen cities cut urban emissions by applying a range of energy efficiency measures to aging buildings. Efficiency measures tends to get lumped in under the heading of conservation, but they really deserve to be their own full-fledged category of solutions to global warming. If conservation is simply doing less of a polluting activity, efficiency is doing the same activity with less energy. Turning off the lights is conservation. Screwing in a compact fluorescent light bulb is efficiency. Efficiency measures deserve their own category because they are among the most important strategies for reducing emissions. Emissions reductions from efficiency projects are immediate (which is good), they are often cheap or even free (which is great), and they don't require individuals to make significant changes to behavior (which is important to quick adoption, no matter how much we might wish otherwise).


Not long ago, our own JMG lamented the fact that online map services don’t include transit-oriented directions. Well, lookee here: HopStop, your city transit guide. OK, it’s only for NYC, but still, sounds pretty cool: HopStop is your city transit guide. We provide door-to-door subway and bus directions and maps for New York City. You can also search for places to eat, drink, sleep and see in the City Guide. With HopStop you can: – Send directions by e-mail or text message to a cell phone directly from the website – Plan a trip with multiple destinations using the Itinerary. …

Smells Like Progress

As climate summit continues, fed-up mayors unveil actual plans They cover 1 percent of the Earth’s surface, but the world’s cities spew 80 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions — and 180 percent of climate-action plans. “Where national governments can’t or won’t lead, cities will,” said Toronto Mayor David Miller at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in New York City. Yesterday, Miller unveiled an online social-networking carbon calculator called Zerofootprint Toronto that will, he says, “help make my city not only one of the greenest on the planet, but one of the most innovative as well.” He’s not alone: Los Angeles …

Is the SkyTrain the limit?

Making public transit work

Greater Vancouver leads the Northwest in transit ridership, with somewhere between two and three times as many annual bus and train rides per person as Portland and Seattle. So the obvious question: How come? Why does Vancouver do so much better in transit statistics than its southern neighbors?

The Big Yapple

World’s mayors gather for climate-change summit in New York City Gone are the days when mayors chomped cigars and handed out keys to the city. Today’s civic leaders face a somewhat more monumental task: saving the planet. This week, mayors from more than 30 of the world’s biggest cities — from Bangkok to Berlin, Sydney to Shanghai — are in New York City to compare notes on fighting climate change. The C40 Large Cities Climate Summit follows a smaller event held in London in 2005; this time it also includes business leaders. With renewable energy, mass transit, and carbon reduction …

Paying to kill ourselves

Just what every taxpayer wants

This is super, super smart: A Depression-era program to bring electricity to rural areas is using taxpayer money to provide billions of dollars in low-interest loans to build coal plants even as Congress seeks ways to limit greenhouse gas emissions. … The beneficiaries of the government’s largesse — the nation’s rural electric cooperatives — plan to spend $35 billion to build conventional coal plants over the next 10 years, enough to offset all state and federal efforts to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions over that time. Your tax dollars at work!

Solar: such a tease

It could be fantastic, but nobody’s built any

CNET’s summary of its own story perfectly captures the highs and lows of solar thermal: Bottom line: A large-scale solar power plant with a large energy-storage system that is close to other solar-power systems and the customers they serve could produce electricity for about the same cost as that from standard utility plants. Such a system has yet to be built, however. And in other tauntingly suggestive solar news: A new mechanism for focusing light on small areas of photovoltaic material could make solar power in residential and commercial applications cheaper than electricity from the grid in most markets in …

Reclaimed Brown Fields

Leading British candidate announces plan to create eco-towns Gordon Brown, the man widely expected to take Tony Blair’s place as prime minister of Britain this summer, has made headlines with a splashy green announcement. Brown, currently the U.K. finance minister, said he intends to create five eco-towns that would meet a demand for affordable housing. The carbon-neutral communities, built on reclaimed brownfields, would contain 10,000 to 20,000 houses each. They’d be powered by locally generated clean-energy sources such as wind and solar, and would feature bus routes and bike lanes. “If we are to meet the aspirations of every young …

Metrofarming in the NYT

Coming to a city near you?

The New York Times ran a story this week on a grassroots effort that aims to demonstrate the potential for growing food in our cities. NY Sun Works' Center for Sustainable Engineering has a sustainable energy and hydroponics project floating on a barge in the Hudson River, and it's causing a minor buzz ...

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