Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Archive for the ‘Worldwatch Institute’ tag

Natural Gas Could Ease the Path to a Low-Carbon Future

without comments

Even Worldwatch is getting on board that natural gas, a non-renewable fossil fuel, is a useful transition towards a cleaner future for our energy consumption.

I like it.

The Worldwatch Institute has launched an initiative designed to explore and communicate the potential of natural gas, renewable energy, and energy efficiency to work together to build a low-carbon economy.  The project provides a forum to examine potential environmental, social, and political obstacles that must be addressed if natural gas is to accelerate, rather than delay, a low-carbon energy transformation.  Partnering with leading NGOs, academic institutions, industry, and the public sector, the initiative will propose needed actions, with a focus initially on the United States. The initiative will later focus on energy policies internationally, in particular in India, China, Europe and Africa.

Read the entire article here.

Earth Policy Release — China’s Changing Energy Economy

without comments

In his book, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, much of which is continually published and updated on line, Lester Brown focuses great attention on China, the world’s largest carbon emitter. While I don’t disagree with the facts he presents, and have much respect for the work he has done, both with Worldwatch Institute and Earth Policy Institute, I don’t agree with focusing on the problems of other countries. As an American who loves my country very much, more than any other, even more than fabulous Brazil, where I have lived and continue to work, it seems most appropriate to focus on my own actions and my own house, on my own country. Though China may be the world’s most profligate polluter, that is due in large part to their status as the world’s most populous nation. Switch the criteria to pollution per capita, and the U.S. suddenly surges towards the top.

Yes, China has much to do to get their own house in order, but, as the current global leader, our ability to stay in that top spot depends in large part on our ability to lead by example.

In Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, Lester Brown presents a plan to dramatically reduce carbon emissions by increasing energy efficiency and replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy. In the push to reduce emissions, all eyes are on China, the world’s most populous country and now also the world’s top carbon emitter.

Read and download other portions of the book here.

Written by Jason

March 3rd, 2010 at 10:19 pm

A Bridge to the Renewable Energy Future

without comments

by Robert U. Ayres and Ed Ayres

Renewables are coming fast. In the meantime, here’s a largely overlooked but potent way to minimize fossil fuel use and the damage it causes.

Historically, Americans have been strong on big ideas, but not always so strong on the devil in the detail. So, for example, public officials looking for alternatives to imported oil have widely embraced corn ethanol, even though a range of studies assessed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and others show that corn ethanol has a nearly zero net gain in energy output, while taking a heavy toll on human food-producing capacity. Or, many of those looking for “energy independence” still embrace the John McCain mantra to “drill, baby, drill,” perhaps because the notion of increased domestic oil output comes across as a manly defiance of the Middle-Eastern chokehold on our gas pumps. More domestic oil might be an attractive concept, except that the numbers say it would add nothing to our energy supply in the next 10 years and would never come close to replacing imports. (The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that U.S. territories, including coastal waters, have 3 percent of the known remaining global oil reserves.) That latter fact has provided Al Gore and others an opening for their claim that renewables, in contrast to more oil drilling, could bring America to full energy independence in a decade. But that claim, too, betrays an embrace of broad concept that isn’t completely realistic about numbers.

Read the entire article here.

Food and Fuel: Biofuels Could Benefit World’s Undernourished

without comments

by Worldwatch Institute on August 17, 2007

biofuels cover

A new book from Worldwatch shows potential benefits of biofuels.

The increase in world agriculture prices caused by the global boom in biofuels could benefit many of the world’s rural poor—one of many conclusions of a landmark new 450-page book, Biofuels for Transport: Global Potential and Implications for Energy and Agriculture, authored by Worldwatch and published by Earthscan.

“Decades of declining agricultural prices have been reversed thanks to the growing use of biofuels,” says Christopher Flavin, president of the Institute. “Farmers in some of the poorest nations have been decimated by U.S. and European subsidies to crops such as corn, cotton, and sugar. Today’s higher prices may allow them to sell their crops at a decent price, but major agriculture reforms and infrastructure development will be needed to ensure that the increased benefits go to the world’s 800 million undernourished people, most of whom live in rural areas.”

Biofuels for Transport, undertaken with support from the German Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection, assesses the range of “sustainability” issues the biofuels industry will present in the years ahead, ranging from implications for the global climate and water resources to biological diversity and the world’s poor. The book finds that rising food prices are a hardship for some urban poor, who will need increased assistance from the World Food Programme and other relief efforts. However, it notes that the central cause of food scarcity is poverty, and seeking food security by driving agricultural prices ever lower will hurt more people than it helps.

Read the entire announcement here.