President Obama Adresses Climate Change: Signs Bill Exempting US Airlines From EU Carbon Tax.

Plane flying over Heathrow Airport.The US had a opportunity to take action and lead non-EU countries on the issue of climate change and we did – by going in the opposite direction. The Guardian posted “Obama fails first climate test by rejecting EU aviation carbon regime” about President Obama’s decision to sign into a law a bill exempting US airlines from paying into a European Union carbon tax. It’s part of the EU’s effort to create an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that would assess a tax on flights to Europe that originate in the US. The tax would’ve cost US airlines $3.1 billion by 2020. President Obama claims that addressing climate change is a priority of his second term but it sure feels like getting a member of his own party elected in 2016 is taking precedent. Global Warming 1, Climate Action 0. [The Guardian]

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CEMEX Cement Plant In Kentucky Reduced Emissions By Switching Power Source From Coal To Scrap Tires.

CEMEX-Kosmos Cement KilnThis is news to me – burning scrap tires to make cement is better for the environment than using coal. According to an article in the Courier-Journal, emissions of nitrogen oxides (a component of smog) have dropped by 37% ever since the CEMEX cement plant in Kosmos KY switched their fuel source from coal to scrap tires in December 2010.

From the Courier-Journal, here’s how the tire-powered cement kiln works:

“Two rollers grab a scrapped rubber tire before pitching it at 85 mph as far as 110 feet into the bowels of the kiln — where it vaporizes in an instant in 3,000-degree temperatures.”

We need our cement so we have to choose “what’s less worse”: coal (30 tons/hour) or recycled tires (3-6 tons/hour)?

After reading the article in C-J and watching the video, I couldn’t help feeling that CEMEX’s switch from coal to scrap tires isn’t going to end well. It’s kind of like the 1940’s advertisements with doctors recommending one cigarette brand over another. Consume less. [Courier-Journal]

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Chicago’s Greenway Self-Park: Should A Parking Garage Ever Be Considered Earth Friendly?

Greenway Self-Park ChicagoGrid Chicago has an interesting article on the Greenway Self-Park which has been self-labeled as “Chicago’s first earth friendly parking garage.” What the … earth friendly parking garage? Its developer, Friedman Properties, did build some eco features into the parking garage that include lighting that auto-dims in sunlight, electricity-generating wind turbines (that may or may not work), it’s built with locally sourced materials and it has a green roof to mitigate runoff. They even incorporated a VW Bug with green leaves spewing from its exhaust in their logo. All good but should a parking garage ever be considered earth friendly?

I don’t want to hate on Friedman Properties too much because they tried to build a more eco / environmentally / sustainable parking garage but judging by the article’s comments, most people aren’t buying it and they’re seeing right through the thin green label.

That’s why we think FP needs to strip away the green from their logo and in the future, refer to their garage as earth friendlier versus earth friendly. Self-applying the earth friendly label is always risky – trying to apply it to a 715 space parking garage is just plain foolish. [Grid Chicago}

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The GreenWave Reality Connected Lighting Solution: DIY LED Lighting You Can Control With Your Mobile Phone. Necessary?

GreenWave Reality LED Lighting SolutionWireless smart bulbs or are they Wi-Fi lights? The GreenWave Reality Connected Lighting Solution, from GreenWave and NXP Semiconductor, includes a router, remote and 4-35 watt equivalent LED light bulbs. It’s a simple DIY lighting solution that allows users to remotely control their WiFi’d LED light bulbs. Here’s how you install the system:

    1. Screw in the GreenWave LED smart light bulb.
    2. Plugin the router.
    3. Setup each LED through an iOS or Android app.

There’s a lot of positive buzz about the GreenWave Reality Connected Lighting Solution and how great it is to be able to remotely control your homes’ lighting and I don’t get it. GreenWave Reality Connected Lighting Solution Yes, migrating your lighting to more energy efficient LEDs is good and the tech behind this product is amazing but I still don’t get why we need the router and remote/app to control our lights. Haven’t we all figured out the light switch?

Products like this turn lighting and home efficiency into an unnecessary gadget and my guess is that with the Greenwave Reality solution installed, spooking your spouse/kids at home by remotely controlling the lights will get more play than genuine concern about leaving the lights on.

So here is our suggestion: use the $200 you might have spent on the GreenWave Reality Connected Lighting Solution to buy and install 10 – 12 equivalent LED light bulbs. You’ve mastered the light switch and you deserve to save more electricity. [GigaOM, Gizmodo, Greentech Media, Inhabitat….]

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Uprise Energy’s Portable Power Center (PPC) Is A Transportable Wind Turbine. Didn’t I Already See This Video?

The Portable Power Center (PPC) simulation video created by Upside Energy of San Diego looks great. A transportable 50 kW wind turbine that fits in a shipping container would be beast (sorry kids for using beast). Looking forward to seeing this renewable energy generating solution on the road.

In other news, The Onion created an awesome parody of the TEDTalks videos. I’m looking forward to seeing compostable cars powered by compost on the road. [Treehugger]


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TEDTalks Spoofed By The Onion In “Compost-Fueled [Compostable] Cars: Wouldn’t That Be Great?” Video.


The Onion
does a great job spoofing the TEDTalks videos. Funny video with a “be cautious of green” message. [Gizmodo]

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