- Former President Bill Clinton lists 10 things the U.S. government SHOULD do for clean energy. Here's the first three. Katie Fehrenbacher of earth2tech reports:
- Congress must pass legislation that puts a price on carbon and establish a cap-and-trade system. The alternative is passing a carbon tax, Clinton says, but adds that he tried that route already and it didn’t work out too well.
- We need to renew and lengthen the tax credits for clean energy. The time frame needs to be longer than three years — more like 6 to 10 years. That is the only way to stimulate enough production of clean energy technologies.
- It’s important to figure out the federal government’s role in modernizing the electrical grid, including both efficiency and carrying capacity. The grid wastes a lot of energy moving power, given that the wind blows and the sun shines in places where a lot of people don’t live. Tax payers should also be able to split the cost of modernizing the grid with utilities.
- They’ll be using biodegradable hotel keycards at this month’s Democratic National Convention. More from Whit Honea of GreenDaily:
If they weren't wasting energy via freezing rooms or water due to countless loads of laundry they were filling landfills with plastic keycards. Wait. What? How big of a footprint could those thin plastic keycards be leaving? How about 1,300 tons (TONS!) per year? That may not bigfootesque in the relative picture but it is still an alarming, and totally unnecessary, impact.
Here's why plastic keycards are unnecessary: we don't need them. Simple, isn't it? It turns out that Europe has been using wooden keycards for that past 10 years. Seems like someone could have told us (note to self: travel).
From Gadling: "This morning, Sustainable Cards, maker of the United States' first wooden hotel keycards, announced that 70,000 biodegradable wooden keycards will be used in Denver hotels during next week's Democratic National Convention."
- Old U.S. Navy Ships are being intentionally sunk to create artificial reefs off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. Via DiscoBlog:
It seems like a strange move, one step removed from attempts to tinker with ecosystem problems by introducing new predators or invasive species. But the coastal waters of the Earth already abound in old ships: Besides the famous goners like the Lusitania or the Gordon Lightfoot-immortalized Edmund Fitzgerald, it’s impossible to know just how many long-forgotten ships are decaying under the sea. In any case, divers have already identified 38 species of fish hanging around the Oriskany.
The Navy spent $20 million cleaning up the Oriskany before they sank it, but the city of Pensacola has recouped $4 million from tourism—recreational divers or war buffs who want to go down and see the ship. Perhaps other cities will start asking the Navy to sink a ship in their harbor so they have a new tourist attraction. However, once you’ve seen one retired Cold War relic inhabited by marine life, you’ve probably seen them all.
More importantly, from a should-we-or-shouldn’t-we-perspective, the Navy’s cleaning operation wasn’t totally complete. According to The New York Times, 700 pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) remained aboard the Oriskany when it went down, thanks to an agreement the Navy struck with the EPA. The State of Florida is currently studying whether these toxic compounds are getting into the food chain, but considering Congress banned PCBs 30 years ago, we’re not exactly excited about the idea of having them sitting in the ocean.