Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Coal in our atmospheric stockings

Or, how I learned to love global warming:

Global boom in coal power – and emissions

A Monitor analysis shows the potential for an extra 1.2 billion tons of carbon released into the atmosphere per year.

Page 1 of 3 Forget the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Disregard rising public concern over global warming. Ignore the Kyoto Protocol. The world certainly is – at least when it comes to building new electric-power plants. In the past five years, it has been on a coal-fired binge, bringing new generators online at a rate of better than two per week. That has added some 1 billion tons of new carbon-dioxide emissions that humans pump into the atmosphere each year. Coal-fired power now accounts for nearly a third of human-generated global CO2 emissions. So what does the future hold? An acceleration of the buildup, according to a Monitor analysis of power-industry data. Despite Kyoto limits on greenhouse gases, the analysis shows that nations will add enough coal-fired capacity in the next five years to create an extra 1.2 billion tons of CO2 per year. Those accelerating the buildup are not the usual suspects. [cont’d]
I’m pretty much on the fence about the value of the various carbon offset programs going on, but this is evidence that investments in renewable energy systems has some value. It’s more than realenvironmentik to acknowledge that the governments and people of the world are going to use more energy going forward than is now used, and if we can help make sure that an increasing–eventually reaching total–percentage of that energy comes from renewables, well, then, that’ll be helpful in reducing the severity of global warming. But it’s also a reminder that that much renewable energy is unbelievably challenging to achieve. Efficiency and conservation–those are going to be the methods that do the most good, no question. Speaking of which, can’t afford to make your home more energy efficient and live in Windsor or Windham counties, Vermont? Check with SEVCA for weatherization assistance. (Elsewhere in Vermont: Central VT Community Action Council, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, BROC – Community Action in Southwestern Vermont, and Northeast Kingdom Community Action (from their website, it seems like NEKCA doesn’t do weatherization assistance, though they do have funds for emergency heating assistance, but it wouldn’t hurt to call and ask.) Outside Vermont? Here’s some useful links courtesy of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab; and the LIHEAP program administered through the federal Dept of Health and Human Services.

Save Energy & Money This Winter: Seal Up Your Drafty House

Unless you’ve taken special preventative precautions, it’s likely that on cold days much of your house’s heat pours out through your (closed) windows. Most houses—especially old houses—have drafty, uninsulated windows that do little to prevent heat from dumping out into the cold night. Even if your windows aren’t drafty, the expensive heat your furnace has […] Read More..

The Limits to Growth and Greece: Systemic or Financial Collapse?

Could it be that the ongoing Greek collapse is a symptom of the more general collapse that the Limits to Growth model generates for the first two decades of the 21st century? Author Ugo Bardi (Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth is Plundering the Planet) examines the correlation between what is unfolding between Greece […] Read More..

Permaculture Q&A: Mulching Options for Your Garden

As Permaculture Month continues, we are making our expert authors available to answer your burning permaculture questions. If you have a question to submit, fill out this form. This week, Lottie from Florida asked if there are other garden mulch options that are as effective as hay. Josh Trought, one of our soil building and garden management […] Read More..

Designing Your Own Solar Cooker & Dehydrator

In today’s world, nearly everything we use, from phones and computers to cars and kitchen appliances, requires energy derived from fossil fuels. Wouldn’t it be nice to offset some of that energy use by harnessing the renewable power of the sun? Josh Trought, founder of D Acres—an educational center in New Hampshire that researches, applies, […] Read More..

Building a Sustainable Community: The D Acres Model

If you were going to create a community-based homestead or farm from scratch, where would you start? What building materials would you use? What crops would you grow and what animals would you raise? How would you develop an organizational structure and connect with your community? And, how would you make sure all of this […] Read More..
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