ideas Energy

& Environment

July 2010 | Featured Idea Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

10 Ideas for Energy and the Environment
July 2010

National Director Hilary Doe National Network Coordinator Tarsi Dunlop Lead Strategist for Energy & the Environment David Weinberger Managing Editor Gracye Cheng Editor Frank Lin The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network 455 Massachusetts Ave NW Suite 650 Washington, DC 20001
Copyright © 2010 by the Roosevelt Institute. All rights reserved. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors. They do not express the views or opinions of the Roosevelt Institute, its officers, or its directors.



Energy The Environment

Congratulations to Weston R. Laabs, author of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: The Campground Solution Nominee for Policy of the Year

An Efficient Design for Cap and Trade Elizabeth Allan A Green Tax Refund Cory Connolly Federal Loans for District Energy: Cogeneration for Communities Robert Henry Weaver Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: The Campground Solution Weston R. Laabs Bike-Based Mass Transit System Theresa Gasinski Living Walls: Indoor Biofilters in College Campus Buildings Dylan Beach Dry-Cooling Power Plants to Reduce Water Consumption Riley Wyman Reducting Temperatures and Pollution through Cool-Colored Roads Michael Tracht Sequester Carbon Emissions by Subsidizing Organic Agriculture Jannie Trelogan Using the Power of the Sun: Push for Fusion Power Samson Yuchi Mai Roosevelt Review Preview: Desalination - A Comprehensive Evaluation Grayson Cooper, Emily Zuehlke, Jason Dunn, and Allison Briggs

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Inside the Issue

p Letter from Washington
e are pleased and proud to present the second edition of the 10 Ideas Series. Comprised of six journals, these articles represent the best of our student policy work across the country. Throughout the past year, our national policy strategists have supported hundreds of students chapters stretching from New England and Michigan to California and Georgia. As a peer-to-peer network, our student strategy team is unlike any other - they are both friends and mentors, strategists and promoters. Instead of waiting for their ideas to be approved in Washington, our Washington team looks to the field for our most innovative policies - and it is the student network that votes on the best proposals of the year. Within this volume, you will find a variety of ideas in motion. Some are new proposals being spread for the first time; others have already gained traction in their local community, as our campus chapters work to enact their policies today. Some will rise to higher prominence in the months ahead, gathering momentum as the idea is adopted throughout our national network of 8000 members. A few will be adopted by state legislatures and city councils; some make it all the way to Capitol Hill. A year ago, one Colorado student published an idea about improving remote access to health care via unused television waves; the state of California is now working with him to make that idea a reality. A pair of students in Chicago postulated that their school could start a revolving loan fund for energy efficient building and development; they now help administer such a fund at Northwestern. Whether intensely localized or built for the nation at large, these ideas all have the potential to become realities. We look forward to what comes next for these authors - and if you can be a part of that change, we hope you’ll join us. Sincerely, Tarsi Dunlop National Network Coordinator


Strategist’s Note P
early one year after the House made history by passing the first-ever national climate bill, American Progressives should conceivably be disillusioned, disheartened by the unwillingness of their government to follow through on its promise to reform energy markets and stem greenhouse gas emissions. While the federal government has kept young green progressives on the edges of their seats as they awaited Senate action on comprehensive climate change legislation, members of the Center on Energy and the Environment were hard at work, thinking of pragmatic and actionable solutions to environmental crises that spanned everywhere from their campuses to the global energy market. The policy pieces presented in this edition of 10 Ideas for Energy & the Environment feature a level of analysis matched only by the most prestigious and well-endowed think tanks in Washington. Conceived and written by students on college campuses, these ideas take on national and global emergencies at a grassroots level. These students have undoubtedly benefited from their proximity to communities; their ideas were not born in an ivory tower, nor were they arbitrarily designed. From Dylan Beach’s plan to install biofilters on college campuses, to Elizabeth Allan’s system of upstream emissions monitoring, these ideas hold great promise. Still, it is important to remember that these ideas, brilliant as they are, are not ultimate products; instead, they are blueprints for future action. Consistent with the Campus Network’s Think Impact model for making change through progressive policy activism, these authors’ ideas are ripe for promotion, ready to be taken out on the front lines and effectuated. A common misconception regarding young members of the green progressive movement is that they are idealistic and naive in their pursuit of environmental protection. After a year of working side by side with the future of the environmental movement, I can truly attest that members of the Center on Energy and the Environment are anything but passive dreamers. Innovative pragmatists, these students recognize the gravity of environmental exploitation and see opportunities for preventative and mitigatory action, even while they wait for their government to see the same. Your friendly neighborhood wonk, David Weinberger Lead Strategist, Energy & the Environment


An Efficient Design for Cap-and-Trade
Elizabeth Allan, University of Georgia A carefully designed cap-and-trade system that includes upstream monitoring of emissions, offsets for emissions allowances, and an auction for allowance distribution will effectively and economically reduce the United States’ carbon footprint. Cap-and-trade represents an effective tool for confronting climate change at the national level. All cap-and-trade systems share a similar design. The EPA caps the amount of greenhouse gases that a given entity is allowed to emit. Greenhouse gas emissions are then divided into subunits – e.g. one ton of carbon – to be distributed to emitters of greenhouse gases. Once enacted, cap-and-trade legislation makes the emission of carbon dioxide illegal without the possession of corresponding allowances. Subsequently, the EPA will decrease the number of carbon allowances allocated for a given year until carbon reduction goals are met. A cap-and-trade system monitoring carbon • In 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel carries multiple benefits for the United on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded States including energy independence, that an increase of floods, droughts, improved air quality and a stable climate. extreme weather and famines are Cap-and-trade systems have a proven relikely results of climate change.1 • The CBO estimates that compliance cord of success in reducing various types costs could be reduced by 30 % if of emissions. In the 1990s, cap-and-trade revenues from the auction were reeffectively reduced sulfur and nitrogen distributed into the economy.2 oxides at a price tag below initial EPA esti• Upstream monitoring reduces the mates.4 Similarly, the European Union EmisEPA’s monitoring burden to only sion Trading Program successfully reduced 2,000 carbon sources.3 E.U. greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels in 2007.5 Finally, the Chicago Climate Exchange in the United States has achieved voluntary but legally binding commitments from national corporations to reduce carbon emissions.6 The scope of a national program, however requires modifications to previous designs. Analysis Upstream monitoring, offsets, and an auction are the critical elements of a cap-andtrade design that fits America’s economic and environmental needs. An upstream monitoring system requires producers or importers of gas, coal, and oil to hold allowance for each C02 ton equivalent of gas, coal or oil that they introduce into the economy. The sheer amount of total emissions points in the country, including individual homes, automobiles, and small factories, makes monitoring every emission point impossible with downstream regulation. Upstream regulation only requires an estimated 2,000 sites be monitored.7 This broad scope also better distributes the burden of carbon reductions. By incentivizing more carbon sources to reduce emissions, the same national reduction will require fewer reductions from each source. Auctioning allowances provides the best opportunity for lowering the cost of cap-andtrade to the economy. In this system, the EPA will auction a predetermined number of 8

Key Facts

carbon allowances each year. Because these companies paid for the allowances, they will raise the price of the fossil fuels that they distribute to compensate for the upfront costs of allowances. As a result, EPA proceeds from the auction will roughly equal the total price increase in fossil fuels across the country. To ease the burden of the cap-andtrade system, the government can redistribute this money in the form of tax refunds. This money should be directed to those with little disposable income, who are most disproportionately affected by increased transportation, electricity, and heating costs.

Finally, offsets allow producers of fossil fuels to fund emission reductions internationally in place of an equivalent number of allowances. Under this provision, the restoration or preservation of forests that reduced C02 emissions by ten tons would give a company ten free allowances. As ocean and forest destruction accounts for much of the excess C02 in the atmosphere, this provision addresses a critical cause of climate change. Additionally, this provision eases the direct burden on American households while not sacrificing global emission reductions. Next Steps The United States Congress should pass a cap-and-trade program employing upstream monitoring, the auctioning of allowances, the distribution of auction revenues back to the public, and offsets. The EPA should include other measures such as banking of allowances and measures to reconcile the plan with global trade regulations. Alternatively, states or regions could implement this policy, but it will be most effective if implemented nation-wide. Endnotes
1. IPCC, 2007: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 7-22. 2. “Issues in the Design of a Cap-and-Trade Program for Carbon Emissions.” Economic and Budget Issue Brief. Congressional Budget Office. Nov. 25, 2003. 3. Stavins, Robert M. A U.S. Cap-and-Trade System to Address Global Climate Change. PublicationNo. 2007-13. The Hamilton Project, The Brookings Institution. 2007. 4. Burtraw, Dallas, David A. Evans, Alan Krupnick, Karen Palmer, and Russell Toth. “Economics of Pollution Trading for S02 and NOx.” Annual Review of Environmental Resources. (2005): 253-289. 5. “EU EmissionsTrading Scheme.” EurActiv. Jan. 16, 2009. http://www.euractiv.com/en/climate-change/ eu-emissions-trading-scheme/article-133629 6. http://www.chicagoclimatex.com/content.jsf?id=821 7. Stavins, Robert M. A U.S. Cap-and-Trade System to Address Global Climate Change. PublicationNo. 2007-13. The Hamilton Project, The Brookings Institution. 2007.

• Normal economic arguments against capand-trade do not apply. This policy changes consumer preferences by raising the price of energy-intensive products, but it gives money back to consumers to ease the transition. • The design of this system eases the price fluctuations and loopholes that plagued the European system and creates a flexible and efficient system suitable to our country’s ideals and economic situation.

Talking Points


A Green Tax Refund

Cory Connolly, Michigan State University The responsible spending of tax refunds on energy efficient products would help reduce energy consumption and save money.

In the current economic recession, an increasing number of people have limited disposable income. This excludes a large segment of society from the environmental movement and the potential monetary savings from energy efficiency upgrades. Energy efficient products have the opportunity to benefit the environment and save many households money. Americans spend approximately 2,200 dollars on energy per house each year.6 A relatively comprehensive energy efficiency makeover can be expensive; however, energy efficiency investments can be very small. For example, home appliances account for 20% of a household’s energy bills.7 While these upgrades seem relatively cheap, with current economic conditions the initial investment may be too high for many households. Energy efficiency is often referred to as the proverbial low hanging fruit in establishing the green economy, but it may not be low enough. Additionally, the willingness to invest in such changes may not be present. Policy can help address both of these issues. In 2003, 77 percent of tax payers received a tax refund and the average tax refund was 2,100 dollars.8 The nature of a tax refund makes it seem like a windfall and can often result in unwise spending because of this perception. A tax refund, spent on energy efficiency, reduces energy consumption and lowers energy costs.

Analysis Tax payers can have their refund deposited directly into their bank account or they can receive the check via mail. In order to promote responsible spending of tax refunds, increased energy efficiency, and energy savings, a tax payer should be given an incentive to spend their refund check on energy efficient products. Energy Star, a program run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DoE), would certify the products that would be eligible. In 2008, Energy Star appliances and products helped avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 29 million cars. Simultaneously, households and businesses saved $19 billion on their utility bills.9 This option would allow a taxpayer to invest a portion of their tax return to energy efficient products and appliances for their home or apartment. Each tax payer, using their tax refund check, would have the choice to purchase energy conserving products at a reduced rate. A staggered system with matching funds paid for by the federal government would be established. The system would be divided based on traditional tax brackets. When purchasing Energy Star products with a tax refund check the lowest income brackets would have their investments matched by 10

• In 2008 Energy Star appliances and products helped avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 29 million cars.1 • Energy Star appliances and products helped save $19 billion on utility bills of households and businesses.2 • 17% of US carbon emissions come from households.3 • In 2003, 77 percent of tax payers received a tax refund.4

Key Facts

the federal government, making their tax refund go much farther than before. For each income level higher, the amount of money pledged by the government would decline. A program like this has the potential to be expensive; however, energy efficiency has been a major priority in federal spending and it promises to be the most enticing and effective way of curbing greenhouse gas emissions in the short term. There are numerous existing incentive programs for reducing energy consumption and increasing efficiency. Targeted specifically at lower income sectors of the economy, this program should be looked at as an auxiliary to existing programs and should exist along side other programs. To avoid potential overspending, incentives should not overlap on purchases; under this program a purchase should not be subject to further tax rebates or incentives from other federal or state programs. Next Steps Coordinating the program between the EPA, DoE, and various stores that carry certified energy efficient products will be critical. Additionally, checks would need to demonstrate some designation based on tax bracket in order to ensure that the highest incentives only apply to tax payers who could otherwise not afford energy efficiency upgrades.

• The average US home produces approximately twice as much carbon dioxide in one year as the average car and US consumption of energy is a major tax on the environment.5 • Energy efficient products and retrofits have the opportunity to benefit the environment and save many households money. • The nature of a tax refund makes it seem like a windfall and can often result in unwise spending because of this perception.

Talking Points

In the United States 17% of carbon emissions come from households.10 By drawing on tax refunds emissions reductions and energy savings can be achieved by using a pool of money that is more likely to be perceived as expendable. This program would help to ensure that this income is used responsibly for individuals, businesses, and the environment. It would also be more aggressive than current tax credits for similar projects for lower income households. Endnotes
1. Energy Star, “About Energy Star,” http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=about.ab_index. 2. Energy Star, “About Energy Star,” http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=about.ab_index. 3. Understanding Energy Consumption. http://revelle.net/lakeside/lakeside.new/understanding.html. September 2008. 4. FDIC, “Expecting a Tax Refund? Beware of Costly Loans and Other Pitfalls,” Winter 2004/2005, http:// www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnwin0405/tax.html 5. “Individual Emissions - In the Home | Climate Change - Greenhouse Gas Emissions | U.S. EPA.” US Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. <http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ ind_home.html>. 6. Energy Star, “Where Does My Money Go?”, http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_pie. 7. Energy Star, “Appliances and Home Electronics,” http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/appliances/ index.cfm/mytopic=10020 8. FDIC, “Expecting a Tax Refund? Beware of Costly Loans and Other Pitfalls,” Winter 2004/2005, http:// www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnwin0405/tax.html. 9. Energy Star, “About Energy Star,” http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=about.ab_index. 10. Understanding Energy Consumption.http://revelle.net/lakeside/lakeside.new/understanding.html. September 2008.


Federal Loans for District Energy: Cogeneration for Communities
Robert Henry Weaver, Amherst College The federal government should create a loan program to facilitate the development across the United States of district energy systems that combine heat and power generation to drastically improve efficiency. In a district energy system that uses cogeneration, or combined heat and power (CHP), one or more central plants serve the heating, cooling, and even electricity needs of a community or institution. The large quantities of waste heat from electricity generation are used to produce steam or hot water that is then transported through a network of pipes to individual buildings. Today in the United States, about 9 percent of total electricity production is from CHP systems. If we increased that figure to 20 percent by 2030, we would prevent the release into the atmosphere of more than 848 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and create 936,000 jobs in communities across the nation.2 The United States already has about 2,500 operating district energy schemes, but they are mostly limited to large institutions and downtown areas. Communities lack credit; banks remain reluctant to lend money, especially for a project that could take up to a decade to pay for itself. In order to encourage the expansion of district energy into local communities, the federal government should create a loan fund that offers lowinterest financing for the construction of district energy CHP systems.

• 70 percent of the energy used in electric generation in the United States is wasted as heat released into the atmosphere.1 • A typical cogeneration plant reverses the ratio, transforming 75-80 percent of the fuel’s heat into useful energy.2

Key Facts

Analysis Denmark provides an excellent example of the technical and economic viability of cogeneration. During the 1990s, the Danish government completely overhauled the country’s energy system, establishing local energy districts that incorporated CHP. Over the past thirty years, Denmark’s gross domestic product has doubled while its energy use has remained stable. Individual projects in the United States have also had encouraging results. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has reduced its emissions by 45 percent with the construction of a 21-megawatt CHP plant,3 and Amherst College reports 500,000 dollars of yearly savings from its new facility.4 Congress has already created some incentives for cogeneration. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 added CHP to the list of alternative energy sources that receive a 10 percent tax credit, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a limited amount of funding for new projects. A loan program could build on the success of previous efforts to dramatically accelerate the development of district energy systems in the United States. 12

A pool of money to finance these projTalking Points ects could be modeled on the Advanced • District energy is a community-based Technology Vehicles Manufacturing solution that will create jobs and keep (ATVM) Loan Program, which was creatmoney in local economies. ed by the Energy Independence and Se• CHP can lower and stabilize energy curity Act of 2007 to promote the develprices for homes and businesses while opment and production of new, cleaner reducing greenhouse gas emissions. automobile technology. The Department of Energy solicits applications and selects recipients based on the potential of the technology and the financial viability of the company. The loan must be repaid within the projected life of the project or 25 years, with the possibility of deferring payment for up to 5 years and a fairly low interest rate. Congress originally appropriated 25 billion dollars for the program, and a continuing resolution in late 2008 has allowed lending to continue.5 Next Steps The price tag for district energy projects ranges from under a million dollars for very small systems to 150 million for the most extensive. An appropriation comparable to that for the ATVM program could finance hundreds of new projects. Many parties must come together to realize a new district energy system, and the major discussions between stakeholders—customers, local government, utility companies, and developers— must take place on a local level. But by extending loans targeted to district energy, the federal government can ease the credit crunch and realize the potential of a practical, feasible energy solution. Endnotes
1. Pierce, Morris. “The Opportunity and Necessity for New District Energy Systems in the Northeast United States.” Hot|Cool. Danish Board of District Heating. 2008: 2. 6-8. 2. Shipley, Anna, et al. “Combined Heat and Power: Effective Energy Solutions for a Sustainable Future.” Oak Ridge National Laboratory. December 2008. 3. “MIT Cogeneration Project.” <http://cogen.mit.edu>. 4. “Amherst College Cogeneration Plant.” <https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/greenamherst/cogeneration>. 5. US Dept. of Energy. “Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.” <http://www.atvmloan.energy.gov/>.


Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: The Campground Solution
Weston R. Laabs, Michigan State University By revamping existing RV sites at campgrounds around the Midwest, federal and state agencies could establish an interim solution to the insufficient number of battery switch-out or quick charge stations needed to sustain the impending influx of electric vehicles in the automobile market. Alternative fuels have already penetrated the U.S. market. With increasing demand for these cheap and renewable fuel sources, American-based car companies like General Motors and Ford have already revealed plans for fully-electric or electric with rangeextending gas motor cars available to the average consumer by late 2010 or 2011. With this impending influx of electric cars and vehicles (EVs), infrastructure will prove to be the largest obstacle.

• Electric Vehicles will be available to the public in late 2010 or early 2011.1 • 35% of drivers park their car in domestic garages at night, giving them access to electricity.2 • There are over 14,600 state-owned and private campgrounds in the U.S.3

Key Facts

With a battery that can take five passengers forty miles on a single six-hour charge for less than a quarter of a dollar, new electric cars like the GM Volt and 2011 Ford Focus will generate demand among consumers who are sick of paying $30 for a tank at the pump.4 Since the average American’s commute is less than 50 minutes round trip, the first generation of mainstream electric cars are already affordable, environmentally conscious alternatives.5

EV critics say that consumers are weary to invest in an electric car with no means to charge it en route. This idea bridges the gap between a lack of available charging stations and a nation-wide network of quick-charge or battery-replacement stations. It could take years to establish such a network. With electric cars on the horizon and demand pushing through the roof, Americans need some interim solutions. Analysis A simple, pre-existing solution to the need for charging stations along major highways is to form a partnership with chain campgrounds, e.g. KOA, Yogi Bear, and the state and national park services. These family campgrounds are usually no farther than five to ten miles from major interstates and are common across the country. Additionally, the campgrounds experience the heaviest usage during weekends, which leave the majority of their RV electric hookups available for weekday commuters, who would gain the most from this type of program. These campgrounds usually house 100-250 RV sites, which can accommodate mass electric needs. The campgrounds would need to be fitted with fast charging, high efficiency outlets; even a $5/charge fee would give the campground a ~2000% profit, while remaining an unbeatable attractive bargain to the alternative $30 tank of gas. With 14

grant money already available to companies promoting green technology (the U.S. Department of Energy is offering $2.4 billion),6 the campgrounds could minimize start-up costs for the project and quickly reap the benefits. The industry has already made vast improvements in quick-charge Talking Points • Retooling electric RV hookups at campgrounds stations. Unfortunately, housewill offer an electric charging solution for travhold power grids do not have the elers overnight or on-the-go. amount of energy necessary to • Much of the start-up costs for similar projects charge a battery in less than 4-8 have been covered by government grants, alhours. Quick charge stations can lowing for large economic gain by participants, charge a car in 10-45 minutes, cost including needy agencies like the Department between $500 and $2000, and are of Natural Resources. already available in overseas mar• Implementing the project will take an estimatkets.7 The main obstacle to impleed 9 months to complete, matching estimates mentation of this policy is the limitfor public electric vehicle availability. ed capacity of the U.S. power grid. However, these ideas are exactly the types of interim solutions necessary to jump start EV infrastructure development: campgrounds can provide charge stations quickly and can be easily retooled to support quick-charging as the technology becomes available in the U.S. Next Steps A program in Massachusetts and Connecticut applied for a federal grant to help build 575 charging stations across the two states. The estimated total cost of the project is a mere $1.39 million, half of which was gained through federal funding.8 A deadline for this type of Midwest project is pressing; Nissan and GM plan to have publicly available EVs on the road by the fall of 2010. Seattle’s infrastructure program has been successful in implementing a 14-month timeline to build 2,550 charging stations around the city.9 Using similar math, the Midwest has the capacity to build over 1,600 stations in a 9-month period. With an estimated 80 campgrounds in the Midwest between these two companies, a goal of 800 stations (ten per campground) is easily obtainable in a 9 month timeline, ensuring infrastructure availability matching Nissan, Ford, and GM estimates for EV availability. Endnotes
1. “Chevy Volt Exact Launch Will Be Mid-November 2010, Tens of Thousands in 2011” GM-volt.com: 20 April 2009. http:// gm-volt.com/2009/04/20/chevy-volt-exact-launch-date-will-be-mid-november-2010-tens-of-thousands-in-2011/ 2. Clarke, Ronald V. and Mayhew, Pat. “Parking Patterns and Car Theft Risks: Policy-Relevant Findings from the British Crime Survey” Rutgers: School of Criminal Justice. 1994. 3. RVThereYet? RV Park and Campground Directory. Accessed 27 April 2010. http://www.rvthereyet.cc/ 4. “GM Builds First Lithium-ion Battery for Chevrolet Volt” (7 January 2010) http://www.gm.com/corporate/responsibility/environment/news/2010/voltbattery_010710.jsp 5. Stephen Buckner, “Americans Spend More Than 100 Hours Commuting to Work Each Year, Census Bureau Reports” (U.S. Census Press Office 30 March 2005) http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/american_ community_survey_acs/004489.html 6. Martin LeMonica, “Energy Department awards auto battery grants” (CNet News 5 August 2009) http://news.cnet. com/8301-11128_3-10303477-54.html. 7. “Vancouver Charges Ahead with Electric-car Plug-ins” (CBC Canada 10 July 2009) http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2009/07/09/bc-vancouver-electric-cars-plug-ins.html 8. “NU Plans Electric Car Charging Stations” (Environment Northeast 7 April 2009) www.env-ne.org/public/resources/ pdf/ENE_PressClips_Pilot_Project_Announcement_20090408.pdf 9. Scott Gutirrez, “Seattle gets $1.4 million for hybrid trucks and electric car charging stations” (SeattlePi 26 August 2009) http://blog.seattlepi.com/transportation/archives/177526.asp.


Bike-Based Mass Transit System
Theresa Gasinski, Michigan State University By implementing a bike-share program, municipalities can enhance and expand their existing public transportation system with minimum infrastructure – increasing both mobility and safety. Bike-share programs consist of a network of bicycles strategically distributed around a city for low-cost use. These bicycles can be picked up at any 24 hour self-serve bicycle station, and returned to any other bicycle station. People can sign up for daily, weekly or annual memberships, which can be purchased online or at any bicycle station. Users swipe their card or enter their passwords at the bicycle station, select a bicycle from the rack, and ride. To help discourage theft, many programs consider bicycles kept for over 24 hours to be stolen, and charge the user’s credit card.5 Not all programs require such sophisticated technology. Some can be as simple as distributing uniformly painted bikes throughout a city, and allowing citizens to pick up, use and return the bicycles at random. However, these less-sophisticated programs tend to fail faster, because the bicycles cannot be secured or monitored and thus succumb to vandalism and theft. Start-up costs for bike-share proKey Facts grams – which include direct capital • According to the Federal Highway Admincosts (bicycles and bicycle stations), istration’s 2001 National Household Travel direct operating costs (maintenance, survey, 40% of all trips taken in the United electricity to power bicycle stations), States are two miles away or less, 74 percent associated capital costs (infrastrucof which are traveled by car.1 ture construction), and associated • In its first year, Barcelona’s Bicing program operating costs (bicycle repairs and increased cycling usage by 1%.2 maintenance, upkeep on existing bi• Montreal’s Bixi program estimates that it has saved over 3,000,000 lbs of greenhouse cycle paths) – vary greatly depending gases since its inception in May 2009.3 on the system, population density, • Vélib’, Paris’s program, reported that in service area, fleet size, and existing 2008, 28% of its users were less likely to infrastructure. Clear Channel Outuse their personal vehicles; this number indoor’s SmartBike system estimates creased to 46% in 2009.4 $3,600 per bicycle (this includes capital costs – such as the cost of producing/installing/distributing bicycles, stations and a centralized computer system). Cyclocity estimates $4,400 per bicycle, and Bixi estimates $3,000 per bicycle.6 In recent years, bike-share programs have proven successful, from the established Velib in Paris, with over 20,600 bicycles, to the up-and-coming Nice Ride Minnesota, with 1,000 bicycles. Other well-known programs include Bicing in Barcelona (6,000 bicycles), Hangzhou Public Bicycle System in China (10,000 bicycles), Washington DC (120 bicycles), and Bixi in Montreal (5,000 bicycles). Denver, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix and New York City are all considering bike-share programs as well. Bike-share programs can be organized through a number of different entities: the government, a quasi-governmental transport agency, a university, a non-profit organization, an advertising company, or a for-profit private business.7 Initial start-up costs present 16

one of the greatest challenges to a bike-share program. While they vary, such costs can be fairly expensive. It can take several years for a bike-share program to be economically viable. Safety concerns pose an additional obstacle to implementing a successful bike-share program. Studies show that even when a comprehensive system of off-road bike paths exist, bicyclists still opt to ride in the street or on the sidewalk. Moreover, car drivers, cyclists and pedestrians need to be made more aware of the rules-of-the-road and right-of-way. Next Steps To successfully implement a bike-share program, loTalking Points cal municipalities must first • Despite the increased development and expansion of conduct a detailed survey public transit in recent years, it continues to isolate pedestrians and bicyclists. of pedestrian traffic flow, to • Bike-share programs will increase transportation efdetermine how many bike ficiency and city mobility, provide new opportunities stations will be needed, and for economic growth, decrease traffic congestion, where to place them. The and improve environmental quality. cities should also analyze its • By creating a multi-modal public transit system, which existing bike paths, to deterincludes both motorized and non-motorized transmine which areas will need portation, cities can better meet the ever-changing the most improvement. Its transportation needs of their citizens. goal should be to create a comprehensive system of off-road bike paths, especially in areas with the heaviest traffic flow and most businesses. City councils should also analyze existing bike-share programs – such as ‘Nice Ride Minnesota’ and ‘Clear Channel Smartbike’ in Washington D.C. – to better understand how a bike-share program can be structured. Endnotes
1. “The Top Ten Facts on Biking and Walking in the United States.” America Bikes. [n/d]. http://www.americabikes.org/Documents/Top-10-Facts.pdf 2. Paul DeMaio, “Bike-sharing: History, Impacts, Models of Provision, and Future,” Journal of Public Transportation 12 (2009):43. 3. Ibid. 12:45. 4. Ibid. 12:43. 5. For continual updates and helpful resources about new and established bike-share programs across the world, visit “The Bike-Sharing Blog,” MetroBike, LLC, 24 January 2010 http://bike-share.blogspot. com/. 6. “Bike-Share Opportunities in New York City, 2009,” New York City Department of City Planning, 2010, www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/transportation/bike_share_complete.pdf 7. For more information about different types and analysis of bike-share programs, read DeMaio, Paul “Bike-share: History, Impacts, Models of Provision, and Future” in The Journal of Public Transportation (downloadable via The Bike-Sharing Blog).


Living Walls: Indoor Biofilters in College Campus Buildings
Dylan Beach, Denison University Indoor living walls are a new sustainable technology that lowers indoor air ventilation costs, provides educational opportunities, and offers unique improvements to health and well-being. Indoor conditions, such as poor air quality within office buildings, often contribute to stressful work environments. However, green space has been shown to help with physical and psychological problems, such as “sick building syndrome,” a problem that contributes to employee absenteeism in office buildings around the world. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that about one-third of absenteeism due to illness stems from poor air quality; a European study concluded that worker absenteeism can be reduced by 15 percent by greening indoor space.1 The percentage of green space in people’s living environment has a positive association with the perceived general health of residents according to a study by Cornell University. It also mentions that people with a secondary education benefited most out of all education levels from green space.2 A college campus then seems a perfect location for indoor green space.

• Estimated to cost $1500 per m2. • Can filter 50% of the benzene and toluene and up to 90 percent of the formaldehyde in the air during a single pass. • Living walls pay themselves back in an estimated 10 years.

Key Facts

One way to add green space to an indoor environment is by constructing a living wall. Living walls are beginning to pop up in buildings around the world. They are an example of cutting edge, multifunctional green infrastructure, acting as biofilters in addition to being aesthetically pleasing. They generally have vertically arranged panels made of polypropylene plastic containers, geotextiles, irrigation systems, a growing medium, and vegetation. The system can either be passive where air naturally circulates or active where it is integrated into the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.1 Few living walls however, have found their way into American universities. Several colleges in Canada have installed indoor living walls, but Drexel University is the only American university that has begun construction of a living wall at a multi-story level. Analysis The costs associated with indoor living walls mostly focus on initial installation and maintenance (cost and man power.) If the living wall is an active system then the HVAC system circulates air through the living wall, so there is still the cost associated with this system. The University of Guelph reported utility savings derived from not having to bring in as much outside air that must be warmed up or cooled down to room temperature. Based on these savings, a living wall would pay for itself in about ten years since 40% of a building’s utility costs are for ventilation.3 The possibility of improving 18

productivity of staff and students as well as improving a campus’ image means the wall could pay itself back much more quickly. A sample budget in The University Waterloo study lists costs of $1500 per square meter. Included in this figure are plants, growth medium, support structure, and plumbing system parts. These costs can increase slightly as wall complexity is increased and by adding anchoring structures for multi-level walls.3 There are costs associated with maintaining the wall. Plants on the wall have a 10% turnover rate per year and have to be replaced. About 70% of the maintenance is basic horticultural care which can be handled by student workers or volunteers. The remaining 30% of the maintenance is standard mechanical upkeep that most building mechanics can handle in as low as five hours per month.3

• Living walls filter toxins and add oxygen to indoor air. • Provide aesthetically pleasing indoor environments that can be used by faculty and students for educational purposes. • Reduces the toxic waste disposal of HVAC filters. • Less new aire needs to be brought in, reducing energy costs of HVAC system which comprises 40% of a buildings energy costs.

Talking Points

Living walls act as biofilters, sustainably filtering volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as toluene, methylethylketone (MEK), and formaldehyde. Research at the University of Guelph has shown that the system can remove half of the benzene and toluene in the air during a single pass and up to 90% of the formaldehyde.4 HVAC filters are carbon based and generally disposable. Symbiotic bacteria in the biofilter sustainably break down the toxins into usable forms of energy for the plants which, depending on the size of the biofilter, reduces or eliminates the economic and environmental costs of toxic waste disposal associated with HVAC filters. Endnotes
1. Vowles, Andrew. “Guelph-Humber Plant Wall a Breath of Fresh Air” 2007. 19 Jan. 2010 <http://www. uoguelph.ca/atguelph/04-11-10/featuresair.shtml>. 2. Maas J, Verheij RA, Groenewegen PP, de Vries S, Spreeuwenberg P. “Green space, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation?” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 2006. Vol.60. No 7:58792. 19 Jan. 2010 <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2566234/?tool=pubmed>. 3. Wismer, Susan. “Living Wall: A Feasibility Study for the SLC.” Final Report ERS 250. 2002. 22 Jan. 2010 <http://www.watgreen.uwaterloo.ca/projects/library/f02livingwall.pdf>. 4. Darlington A., Chan M., Malloch D., Pilger C., Dixon M.A. “Biofiltration of Indoor Air: Implications for Air Quality.” 2002. 29 January 2010 <http://www.ces.uoguelph.ca/research/envweb/Biofiltration%20 of%20Indoor%20Air.htm>.


Dry-Cooling Power Plants To Reduce Water Consumption
Riley Wyman, The Colorado College Innovative dry-cooling systems enable thermoelectric power generation to reduce consumption of water resources by 90 percent, increase flexibility in facility location, and hold consumers accountable for their water use. The arid state of Colorado faces a severe dearth of renewable water resources to support its growing energy demand. Thermoelectric power generation facilities are the second largest water user in the country, following agricultural irrigation.1 In order to cool the steam that powers these plants, which account for 89 percent of electricity generation, wet cooling systems are fed tremendous quantities of water. Power plants take 75 percent of their water from surface water and 20 percent from nonrenewable groundwater.2 Much of this water is returned to stream flow, but over three percent, or 3 billion gallons per day, is permanently consumed.3 Traditionally, power plants have had access to enough water for their wet cooling processes, but scarcity has challenged this convention. Water has become the most important consideration in regulating site location and permitting for power plants.1 Colorado energy firms are uniquely worse-off than companies in other states, as locations with natural water sources are extremely rare, and moving and treating water consumes Key Facts massive amounts of energy.4 Growing cli• Dry-cooling uses 90% less water.3 mate change impacts, paired with a rap• Over 3 billion gallons of water, or idly expanding population means that lim4,500 Olympic sized swimming pools, ited groundwater resources are becoming are permanently consumed daily by scarcer while water and energy demands thermoelectric power generation.3 grow. In order to preserve water resources • Thermoelectric power generation acand energy security, Colorado must reconcounts for 89% of electricity generasider its policies towards one of its biggest tion in the US.2 water users — thermoelectric power generation facilities. The biggest cities in the West were built on desert, semi-arid lands—requiring dependence on nonrenewable water sources such as aquifers, and depleting, conflict-ridden surface sources like the Colorado River. As cities’ capacity to support growth slows, water is becoming one of the most pressing issues in the West. Western water law is unlike any other, requiring unique and innovative policies that take into account its structure. Substantive changes to water policies are within the purview of the Public Utilities Commission, and independent body responsible for permitting and regulating site location for power plants in the state.5 Analysis Through the permit process, the PUC should compel future thermoelectric power generation facilities to install dry-cooling systems as opposed to conventional wet-cooling systems as a way to address unsustainable water requirements.2 This permit process 20

should be redesigned to include water consumption analysis as a part of the environmental impact assessment (EIA). Renewal permit seekers should also face this EIA and address unsustainable water practices through compelled efficiency measures and potential cooling system changes. Dry-cooling systems rely on large radiators and fans to cool steam water. This falls under the purview of environmental impact and thus within the scope of the PUC, as dry-cooling systems require no water withdrawal or consumption. Dry-cooling uses over 90 percent less water than wet-cooling systems and can be sited far from natural water sources with minimal transfer costs, allowing greater flexibility in power plant locations.3 The permit process is the best way to mandate dry-cooling systems, as it skirts the powerful influence of power companies at the state legislative level and is simple and straightforward. The PUC also has sufficient rate-making power to justify plant building and the higher capital costs of a dry-cooling system, whereas county land use and state legislative bodies do not. Obstacles that must be overcome include the higher start-up and operating costs of dry-cooling systems compared to their wet-cooling counterparts. Forcing power plant builders to internalize the environmental costs with dry-cooling systems will raise electricity costs. Further, dry-cooling systems can reduce the efficiency of the plant by as much as ten percent. This is especially true in extremely hot climates, as the fans can only lower water temperatures to the ambient air temperature.6 Some environmentalists may not support the policy because it would enable continued systemic reliance on coal-fired power rather than making way for increased use of renewable resources. Next Steps To prevent further exploitation of water resources, the PUC should enact a special mandate that goes into immediate effect. As we move towards renewable energy resources in the future, this permitting process can translate to concentrating solar power (CSP) plants, as their plants require similar cooling systems to that of thermoelectric plants.7 Partnership between government and facility developers is critical to success, as there will be an increased need for finding suitable development sites, more opposition to increased costs, and potentially decreased efficiency at the plants. However, this policy will reduce financial and environmental costs in the future by ensuring long run access to water for municipal use, by internalizing environmental costs, and by translating to solar power generation facilities in the future.8 Endnotes
1. Feely, Thomas J III; Pletcher, Sara; Carney, Barbara, and McNeamar, Andrea T. “Department of Energy/National Energy Technology Laboratory’s Power Plant-Water R&D Program.” www.netl.doe.gov 2. “The Last Straw: Water Use by Power Plants in the Arid West” Hewlett Foundation Energy Series and the Clean Air Task Force, April 2003. http://www.westernresourceadvocates.org/water/wateruse.php 3. Torcellini, P., Long, N., and Judkoff, R. “Consumptive Water Use for US Power Production” National Renewable Energy Laboratories, December 2003 4. “Energy/Water Nexus” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute: A Joint Institute of the University of Colorado & the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. http://rasei.colorado.edu/index.php?id=362&pid=362&page=Energy/ Water_Nexus&parent=64 5. http://www.dora.state.co.us/puc/ 6. Hogan, Michael. “The secret to low-water use, high-efficiency concentrating solar power” Climate Progress, April 29, 2009. http://climateprogress.org/2009/04/29/csp-concentrating-solar-power-heller-water-use/ 7. Bugle Editor, “There Ain’t No Free Lunch” The Button Valley Bugle October 29, 2007 http://buttonvalley.wordpress. com/2009/10/27/there-aint-no-free-lunch/ 8. Schimmolle, Brian. “Wet, Dry and In Between” Power Engineering, March 2007.


Reducing Temperatures and Pollution Through Cool-Colored Roads
Michael Tracht, University of Chicago Using light-colored pavement would mitigate rising temperatures by reflecting sunlight, reducing cooling costs, and increasing a road’s longevity. The use of dark-colored pavement and roofing has contributed to the rise of temperatures in urban “heat islands.” These dark materials absorb sunlight, and then radiate the absorbed heat, leading to higher temperatures in urban areas. In response, houses and other buildings use more energy for air conditioning, as do cars. This increased energy consumption in turn increases fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In 2005, in response to rising energy costs, California’s building code was modified to require that roof materials be light-colored, or “cool-colored.” Since the lighter colors reflect some of the heat that would otherwise be absorbed into buildings, less energy is used for air conditioning. However, roads also contribute to heat islands. Just like roofs, roads cover an immense area, and are often made of dark materials; however, cool-colored materials already exist and are used for roads. Cool-colored roads also last longer than dark ones, since higher temperatures decrease pavement durability. If a significant portion of dark roads were lightened, money would be saved on construction in the long term, and the manufacturing plants’ decreased production would reduce their own emissions as well as their energy consumption.

• Black pavement and roof temperatures can as much as 80° F above ambient air temperature, which leads to increased energy use in the summer.1 • Grey pavements can reflect up to 1,000 percent of the sunlight reflected by black roads.2 • The area of roads in the United States is immense – federal highways cover over 2 billion square meters, ignoring state and local roads.3

Key Facts

Analysis The idea to use cool-colored materials is not new. Testimony as far back as 1989 advocates their use,4 and at this point, three states’ building codes encourage cool-colored roofs.5 However, no such guidelines exist on a large scale for road materials, though data support the energy benefits of cool-colored materials. One study found that if 80 percent the 2.28 billion square meters of commercial-building roofs were retrofitted with a material reflecting 55 percent of sunlight instead of 20 percent, the U.S. would save $735 million and 10.4 trillion watt-hours (TWh) of energy6 in one year, and offset the yearly carbon dioxide emissions of 1.2 million cars. Since roads cover at least as much area as roofs, their conversion could also save equal or greater amounts of energy, money, and emissions. The combined 157,000 miles7 of federal highways cover 2.43 billion square meters, based on Federal Highway Authority standards. This total ignores all state and local roads. Conversion of roads from black asphalt to grey concrete could reflect up to 1,000 percent of roads’ presently-reflect22

ed solar energy – black asphalt reflects around 5 percent of the sun’s radiation, while a weathered “cool white” material reflects 55 percent.8 Additionally, high pavement temperatures have a significant negative effect on roads’ weightbearing abilities.9 By reducing maximum temperatures, the roads would last longer, reducing frequency of repair, and over time decreasing the amount of paving material required.

• Roads that reflect more heat last longer, saving money, and reducing pollution from pavement manufacturing. The conversion process could also create jobs. • No money would need to be spent on development, as light-colored pavements already exist. • Roads absorb at least half as much light as do roofs, and therefore could potentially drastically reduce absorbed heat.

Talking Points

Next Steps One could immediately begin to advocate for the inclusion of paving color in regulations at any governmental level. It is not necessary to immediately tear up streets; since roads have a limited lifespan, light-colored pavements could be phased in as roads undergo routine maintenance and repaving. Depending on the time frame and provisions of the repaving, there may actually be an increase in infrastructure projects. Only in the long term, perhaps 10 years or more, would manufacturing in this sector actually be reduced. Endnotes
1. Ronnen Levinson, “Cool Colors for Summer: Characterizing the Radiative Properties of Pigments for Cool Roofs” (presentation, EETD Noon Seminar, Berkeley, CA, April 22, 2004). 2. Ronnen Levinson and Hashem Akbari, “Potential benefits of cool roofs on commercial buildings: conserving energy, saving money, and reducing emission of greenhouse gases and air pollutants.” Energy Efficiency OnlineFirst, 14 March 2009, 1. DOI 10.1007/s12053-008-9038-2. 3. Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, “Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.” http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/interstate.cfm. 4. Hashem Akbari and Art Rosenfeld, “Urban Trees and White Surfaces for Saving Energy and Reducing Atmospheric Pollution,” Testimony before the Subcommittee on Forests, Family Farms, and Energy of the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, Serial 101–37, 7 June 7 1989, 35–80. 5. Felicity Barringer, “White Roofs Catch On as Energy Cost Cutters.” New York Times, July 22, 2009, page A1. 6. Levinson and Akbari, “Potential benefits.” 1. 7. Federal Highway Administration, “Dwight D. Eisenhower.” 8. Levinson and Akbari, “Potential benefits.” 1. 9. D. Jones, J. Harvey, C. Monismith, Reflective Cracking Study: Summary Report. University of California Pavement Research Center report number UCPRC-SR-2007-01, December 2007


Sequester Carbon Emissions By Subsidizing Organic Agriculture
Jannie Trelogan, Wesleyan University Investing in organic agriculture will help the state of Connecticut meet defined goals in limiting carbon emissions. While the agriculture industry is not the leading source of CO2, a shift to organic agriculture would sequester CO2, thereby reducing greenhouse gas levels overall. In the natural carbon cycle, which is carbon neutral, living plants absorb CO2, then emit it as they decompose. Carbon sequestration is the point in the cycle when growing trees and plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and turn it into biomass, i.e. wood and leaves. Therefore, farms are carbon sequestration sites, which can decrease the overall amount of CO2 in the atmosphere when managed differently. According to the results of a study at the Rodale Institute, now in its 23rd year, organic agriculture is more effective at sequestering carbon than traditional agriculture because it does not use chemical fertilizers. The study concluded organic farms sequester up to 3,670 pounds of carbon per acre-foot each year.5 Considering that U.S. cropland is 431 million Key Facts acres, full conversion to organic agriculture • In 2007 the agricultural sector conwould reduce carbon emissions by 790.885 tributed 6% of total U.S. emissions, million tons annually. Since U.S. agriculture 413.1 teragrams of CO2 equivalents.1 currently emits 750 thousand tons of car• Full conversion to organic agriculture bon, this would result in sequestration of would reduce carbon emissions by 790.885 million tons annually. 790.135 million tons of carbon annually. This • Farms are carbon sequestration amount is truly significant considering that sites, which can decrease the overall it not only meets, but exceeds the emission amount of CO2 in the atmosphere reduction target laid out in the Kyoto protowhen managed differently. col by about 390 million tons. Analysis On October 1, 2008, Public Act No. 08-98 took effect, setting Connecticut’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “to levels ten per cent below the 1990 levels not later than January 1, 2020.” Through a program of research and reform across industrial, home, and agricultural sectors, the state is hoping to achieve carbon emissions of 39.9 million metric tons annually by 2020. The act also established 2050 as the target year for reducing emissions of greenhouse gas by seventy-five to eighty-five per cent below 2001 levels, a part of a larger initiative with the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers. Possible sources of funding for the program include provisions from the 2008 Farm Bill, such as the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), which allocated $78 million in grants for organic studies including “the conservation outcomes of organic practices.” The Organic Conversion Assistance Provision is particularly apt to this policy as it provides support payments of up to $20,000 per year, but no more than $80,000 over six years, for those requiring either financial or technical assistance in converting existing farmland to organic practices.6 Another source could 24

be the Connecticut - DPUC - Capital Grants for Customer-Side Distributed Resources, which could be used for infrastructure support relating to energy-distribution.7

Another possible source is farming subsidies. Currently, a higher proportion of the approximately $16.5 billion in annual farming subsidies distributed by the federal government goes to the top 10% of farms, while the other 90% of farms only receive 35% of the subsidies. This unequal distribution is highly controversial, with small farms arguing that subsidies have been used by large farms to buy others out of business.8 Large farms maintain that redistribution would result in a loss of farm value, but research has shown that simply by calculating a more specific subsidy rate for low net-worth farmers redistribution of subsidies could guard against this loss while being more fair to small farms.9 Redistribution under the auspice of this policy would serve as a compromise, between those in the environmental lobby who want to reduce subsidies to protect local agriculture, and those in the farm lobby who fight to maintain them. Next Steps By supporting organic farming, Connecticut would move toward its goals of decreased carbon emissions. Projecting from the Rodale Institute’s research, the state could meet their goal of 39.9 million metric tons annually by 2020. Investments implemented through this policy have the added benefit of continuing the Connecticut government tradition of supporting local agriculture. Endnotes
1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “2009 U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report.” 20 November 2009. http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/usinventoryreport.html 2. Jake Whitney. “Organic Erosion / Will the term organic still mean anything when it’s adopted whole hog by behemoths such as Wal-Mart?” San Francisco Chronicle. 28 January 2007. http://articles.sfgate. com/2007-01-28/living/17227247_1_horizon-organic-organic-standards-organic-food 3. Bill Cummings. “State, region find out how hard it is to cut greenhouse gases.” Stamford Advocate. 2 March 2010. http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/local/article/State-region-find-out-how-hard-it-is-tocut-387533.php 4. Judy Benson. “Connecticut moves to curb greenhouse gas levels.” The Day. 25 December 2009. http:// www.theday.com/article/20091225/NWS12/312259893/1019&town= 5. Sayre, Laura. “Organic farming combats global warming -- big time.” Rodale Institute. Dec 12 2009. http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/ob_31 6. Lerman, Tracy. “Organic Provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill” 20 May 2008. Organic Farming Research Foundation. http://ofrf.org/policy/federal_legislation/farm_bill/080520_update.pdf) 7. Connecticut Grant Programs for Energy Efficiency. “Agricultural Grant Programs.” http://www.goodtobegreen.com/ct_energy_grants.aspx#1 8. Reidel, Brian M. “Another Year at the Federal Trough: Farm Subsidies for the Rich, Famous, and Elected Jumped Again in 2002.” The Heritage Foundation. May 24 2004 http://www.heritage.org/Research/ Budget/bg1763.cfm 9. Kirwan, Barrett E. Ed. Bruce Gardner and Daniel Sumner. “The Distribution of U.S. Agricultural Subsidies.” 5 June 2007

• Organic agriculture is a carbon negative process. Instead of emitting greenhouse gases, it has the potential to sequester 3,670 pounds of carbon per acre-foot each year.2 • In 1990, Connecticut released 44.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. In 2007 emissions had climbed by 4 percent.3 • Connecticut law dictates emissions reductions to 10 percent below 1990 levels, specifically to 39.9 million metric tons.4

Talking Points


Using the Power of the Sun: Push for Fusion Power
Samson Yuchi Mai, University of California San Diego Due to the growing demand for energy from population growth and emerging economies, fusion power is the long term solution for the world’s energy needs. Fission is the splitting of atoms. Fusion is the opposite. Fusion is a nuclear reaction. Talking Points • Fusion power is the ideal energy It occurs at 100 million Celsius with deusource. It is practically abundant, it is terium, tritium, and hydrogen. The intense environmentally friendly, and it proheat overcomes the electrostatic forces of duces enormous amounts of energy. the nuclei forcing them to fuse. The world • Fusion power has grown faster than entered the thermonuclear age when the semiconductor industry. the first fusion bomb was tested on Nov. • Even with a concentrated effort to 1, 1952. The United States and the Soviet produce carbon free energy, it may Union researched on fusion in hopes of usnot meet the future energy demand. ing it to increase their military’s advantage. After scientists realized it was not possible, they declassified their research and began cooperating with each other. Russian scientists developed the tokamak reactor in the 1960s. Since then, this model has shown the most potential at achieving fusion ignition. In the 1970s, JET (Joint European Torus) achieved the creation of the first plasma in 1983. There are several tokamak reactors in the United States: DIII-D and TFTR (Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor). The United States also have two other devices to achieve fusion power through different methods. The Z machine in New Mexico achieves fusion ignition with a “pinch” (pulse). The National Ignition Facility built the largest and most powerful laser to implode a seed to attempt fusion power. The next major international project for fusion power is ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) which is being constructed in France and funded by the European Union, United States, China, Japan, India, Russia, and South Korea. It is scheduled to be activated in 2016. This scenario is provided by Dr. Brian Cox and Dr. Saul Griffith in BBC’s Horizon “Can We Make a Star on Earth.” Dr. Cox is a particle physicist at the LHC in CERN. Dr. Saul Griffith founded Mankani Power and received the MacArthur “Genius” Award. Today’s Energy Use Average American usage = 11.4 KW Global Average usage = 2.2 KW Current Total World usage annual = 13 TW

Tomorrow’s Energy Use This scenario assumes that each person gets 5 KW by 2035.KW, which places every person at a modern standard of living. The total world energy use would be 30 TW. This scenario excludes fossil fuels because more fossil fuel usage will cause harm to the environment and humanity. To achieve this, industrialized countries use less, while developing countries increase their power consumption. 26

This is what is needed: Nuclear: 5 TW We need to install 2.5 reactors every week for the next 25 years to build 5000 reactors. Wind: 5 TW We must install full size 3 MW turbines every 3 minutes for the next 25 years, taking up about 2 percent of the land on Earth. Solar: 10 TW We must install 250 sq. m. of solar cells every second for the next 25 years. Biofuels: 2 TW We need to produce 4 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of genetically engineered algae every second for the next 25 years. This scenario does not take into account inevitable global population growth and the growing economies of the developing world such as China, India, and Brazil, which drive up the energy demand. The longer we wait to make progress, the higher the numbers. Fusion power offers several advantages over other energy sources. It has a low environmental impact, as its byproducts have short half-lives. It is safer than fission-based power, as it does not reply on critical mass for fuel. Meltdowns are therefore not possible. It is secure, producing no fissile material that can be weaponized. The fusion process can only be sustained with a constant supply of fuel and controlling magnetic fields; it shuts down otherwise. Its marginal costs for producing additional energy are low, and fuel for fusion is abundant. Fusion requires two hydrogen isotopes: tritium and deuterium. Deuterium is extracted from seawater, and tritium is extracted from lithium. Finally, fusion releases a lot of energy: after antimatter, it is the most potent source of untapped energy. The United States could have achieved fusion ignition back in 2000, but due to budget cuts development has been severely limited. The Magnetic Fusion Engineering Act of 1980 was created in order to reach ITER level development by 1990 and begin demonstration by 2000, but because of slowing of funds, the U.S. will reach ITER level development at least 10 years late. By the end of 2010, the U.S. will only spend half of the original bill’s allocated funds. Currently, the U.S. spends 500 million dollars annually on research; 200 million are committed to ITER. The government should double its overall commitment to 1 billion dollars annually to generate the R&D the nation clearly needs. Endnotes
1. 2. Brian Cox, 2009, “Can We Make a Star on Earth”, Horizon, BBC W J Nuttall, September 2006, “Fusion as an Energy Source: Challenges and Opportunities”, Institute of Physics Report , http://www.iop.org/activity/policy/Publications/file_31695.pdf 3. International Energy Agency, 2003, “Technology Options: Fusion Power”, IEA Energy Technology Policy and Collaboration Papers, http://www.iea.org/papers/2003/fusion.pdf 4. Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, “Why Fusion is Needed” Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, http://www.fusion.org. uk/Why_fusion.aspx 5. Energy Information Administration, 2006“World Total Energy Consumption by Region, Reference Case, 1990-2030”, Energy Information Administration http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/pdf/ieoreftab_1.pdf 6. Office of Science, 2006, “Office of Science 5-Year Budget Plan” FY 2007-FYm 2011”, Office of Science, http://www. ofes.fusion.doe.gov/FusionDocuments/SC5-yearplanmaster.pdf 7. Farraokh Najmabadi, Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Director of Center for Energy Research at UCSD, Lectures Series on Energy


Roosevelt Review Preview: Desalination - A Comprehensive Evaluation
Grayson Cooper, Emily Zuehlke, Jason Dunn, and Allison Briggs University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Abstract A photograph of the world would not suggest water scarcity as an issue. Water covers seventy percent of the surface area of the earth, yet only three percent of that supply is fresh water and an even smaller portion is readily available for human consumption. A necessity for human life, water resources are threatened by degradation and changes in the global climate while simultaneously facing the demands of a growing global population. To cope with water scarcity, humans have turned to a variety of alternative water resources such as pumping aquifers dry and transporting water hundreds of miles from its source. Having nearly exhausted many sources of water throughout the world, man has innovated processes to purify remaining water supplies and to create new fresh water sources out of previously non-potable water. One such process that shows particular potential is desalination. Desalination, or the process through which excess salt and contaminants are removed from water, is one of the longest used natural water purification systems in the world and is broadly used on ships to provide drinking water. Historically, it has been prohibitively expensive for widespread commercial use; however, growing concerns over scarcity have renewed interest in this technology as a means to supplement traditional supplies. While desalination has long been used in the Persian Gulf, Northern Africa, and island nations, it is now being more deliberately considered in places such as Australia and California, where traditional supplies have been exhausted or are increasingly unreliable. Still, any consideration of widespread implementation demands a closer review of the future feasibility of desalination within the constraints of technology, environmental, and economic considerations, as well as the policy concerns that must be addressed for the success of desalination. To read more, visit www.rooseveltinstitute.org for the full white paper, part of the forthcoming Roosevelt Review.



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