Sunday, June 8, 2008

Good News On the Environment

Sapphire Energy claims that it has a scalable and cost-effective method of producing gasoline from algae, sunlight, and carbon dioxide. It seems too good to be true, but the company does boast the support of the prestigious Wellcome Trust, so maybe they really can do it! I recently read that converting the entire US corn crop to ethanol would still only produce enough to meet 6% of the country’s gasoline needs, so it looks like algae and electric power are the best options. Link.

Here’s a radical idea for a sales tax on carbon that is then refunded directly back to consumers: carbon emissions are reduced and the cash goes back to the people. There is an obvious element of wealth redistribution that diehard capitalists might find objectionable, but in theory you can escape the tax for the most part by purchasing different products. It’s way out there, but it just might be brilliant. Link.

The Portugese are world leaders on renewable energy. They are building the world’s largest photovoltaic solar farm and stimulating their economy by developing clean-energy manufacturing industries. Link.

Britain is building enough wind turbines to power all of its homes. China is trumping that by aiming for a tremendous 100 gigawatts of wind. That's an increase that is about equal to the entire amount of wind-produced electricity currently available worldwide. Unfortunately, with about 20 times the population of Britain China’s future energy needs are projected to be so immense that even 100 gigawatts will only make up about 5% of the requirement.

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