Here’s a quote from sustainability leader William McDonough that is the best response to nuclear energy proponents that I’ve ever heard:
“Don’t get me wrong: I love nuclear energy! It’s just that I prefer fusion to fission. And it just so happens that there’s an enormous fusion reactor safely banked a few million miles from us. It delivers more than we could ever use in just about 8 minutes. And it’s wireless!”
— William McDonough, Fortune Brainstorm Conference, 2006
Natural Gas is enjoying a huge renaissance right now, with production sky-high, and prices low. Everyone seems to be advocating for more implementation of natural gas electricity production, heating costs are down, and some are advocating for development of cars that run on compressed natural gas (I spent some time in Argentina, where many cars run on CNG, and it is cheap!)
President Obama even included natural gas as a major component of his energy/climate change speech.
It’s true that natural gas is much cleaner than coal, and gathering the resource is less damaging to the environment (no mining, but shale gas? not so good). We must remember, however, that its use still pollutes.
And it can catch on fire and explode. As this disaster reminds us:
Hercules 265 Rig, Gulf of Mexico
Natural gas disasters happen all the time, check out NaturalGasWatch.org for a comprehensive week-by-week list of explosions.
We like natural gas for the energy that it gives us, but remember that it is dangerous and does pollute. You know what abundant energy source doesn’t catch fire and explode? The wind (at least that I know of, that would be terrifying). And for that matter, when was the last time the sun caught on fire? Well, erm…I guess always, but we like it that way.
In addition to writing articles about renewable and sustainable news and ideas, Rethink.Renew. will now be posting a variety of content on the eco/sustainable theme, including pictures, gadgets, music and more!
In a historic move, the United Church of Christ voted to divest all investments in fossil fuel companies from its pensions and portfolios over the next five years. The group came to this decision because of climate change concerns. It was a move motivated by the group 350.org, which is urging other groups such as universities to shed investments in fossil fuels. The UCC is the first major religious institution in the country to drop fossil fuels from investment portfolios. United Church Funds President Donald Hart said of the decision, “Implementing the multiple strategies outlined in this resolution will demand time, money and care — but we believe creation deserves no less”. Reverend Jim Antal, the resolution’s biggest proponent said, “”This resolution becomes a model for all faith communities who care about God’s creation and recognize the urgent scientific mandate to keep at least 80 percent of the known oil, gas and coal reserves in the ground. . . This vote expresses our commitment to the future. By this vote, we are amplifying our conviction with our money.”
In taking their money out of fossil fuel investments, the Church of Christ is not only acknowledging that climate change is a real threat, but they are clearly stating that environmental stewardship is a moral issue. In the words of 350.org founder Bill McKibben, this is “a profoundly moral argument: if it’s wrong to wreck the climate, it’s wrong to profit from the wreckage.” While this will not directly reduce any carbon emissions or bankrupt any polluters, it is a bold symbolic gesture. And in the world of economics, more and more people are realizing that they can vote with their dollars.
More info at the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Ever wonder where the electricity you use comes from, and how it is produced? Check out the EPA’s Power Profiler! This nifty tool allows you to look up any location (in the US, sorry international readers!) in order to:
- Determine your power grid region based on your ZIP code and electric utility
- Compare the fuel mix and air emissions rates of the electricity in your region to the national average
- Determine the air emissions impacts of electricity use in your home or business
After shocking you with the reality of your impact from electricity use, it shows you some energy efficiency tips. Most importantly, it shows you how you can buy green power in your area through regional Renewable Energy Credit/Certificate programs!
Here’s a summary from my location: Very high coal use, higher than average carbon emission. We are trying to change that!
Check out the Power Profiler tool and let us know what you find out! What did you find most shocking or interesting?