Friday, February 26, 2010

Do We Need Nuclear Power to Reduce Climate Change?

In researching this question, I ran across an interesting website,  Their goal is to "provide resources for critical thinking and to educate without bias. We do not express opinions on our research projects."  On this issue, at least, I think they've succeeded. Here's their piece, "Is expanding nuclear energy production necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?" Let me know what you think, and next week, I'll let you know what I think!
Stay cool,

Here's the comments I submitted to the Environmental Improvement Board regarding proposed regulation of greenhouse gases.  You can submit comments through the end of the hearing on Monday, or attend the hearing and present your comments in person.  See last week's blog post for details.

Re: Docket number EIB  08-19 (R)

I have read the proposed regulations and support the proposal to set a science based cap on greenhouse gas emissions at least 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. As a former Environment Department employee, I find the proposed regulations to be fair and enforceable. Setting these regulations will provide a more predictable environment for business than the current lack of regulation in which we are left to wonder what form regulation will take. As a scientist and writer studying climate change for the last year and a half, I've concluded, along with a large majority of scientists studying the issue, that climate change is one of the most severe environmental problems facing the species of planet Earth, including humans.

New Mexico has the chance to join California and Massachusetts in passing regulations that create a favorable environment for investment in renewable energy, spurring a green economic recovery, and to to have a large influence on what form Federal regulations will take. I encourage the Environmental Improvement Board to adopt these regulations. As reported by Ceres, a national network of investors and public interest groups, the world's largest investors released a statement in January 2010 calling on governments to adopt climate change policy that will create a stable investment environment. "Given that Copenhagen was a missed opportunity to create one fully functional international carbon market, it is more important than ever that individual governments implement regional and domestic policy change to stimulate the creation of a low carbon economy,” said Peter Dunsombe, chairman of the IIGCC, a network of European investors.

I call on the Environmental Improvement Board to adopt these regulations.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Speak Out for a Greenhouse Gas Cap in New Mexico

New Energy Economy, a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that sees New Mexico's unique opportunity to shape climate change policy in the US, has partnered with the NM Law Center, an nonprofit with a long history of legal action protecting New Mexico's environment and people, to petition the Environmental Improvement Board to reduce greenhouse gases in the state. We are ranked 2nd in the nation for solar potential and 12th for wind.  Investors are calling on governments to regulate greenhouse gases and energy efficiency to create a stable environment for low-carbon energy investments.  The EIB will hold a public hearing on Monday, March 1, 2010 beginning at 10 a.m. at the State Personnel Office Auditorium, Willie Ortiz Building, 2600 Cerrillos Rd. in Santa Fe on these proposed regulations (Note this is a CHANGE of location).  There are three ways you can make your voice heard:  Go to the public hearing and speak in favor of these regulations, which will apply to any source emitting more than 10,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases a year;  submit a written comment by the end of the hearing (see the fifth paragraph of this notice); or sign the New Energy Economy's petition in favor of the new regs.  There are currently no national caps on greenhouse gases, although federal regulations require sources emitting over 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases to report their emissions.  See this post on federal legislation.  We need to take every reasonable action on every possible front to reduce greenhouse gases in light of the seriousness of climate change.  Thanks for all your actions!  Share them here, and
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Sustainable Cooking and Junk Mail Follow-up

If you haven't been to the actual Carbonless Copy blog, but have just been reading posts in your inbox, go there ( to see a comment on last week's post on stopping junk mail.  A reader posted a link to the Direct Mail Association's free Mail Preference Service.  Following the directions there has cut down on her junk mail significantly.  Try it and let us know how it works for you! 

Brighter Planet, a group from Middlebury, Vermont that helps people mitigate their environmental footprint, recently published a guide to Mastering the Art of Sustainable Cooking.  Inspired by Julie Powell's book and the movie Julie and Julia, the guide shares information and recipes from hundreds of contributors to help us lighten our "foodprint." According to the guide, "The average American is responsible for about 28.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, of which 20 percent, or 6.1 tons, is related to food. That’s greater than the impact of all their driving and flying habits combined. This might be surprising, given that public discussions of carbon emissions focus heavily on transportation while discussions about the impacts of food are typically centered around non-climate issues. But what it means is that individually and collectively, there is huge opportunity to reduce our climate impact by changing how we eat."  Take a look, share by posting a comment, and
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Friday, February 5, 2010

MailStopper Didn't

I promised an update on Tonic MailStopper, which I signed up for in May 2009. This is a service which claimed to stop up to 90% of your junk mail in 90 days. Unfortunately, I haven't noticed a dramatic decrease in the amount of junk mail I get. However, there are a couple of caveats. The biggest one was stated by the company itself when it sent customers an email in November '09: "We finally looked in the mirror and admitted to ourselves that we can’t change the junk mail industry." MailStopper has changed their name to Precycle and their service to a package of "two energy efficient light bulbs, a reusable bag and a junk mail reduction product that eliminates only what we can guarantee will be eliminated." There are also no recurring charges unless you move. Precycle costs $43 total.

The other caveats, at least with the old system, are that you had to go onto MailStopper's web site to identify some of the junk mail that you didn't want in order for them to stop it. They did stop some advertising mail automatically, and did most of the difficult work for you. I'm sure I could have done more to reduce junk mail by going into my account and requesting specific places not send me mail. Another caveat: we get a lot of solicitations for charitable donations, which, depending on how charitable you're feeling, you might or might not classify as junk mail. Again, I could reduce these by going into my account and specifying which ones I didn't want mail from. But I didn't. A final caveat: I didn't quantify how much junk mail I got before or after paying for the service, so I'm just going by my memory, and memories are far from perfect.

If you're so inclined, I encourage you to try Precycle, or 41 pounds, which charges $41 for 5 years, or ecocycle if you want to do it yourself for free. I'd be interested to know how well any of these work for you. As always, I'm also interested in your ideas and practices for reducing our contributions to global warming. Thanks, and
Stay cool,