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Not Just For Treehuggers: France To Spend $2.2 Billion On Electric Car Charging Stations; Does Peeing Before Boarding An Airplane Really Save Carbon Emissions?
Joe Romm, 13 Oct 09

The most widely read ‘green’ site on the Web has a firehose worth of material, in part because they themselves fill their hydrant with almost everything green that is published online. I’m going to try clip some of the highlights regularly for CP readers:
france electric car charging stations photo
Yet another reason EVs trump FCVs (see “Climate and hydrogen car advocate gets almost everything wrong about plug-in cars“) — — people are actually spending big bucks to building the EV infrastructure

France to Spend $2.2 Billion on Electric Car Charging Stations

Build It And They Will Come Electric cars and charging stations go together, but there’s a kind of chicken & egg problem; who’s going to build charging stations along highways and public roads if there are no electric cars, and who’s going to buy a electric car if there are no charging stations? The French government seems to have decided that the way to crack this dilemma is to build a network of charging stations using taxpayer money as part of a broader initiative to encourage the development of clean vehicle technology and battery manufacturing in the country.

Charging Sockets to Become Obligatory in Office Parking Lots
€1.5 billion (about $2.2 billion) will be spent by France on the network of EV charging stations, but also “the government will make the installation of charging sockets obligatory in office parking lots by 2015, and new apartment blocks with parking lots will have to include charging stations starting in 2012.”

Via Wall Street Journal

Coal-Fired Power Generator To Supplement Boiler Feed With Switchgrass And Sorghum

Remember all the excitement over growing switch grass as feedstock for ethanol fuel? Forget that sissy fermentation stuff. Real powerhouses burn it outright. NRG Energy Inc, a company with combined generation capacity of 24,000 megawatts, plans trial burns of switchgrass and sorghum (as pictured) to supplement the coal normally fed to boilers at the company’s Big Cajun II power plant, in Louisiana.
Sorghum has been around for centuries as a food grain, a molasses substitute, and a pasturing plant. Chopped up, it is also used for sileage. Because power plant emission limits are measured on a per-ton of fossil fuel consumed basis, and because coal fired plants may be carbon “capped” in proportion to fossil-fuel derived emissions only, a power plant might be able to add some biofuel, up it’s capacity, stay within permit limits, and avoid purchasing carbon credits. Sounds like a strategy. Via Washington Examiner

More Than 100 iPhone Apps For Green Shopping, Eating, Travel and Fun

iphone apps image

About a year ago, we put together a list of 20 iPhone apps that would help you live a greener life. The number of apps we’ve seen come across the radar since then has exploded to the point where we wonder how on earth anyone can keep track of them.

As Ron Williams, President of 3rdWhale, a green app developer, states, “The iTunes App Store is a big part of the reason [there are so few great green apps] — it does not do a good job of encouraging their millions of visitors to look beyond the small number of apps featured on their homepage…” He suggests even adding just a “sustainability” tag would be a big help. Well, until we get that, we figured we should start pulling them together for you. So here are our old favorites, new additions we think are cool, and some interesting oddball apps that we’re curious about.

Carbon Footprint
Home Power Monitoring and Automation
Public Transit, Walking and Biking
Driving and Car Care
Travel and Wildlife
Tips, News and Just Plain Fun
Shopping, Eating and Drinking
More Lists of Green Apps

World’s Airlines Pledge to Cut Emissions 50% by 2050

Aviation accounts for only 3% of carbon emissions from the global transport sector, but it’s a number that’s growing. Not to mention that those emissions often have a higher warming potential than ones emitted elsewhere. Radiative forcing anyone? Well, to address these concerns the International Air Transport Association committed Saturday to new emission reductions targets and fuel efficiency improvements:

At the International Civil Aviations Organization High Level Meeting in Montreal, the IATA set the following targets: 1.5% annual fuel efficiency improvements through 2020; 50% reduction in carbon emissions (from 2005 levels…) by 2050; and, stabilizing aviation emissions from 2020, with carbon-neutral growth thereafter.

Government Support for Sustainable Biofuels Requested

To help with this, IATA threw the ball into government’s court. IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani said, “We can fly the plane efficiently, but governments must deliver improvements in air traffic management,” and added, “Governments must also accelerate the development of the legal and fiscal framework to support the use of sustainable biofuels.”

Here’s the declaration itself: Elements of an ICAO Position for COP15

Does Peeing Before Boarding an Airplane Really Save Carbon Emissions?

Airport Bathroom Image

Dear Pablo: Can Airlines really save fuel by asking their passengers to empty their bladders before boarding?

Although their website makes no mention of it, Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) has been widely reported to be trying an experiment for the month of October: they are asking their passengers to “lighten the load” by visiting the restroom before boarding.

An article by the UK’s Daily Mail estimates that the average weight saved per flight is just over 60 kg (or as one reader commented: Assuming a take-off weight of 140,000 lbs and 160 passengers (a Boeing 737), the weight saved would amount to .11% of the takeoff weight). During the one month-long trial period, and over 42 flights, the weight savings will add up to over 2600 kg and will save an estimated five metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (maybe more if the take into account the Radiative Forcing Index).

Silly Stunt or Legitimate Emission Reduction Effort?

Is this just a silly stunt to get attention in the media, including from this writer, or is it a legitimate attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Well, with the urgency of addressing climate change, every little emission reduction counts. But is there more effective “low-hanging fruit” to be tackled by the airline industry first? One commenter to the Daily Mail article pointed out that, just by reducing the amount of fuel carried by 50 gallons, it would save the airline more weight, and greenhouse gas emissions than asking everyone to go pee first. The problem with this is that pilots are already being forced to fly with seriously low fuel levels, dramatically increasing the number of low-fuel emergency landings. So maybe that isn’t the best idea.

How Else Can Airlines Cut Emissions?

But there are some opportunities to cut weight and fuel use that are being explored. Switching to LED lighting and other, more energy efficient technologies aboard the airplane can reduce fuel use. It has also been shown that flushing the lavatory toilet requires 1 liter of fuel, so why not install lavatory-sized waterless urinals? Also, Lufthansa has for years shifted its in-flight snack services on regional flights to the airport waiting area. This allows the airlines to carry only what passengers actually intend to consume…..

The Greatest Irony About It All

What is ironic is that the airline that is saving 5 tons of greenhouse gas emissions in October by asking its passengers to pee before boarding is creating many more greenhouse gas emissions through their newly announced helicopter airport transfer for First Class passengers. Helicopters, of course, are one of the least efficient means of transportation from an environmental perspective.

Article originally appeared on Climate Progress.

Image Source: Specialkrb

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