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government initiatives

Is Wind Energy Green or Greenwash?

November 2, 2009

The Friday Oct.30 edition of the Peace Arch News that is distributed in South Surrey and White Rock, British Columbia in Metro Vancouver that borders on the U.S. contained a thought-provoking snippet on wind power by Dr. Roy Strang who covers the environment for the publication.

In it he writes: "Europeans are beginning to find that installing windmills to generate electricity has not led to any significant reduction in CO2 emissions--despite all the early hopes and promises. Because wind power blows only fitfully, backup conventional generators are needed, at full capital costs, for intermittent use."

The Ultimate Cash For Clunkers: Trading Traditional Offices For Home Offices

September 25, 2009

Forget about turning in old gas guzzlers for slightly more efficient vehicular monsters. 

If governments want a 'cash for clunkers' deal that will really have a positive green impact, both environmentally and in keeping money in taxpayers' wallets, they should offer to take over office space leases and buildings--prioritizing on those in car-oriented 'office parks'--in exchange for organizations sending their workforces to home offices.

Governments can then recycle the spaces, working with the owners and real estate firms (and giving them tax breaks to get their buy-in), for other uses: i.e. schools, hospitals, child/eldercare facilities--including tearing them down and cleaning them up to create parks or market gardens. Or they can flip these buildings and land around as brownfield sites, driving property prices so low to make greenfield development i.e. sprawl not attractive.

Insist on Telework When Funding Highways and Transit: Attorney

July 21, 2009

There has been a lot of jawboning by government officials when it comes to telework as a green transportation alternative.

While federally-funded programs insist that applicants examine no-build options like transportation demand management solutions like telework, the nasty truth is that these are ignored. Why let imaginative, doable lower-cost methods get in the way of shoveling tax dollars to campaign-contributing contractors and engineering firms?

There may now, however, be at last interest and movement in getting governments to do the right thing thanks to large part to broadband becoming a necessity in homes and businesses.

The Dark Side of Housing/Commercial Building Starts

July 8, 2009

When housing and commercial building starts data are released and they show a jump there is generally a positive reaction. They seemingly show that the economy is back on track or that is it is growing and that people are being put back to work.

But is it good news? Not necessarily from the green or economic points of view.
And here's why.

Green Transportation: Upcoming Pacific Northwest Intercity/Regional Rail Conference

May 18, 2009

Intercity and commuter/regional rail offers, when done right, a greener alternative to driving and flying not only in reduced energy consumption but also in enabling compact high-density and walkable development on existing brownfield lands as opposed to car-oriented low-density greenspace-munching sprawl.

The Pacific Northwest is an epicenter of rail transportation and land use initiatives, with hits and misses given the beauty and quality of life and the unchanneled growth that threatens to destroy it. Hits that all three of the major cities: Vancouver, B.C., Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore. have or will have commuter and urban rail transit systems, are linked by an albeit sluggishly-growing-and-improving intercity rail network, and especially in Portland's case (with some of those most advanced policies anywhere), are encouraging transit-oriented development. Misses in that the British Columbia and to a lesser extent Washington state government continues 1950s-styled sprawl-encouraging roadbuilding and widening policies (in B.C.

Going Green All the Way In Ontario

February 12, 2009

It is great to see that jurisdictions like the Canadian province of Ontario taking steps to encourage green practices and technology.

As reported on TMCnet, the province's government will be introducing a sure-to-pass (Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberal party holds a majority in the legislature) Green Energy Act, which will:

* Encourage conservation side by creating an Expert Advisory Council that will offer advice to the government on any future energy efficiency changes to Ontario's building code

*  Modernize the province's electrical transmission system by employing 'smart grid' technology--two way communications, advanced sensors, and distributed computing--that enable power distributors to anticipate and address problems before they lead to outages

Incentivize 'GreenWorking'

February 5, 2009

It is gratifying to see many countries, such as Australia, Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. plan to spend money on expanding their broadband networks.
The Canadian Parliament passed that country's 2009 budget on Tuesday with C$225 million to be spent over three years to develop and implement a strategy on extending broadband coverage to unserved rural and remote communities. 

Public assistance is needed, says the government, which is controlled by the Conservative party led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, because companies cannot turn a profit on the investments needed to reach out to these individuals and businesses owing to density and distance from major hubs.

Only with broadband can consumers and businesses effectively access information, goods and services, and yes work i.e. telework via the information highway by riding on the equivalent of paved roads to and from their homes, storefronts, and factories as compared with the dirt tracks of dial-up and plank roads of satellite.

Yet it would be nice for governments also to offer tax incentives, either tax deductions to corporations or grants-in-lieu of taxes to nonprofits, to nudge these organizations to provide teleworking i.e. 'GreenWorking'. The Telework Coalition has called for just that, pointing that there are parking and transit deductions but none for telework.

One of the factors holding telework back has been less-than-competent managers who are unable to supervise others without seeing them Victorian-style.

Green Jobs?

January 19, 2009

In an exchange on contact center employment, Group Publisher Rich Tehrani expressed skepticism about the numbers of new American jobs, estimated by some sources at 5+ million that going green will produce.

No one has explained to him why the U.S. will make better green products than the Chinese or Japanese if the U.S. can't make better cars, etc.

Why EVs (etc.) are NG

January 15, 2009

I have long been skeptical about electric or other alternative-fueled vehicles as truly green technologies because they all consume vast amounts of life-giving open space to transport comparatively few people and goods, drives more sprawl, which does likewise, and incurs air-killing construction and upkeep and requires hydrocarbon-based paving materials.

Peter Foster, a columnist in Canada's National Post, along with associated commentators have come up with a few more points to consider, in his column Wednesday subtitled 'Today's alternative vehicles are all profit graveyards or subsidy pits'.

Mr. Foster correctly pointed out one of the fallacies behind assuming that people will buy electric vehicles (EVs) and that is it isn't the average amount of driving per day that matters but the farthest that one usually wants to go.

"Apparently, Americans on average drive their cars less than 35 miles a day, but to suggest that this supports the viability of short-range electric cars is like suggesting that a five-foot tall person should be in no trouble if forced to spend alternate one hour periods in water six feet deep and two feet deep.

Canadian Government Funds Green Transportation (Including Telework) Initiatives

January 9, 2009

The Canadian federal government is taking the axiom of 'think globally, act locally' to heart by financing over a dozen local green transportation programs that range from cycling to shared-ride home, public transit, walking to school, and to telework.

Here is the release and the backgrounder:
Federal government delivers green transportation initiatives  
    OTTAWA, Jan. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's Transport Minister, John Baird,announced today that the Government of Canada will invest in 14 projects across the country that support environmentally friendly transportation.
    The projects will receive a total of almost $3 million under the ecoMOBILITY program. Fourteen municipalities will receive funding for projects that respond to their individual needs and circumstances.

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