Sunday, April 20, 2008

Time Magazine's Recent Enviromental Issue

I just recently read a cover page article in Time magazine entitled “Why Green is the New Red, White & Blue”. The article is a great because unlike many of environmentalist articles published each day that discuss uneconomical ways to reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption, this article incorporates aggressive and ambitious ideas that are environmentally safe and economically sound.

The article starts of with a section entitled “First, Price the Sky”. This section primarily discusses putting a price on carbon emissions. I couldn’t have put it better myself when author Bryan Walsh wrote “As long as the sky is free, renewable energy will never beat fossil fuels. But put a price on carbon, and suddenly the alternatives look a lot better.” Basically, if there is no incentive or motivation to reduce carbon emissions (since it’s one of those things we don’t really think about because we don’t really see pollution and we falsely feel that climate change will never affect us) then change will never happen.

Another part of the article I really liked were short “four innovative companies on the edge of the energy frontier”. The first of the four was a company called Acciona, a growing Spanish company that has strong interests in solar thermal energy (with some installed capacity already in the Southwest). The second was another company called Finavera Renewables that use tidal energy to produce electricity. In fact, Finavera recently won the U.S.’s first permit to develop a wave energy plant off the coast of Washington State. The third company was PetroAlgae, a company that (as you might have already guessed) uses algae and CO2 to create biofuels. Lastly, I really like the product of a company called Hycrete, which is to “make advance waterproof concrete, reducing the amount of nonrenewable waste and toxic chemicals used in construction.”

Overall I really enjoyed this article because of the fact that it was part of Time’s “Special Environment issue” and the fact that it was widely available to the public. I especially like how the author bashed corn ethanol for a few short sentences, but that’s all he needed. The main point that I got out of this article is that for any world country to “go green”, motivation from the government (either through penalties for being too polluting or rewards for reducing pollution and increasing efficiencies) is not a plus, but a necessity.

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