In 1998 fast sustainable change was occurring in Delhi. People may think Delhi was unlikely to prioritise environmental and social change. But, within 4 years, the city converted its private rickshaws and bus fleet from diesel and smoky two stroke to compressed natural gas.
Then Delhi built an underground system – on budget and three years ahead of schedule.
Now India’s solar powered car is hitting the mainstream, having completed a tour. One of these solar cars travels 90kms on a charge – more than most Australian’s daily commute. The tour, highlighted in the New York Times, traveled 2,100kms showcasing entrepreneurs and sustainable solutions across the country.
When Scotland, where I was brought up, announces it’s national icon – whiskey – is going green you know substantial change must be underway. Using co-generation Speyside will convert waste left over from the whiskey process into heat and power.
Using the heat, as well as generating electricity, means that far less energy is wasted. Localised schemes like this also save a substantial amount of power by avoiding transmission line losses.
Similar systems can be used for residential homes as well. There’s a small demonstration in Sydney and Alan Jones has led the way for UK’s Borough of Woking, near London.
The wireless world that will monitor and check your home energy use is about to be mainstream. “Google plans to launch a new service, Google PowerMeter, to provide homeowners with access to a Web-based display of electricity use at their home in real time.”
It will not just put power information infront of you at home, it brings it to your desktop. Tom Friedman must be happy to see some of his solutions to a hot flat crowded world coming through so quickly! See the greenbuildingadvisor story.
Climate Change – Amid the heroes, tragedy and horror that is now approaching 200 dead in Victorian bushfires a new reality, recognising we are in new terrritory, is starting to emerge.
On Lateline (Feb 10) John Brumby (Vic Premier) has been pointing to “the new climatic conditions in which we are operating”. He says “the climate is changing, we are seeing more extreme events… weather events”.
Its an encouraging and brave recognition given the present, ongoing, human trauma that is still unfolding. It may also see us charting a different course – away from Clive Hamilton’s prediction that “the major political parties will not want to acknowledge the association between global warming and the fires”.
Meanwhile Time Magazine Why Global Warming may be Fueling Australia’s Fires looks straight at this threat and Australian Firefighters are asking the government to “halve Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.” The Age prints the full letter.