Well, many. But, according to the S-G, it can make a big difference:
Recently, I visited an ambitious project to promote energy-saving lighting in China. By phasing out old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs and introducing a new generation of lighting, China expects to cut national energy consumption by 8 per cent.
This can have a profound global impact. Consider this: lighting accounts for 19 per cent of world energy consumption. Scientists say we can reduce that by a third or more merely by changing lightbulbs.
Sure, it’s one thing to use the nifty-looking CFL bulbs in your own house, but one house times…China…makes for a lot of energy saved.
(image from flickr user TheRogue under a Creative Commons license)
As I was cleaning out my feeds this morning, I stumbled across this brilliant article on Black Carbon, part of a series on “stopgap measures that could limit global warming.”
Black Carbon, aka “soot,” produced by primitive cooking stoves in the developing world, accounts for up to 20 percent of global warming according to some scientists and represents “low-hanging fruit” — the most possible bang for the buck (in regard to both cost and effort) in confronting climate change.
Not two minutes later, this report popped up on BBC tv (BBC, why no embed?) about researchers at Nottingham University who have discovered a way to make fuel out of banana peels (abundant in many parts of the developing world) and sawdust using no specialized equiptment. Aside from dramtically reducing the occurrence of comic accidents, burning banana peels could also reduce the use of firewood as fuel, limiting deforestation and, therefore, addressing climate change.
Count me skeptical that, if this is as cheap and easy as the researchers suggest, savvy entrepreneurs in the developing world wouldn’t have already figured it out. Nonetheless, I like this coverage because it focuses on access to cheap, renewable, and environmentally friendly sources of energy in the developing world, an issue that doesn’t get enough air time and dramatically affects both climate change and the MDGs. The real answer? I like solar cookers, but that may just be because I’m loathe to disagree with the Boonstra.
NPR is sure doing its due diligence on the “smart grid.” This week they’re running a 10-part series — every day both on Morning Edition and All Things Considered…now that’s dedication.
This morning, while moving my car to a legal spot, I caught Part 5: Getting Constant Current From Fickle Winds, which explores the chicken and egg problem that potential wind farmers face in South Dakota. They are slow to build wind farms because there are no power lines to take the energy to market, and they won’t build power lines because there is no power generation yet. Seems like a deal could be worked out…
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.