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Obama announces climate change initiatives to improve sustainability

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US president Barack Obama has announced initiatives aimed at sustaining the nation’s infrastructure, and in particular its energy supply and coastal and flood protection, as well as better predictions regarding rising sea levels.

The president’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness, made up of 26 officials who have been working since last year to produce the proposals, will involve the cooperation of multiple federal agencies.

The task force has particularly looked at the prevention of droughts, the consequences of storm surges and other methods that will reduce the damage caused by an environment undergoing dramatic change.

A government study published earlier this year concluded that the nation’s energy supply was in particular need of guarding against climate change. Rising temperatures would see surges in demand, while the ability to deliver power would be under strain as extreme weather conditions damaged power lines and stations.

In response, the Department of Agriculture announced it would be awarding $236.3 million (£138m) to eight states to improve the sustainability of energy services. It also announced plans to help rural areas suffering with drought – which has become an increasingly common problem facing some states in the US.

The US Geological Survey has also announced it will be spending $13.1 million (£7.7m) on developing advanced three-dimensional mapping data that would allow states and cities to plan against natural disasters and other weather-related problems.

The initiatives have also assessed issues relating to the prevention of diseases. A recent guide, published by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, titled Assessing Health Vulnerability to Climate Change lists ways in which complex “climatic factors (like temperature, humidity, precipitation, extreme weather events, and sea-level rise) can directly or indirectly affect the prevalence of disease.” 

In addition, the Bureau of Indian Affairs announced a $10 million (£5.8m) program to help Native American tribes adapt to climate change.

These initiatives come as part of Obama’s general climate change programme, where he intends to cut the nation’s general carbon emissions by moving away from fossil fuels and increasing restrictions on emissions.

The new strategy involves a plan to cut emissions by 30%, with potential economic benefits ranging up to $82 billion (£42bn).

Photo source: U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr

Further Reading:

Supreme Court largely backs Obama’s emissions cuts

US move to cut emissions will deliver private investment ‘certainty’

New US pollution measures ‘good signal’ for 2015 climate agreement

Obama to unveil plan to cut pollution by 25%

Bill McKibben: Obama must show muscle to tackle climate change

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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