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The people of the world continue to grapple with the question of how best to combat climate change

News
November 30, 2009
What Is the Right Number to Combat Climate Change?
Is there a safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to prevent “dangerous anthropogenic interference” in the climate?
By David Biello

Features
November 30, 2009
How Can Humanity Avoid or Reverse the Dangers Posed by a Warming Climate?


With greenhouse gas emissions continuing to rise, strong efforts will be required to reverse global warming

See More

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50 Way GO Green!!!!

HOME
If you can’t afford a new home or a large remodeling project, there are still plenty of things you can do to be environmentally friendly and save money.

1. Update your lighting
Make it a policy to buy energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. You can now get a variety of shapes and perfectly match the color hue and lighting for each room. They look good and use at least two-thirds less power than regular lighting.

2. Buy Energy Star
When you are ready to buy new home appliances, buy smart. Check for the Energy Star rating. These more efficient machines can reduce your utility bill as much as 30-percent. Deb Snoonian, Managing Editor of Plenty Magazine said, “Energy Start is a program sponsored by the EPA and the Department of Energy. Essentially, it’s a way for them to recognize the companies and the products that are most energy-efficient. On average, an Energy Start appliance — whether it’s a computer monitor, a refrigerator, a washer or dryer — is going to be about 30-percent more energy efficient.”

3. Wall Warts
Those clunky power adaptors draw energy from the wall all the time. Unplug them individually or attach them to a power strip and turn off the whole switch when not in use. Around 75-percent of all electricity in a home comes from appliances that are turned off, but are still plugged in. Make sure that you only have those appliances plugged in where you’re actually using the electricity. You will save on bills and we as a society will save on energy.

4. Dormant Appliances
Practically every appliance uses electricity even when it’s switched off. Unless it needs power to retain programming memory, hit the switch. Better yet, make it a family practice. Amy Schachter, an Upper East Side resident, said, “My family reminds each other constantly. That’s partly money, partly the fact that we know now that we’re creating energy usage that is totally unnecessary.”

5. Energy Audit
You can find out how much energy your home uses each year with an energy audit. Many utility providers and state energy departments will audit your home free or at low cost to help you find ways to be more energy efficient.

6. Insulate
Make sure your ducts are properly insulated and install weather-stripping around windows and doors for a better seal. Tax credits on efficiency-increasing heating and cooling equipment make now a great time to upgrade. And remember, insulation pays for itself year round. Cascio Construction President Michael Cascio said, “It translates into the heat or the air conditioning that you’re going to use, and certainly you want to retain whatever heating system or whatever cooling system you’re using, you want to retain that inside the house.”

7. House Plants
Invest in large, live houseplants that will help keep your indoor air fresher.

8. Save Water
Place a water bottle filled with liquid or pennies into your toilet’s water tank. This will cause the tank to use less water every time you flush. Plenty Magazine Managing Editor Deb Snoonian estimates it wil save you about a quart to half a gallon per flush.

9. Solar Water Heater
Consider eventually installing a solar hot water heater on your property. It would cost about $8,500 for a family of four. You can apply for federal and state tax credits, which adds up to almost 50-percent. It’ll take about six and a half years for the system to break even on its investment, then you’re making free hot water.

10. Green Power
Many utility companies offer renewable energy products that can be purchased as a percent of total energy use or in blocks of kilowatts. Buying green energy helps support the development and use of renewable fuel souces.

RECYCLE
There are few things you can’t turn into something environmentally friendly while making your pocket a little greener in the process.

11. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
Using simple ingredients such as baking soda, soap and vinegar, you can make cheap, easy, and non-toxic cleaning products save money, time, and your indoor air quality. This is especially important if you have kids, pets or if there are elderly people in your home who are sensitive to chemicals in the air so you and your home will be healthier.

12. Safer Paint
Paint can be made with the same volitile organic compounds found in nail polish or gasoline. Major manufacturers and some boutique brands have introduced low VOC paint. It spreads, it covers and leaves the room smelling just fine.

13. Aerosols
Limit your use of aerosol cans. Because they have limited recycling value, the containers will probably wind up in a landfill. Instead of aerosols, look for spray bottles, liquids, powders and roll-ons.

14. Cloth
Paper towels and napkins can be made from recycled paper, though in some cases the recycling costs more than making a brand new product. You won’t hear that about cloth napkins, which can be washed and re-used again and again.

15. Laundry Room
By making sure your lint filter is clean and your dryer exhaust free to open and close, you are essentially tuning up the efficiency of your appliance. It will run better and be more cost efficient.

16. Air Dry
For the ultimate in low cost laundry drying, put the clothes on either a drying rack or go outside and use the clothesline.

17. Smart Landscaping
Trees and shrubs provide shade during the summer and can help shield your house from frigid winter winds. Both can help lower your energy bill.

18. Walking the Dog
Instead of plastic bags, scoop your doggie’s doo in biodegradable bags.

19. Compost your leftovers
Composting helps reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill. In the process, you create free, healthy fertilizer for your garden.

20. Collect the Rain
Place a barrel under a gutter downspout and let it fill over time. Plenty Magazine Managing Editor Deb Snoonian said, “Rain water is actually healthier for plants and gardens than tap water which often has chlorine in it to kill bacteria, but bacteria can inhibit plants from growing.

OFFICE
Green at home is one thing; green at the office has its own set of special challenges. Going green is a lifestyle choice, not just a home activity. So what are some steps you can take at work to make things more environmentally friendly?

21. Buy a laptop
Even an oversize laptop runs more efficiently and takes less energy than a desktop.

22. Reduce Paper
The paper trail follows many of us, adding hundreds of pounds of waste. You can reduce it with just a few changes. Save printing: send documents by email and keep files on your computer, not a filing cabinet.

23. Print Double Sides
You can save plenty of paper by programming your printer to use both sides of the paper. In the case of a long report, do you really need 500 one-sided pages?

24. Refill and Reuse Cups
“Many of us get take our coffee in the morning and were using plastic and cardboard cups,” said Plenty Magazine Managing Editor Deb Snoonian. “Bring your own mug. You can leave one at work; you can even often times bring a reusable mug as you’re commuting in your car. It can be refilled over and over again. Wash it at home it’s a nice habit to get into that saves you one cup a day.”

25. Pay Your Bills Online
It’s not only quicker and easier to pay by computer, it also puts a major dent in the paper waste pile.

26. Recycle Your Appliances
Not just the big ones. Cell phones, PDAs and laptops can all find a new purpose after you’re done with them. Many organizations refurbish them for low-income families.

27. Become Battery Smart
Stretch your battery use. A battery too drained to power a flashlight might be perfect to operate your TV remote. Before you pitch it – switch it!

28. Lights Out
Motion sensors, dimmers and timers can be set to turn things on and off when needed.

29. Going Grey
Ask your commercial building manager about using gray water tanks. It’s a system that recycles water from your building’s toilets, washing machines and dishwashers. Impractical? Don’t say that around New Jersey’s Aspen Ice Skating Rink where the septic water is collected, treated and put back on the rink. At this point, the systems are a bit too costly for one-family use, but if you’re in a commercial building or a planned community, consider making the water work for you.

30. Water
Speaking of water, instead of bottled water around the meeting table, filter your tap for drinking water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it produces large amounts of wasteful containers.

CAR & GAS
Even if you can’t buy the most environmentally friendly car, there are still plenty of things you can do to get from one place to another with minimum energy. Getting to work, school and running errands all add to your energy budget. To go green you don’t have to give up transportation, just use it a bit more wisely.

31. Work From Home
Instant messaging and video conferencing now allow you to hold conferences or even take online classes. This means you save time and gas.

32. Use Public Transportation
Trains, buses, boats, car pools and your own feet.

33. Rental Car
When driving is necessary, use an inexpensive hourly rental car.

34. Drive Economically
Even if you can’t afford a fancy hybrid, there are plenty of cars that get great mileage. A car that gives you another 10 more miles to the gallon puts $1,000 dollars a year back in your pocket!

35. Drive Smart
Properly inflate your tires, change your air filter and drive 55 mph on the highway.

36. Friendly Fuels
Using bio fuels goes way beyond ethanol. Look for environmentally friendly oil car fluids and, of course, read how to use and dispose of them properly.

37. Car Air Conditioning
It’s practically standard on modern cars. Use it wisely. At higher speeds, open windows create drag and lower your mileage. Roll them up and use the air and recirculation. At slower speeds and around town, roll down your windows and catch a cool breeze.

38. One Right Turn Deserves Another
The time spent in your car idling while waiting to turn against oncoming traffic burns fuel and costs millions each year. In metro New York, United Parcel Service (UPS) reduced emissions by 1,000 metric tons with a software map program customized for every driver to minimize lefts.

39. Drive Thru
Avoid the drive thru. Instead of idling in line with your engine running for several minutes, save the gas by parking and going inside for your order.

40. Car Wash
Commercial car washes can be more efficient than home washing. Check to make sure that they clean and recycle the water.

AT THE STORE
In the store, in your home, even while you sleep…There are things you can do to be more energy efficient and better to the environment.

41. B.Y.O.B.
Bring Your Own Bag. Some grocery stores give you cash toward your next purchase for every bag you bring in to use again. It saves them and you money. “In the U.S., we use five hundred billion plastic bags every single year and only three percent of those get recycled,” said Deb Snoonian, Managing Editor of Plenty Magazine. “You can also buy permanent bags with designer colors.”

42. Packaging
Check the amount of cardboard, plastic and other materials used for the box. Some retailers are replacing plastic containers with corn-based packaging.

43. Buy Big
By purchasing things in larger quantities, you will probably save money and certainly save the cost of packaging and transporting smaller boxes of the same thing.

44. Green Fashions Are Becoming Hot
Look for clothes and accessories like handbags that are environmentally friendly.

45. Pet Products
Even kitty litter can be laced with questionable ingredients. Look for natural alternatives.

46. Antiques
Antiques are sort of the ultimate recyclable, servicing generations of owners. Many can be restored with natural wax products at a very reasonable price.

47. Buy Water Efficient Showerheads and Aerators
Many modern showerheads are built to conserve. Check to see how well yours works. Also, aerators on the faucets will keep water waste to a minimum.

48. Mattresses
Federal regulations will soon require all sleeping mattresses to be fire resistant. If you like the safety but don’t care for the flame retardant chemicals, some popular brands are introducing models with a more natural fiber based flame retardant barrier.

49. Energy Offset Certificates
These essentially allow you to invest in an environmentally friendly cause.

50. Smart Recycling
Smart recycling can be environmentally sound and pleasing, too. Companies like IceStone make durable surfaces made from recycled materials, like glass and concrete. Recycling is not limited to bottles. Used doors windows, fixtures can all be bought at a fraction of the new price. Think creatively – a New York man built a veritable castle of recycled materials.

info taken from WNBC.com

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Negara-negara berkembang kemarin berkeras agar upaya mengikat secara hukum traktat perubahan iklim bakal terwujud dalam Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi Perubahan Iklim di Kopenhagen, Denmark, bulan depan. Padahal Presiden Amerika Serikat Barack Obama dan sejumlah pemimpin dunia lainnya menganggap hal itu belum mungkin terlaksana.

“Kami percaya kesepakatan untuk mengikat secara hukum masih mungkin,” ujar Menteri Lingkungan Grenada Michael Church, yang mengaku mewakili 40 negara yang tergabung dalam Aliansi Negara-negara Kepulauan Kecil tersebut. Church optimistis, sedangkan Duta Besar Sudan untuk Perserikatan Bangsa Bangsa –Lumumba Di-Aping – pesimistis.

“Kita jalan di tempat,” ujar DiAping, yang mengaku mewakili negara-negara sedang berkembang di Grup 77 dan Cina. Tengok saja pernyataan tuan rumah, Denmark. “Waktunya amat sangat terbatas untuk merangkum seluruh kesepakatan,” ujar Menteri Lingkungan Denmark Troels Lund Poulsen.

Maklumlah, di Kopenhagen akan datang lebih dari 40 menteri lingkungan yang cuma punya waktu berunding selama dua hari. Itu belum seberapa. Isu pemangkasan gas rumah kaca dan jumlah dana bagi negara-negara miskin juga masih jadi kendala untuk bersepakat. Itu mengemas traktat perubahan iklim masih jauh panggang dari api.

“Saya akan ke Kopenhagen bilamana kehadiran saya berarti bagi adanya kesepakatan yang penting,” ujar Presiden Obama dalam kunjungannya ke Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi Kerja Sama Ekonomi Asia-Pasifik (APEC) di Singapura. Obama termasuk yang menyokong pembahasan kesepakatan hukum tentang perubahan iklim itu ditunda hingga 2010. Komentar Obama ini mengundang kecaman dari juru kampanye iklim Greenpeace, Joss Garman. “Sudah 12 tahun semenjak Protokol Kyoto dan dua tahun dari negosiasi di Kopenhagen, tapi Obama bilang masih butuh waktu untuk bicara?” ujarnya. “Dunia tak bisa mundur dan menundanunda lagi.”

Boleh jadi Garman ada benarnya. Tengok saja hasil riset kelompok konservasi alam internasional, WWF , Ahad lalu. Kata WWF , Dhaka, Manila, dan Jakarta adalah kota-kota utama di Asia yang rentan terhadap bencana akibat perubahan iklim dunia. “Rentan terhadap gelombang pasang air laut, badai, dan dampak perubahan iklim lainnya,” begitu ujar WWF .

Jakarta dan Manila (Filipina) disebut amat rentan lantaran ukuran dan seringnya terkena banjir serta rendahnya kemampuan beradaptasi. Dalam laporan bertajuk “Mega-Stress for MegaCities” itu disebutkan sejumlah kota lainnya yang juga rawan, antara lain Kalkuta, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh, Shanghai, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, dan Singapura.

“Kota-kota besar mengkonsumsi 75 persen energi dan bertanggung jawab atas jumlah emisi karbon dioksida yang sama yang menyebabkan pemanasan global,” kata Nicholas Stern, bekas Kepala Ekonomi Bank Dunia yang pernah menulis kaitan ekonomi dengan perubahan iklim pada 2006. “Perubahan iklim bukanlah perubahan di dalam air semata.”

Dan, seperti diungkapkan WWF, Asia, yang padat populasinya, adalah benua yang paling rentan terhadap perubahan iklim itu. Kalau jalan-jalan utama tergenangi air akibat banjir, akankah transaksi ekonomi berjalan mulus? Akankah tumbuh-tumbuhan bisa dipanen di pengujung musim?

(Koran Tempo, 17 Nop 2009)

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