is to be done? We hold the chart and the possibility of rescue."
Woodwell suggests, "The first step is for the US to develop its
own plan for encouraging first the conservation of fossil fuels
and then their displacement as the main source of energy driving
industrial society." (p. 32 Amicus Spring 2001) Many studies point
to great economic advantages as well as environmental stability
coming with this transition. "The issue is a global emergency, a
disaster underway. It is not a potential threat. It is with us now
and gathering costs, immediate and future, daily..."We the wealthy
of the US, are the worst carbon culprits, and the billions of the
whole world will pay the costs of our scandalous neglect." (p.32)
And at least 20% to 30% of the electricity Americans use today is
simply wasted - an obscenity, on a warming earth. We need to do
are doing several things, but we need to do much more. For instance,
Department of Energy is holding to the tougher standards for energy
efficiency in home washing machines and water heaters. The new standards
will cut water use by 10.5 trillion gallons by 2030 and save enough
electricity to light all US homes for more than 4 years. Although
not as high a standard as the last administration set, DOE is requiring
a 20% increase in energy efficiency for home central air conditioners
and heat pumps. These energy savings will equal the output of 37
power plants or enough electricity to light all US homes for 2 years.
(Nucleus Winter 2000-2001)
gas buses are already on the streets in many cities beginning to
curb the plumes of pollution emitted by diesel buses and trucks.
Zero emission buses running on batteries or fuel cells are beginning
to show up. Over a thousand transit buses running on natural gas
now operate in cities from New York to Los Angeles. The environmental
costs of natural gas are far less than those of diesel, about 40%
less smog producing pollutants. Natural gas emits about a tenth
as much soot as diesel buses, but it is not the ultimate solution.
Fuel cells give full environmental protection because they emit
no pollutants, no toxins, no greenhouse gases. Only water comes
out the tail pipe! "Fuel cells produce electricity directly from
the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. Oxygen is taken from outdoor
air. Hydrogen can be stored on the vehicle in its pure form, or
it can be extracted from other carrier fuels such as methanol."
(Nucleus p.6) When a bus company begins to use natural gas buses,
they are on the path to building an infrastructure for future fuel-cell
buses. Many of the changes in facilities necessary to accommodate
natural-gas fuel will be useful for hydrogen.