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News Archive

NYC to update zoning regs making it easier for solar and wind power and green roofs

NYC counsel is expected to approve next Monday new zoning rules allowing office towers, warehouses and apartment buildings to make it easier to add "green" improvements such as added insulation to the exterior of a facade, solar panels, wind turbines and green roofs and gardens.  Let's hope the new rules also apply to landmarked neighborhoods at least insofar as rooftop installations are concerned, because if satellite dishes can have a blanket exception from the Landmark Preservation's rules then the pressing public policy to conserve energy and generate clean energy deserves at least the same deference.  See the Planning Commission's information page for more detail.  www.nyc.gov and click on "zone green".

"Buying green" is not the key to sustainability. Changing our behavior to consume less is the key.

Society is deluded into thinking that making products "greener" means that increased consumption is OK.  We deceive ourselves that switching to a more benign form of consumption -- like electric cars -- is a boon for the environment in and of itself.  Luxury consumption preferences are not gifts to humanity.  We are consumers at heart, and technology can help reduce the impact of current consumption loads but is meaningless if we use technology as an excuse to consume more -- resist the mindset that because the Prius is energy efficient I should buy a new, perhaps even additional, car.

States reset the carbon trading parameters to reflect the reality of reduced emissions from power plants

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (the northeast's cap-and-trade program) successfully reduced overall emissions by 6% across 10 states.  The RGGI will undergo a comprehensive review this year, and states have already reduced the number of allowances that can be bought by a power plant to offset emssions to reflect the new reality of reduced emissions from plants due to a switch to natural gas from coal, and decreased demand. Advocates promote expanding the program to cover industrial and commercial greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar and Wind tax breaks help current and future economy

It is imperative that Congress look to the future and continue providing tax incentives for alternative energy by extending the production tax credit, which gives tax breaks for wind and solar farms put into production.  This will save tens of thousands of jobs in the nearterm, and keep the US on the road to clean energy self-dependency. 

Companies cashing in on the gold rush of solar subsidies

The debate continues regarding whether subsidies for large-scale solar projects are too large and benefit private companies at the expense of taxpayers and electricity customers. Our take: NO. "These programs just level the playing field for what oil and gas and nuclear industries have enjoyed for the last 50 years," said Rhone Resch, president of Solar Energy Industries Association. "Do you have to provide more policy support and funding initially? Absolutely, but the result is more energy security, clean energy and domestic jobs."

Supreme Court gives thumbs up to EPA

The Supreme Court's ruling that states do not have federal common law rights of redress against other states for pollution that crosses the state line, based on the reasoning that the EPA has the federal mandate to regulate pollution under the Clean Air Act, may prove to help the currently-beseiged Clean Air Act in Congress.

Green Jobs Attract Graduates

"Sustainability" is the new sexy job.

Follow Europe's Lead to Limit Cars

Make cities car-hostile and pedestrian friendly to promote the use of mass transit.

Green Roofs Offer More Than Color for the Skyline

Green roof are growing in popularity, and New York State's recently enacted tax incentive will help.

Bloomberg Offers Windmill Power Plan

Mayor Bloomberg envisions wind turbines atop skyscrapers and bridges in an ambitious plan to help meet NYCs  energy needs.  How about incentives for turbines atop brownstones?

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