Weekend Reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

April 30, 2022

Weekend Reads: Biden's Fading Chance for a Climate Legacy; Priming Canada's Buildings for a Green Makeover

It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web.

Time is running out for Biden’s EPA to act on climate (Vox) So far, President Biden’s legacy on climate change is pretty insubstantial. There’s time to change that if he can quickly make much better use of his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The president put nearly all his hopes for climate action into passing his Build Back Better legislation through Congress. That bill would have spent $550 billion on clean energy and electrified transit. It failed to garner a majority in the Senate, and due to continuing reticence about the measure on the part of more conservative Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), it appears unlikely any slimmed-down replacement will pass.

U.S. speeds up phaseout of incandescent light bulbs in favor of energy-efficient ones (NPR) The Biden administration is scrapping old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs, speeding an ongoing trend toward more efficient lighting that officials say will save households, schools and businesses billions of dollars a year. Rules finalized by the Energy Department will require manufacturers to sell energy-efficient light bulbs, accelerating a longtime industry practice to use compact fluorescent and LED bulbs that last 25 to 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs. The Trump administration had slowed an earlier phaseout of incandescents, saying it was targeting rules that burden businesses.

Solar Industry ‘Frozen’ as Biden Administration Investigates China (The New York Times) Plans to install 60 square kilometers of solar panels in Vermont are suddenly on hold. In Maine, a solar farm that would power hundreds of homes is partly built but might not be completed. And a project in Texas that would have powered more than 10,000 homes was weeks away from breaking ground but has now been postponed until at least next year. Around the country, solar companies are delaying projects, scrambling for supplies, shutting down construction sites and warning that tens of billions of dollars — and tens of thousands of jobs — are at risk.

Why Many of Canada’s Commercial Buildings are Set for a Green Retrofit (Storeys) When it comes to energy efficiency, most commercial buildings in Canada’s largest cities are behind the curve. In fact, many of these structures in Vancouver and Toronto predate modern building codes. However, according to Mike Singleton, Executive Director of Sustainable Buildings Canada, gradual — and economic — retrofits can make a world of difference, as well as augment a building’s value. “In terms of retrofits, you have an opportunity to really do it right, and if you do, you can realize a 40-50% reduction in energy use, and that really is dramatic. If you can half your energy bills, that has obvious advantages, especially today with the price of fuel going up,” he says.

U.S. Public Forests Are Cashing In on Dubious Carbon Offsets (Bloomberg) A flurry of state and local governments in the U.S. are enrolling public-owned forests in carbon projects that could earn them tens of millions of dollars but provide little new help in the fight against climate change. It’s another episode that illustrates how the carbon market — intended as a method for corporations to cut their carbon footprints — is delivering far fewer benefits than advertised. The State of Michigan and five counties in Wisconsin recently inked agreements with Blue Source, LLC, a carbon development firm in Salt Lake City, to create projects on approximately 800,000 acres.

Keywords: Weekend reads

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