Tag Archives: Environment

Meet the Eggasus: Personal Electric Vehicle of the Future is Now

It’s stylish, quiet, environmentally friendly, and innovative, but is the Eggasus everything it’s cracked up to be? The mysterious egg-shaped vehicle is set to be launched sometime this fall.

Eggasus

As it stands, very little is known about this eco-friendly car or the people who have designed it. On their website, www.eggasus.com, they claim they have been in the prototype and “specialty gas and electric vehicles for over 25 years”. The mission of the Eggasus designers is simple which is “to create a vehicle for the future today. Zero emission with an eye catching, out-of-this-world design, Eggasus moves you quietly from place to place or building to building in an all-weather enclosure.”

The Eggasus is a personal transporter with a futuristic design. It is meant to be used in congested urban areas, campuses, and as a rolling billboard. It’s basically a 3 wheel scooter with an enclosure around it to protect the driver from the elements. It was a finalist in the “Manufacturing & High Tech” section of the Sierra Nevada Innovation Challenge, which is hosted by Innovate North State, a public/private partnership to build economic development for rural northern California. In the challenge, competitors had six minutes to convince the judges of their particular genre why their product will revolutionize the industry. Below, is a short embedded video showing off the “eggs”traordinary vehicle.

The Eggasus team has decided to fund their project using the social media route. They have posted a $50,000 goal on Indiegogo. You can help fund them at http://www.indiegogo.com/eggasus?c=home. The vehicle appears to be going for a starting price of around $5000. To be honest, it is hard for me to get real “eggs”cited about Eggasus because there are so many questions left unanswered. Hopefully, they will get more specifications about the vehicle posted on their website soon.

Australia’s Clean Energy Bill To Go Up For Voting In House and Senate; To Put A Price On Carbon

Australia leads many first-world nations in promoting green energy sources and it shows through once more. On 12th October, 2011 (tomorrow), the Australian House of Representatives will be putting the Clean Energy bill up for voting. Once passed, it will go to the Senate for voting. It is expected to be passed by both the House and the Senate and should come into effect by the middle of next year. One of the primary features of the bill is the levying of a carbon tax on carbon emissions.

The Bill

The bill has been a long time in the making. The proposal to place a carbon tax came in the 1990’s. Serious thrust was provided this year, especially since July. September saw a Multi-Party meet on climate change and the committee suggested the way forward. The government was also presented the draft proposal to the public and received an overwhelming response.

The bill’s main focus is to maintain sustainable growth, while reducing the carbon footprint of the nation. The bill proposes to reduce the carbon tonnage by 160 million tonnes a year by the end of 2020. The Australian Govt. acknowledges that the climate is changing globally and this change is primarily driven by humans. The main source of the pollution is carbon and this harms the economy as well. Every government should take action towards a green future.

This should become a lot rarer

The Important Points

Towards the achievement of a green economy, the Govt. plans to take the following steps:

  1. Big polluters will have to pay. There will be charges levied for every tonne of carbon that one puts into the atmosphere. The charges are expected to come in fixed slabs, so if you pollute more, you should be ready to pay disproportionately higher than someone who pollutes less.
  2. Establishment of green industries’ and development of clean energy sources. This will also create jobs and investments. If the big American companies are anything to go by, green industries are doing better than the big polluters like GM or Ford.
  3. Reduce carbon footprint by 160 million tonnes a year by 2020.
  4. Use the money collected from carbon taxes to cut taxes on families and increase pensions.

If all goes well, carbon will have a price on it from 1st July, 2012. The exact pricing mechanism will be worked out in meeting and negotiations. The Australian Govt. is already eyeing 500 polluters who will pay under this scheme. The price will be $23 per tonne initially.

Solar Panels should receive a lot of impetus.

Bravo Australia!

The best news is the bill is expected to pass in both the House and Senate, since both have a majority of Green’s. The fact that this money can be returned to the public in form of increased payments shows just one of the ways in which the word sustainable’ is appropriate.

May be I should wait till tomorrow, but I’ll just say it right now Bravo Australia!

Clean Tech Report: China Comes In At Rank 2, US Lags Behind At 17

Al Gore will definitely be smiling after reading this piece of news, but will also be wishing that he’d been a bit happier. A report commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature says that, in terms of percentage contribution to the national GDP, China ranks 2, while the US ranks 17. Denmark, expectedly, leads the table, thanks to its efficient power grid driven primarily by windmills.

An Offshore Windfarm in Denmark

China’s annual earnings from clean tech is valued at $64 billion, or 1.4% of the GDP, while that of the US stands at $45 billion, or 0.3% of the GDP. Denmark lands a $9.4 billion (or Euro 6.5 billion) from clean technologies such as renewable energy and energy efficiency hardware, which amounts to a staggering 3.1% of the GDP.

Al Gore has visited China a number of times over the last two decades and has been greatly impressed by the political will there to make a difference in the green market sector. Chinese green technologies have grown by an astounding 77% annually, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). WWF attributes this to the political decisions being made in China relating to the environment. Many coal pits have been closed; oil digging has been made more efficient and sincere effort has been made to decrease the carbon footprint, especially due to automobiles in major cities. Stringent legislations also help the cause. China has been aggressively trying to capture as much of the clean tech market as possible in the last few years. They are pushing hard on self-reliance and leadership in solar and wind energy production. Donald Pols, an economist with the WWF, explains:

When you speak to the Chinese, climate change is not an ideological issue. It’s just a fact of life. While we debate climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy, the debate is passed in China. For them it’s implementation. It’s a growth sector, and they want to capture this sector.

The US has also grown pretty substantially. Its green industries have expanded at 28% annually, which is quite good, even if it doesn’t compare with China. It seems President Obama’s environmental strategy is working.

As Al Gore has repeatedly pointed out, profit doesn’t need to clash with the environment. In fact, environment friendly industries will stand to gain big in the long run. At least at this moment, it seems that he’s right.

Germany, Brazil and Lithuania complete the first five on the list.

Earth Day 2011: Forty Years Into The Movement To Save Earth

The message is loud and clear: Our planet needs help to sustain us and we need to stand up and be counted. The Earth today faces many problems; global warming is one of the major ones. Other problems include pesticide overuse, unplanned drilling of oil-wells, reckless deforestation, overfishing of certain delicate marine species, denudation of coral reefs and expansion of deserts. People have been fighting against all of these evils, but mostly their acts have been isolated ones, separated from the rest. Earth Day is a concept, which intends to amalgamate all these pro-environmental activities into one.

Earth Day
The 2011 Logo

The concept of Earth Day

The birth of Earth Day took place in the year 1970 and the US Senator Gaylord Nelson was responsible for it. It was organized as a teach-in program happening in thousands of school and college campuses, amongst other places. The challenges were many. The five sectors identified for improvement were the internal combustion engine, pesticide pollution, detergent pollution, aircraft pollution and non-disposable, non-recyclable containers.

In the next forty years, the movement has grown, especially within the United States but also across the world. The challenges have grown more diverse. In view of the increasing influence, the United Nations designated April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day’, or Earth Day’. The Week starting from the 16th is called Earth Week’.

Major Landmarks in the Environmental Movement

Let’s see two major early successes of the movement.

The first success came in the form of the Clean Air Act Amendment in 1970, which required automobile emissions to be cut by 90% by 1975. This involved huge subsidies from the government and also the commercial implementation of various pollution control measures, which were known but not implemented. This brought a drastic reduction in the emission levels, bringing down carbon monoxide levels by 96% in these four decades. The effect of this change can even be seen in the Antarctic snow.

Next was banning of chlorinated hydrocarbons used as pesticides. Principal amongst these was DDT. This was successfully achieved all around the world in 1972, but there are still parts that use DDT both as a pesticide and as an insecticide against mosquito larvae. DDT is effective, but does more harm to the environment than good. It kills off creatures, like earthworms, in the immediate area, and then affects acquatic life in waters in which it is dumped. Bio-magnification through the food chain affects creatures as high up as eagles. Similar action was taken for phosphate-rich detergent pollutants.

Earth Day 2011: Aims, Hopes and Political Will

Earth Day 2011 aims to achieve A Billion Acts of Green‘, a pledge campaign aiming to get a billion people from around the world to pledge their allegiance to the environment. The key word is awareness.

A Billion Acts of Green

Issues remain. Global warming is a key concern, especially the major influence humans are having in accelerating it.

Political will seems to be the most precious resource across the world, since legislations is the best way to impose regulations on a wide scale, and as Al Gore once put it, Political will is a renewable resource’.