The past week was big for cleaner alternative energy and fuels, helping to provide an even dirtier view of how globally we advance to a more sustainable future. At the highest level, the G8 member countries agreed to reduce by 50 percent GHG emissions by 2050. This is seen as significant not only because it was the first time the US agreed to long term reduction targets, but it also provides a foundation and direction for the UN as it looks to develop criteria for the Copenhagen Protocol that will replace the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. Sounds great, but it provides no short term targets such as where we hope to be in 2020. And as I have said before, I just do not see blanket policies weathering the political storm unchanged for forty years.
Normally the G8 decision would dominate energy/environmental news, but the UK media outlet the Guardian dropped this bombshell. Depending on which reputable source you choose to believe, biofuels are responsible for either 3, 30 or 75 percent of the increase in food prices. Awesome. Surely they do have an impact, but more so than that of China and other developing countries new demand for resources as is highlighted in this amazing article. Like most “it” technologies, biofuels are not the godsend they were made out to be in 2007, but I seriously doubt they are primarily responsible for the increase in global food prices.
Not to be outdone, T. Boone Pickens announced the Pickens Plan. It is a massive advertising campaign that aims to dominate this year’s presidential election by focusing on how the U.S. can alleviate its dependence on foreign oil by utilizing natural gas for a third of our transportation fuel needs. To do this we would need to replace the 20 percent natural gas makes up in the energy grid with wind power. As a follow up to the proposal, earth2tech wrote this post on the top 10 things you should know about natural gas vehicles. I am intrigued and think Boone may now be the official national conservative voice for sustainable energy. The difference between Boone and other prominent sustainable figures is he has a plan based on economics versus end of the world rhetoric and has a financial stake in making it a reality.