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EPA's Energy Star at Work Launchpad

EPA

I have to admit, I may be the Logical Ecologist but I do get tired of hearing about everything “green” multiple times a day, every day.

I shouldn’t complain, though. It’s really a good thing that people are more concerned about all aspects of our environment. And now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a new online tool to help us green-up the workplace.

Our commercial and industrial workplaces account for almost half the energy use nationwide–and nearly half the greenhouse gas emissions. EPA’s Energy Star at Work tool takes you on an interactive tour of a typical office, with small steps employees can take to make a big difference in the overall energy use at work–everything from using a power strip to turn off all your equipment at the end of the day to creating a Green Team with coworkers.

You can also sign up for the Energy Star Challenge, a national call-to-action to reduce workplace energy consumption by 10% or more.

Energy Star is a joint EPA and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program to help the environment through energy efficiency. In 2007, Americans prevented 40 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by using Energy Star practices and products.

And the other big benefit of going green at work?  We all save money.

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On May 30, 2008, some of the world’s top economists ( including five Nobel laureates) will finalize a prioritized list of some of the best and worst solutions for the world’s most pressing problems. 

The Copenhagen Consensus panel will look at the costs vs. benefits of almost 50 solutions to worldwide issues.  Bjorn Lomborg, organizer of the Copenhagen Consensus and author of Cool It:  The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming compares a dollar spent on heart disease in a developing nation that does $25 worth of good with the 90 cents worth of good for each dollar spent on carbon mitigation as an example.

Stay tuned as this group determines the best cost/benefit answers to problems ranging from air pollution to public health to trade barriers.  Economists might seem cold when they put a dollar figure on an emotional topic–but finding the best investments to help the planet is their goal.  And if those dollars aren’t spent well, we all lose.

Unless you live in a cave, you’ve either read about the impacts of global warming, watched a special on television or seen An Inconvenient Truth.

Debate still rages over whether climate change is a reality or not, and its ultimate impact on the environment and on our lives.

Anyone interested in this topic needs to read Bjorn Lomborg‘s Cool It  The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming. 

Lomborg is an economist who started the Copenhagen Consensus in 2004. The Copenhagen Consensus Center brings 55 international economists, including 5 Nobel Laureates, together to prioritize the world’s greatest challenges–and find cost-effective solutions.  Global warming is just one of those priorities.

Bjorn makes simple but powerful arguments in Cool It.  First of all, Bjorn agrees that global warming is real, that human activity contributes to it, and that it will have a serious impact on our lives and the environment by the end of the century. 

However, he disagrees with the wildly exaggerated statements related to global warming’s consequences.  The apocalyptic descriptions of climate change that we see regularly in the media “make any sensible policy dialogue about our global choices impossible.”  Instead, it polarizes people with differing opinions and stifles progress.

Bjorn promotes finding simple, intelligent and efficient solutions.  The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, committed developed countries that ratified it to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions by about 20 percent below what they would have been in the period from 2008 to 2012.  But looking at it from an economist’s point of view, the cost is much greater than the benefit gained.

Another important point in Cool It–there are more important issues than global warming.  Hunger.  Poverty.  Lack of clean water. Disease.  Solving some of these problems can help more people at a lower cost.

And his final argument–“We need to remind ourselves that our ultimate goal is not to reduce greenhouse gases or global warming per se but to improve the quality of life and the environment.”

Being down to earth about helping the earth–I think this book should be required reading for anyone who wants to have a fully rounded opinion on the global warming issue. 

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