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This week’s essential reading December 10th through December 15th

by mel starrs on December 15, 2008

in News

These are my links for December 10th through December 15th:

  • Monbiot.com » One Shot Left – "… if we are to give ourselves a roughly even chance of preventing more than two degrees of warming, global emissions from energy must peak by 2015 and decline by between six and eight per cent per year from 2020 to 2040, leading to a complete decarbonisation of the global economy soon after 2050. Even this programme would work only if some optimistic assumptions about the response of the biosphere hold true. Delivering a high chance of preventing two degrees of warming would mean cutting global emissions by over 8% a year.
    Is this possible? Is this acceptable? The Tyndall paper points out that annual emission reductions greater than one per cent have “been associated only with economic recession or upheaval.” When the Soviet Union collapsed, they fell by some 5% a year. But you can answer these questions only by considering the alternatives. The trajectory both Barack Obama and Gordon Brown have proposed – an 80% cut by 2050 – means reducing emissions by an average of 2% a year. "
  • Monbiot.com » At Last, A Date – Peak oil prediction by IEA within next 20 years: “Although global oil production in total is not expected to peak before 2030, production of conventional oil … is projected to level off towards the end of the projection period.”(10) These bland words reveal a major shift. Never before has one of the IEA’s energy outlooks forecast the peaking or plateauing of the world’s conventional oil production (which is what we mean when we talk about peak oil).
  • Blog | Yudelson Associates | Green Building Consulting – The town of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, near Barcelona, Spain, installed 462 solar panels on top of mausoleums in the town cemetery, after an extensive public relations campaign with the kin of the deceased, proving once again that there is space for solar just about in any town.
  • The Natural Edge Project – Australian Sustainability Think Tank – "The Natural Edge Project (TNEP) is an independent Sustainability Think-Tank based in Australia. TNEP operates as a partnership for education, research and policy development on innovation for sustainable development.
    TNEP's mission is to contribute to and succinctly communicate leading research, case studies, tools and strategies for achieving sustainable development across government, business and civil society.
    Driven by a team of early career Australians, the non-profit Project receives mentoring and support from a range of experts and leading organisations in Australia and internationally, through a generational exchange model. "
  • A Mortgage Banker In Amish Country : NPR – "When you lend to the Amish, you're making a loan that you're going to keep. You can't sell that loan to some other investor.
    That's because Amish loans can't be securitized — they can't be turned into a mortgage-backed security or a collateralized debt obligation — like all of those subprime loans that have caused so much trouble.
    You can't do that for an odd legal reason. Homes that don't have electric power don't qualify for securitization. Neither do homes without traditional insurance. Amish homes are unmodernized, and the Amish use their own kind of insurance. "
  • Real Advice Hurts | 43 Folders – Merlin is back on top form. "We can’t get good at something solely by reading about it. And we’ll never make giant leaps in any endeavor by treating it like a snack food that we munch on whenever we’re getting bored. You get good at something by doing it repeatedly. And by listening to specific criticism from people who are already good at what you do. And by a dedication to getting better, even when it’s inconvenient and may not involve a handy bulleted list."
  • Reject environmentally harmful work, says engineer Mark Whitby – Building Design – Glass houses and all that. Who among us is completely beyond reproach when it comes to a squeaky clean portfolio of work? Mark Whitby calls for a boycott – do they work? Tricky topic and something I've mulled over to no conclusion (yet).
  • Prince looks to past for the future – Building Design – What should low energy housing look like? Prince's Foundation says veracular rules and it's what the public want. Is this true? Do the public want this or do they simply buy what is available? Have they any choice given the business model for house building in the UK? Interesting questions…
  • London heating standards in pipeline – Building – The Greater London Authority (GLA) will develop a technical standard for district and combined heat and power (CHP) in the capital as well as rules to ensure customers get a “fair deal” for heat.
  • Obama’s Green Building Agenda – BusinessWeek – As the President-Elect prepares to take office, The U.S. Green Building Council has put together an agenda of sustainable policies he should pursue
  • Carbon-calculating data site Amee scores seven-figure investment | Media | guardian.co.uk – Two of my online worlds colliding – venture capital and low carbon: "Amee – the Avoiding Mass Extinction Engine – has built up a loyal following since it launched in 2005, its strategy of developing a "Wikipedia for carbon data" approach hitting a very distinct need among government and big business alike.
    The site, which has grown from 2.5 staff at the start to 12 today, has scored seven-figure funding from O'Reilly Alphatech Ventures, Tag Venture, and Union Square Ventures, one of the investors behind Twitter."
  • Mark Brinkley on Whatever Happened to MMC? – So why does MMC work so well in other countries and why has it had such difficulties in establishing itself in Britain? Could it be that it’s actually nothing to do with British builders being backward and everything to do with the boom-bust nature of our property markets. There is little point investing heavily in manufacturing plant if, every twenty years or so, you get wiped out by a bust. Twenty years just isn’t a long enough timespan to make it all worthwhile. The countries where MMC prospers tend to be ones with very low rates of speculative housebuilding and, conversely, very high levels of custom home building, what we would call selfbuild.