Thursday, October 30, 2008

Eugene shows Salem and other Oregon cities how it's done

Eugene City Council last week adopted two recommendations from its sustainability commission to move the city of Eugene toward carbon neutrality.

The adopted goal says that all city-owned facilities and city operations will reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2020.

If that proves to be impossible, the city will need to cancel its remaining emissions through local carbon offsets.

An annual work plan will also be developed by city staff to reach the zero emissions goal.

The commission also directed the city to work with community partners to develop a community climate action plan within 18 months.

Go to One Town Square

One of our favorite Oregon blogs, One Town Square, a project of the Goal One Coalition, has this disturbing -- if not frightening -- article today.

Alas, Salem and Marion County officials insist on keeping their heads firmly in the sand on this. Pursuing roadway expansions, multi-hundred-million-dollar bridges, throwing millions (literally) away on an airport AFTER the sole resident airline has departed, continuing to allow the school districts to grow ever more dependent on diesel oil-powered buses, etc. etc. etc.

Marion Co. waste incineration plant -- a bad idea for climate too?

Marion Co. (which includes most of Salem) has a waste incineration plant in Brooks, Oregon. A number of organizations oppose waste incineration on a variety of grounds, particularly the toxics emitted. (See the excellent short video, The Story of Stuff, for an example.)

A discussion of waste incineration (vs. recycling) on the "Fostering Sustainable Behavior" listserv included this post concerning greenhouse gas emissions:

Look at the WARM model from the U.S. EPA. (pdf warning)

There is also a Canadian version produced with funding from Natural Resources Canada, and Environment Canada.

Both studies clearly shows that greenhouse gases from incineration are much higher than those produced from reuse, recycling, composting, etc.

GHG's are also a proxy for 'energy use' in most cases. In other words, the energy extracted from incinerating waste, is much, much less than the 'embedded energy' inherent in the item.

The studies are not simple to understand; if you need help in finding the relevant tables, contact me and I'll be glad to help you navigate the study(ies).

Norm Ruttan

iWasteNot Systems

More great news! Our famous refusal to learn from experience continues unabated!!

Gas prices fall, driving climbs!