Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blogging as professional development: energy and air pollution

In my geology class tonight, I gave my lecture about energy and mineral resources and added the following image from a Grist article I used in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Doha climate talks conclude edition).   In fact, it was the conclusion of the lecture.  I decided to finish with some good news.

Grist: Nearly 50 percent of new electricity generation capacity added in 2012 was renewable
By Philip Bump
Every month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission puts out a report called the “Energy Infrastructure Update” [PDF]. It is done in Microsoft Word by someone whose first priority isn’t aesthetics.

But it does contain interesting information! Among which, this time: From January through October, 46.2 percent of new electricity generating capacity added in the U.S. was renewable.
Yes, folks, blogging can be professional development.

I didn't include the following article's findings, as I ran out of time.  However, it would have been on topic.

University of Michigan: Fuel economy remains at record high, emissions now at record low
December 5, 2012
ANN ARBOR—Fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States remains at its highest level ever, while emissions are at a record low, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Average fuel economy (window-sticker values) of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs purchased in November was 24.1 mpg, the same as in October and up from 23.8 in September and a full mile per gallon better than a year ago. The record-tying mark is a 20 percent increase (4.0 mpg) from October 2007, the first month of monitoring by UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.

The improvement in fuel economy over the last five years corresponds to a 17 percent reduction in fuel consumption (gallons per mile).

In addition to average fuel economy, Sivak and Schoettle issued their monthly update of their national Eco-Driving Index, which estimates the average monthly emissions generated by an individual U.S. driver. The EDI takes into account both vehicle fuel economy and distance driven—the latter relying on data that are published with a two-month lag.

During September, the EDI dipped to a record 0.80, down from 0.81 in both August and July and down from 0.86 a year ago (the lower the value, the better). The index currently shows that emissions of greenhouse gases per driver of newly purchased vehicles are down 20 percent, overall, since October 2007.
In fact, I could have used this articles in my final Environmental Science lecture for the semester, which was about air pollution.  I made the point that improving the gas mileage of cars also decreases their emissions, and this would have been a great supporting detail.  Next semester.

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