Friday Linkage 12/8/2011

You know how I am sure winter is settling in?  My 10-year old Mazda does not want to start in the morning.  Maybe it’s the battery.  Maybe it’s 10 years of in town driving.  Whatever the case may be that car is one warm weather snob.

With the bad of winter comes the good as well: hot chocolate with my daughter, sleeping in under flannel sheets, and not worrying about getting outside to accomplish som task on the “to do” list.  Winter is about relaxing under warm blankets and letting the mental batteries recharge.  On to the links…

One-Third of the World’s Energy Solar by 2060–Not if Exxon has anything to say about that happening.  As the prices of PV continue to fall, it is becoming increasingly clear that the portfolio of energy in the near term is going to include a larger degree of solar than previously thought.  Considering that consumer scale PV does not require the infrastructure of high power transmission lines the attractiveness of the option only increases.

North American Solar PV Set to Double in 2011–Maybe the change is already happening.  2011 will see a doubling of the installed base of solar PV in North America driven by US demand.  This is not a doubling of installations, but a doubling of the total power derived from solar PV.  That’s a big deal.  Congress will find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Romantic Wood Stoves–On the other end of the spectrum is the realization that the romance of wood heat does not meet the reality.  I remember a friend in Minnesota whose house was heated by wood.  It was always fun to have his dad yell down to the basement to put more logs on the fire because things were getting a bit chilly.

Americans Driving Less–A variety of factors are used to explain the quantifiable decrease in the amount of driving that Americans are doing today.  However, the article does note some structural changes that will continue to accelerate this trend.    Baby boomers are aging and driving less, which is a trend that will only continue.  Teenagers are also getting their driver’s licence at a lower rate–31% of 16-year olds in 2008 versus 46% in 1983.

Suburbia is Not Doomed According to Some–I think the truth of this argument lies somewhere in the middle.   Our obsession with suburban development patterns is coming to an end, but it does not signal a return to some pre-World War II urban development nirvana.  New Urbanism sounds nice, but there are appeals of the suburban life that call to people.  You decide.

James Inhofe is an Ass–Don Young is still an ass,but James Inhofe requires a special shout out as a member of this Hall of Shame.  Who is he kidding anymore?  After his igloo stunt a couple of years ago I wondered if we would make the same claims as his state baked this summer.  Nope, just an ass.

Cargo Bike Litter Patrol–I so want to see one of these on the various in-town trails that I ride on a regular basis.  The trails are not dirty per se, but some of the sections seem to accumulate wind blown trash at an alarming rate.

The North Face’s Sustainability Report–It’s pretty dry reading, but these reports are interesting in that they even exist.  It suggests a shift among the corporate culture that this is something to take seriously.  I do not think the North Face’s effort is as comprehensive as Patagonia’s, but it’s a start.



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