UN forecasts boom in ‘green jobs’

Solar panel in Jerez, Spain

Solar panels will be a booming industry, says the report

The UN says millions of new jobs will be created worldwide over the next few decades by the development of alternative energy technologies.

More than a million people already work in biofuels, but a UN report says that could rise by 12 million by 2030.

It says “green jobs” depend on a shift of subsidies from oil and natural gas to wind, solar, and geothermal power.

New jobs could also include the expansion of recycling and making environmentally friendly vehicles.

The report, ‘Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World’, was commissioned and funded by the UN’s Environment Programme (Unep).

It says the manufacture, installation and maintenance of solar panels should add 6.3 million jobs by 2030, while wind power should add more than two million jobs.

Major opportunity

Unep director Achim Steiner said that if the world did not transform to a low-carbon economy it would “miss a major opportunity for the fast tracking of millions of new jobs”.

The report was written before the current global economic crisis.

However, Mr Steiner said that to ditch green energy policies because of the crisis would be a mistake because in the long term the new jobs will make economies stronger and help make goods with less oil and gas.

BBC

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Green Jobs Now

Join us and tens of thousands of Americans of all backgrounds for an unprecedented National Day of Action calling for Green Jobs Now: Build the New Economy. 

On Saturday, September 27th, the We Campaign, 1Sky, and Green for All will hold events across the country to send the message that it is time to Repower America with 100% clean electricity within 10 years and lift people out of poverty.

September 27th is only one week away, so sign up to host or attend an event today! It’s easy and it’ll be fun.

The solutions to our climate crisis are simple. Make the switch to clean, renewable energy, end our dependence on fossil fuels, and revitalize our economy. With energy costs and utility bills increasing unchecked, and millions of green collar jobs at stake, there is no time to waste.

We’ll be there on September 27th to say it’s time to Repower America with Green Jobs Now. Sign up today and join us!

Of my own invention

 

Funny things happen when people tell you you’re a genius from a young age. It’s easy to get conceited when you’re so far ahead of everyone else, for example. On the other hand, others are always ready to pounce when you screw up (as, of course, you will) and that can by annoying—so much so that you eventually learn a decent humility. And then, as Wittgenstein observed, if a man is merely ahead of his time, that is no great matter, for time will eventually catch up to him.

Time has caught up with me: Quantum Interaction 2008

In the last few days, my web site on Quanta & Consciousness has logged six visits from the Kremlin—as well as the Leiden Institute for Advanced Computing. Over the last few months, the site has logged visitors from scores of famously wealthy neighborhoods around the world, as well as numerous leading universities, business & technology centers, the Presidential Estate of India and the puzzle palace around DC.

What, now? A major R&D effort is called for, with an emphasis on the ‘D’: Field Effect Tech

As to the ‘R,’ I’ve done most of the heavy lifting already: On the Unification of Mind & Matter (PDF)

I’ve finally decided to take the plunge so far as the much-rumored “real world” goes, following several recent breakthroughs, as related in Nature. For decades, I’ve been trying to square visual fields with quantum fields—or so I would frame the effort now, with the benefit of hindsight. Within the last year or so, I became sufficiently confident in my results where vision is concerned that I ventured into the realm of audition, or hearing … 

And was astounded to find that what I’d been arguing all along with respect to color applied equally well to the realm of sound. It all goes back to spectra—the spectrum of light, the spectrum of sound—and such issues as symmetry, action, projective geometry, matrices and so forth. All of which are brought together under one roof by the illustrious French mathematician and physicist, Alain Connes.

Well, this really is humbling. Although I am not immune to the pleasures of vindication, I feel as though I’ve been granted a gift far in excess of my worthiness. On the other hand, it’s been more work, struggle and sacrifice than I ever could have imagined, almost 40 years ago, when I started out, as a lad of 16. Still, the view is breathtaking, and so …

The technological ramifications extend to a revolution in all of IT, and most clearly where AI and machine vision are concerned. Robotics and prosthetics are also obvious applications, but beyond that … even I can’t see, at the moment.

 

Can America Invent Its Way Back?

“Innovation economics” shows how smart ideas can turn into jobs and growth—and keep the U.S. competitive

 

 

Will 2009 be the year of innovation economics?

Pessimism about America’s future is growing. People worry about the long-term impact of the housing crisis, global competition, and expensive energy. And the policy solutions offered by Republicans and Democrats—mainly tax cuts and government spending programs—seem insufficient.

Yet beneath the gloom, economists and business leaders across the political spectrum are slowly coming to an agreement: Innovation is the best—and maybe the only—way the U.S. can get out of its economic hole. New products, services, and ways of doing business can create enough growth to enable Americans to prosper over the long run.

Certainly the Presidential candidates are taking the idea seriously. John McCain has proposed a $300 million prize for the person or company that creates a better battery technology to power cars. Barack Obama has called for spending $150 billion over the next 10 years on clean-energy technologies. The hoped-for outcome: more jobs, more competitive trade, less dependence on foreign oil.

 

BusinessWeek

From your mouth to God’s ear

The Wrong Energy Agenda

Conservatives should rethink their solution to our energy problems. Instead of more drilling, it’s time for small-scale enterprises, argues guest columnist Byron Kennard

In response to the nation’s energy problems, Republican politicians are calling for extensive and rapid deployment of large-scale technological solutions: drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; offshore oil development; construction of scores of new coal-fired and nuclear power plants; and development of clean coal technologies (coal-burning power stations equipped with carbon capture and sequestration gizmos).

To meet the rhetorical standards of an American Presidential campaign, this large-scale technology agenda has been distilled into a single mantra: “Drill more, drill now.” (Does this sound to anyone else like the business plan for a dentist?)

Large-scale technologies are, by definition, centralized. What’s more, their social and economic effects are centralizing. Deploying more large-scale technologies means we will become even more dependent on remote energy sources. Why do conservatives, who are philosophically committed to decentralized, small-scale approaches, opt for just the opposite when it comes to energy technology?

It’s not as if there were no small-scale technological solutions already available. There are plenty, indeed, starting with dramatic increases in conservation and efficiency, both of which can pay off hugely simply because Americans are such big—and needless—wasters of energy. This calls for thrift and prudence, both old-time virtues by any standard. Plus, increased conservation and efficiency will save consumers and businesses tons of money, which ought to please conservatives.

Small-Source Energy

On top of this, hundreds of new clean and renewable-energy technologies are flooding the market, most of them small-scale. These make possible the “distributed generation” of energy; that is energy generated from small sources on-site—solar, wind, fuel cells—and used nearby, maybe even in the same building. How much more decentralized can you get?

These small-scale technologies are not being produced by tree-hugging, anti-growth fanatics, or big government regulatory zealots, or closet socialists. They are coming from entrepreneurial small businesses whose owners are every bit as likely to be Republicans as Democrats.

Republicans profess to love entrepreneurship. But entrepreneurship has much more to do with small scale enterprise than large. Big businesses are seldom entrepreneurial, and entrepreneurs are seldom found in big businesses. We can afford to fail on the small scale but not on the big scale.

The Entrepreneurial Edge

This has been true throughout history. Tinkerers working in garages created the Industrial Age, remember? Their modern day counterparts, working on computers, are creating the post-Industrial Age. In this new era, little businesses are running rings around big businesses. Entrepreneurial small firms actually produce five times as many patents per dollar as large companies and 20 times as many as universities, according to the National Small Business Association, a trade group.

Contemplating this, one would think that entrepreneur-loving conservative politicians would be in seventh heaven. But don’t look for them there. Where you’ll find them is in bed with big business, cozily scheming to maintain the status quo.

Big businesses are exceptionally fond of the status quo, and not just because of the manifold subsidies they enjoy. Another reason is they don’t know how to get their hands on all these emerging small-scale technologies. These innovations are so numerous, so varied, and evolving so rapidly that no one can stay on top of them.

Innovative Speed

Indeed, the quickening pace of innovation puts big systems more and more at a disadvantage. No matter how quickly and how often big systems retool, something better comes along even before they finish.

Since big businesses don’t yet know how to control these small-scale technologies, or—most important—how to make money off them, they are content to pat them on the head, comment on how cute they are, and observe that in 20 or 30 years, when they grow up, such technologies might indeed be an option.

Surfing, the future: 2

The Channel Wire
August 27, 2008

Mozilla Labs has opened its doors again to share its ingenuity with the rest of the Web. Looking for a way to change the way we browse, Mozilla Labs has launched Ubiquity, a visual interface that plugs into Firefox, Mozilla’s open source browser, and may change the way users interact with the Web.

It’s still a little early in Ubiquity’s life to call it a game changer, but there are some promising elements in place.

Writing on the Mozilla Labs blog, Aza Raskin lays out the plan for Mozilla’s Ubiquity. “Today we’re announcing the launch of Ubiquity, a Mozilla Labs experiment into connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily,” wrote Raskin.

Right now adding a map to an email requires you to go to an online map service, type in an address, copy the link and paste it into the email for the recipient to click on and peruse. Ubiquity changes that approach. By installing Ubiquity on a machine with Firefox, users can open the Ubiquity window, type in the address they are looking for, insert the image into an email message and send it along.

Not satisfied with just the map? Maybe you want to attach a review of the restaurant where a group of friends are meeting up? Ubiquity can search Yelp and attach the review to the same email. Now all the information the recipient needs is on hand and in one message.

Currently, Ubiquity is only compatible with Gmail. And that’s just one example of what Ubiquity can do. Google searches, Wikipedia searches, a calculator function and text translator are just a few of the other functionalities that come built into Ubiquity.

ChannelWeb

Renewable Power’s Growth in Colorado

Windmills in CO

Windmills in CO

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 18, 2008; Page A01

DENVER — When Colorado voters were deciding whether to require that 10 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable fuels, the state’s largest utility fought the proposal, warning that any shift from coal and natural gas would be costly, uncertain and unwise.

Then a funny thing happened. The ballot initiative passed, and Xcel Energy met the requirement eight years ahead of schedule. And at the government’s urging, its executives quickly agreed to double the target, to 20 percent.

In Colorado — a state historically known for natural gas and fights over drilling — wind and solar power are fast becoming prominent parts of the energy mix. Wind capacity has quadrupled in the past 18 months, according to Gov. Bill Ritter (D), and Xcel has become the largest provider of wind power in the nation.

The politics and economics of energy are shifting here in ways that foretell debates across the country as states create renewable-energy mandates and the federal government moves toward limiting carbon emissions. One advocate calls Colorado “ground zero” for the looming battle over energy.

Despite a continuing boom, oil and gas companies here are on the defensive. They are spending heavily as they try to prevent the repeal of as much as $300 million in annual tax breaks that would be shifted to investment in renewables and other projects.

The industry, already facing a rebellion among some longtime supporters angered by its toll on the environment, also finds itself in a fight against new regulations designed to protect wildlife and public health from the vast expansion in drilling. Beyond the merits, the proposals reflect the strengthened hand of environmentalists and their friends who feel that the fossil-fuel companies have held sway too long.

Washington Post

Concrete solution to CO2 Emissions

The turbines at Moss Landing power plant on the California coast burn through natural gas to pump out more than 1,000 megawatts of electric power. The 700-degree Fahrenheit (370-degree Celsius) fumes left over contain at least 30,000 parts per million of carbon dioxide (CO2)—the primary greenhouse gas responsible for global warming—along with other pollutants.

Today, this flue gas wafts up and out of the power plant’s enormous smokestacks, but by simply bubbling it through the nearby seawater, a new California-based company called Calera says it can use more than 90 percent of that CO2 to make something useful: cement.

It’s a twist that could make a polluting substance into a way to reduce greenhouse gases. Cement, which is mostly commonly composed of calcium silicates, requires heating limestone and other ingredients to 2,640 degrees F (1,450 degrees C) by burning fossil fuels and is the third largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the U.S., according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Making one ton of cement results in the emission of roughly one ton of CO2—and in some cases much more.

Scientific American