The Future of Transportation: The Port of Los Angeles

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Right now I am following a very interesting course with the name of transport and regional economics. And the more I think about transportation, the more I realize how important it is to move people and goods from point A to point B. I wont annoy you with all the theoretical models that we use to describe transportation, instead I would like to tell you something about the Port of Los Angeles in California.

Why exactly this port? Because it will become one of the most environmentally responsible ports worldwide. To give you some numbers: The daily cargo shipped from there has  a value of 1 billion dollar, it has 70 km of waterfront and 30 km² of extension. The Port of LA is the 16th largest in the whole world. But what makes this port so special are the ways how the management of the port tries to reduce the impacts of the thousands of ship that visit LA every year. One way to do so is that ships that are inside the port get connected to a electricity power grid such that they don’t have  to use their own diesel engines for energy supply, reducing the air pollution doing so. The trucks that drive around the port area are all technologically up-to-date and work with electricity. All this changes made the water clean enough to swim in it (all tough, personally speaking, I wouldn’t).

The main problem that consist till today is the final transport, from the port to  the destination point, in fact engineers are planning an electric highway, called “eHigway” powered with catenary wires.

Check out the far more detailed article on gizmodo!

 

 

Ecomondo – The Green Technologies EXPO

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Couple of days I went to check out this expo which is quite famous in Italy to showcase all the companies which are doing business in Sustainability. This was the fourth edition. I went there last year too but with less enthusiasm and knowledge, I could not enjoy to the best. This year was better. I could understand what the company was showing like Wind Turbine or Solar panel (thanks to our recent course topic – Renewable Energy Production) or companies working in waste/water management. I decided to attend this conference ‘Green Economy’. I liked the sound of it but now there goes my rant.

The main people who had to speak about it were late by 1 hour and they finished one hour later. Honestly I lost my interest in listening to them. Such unprofessional people here.

Anyway the discussion was good. One of the Italian journalist spoke about various harsh truth about the status of Italy in terms of Sustainability. Like Italians still use incarceration to burn waste or Italians still need to progress in terms of Waste management. Some of the states are really bad in collecting the waste. Around 40% is completely discarded. There was another representative from IMF so spoke about Co2 taxes and better taxes reform in Italy. You should check ‘Green New Deal for Italy’. Apparently there are focusing a lot recently on waste management. I liked the conference but honestly because of late arrival and late finish, I could not see the entire expo like I wanted. The expo was huge and was very nicely organized. I would like to go there again but conferences? No, Thanks!

Tesla revealed batteries for your home

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For sure you heard about Tesla, the US American producer of the very successfully selling electric car Tesla Model S. And if you find their revolutionary approach in the car sector as interesting as I do, you will definitely appreciate the latest news from Tesla.

On April 30, they announced at a press conference in Los Angeles that they will sell their most innovative battery system also separately for consumers. They will sell their battery packs that will cost around 3500 $ and are able to store 10kWh,

 

Now you may ask why should I buy a battery for my home? Obviously the battery can supply you during a blackout but it is not directly ment for that. The main reason to get one is that if you have an external power supply, for example solar plants you can storage energy efficiently (which was not that easy and cheap before) or you can charge it during the time of the day when energy costs less and use it later!

What do you think about Teslas idea? Discuss below!

What is emissions trading and what is it good for? Part 2 of 2

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Instruments that have the power to reduce pollution emissions are one of the topics we study in our course, and looking closer on certain issues it can get sometimes more technical to understand problems better.

Emission trading was first developed as an economic theory to internalize damaging externalities like pollution, which means that negative effects on the welfare of another entity have to be considered if we want to achieve a specific goal at least-cost. The creation of a cap-and-trade market based framework is able to resolve this kind of problems. The cap is a limit on emissions that can not be exceeded; usually policy makers  decide it on an arbitrary level and it gets lowered over time. The “trade” part of this system is the market, where a price gets associated to a ton of pollutants. But there is only a limited number of certificates available on the market, and according to market dynamics regulate itself to reach a certain pricing level that can be cost efficient in some specific circumstances.

As I mentioned in the first part, there are some other instruments that can handle pollution reduction problems like carbon taxes or command and control incentives (I will report about those two in the near future). The main advantage of emission trading is that it can handle a lot of problems that the other two can not.

Of course this is just a very basic overview of what emission trading is about, but in the case you want to learn more about this kind of approach you should definitely consider to read through some more detailed lecture.

Play the Sustainability Game online

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Teaching people of any age is a crucial step for a more sustainable world. While stumbling across the Web I found this very nice flashgame for children up to 14 that tries to teach in an interactive way what sustainability is, how the extraction of resources affects the environment and what would be the best practice to avoid damages. When we started playing this game, we realized that we all can again some knowledge about cleaner environment or use products which are more sustainable.

It is interesting how players have to solve different problematic scenarios in the game, from choosing a location of a house to reach a minimal impact on environment, but also how to save energy, water and waste.

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our score!

The game starts with the game details and which things are useful for the environment. In the end it asks few questions and in turn give your a score according to your answers. As you can see, we got a bad start but we finally made it up with our wise choices. For young people it could be more useful so that they start doing these things now for a better and cleaner future.

So if your kid or grandfather wants to play on the computer, and you want to make them learn some things about sustainability, consider this game! Who knows your kid might become one famous ecologist or really good town planner.

http://www.mysusthouse.org/game.html

5 stars for this game. Big thumbs up.

Written by: Max Unterthiner and Pushkar Sabharwal