Briefly Noted … Energy Policy

Briefly Noted…Renewable Energy Worldwide News Briefs and Information on Renewable Energy

– The terrorist attacks on the United States have amplified the need for an energy security bill that decreases U.S. dependence on foreign oil, says energy secretary Spencer Abraham. “Without energy security, you don’t have national security. Without energy security, you don’t have a strong economy, and so I think the arguments are even greater today than they have been during earlier times this year,” he says. “Obviously, all these events do have implications in the Persian Gulf.” – A paper from Worldwatch has questioned if ‘natural’ catastrophes are, in fact, natural after hurricanes, floods and fires caused US$608 billion in economic losses around the world during the 1990s, four times as much damage as the whole of the preceding 40 years. The paper says a growing share of this devastation is not natural, with the effects of disasters magnified by ecologically destructive practices such as engineering rivers and destabilizing the climate. At the same time, continuing human migration to cities and coastal areas is putting more people and infrastructure at risk, as well as the projected effects of climate change and sea level rise heightening coastal risks. – Experts from Florida’s top universities warn that the state’s economy could suffer as environmental changes caused by global warming begin to affect coastal properties and tourism, agriculture and retirement industries. The threats are outlined in two reports released by the Florida Climate Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Union of Concerned Scientists. – The chairman of a U.S. energy committee says the Senate may not have time to vote on a broad energy bill before Congress adjourns next month. A delay would stall oil drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve, says Jeff Bingaman. Senate and House offices have been closed for a week due to anthrax alerts and, within 10 days of returning to the buildings, the Senate would finalize an energy bill to be presented to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who would schedule the bill for a Senate floor vote. The energy bill would have $15 to $20 billion in energy tax incentives, he says. – The director of the Solar Energy & Energy Conversion Laboratory at the University of Florida says an indoor air cleaning system he originally developed to zap dust mites also destroys airborne anthrax. Yogi Goswami says the system has been tested successfully and could be installed inexpensively and quickly in office and home heating and air conditioning systems.

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