In green technology developments this week, the head honchos of the U.S. cable, satellite, and telco television industry have signed off on an unprecedented energy efficiency pact ahead of schedule; while in Qatar, delegates at COP 18 dawdled and demurred over their agreement through the last day of the meeting.
Frustrations ran high as night fell on the last day of the international climate meeting with no agreement apparent. One participant told the UK’s Guardian, "It's like the Qataris think it's a World Cup, but this is not a game of football – these are serious negotiations about the future of the planet. They have not taken this seriously; they have not got a grip.” Meanwhile, Professor Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research and professor at the University of East Anglia in Britain, complained, "With emissions continuing to grow, it’s as if no-one is listening to the entire scientific community. I am worried that the risks of dangerous climate change are too high on our current emissions trajectory. We need a radical plan.”
Earlier in the week, America’s top cable, satellite and telco TV providers and manufacturers committed to unprecedented energy efficiency measures, which are expected to save more than 90 million U.S. households about $1.5 billion annually. The 15 companies—including Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable, Cox, Verizon, Charter, AT&T, Cablevision, Bright House Networks and CenturyLink; and manufacturers Cisco, Motorola, EchoStar Technologies and ARRIS—voluntarily signed off on a Set-Top Box Energy Conservation Agreement that will result in massive annual residential electricity savings. At least 90 percent of all new set-top boxes purchased and deployed after 2013 will meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR (News - Alert) 3.0 efficiency levels. For immediate residential electricity savings, “light sleep” capabilities will be downloaded by cable operators to more than 10 million digital video recorders (DVR) already in U.S. homes. In addition, during the coming year, telco providers will offer light sleep capabilities, and satellite providers will include an “automatic power down” feature in 90 percent of set-top-boxes purchased and deployed.
In the UK, efficiency also ruled the day. As part of the Red Tape Challenge running from April 2011 through April 2013—an effort to reduce the number and complexity of laws on the books—the Department of Energy and Climate Change has provided Parliament with a single regulatory instrument for Phase III of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The solitary plan document would replace 13 previous sets of EU ETS regulations when Phase III becomes effective in January and continues for the next eight years, until December 2020. The EU Emissions Trading System is a cornerstone of the European Union's initiative to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively. At the heart of the scheme is the common trading “currency” of emission allowances. One allowance gives the right to emit one ton of CO2. Member states currently are required to draw up national allocation plans for each trading period—assigning specific allowances to every installation annually. At the end of each year, every eligible company must surrender enough allowances to cover all of its emissions; otherwise heavy fines are imposed. If a company reduces its emissions, it can keep the spare allowances to cover its future needs, or can sell them to another business.
And speaking of “allowances," two scientists at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, are going to be making some “hush money” soon. They have found a way to eliminate the annoying buzz that fluorescent light bulbs emit. What’s more is their new bulb is flicker-free and won’t turn yellow like the usual fluorescents do; or blue, like you look under LEDs. The lighting, based on field-induced polymer electroluminescent (FIPEL) technology, comprises three layers of moldable white-emitting polymer blended with a small amount of nanomaterial that glows when stimulated to create bright and perfectly white light— similar to the sunlight human eyes prefer.. Wake Forest is working with a company to manufacture the technology and plans to have it ready for consumers in the next year.
Finally, 3W Power Ukraine, a subsidiary of AEG Power Solutions and a manufacturer of power electronic systems, has signed its first contract with the solar division of the Portuguese multinational group, Martifer—covering photovoltaic utility scale equipment needed for two solar farms in the Vinnytsia region of the Ukraine. AEG Power Solutions is expected to deliver and commission the equipment on-site, which should be connected to the grid and operational by the end of the year
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