Garth Heutel is an associate professor of economics at Georgia State University. This post originally appeared at The Conversation. Environmental economics 101Many renewable energy experts, including economists like me, want governments to do something to address climate change but question the mandate.University of California, Berkeley economist Severin Borenstein summed up this take in his open letter to the California Energy Commission opposing the rule. University of California, Davis economist James Bushnell also opposes the mandate for similar reasons.Above all, what we economists call “command-and-control policies” like this mandate — inflexible requirements that apply to everyone — often don’t make sense. For example, going solar is less economical in some cases. Even in sunny California, builders can construct housing in shady areas, and not all homeowners use enough electricity for the investment to pay off before they move away.The mandate does have some exemptions tied to shade and available roof space, but there could property owners subjected to the requirement to own or lease solar panels who might consider it unreasonable.We tend to think that “market-based policies” would work better. By relying on incentives instead of requirements, people get to decide for themselves what to do.Good examples of these policies include a tax on pollution, like British Columbia’s carbon tax, or a cap-and-trade market, like the European Union’s Emissions Trading System. Instead of restricting the right to pollute, these approaches make people and businesses pay to pollute, either through taxation or by buying mandatory permits.The flexibility of market-based policies can make meeting pollution reduction goals cost-effective. When people — or businesses — have to factor the costs of pollution into their decision-making, they have a financial incentive to pollute less and will find ways to do so. By reducing pollution as cheaply as possible, more money is left over to spend on other pressing needs like housing, health care and education.This advantage is not merely theoretical. By many accounts, market-based policies have successfully worked according to theory, including the U.S. sulfur dioxide trading program and the EU’s carbon trading program.California itself has a cap-and-trade market. I believe that expanding and improving it would cut carbon emissions more cost-effectively than the solar mandate would.Many economists also fear that the mandate will worsen California’s housing unaffordability. This crisis has many causes, such as restrictive zoning regulations that curtail construction. But the solar-panel requirement, which could increase the cost of a new home by more than $10,000, probably won’t help, even though supporters of the policy argue that the solar panels will pay for themselves in terms of lower monthly electricity costs. More than two sidesYou might expect the debate over this policy, which became official when the California Energy Commission unanimously voted in favor of it on May 8, to pit two well-defined camps against each other.Environmentalists who prize fighting climate change might love it due to a presumption that increasing the share of power California derives from solar panels will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cutting demand for natural gas and coal.On the other hand, those who question whether the costs of addressing climate change are worth it might hate the solar mandate, since they either see no benefits or think the benefits aren’t worth the costs. More California rooftops will soon sport solar panels, partly due to a new state mandate requiring them for all new houses and low-rise residential buildings by 2020.This rule immediately sparked lively debates. Even experts who generally advocate for solar energy expressed skepticism that it was actually a good idea.As an environmental economist who studies the design of environmental policies, I believe that doing something about climate change is important, but I don’t consider this new solar mandate to be the best way to achieve that goal. I’m also concerned that it could exacerbate problems with California’s housing market. But there are more than two sides. A practical policyAfter mulling all the various arguments made by these different camps, I don’t think that whether California’s rooftop solar mandate is the perfect policy for the climate or the state’s homebuyers is the question.The answer to that question is a resounding no — but that is beside the point because no policy is perfect. The key question is whether this policy — given its imperfections and given the difficulty in passing more cost-effective policies — is a winner overall. That question is harder to answer.Ultimately, I believe the mandate will yield some environmental benefits, though they could be more cost-effectively achieved through other means. The solar mandate’s fansThe solar mandate’s defenders, including Gov. Jerry Brown and Sierra Club leader Rachel Golden, make several arguments — two of which I find credible.The first is what I’d call the “Panglossian” argument, after the character in Candide, Voltaire’s 18th-century classic satire. In what Voltaire would call “the best of all possible worlds,” taxing carbon would make perfect sense.But this is a world riddled with political obstacles that make enacting almost any climate policy next to impossible. If a big American state can enact an imperfect law like this mandate that might do some good, then it should go for it.The other argument I find reasonable is that by drumming up more demand, the solar mandate will expand the solar panel market — thereby driving solar costs down, perhaps more quickly than a carbon tax would. There’s some evidence supporting the theory that these mandates can spur innovation in renewable electricity technologies.If the mandate works out, it might address two issues at once: shrinking California’s carbon footprint and bolstering technological progress in the solar industry.To be sure, the cost of residential solar panels has plummeted in recent years, although generating solar energy through rooftop panels remains less cost-effective than power from utility-scale solar farms. RELATED ARTICLES California Poised to Require Solar PanelsThe California ModelTo Net Zero and Beyond The Department of Energy Chooses a Definition for Net ZeroBuilding a Low-Cost Zero-Energy HomeRevisiting Net Zero Energy
Phil and Chris, hosts of the Green Architects’ Lounge Podcast, define and discuss embodied carbon in buildings, and make an impassioned case for understanding why this is absolutely the most urgent issue we face in the design and construction industry today—even ahead of zero-energy building—as we work together to combat a fast-approaching climate crisis.Listen to the podcastAudio Playerhttps://cdn.simplecast.com/audio/244dd9/244dd98f-d8ab-4943-9b47-4fb0f1713e30/dfff632a-3e39-4bea-9f57-1c11892dfe95/gal_102_master2_tc.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Embodied carbon is carbon that is emitted in the production of materials, and the building industry is responsible for 40% of global annual emissions. Buildings are the problem and the solution, and understanding the immediate impacts of embodied carbon is absolutely vital.Phil and Chris define the critical difference between embodied and operational carbon, and explain why net-zero-energy buildings simply aren’t enough at this moment in time. They take a pass at understanding the numbers behind the issues. They also spend the second half of the podcast talking about the materials that we either must, or absolutely should not specify. Wood is good, steel and concrete are bad, but anyone in the industry knows that this doesn’t leave us with a simple puzzle to solve.The Cocktail: The Bennett Cocktail2 oz. Gin¾ oz. Fresh lime juice¾ oz. Simple syrup2 dashes Angostura bittersDirections: Shake all ingredients with ice to chill, then strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.The HighlightsWhat is embodied carbon? Carbon that is emitted in the production of materials.40% of global annual carbon emissions are caused by building industry.We need to understand eCO2e (embodied carbon emissions) vs. oCO2e (operational carbon emissions).What are the differences between embodied (upfront) vs. operational carbon? (11% embodied + 28% operational = 39% total)?We don’t have time to mess around. New zero-energy-buildings are simply not good enough to save us in time. Energy is not a proxy for carbon.Buildings are the problem and the solution. It’s best not to build at all, but if you must—and we must—embodied carbon emissions become critical.How is our tribe doing already? For residential construction, we are doing pretty well, and it’s been a good testing ground. The nerds need to distill the data into actionable rules of thumb so the non-nerds can act.Commercial is the big nut to crack: 33% of embodied carbon is in the structure.We can’t get to net zero-carbon with a dirty grid.Transport of workers to the job site is the biggest source of emissions.Impact of the work we do is more important that personal changes we make.Sometimes it actually can be better to tear down and build a smaller, high performance building.Impacts of the construction process are 20-25% of the total.Understanding the numbersCalculations now are right enough, we need action more than precision.Use only very round numbers—1,2,5,10,20,50,100—so they are retained.EPDs are the MPGs for buildings.How can a number be negative? Regenerative building can actually fix the environment.Top five materialsFSC-certified wood (all wood is not the same)Natural building materials (straw/hemp/wool)Cellulose insulationCross-laminated timbersWood fiberboard insulationBottom five materialsAluminumConcreteSteelRefrigerantsSpray foamSong of the episode747 by Bill CallahanLinksCarbon Smart Materials PaletteCarbon CureCarbon Leadership ForumThe New Carbon Architecture by Bruce KingImages courtesy of Chris Magwood, Endeavour Centre; Jacob Racusin, New Frameworks; Ace McArleton, New Frameworks.The Green Architects’ Lounge hosts are Chris Briley and Philip Kaplan. Chris is a principal at BRIBURN architecture for life. Phil is a principal at Kaplan Thompson Architects. Never miss an episode and take the podcast with you! Subscribe to the Green Architects’ Lounge on iTunes or from wherever you download your podcasts. The show’s Theme Music is Zelda’s Theme by Perez Prado. Special thanks to our sponsor Pinnacle Window Solutions!
Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Blackwater suits up new acquisition Allein Maliksi when it clashes with back-to-the-wall GlobalPort in the 4:30 p.m. game.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side “But that’s not our goal, it’s top four,” he said after getting 28 points and 10 rebounds from import Justin Brownlee at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay where the Kings picked up win No. 8 in 10 games. “It was just really important for us to get that eighth win.”Ginebra will play TNT KaTropa to close out its elimination round schedule, and a win in that Sept. 23 game would most likely give the Kings top ranking and the lightest first-round assignment in the playoffs.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingCone said the team was still smarting from a loss to San Miguel Beer a few nights ago.“We need to get better to reach their level,” he said. “We’re just not there yet.” Mondilla gets his redemption LATEST STORIES Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo View comments NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters PBA IMAGESBouncing back from a rare loss in the PBA Governors’ Cup, Barangay Ginebra on Saturday night notched a win to reclaim top ranking—which Tim Cone won’t mind losing again.“I don’t care about being No. 1, 2, 3 or 4,” Cone said after an 89-82 victory over Rain or Shine that sewed up a twice-to-beat advantage for the Kings. “[Being No. 1] just adds extra pressure on you. We want to win as many games as we can and if we end up No. 1, that’s great.ADVERTISEMENT Jake Cuenca, Gerald Anderson talk about training for triathlon PLAY LIST 00:52Jake Cuenca, Gerald Anderson talk about training for triathlon00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. The Grand Slam-seeking Beermen formalized entry into the playoffs earlier by squeaking past KIA Picanto, 118-112.June Mar Fajardo scored 41 points and had 17 rebounds, playing the entire second half and towing the Beermen to their sixth win in nine outings.Fajardo scored 20 of his total in the fourth period to send KIA to its 10th straight loss.Star and TNT KaTropa tangle in a crucial match Sunday at 6:45 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum where the Hotshots debut a third import in Iceland’s Kristofer Acox.The Texters will be gunning to improve a 6-3 card and stay well within top four contention, while the Hotshots, with a 5-3 record, will be shooting for a ticket to the next round.ADVERTISEMENT
Continue Reading Previous Maxim: 5kVRMS reinforced digital isolator enables safe, high-throughput automation systemsNext Lauterbach: TRACE32 provides JTAG debug support for Wind River VxWorks 653 GrammaTech announced availability of CodeSonar 5, their latest innovation in advancing static analysis, delivering the next step in usability and extensibility for users of static analysis. GrammaTech adds C# support next to the already existing support for C, C++ and Java. This gives CodeSonar coverage for the most popular programming languages for safety and security critical industries such as Automotive, Industrial, Medical, Consumer/Electronic as well Aerospace and Defense. User experience is improved with support for the Visual Studio IDE, which builds on the currently available support for the Eclipse IDE. CodeSonar uses open standards where possible and CodeSonar 5 adds support for importing results in the Static Analysis Results Interchange Format (SARIF). Additionally, the whole program static analysis engine within CodeSonar has been extended with a copy-paste error checker that finds problems caused by incorrect re-use of C/C++ code. This checker has already proven its use in finding more than 20 problems in popular open source programs such as the Linux kernel, chromium, mysql, wine, eclipse TCF, python, and postgres. This once more confirms that CodeSonar delivers the deepest static analysis for C/C++ in the industry today. One of the differentiating features of CodeSonar is the detailed information that it provides for every warning through its natural language generator. CodeSonar 5 extends language support with support for Mandarin, as well as Japanese and English. Other languages can easily be added.Numerous other improvements are also included, such as enhancements to the C++11, 14, and 17 support, floating point support and more flexibility in the role-based access control, improving usability for large enterprise deployment. The update is available as a free upgrade to all licensed customers under active support and maintenance contracts.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Tools & Software