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Could New York City Cut Emissions 90% By 2050? 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-likely dept.
First time accepted submitter jscheib writes "According to Will Oremus in Slate, a report released today finds that 'New York City could slash its emissions by a whopping 90 percent by 2050 without any radical new technologies, without cutting back on creature comforts, and maybe even without breaking its budget.' The key elements are insulating buildings to cut energy needs, converting to (mostly) electric equipment, and then using carbon-free electricity to supply the small amount of energy still needed. Oremus notes that including energy savings would reduce the net price tag to something more like $20 billion."
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Could New York City Cut Emissions 90% By 2050?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2013 @01:43AM (#42906685)

    Of course new technologies will make it possible to reduce emissions, possibly even by 100%, but anyone claiming to plan these things 37 years into the future is full of it. Read some Ray Kurzweil [wikipedia.org] books to get some perspective - maybe he's too optimistic, and then again maybe he isn't. By that time we could definitely have StarTrams [wikipedia.org], asteroid mining, SBSP [wikipedia.org], space nuclear, space antimatter, who knows...

    Central planners have a long history of screwing things up...

    --libman

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday February 15, 2013 @01:47AM (#42906717) Journal
    Cutting CO2 mainly depends on technology (or cutting the standard of living, which most people don't want to do), aimed at two areas:

    1) Non-emitting cars. Electric cars look more viable every day; it's not inconceivable that most people could be driving them by by 2050.
    2) Power generation. Whether it comes from coal sequestration or my preferred solution, nuclear [slashdot.org] fusion [imgur.com], cutting CO2 relies on improvements in power generation technology.
  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Friday February 15, 2013 @03:02AM (#42907185) Homepage

    There are many steps that can be taken to improve energy efficiency.

    New York is located close to the Atlantic ocean and that's one decent heatsink, so by pumping out excess heat in the summer into the ocean would be more efficient in two steps - less heat put out in the city, and the temperature difference when doing heat pumping will be lower which can result in lower costs. The disadvantage here is that a lot of pipes needs to be laid down for central cooling in addition to central heating.

    Buildings themselves can also be built in a more efficient manner to avoid energy loss. Use of heat exchangers in the ventilation system can reduce heat loss, triple-glass windows with heat reflecting film (like the 3M Prestige 90 [3m.com]) will keep energy exchange with the outside to a minimum while still providing daylight.

    Another factor is that New York at least has a decent sized subway system, and therefore it's easy to extend it. A subway is one of the more effective commuting systems a city can have, but not all politicians understands that, which means that some cities should have had a subway long ago, but don't and they suffer from that today.

    Another energy saver is bicycle lanes. But that may be tougher to introduce in a city like New York.

  • Replace the windows! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by water-vole (1183257) on Friday February 15, 2013 @04:07AM (#42907493)

    I stayed at a really fancy hotel in NYC, where enormous amounts of money had been spent on interior decoration. But the windows were single glass windows which let through a lot of cold and noise. You cannot buy such bad windows in many European countries. Why do they not install proper triple-glass windows? I have not seen any building in NY with proper windows. Do they not sell them in the US?

  • Investments (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Neil Boekend (1854906) on Friday February 15, 2013 @04:19AM (#42907541)
    Everybody sensible already knows you can, but people are afraid of investments. Of course insulation pays back quite soon but people are afraid of investments.
    The only ones who can really help are banks. They could lower mortgages on well insulated houses. 1% is a big incentive.
  • by Simulant (528590) on Friday February 15, 2013 @08:22AM (#42908669) Journal
    My house is full of single pane, leaky windows. I'd love to replace the windows but a) the mortgage is still underwater b) I could only afford to replace 1 or 2 per year, and c) my neighborhood association would complain that I'm lowering the value of their property in our "Historical Neighborhood". (yes, seriously)

    I'd love some of those German multipane windows that open two ways....they are awesome, but I'd have to import them and my neighbors would throw a fit.

    Yes, I was a naive first time home buyer.... Never again.
  • by kenh (9056) on Friday February 15, 2013 @09:01AM (#42908917) Homepage Journal

    New York is located close to the Atlantic ocean and that's one decent heatsink, so by pumping out excess heat in the summer into the ocean would be more efficient in two steps - less heat put out in the city, and the temperature difference when doing heat pumping will be lower which can result in lower costs. The disadvantage here is that a lot of pipes needs to be laid down for central cooling in addition to central heating.

    Of course, pumping all that heat into the Atlantic ocean won't have any climatic or ecological implications, right?

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

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