Sunday, October 23, 2011

Green Links for Today

1. The New York Times covers the hearing where the California Air Resources Board "green lights" the state's carbon cap and trade program.   Mary Nichols hired me at UCLA before she left to become the Chair of the Air Resources Board.  You can see a photo of her in that article.   This Thursday, we will appear on a televised panel on the "California Green Economy" (see this).

2. Lunch and Landfills in NYC:  The Times reports  that Californians who have moved to NYC are grossed out by the fact that the Big Apple is to busy to have different garbage cans for different types of garbage.  Such self sorting of stuff would aid recycling and reduce landfill pressure.  But, the NYC government is politically incorrect and states;

"Last year, the City Council passed legislation to require the recycling of rigid plastics — all those containers for yogurt or Chinese takeout, as well as others like medicine bottles and flower pots — and divert 8,000 more tons of plastic from landfills and incinerators each year. But that expansion hinges not just on the opening of the new recycling plant, but also on an assessment of costs.
Still, city officials say that it is more expensive to recycle than to send trash to landfills and incinerators for disposal, and that they have to weigh those costs against environmental goals.
The city also has to give people somewhere to put their recyclables, especially out on the streets. With the heaviest pedestrian traffic in the country, New York has only 500 recycling bins on streets and in parks, compared with about 25,000 wastebaskets. Sanitation Department officials say that to keep costs down, they place the bins mostly in areas along existing collection routes, where volunteers from the community help by replacing and storing bags when they fill up. "

This is an interesting example of not pricing the externality of the pollution created by incineration.  Recycling would be more "cost-effective" if such costs were internalized.  Here  is a recent Yale Study showing how to do this in the case of pricing the pollution from coal power plants.

3.  Turkey's quake;     ongoing economic development will reduce the death count from future quakes.