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APS asks Obama to consider energy efficiency

By Jon Cartwright

In his first week as US president-elect, Barack Obama has faced a barrage of recommendations into how he should run office come 20 January next year. One of those firing the rounds is the American Physical Society (APS), which on Friday scheduled meetings with his transition team to discuss ways to improve the nation’s energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency plays a key role in climate change, an issue that Obama put near the top of the list during his election campaign. He promises to reduce greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050 — an ambitious target that he aims to meet through investment in basic research, commercialization of hybrid cars and development of green technologies.

The APS wants to give Obama a helping hand by urging him to invest also in energy efficiency. In September, the organization published a report that put forward the different areas in which this could be done: developing light cars that average 50 miles to the gallon, increasing R&D for advanced batteries and adopting “integrated” building designs that use far less energy.

The report points out that transportation and buildings account for two-thirds of US energy consumption.

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  1. Ender

    I wonder if anyone has thought about better public transportation. I know there are vast rural areas in America where it would be impractical, but there are also thickly populated areas, like the one which spans from San Diego to Los Angeles and beyond, where good public transportation could reduce the use of individual cars.
    I’m sure the APS can come up with many good ideas, but what will really matter in the end is who Obama chooses as his science advisor or advisors, and how willing he is to listen to him or them.

  2. tim simpson

    I feel that we should do with 1/4 of the cars we have today. Two for every driver is insane. One for every two drivers should do fine. Eliminating oil assistance and being able to produce twice what we need. Electric bikes and trikes should be built for inner city travel. Very light and well protected single and dual person units that could link up to and from large work. I want solar panels to cover every useable area.( Black silicon(400-2500nm range) and a new multilayer coating that absorbs %96.5 together will make solar panels powerful. Ovonics makes continous solar panels on stainless steel). That includes buildings, open areas, cars, trucks, tractor/trailer rigs, trains should all have photovoltaic skins. This would help long haul power needs. Trains could get a start-up assist from electric motor/generators in some of the train cars and also help with braking, storing that energy along with the solar. Trailer so equipped would help a tractor get up a hill and also regenerate when slowing. The motor could be run best at a constant RPM charging the batteries.
    New flywheel technology will allow several sources of power to be stored locally and used as needed. Fly wheel “farms” could mediate hydro, wind and solar output since none are constant.

  3. John Clarkson

    Let’s face it. If Obama is really serious he needs to take control of all the energy companies across the USA, placing them under Federal licences. Then he can force them to sign and agreement to reduce energy by providing free or low cost insulation for homes. But he won’t do this, because it is very likely that money talks louder than climate fears or the desire to help those in real need – the fuel poor.


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