China Environment Forum Speaker Encourages Energy Saving

At the second International Environment Forum, IEA Key member Aaron Ko provides some thoughts motivating to save energy in ways that everyone can accomplish. His goal is not to provide all the answers, but instead to simply get individuals to start thinking about how to save energy in their daily lives. Here is a complete transcript of his speech.

Hello everyone.

Thanks for having me. Today I’m going to talk about some easy methods you can use to save energy. This topic is a little more lightweight than some of the others, but it’s still extremely important. Promoting efficient energy usage is a key part of our mission at the International Energy Alliance. I will show you several easy ways to save energy in your car, at home and at work or school

First, I’ll talk about some easy ways to save energy in the car.1) Roll your windows up when driving at high speeds. Because of increased friction, keeping them down, can lower fuel efficiency by 10%. 2) Try to drive at 55 miles per hour or 90 kilometers an hour whenever possible. This speed is optimum for fuel efficiency.

Next, I’m going to talk about some ways to save energy at home. 1) Turn of appliances and electronics that are not in use. Electronics and appliances still draw energy when turned off. 75% of energy used by electronic devices in the home is used while they are turned off. 2) Take short showers. Try to keep them shorter than 10 minutes. Short showers save both water and gas needed for heating.

Finally, I’m going to discuss some ways to save energy at work and at school. 1) Arrange a carpool schedule with classmates and co-workers. Not only do you save gas and money, but parking will also be easier. 2) Turn of your computers, printers and monitors when you leave the office or school. Many offices and schools leave equipment on overnight and over weekends. Office equipment left on all the time, spends more time not being used than being used.

Just by applying some of these easy techniques and following these simple rules, we can save a substantial amount of energy. You can save the environment and money at the same time.

I hope I have helped you in your journey to save more energy. For more information and tips for saving energy, you can visit the International Energy Alliance website at InternationalEnergyAlliance.org

Thank You

 

USC Professor Meshkati Speaks on Nuclear Safety at China Environment Forum

We are so grateful that USC Professor Najmedin Meshkati agreed to speak at the 2012 Sino-American Juvenile International Energy Alliance Environment Conference that took place on June 15, 2012 at No. 1 High School in Guiyang, China. As forum keynote speaker, Professor Meshkati focused on nuclear power and specifically on how proper human, organization, and technology all need to be in place in order to have a safe nuclear power plant. He emphasized that a weak link in the “chain” of these three items will lead to disaster. Meshkati maintained that most famous nuclear power plant accidents, including Three Mile Island, Bhopal, Chernobyl and Fukushima were not simply due to human error.

Professor Meshkati is a well-known expert in safety in power plants in general, has published countless papers on this topic, and has visited the sites of many of the most famous nuclear disasters. He applauded China’s decision to separate the nuclear regulatory commission from the organization responsible for operating the power plants. Meshkati’s conclusion is that nuclear accidents are the result of many outside factors, each of which can be categorized into one of three categories: human, organization, and technology. These errors include complicated operational practices, the faulty parts or assembly of parts, ineffective training, non-responsive management systems, sudden environmental disturbances, and the list goes on.

Speaking to professor Meshkati privately after the forum on behalf of the International Energy Alliance, I posed a hypothetical question to him: If there were simply no safety issues for nuclear power plants, with renewable power becoming more available and less costly, would there still be a need for nuclear power? Professor Meshkati responded by making three major points. First, our need for electrical power is increasing and that this increase is inevitable. Second, there will always be geographic locations where large amounts of electricity are needed, and yet renewable energy is not practical or even possible. Third, even in areas where we can produce renewable energy, it is often not possible to use only renewable energy to produce the quantity of electricity that is needed.

I then asked about the cost and time to build nuclear power plants as compared to renewable energy technology. Professor Meshkati pointed out that, yes, it takes a lot of time and is expensive because everything has to be custom built. Meshkati then pointed out that there is a new nuclear power plant construction model that is being developed which would implement a prefabricated modular approach to building nuclear power plants.

So then the obvious conclusion is that it seems nuclear power is here to stay and that much more effort needs to be put into the safety aspect of nuclear power plants.

 

Senior IEA Editor Delivers Speech at China Environment Forum

Jessica Murphy, senior editor for the International Energy Alliance, traveled to Guiyang, China to be a part of the 2012 Sino-American Juvenile International Energy Alliance Environment Conference which took place on June 15. Jessica’s insight into renewable energy cautions that not all renewable energy ideas are worthy of being put into place since there can be negative secondary effects or other inefficiencies. Her complete speech as was given at this conference is given below.

            As Andrew Hunter mentioned before, at the International Energy Alliance, we pride ourselves in educating ourselves, as well as others, in the different types of renewable and nonrenewable energy.

            First off, solar energy. It is harnessed by using solar panels to trap the sun’s rays into solar cells, which convert light directly into electricity. This can save up to 2500 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which is ¾ of the energy needs for an average household. Using solar panels will release less than one ton of carbon dioxide per year, which is a lot less than is released by today’s options. Solar panels are the most home-friendly because it can be put on rooftops and don’t take much space. It is more accessible to the individual and easier for the individual to conserve energy. Also, cash back in the form of rebates would be a good incentive to switch to renewable energy sources. Overall, solar energy would be the easiest way for people to switch to renewable energy sources.

            Second, wind power harnesses wind to propel blades on turbines, converting wind and turbine movement into electrical current with an electrical generator. This would be a 99% reduction in carbon and air pollution emissions. Less than 3 km2 of land is used for turbine footprints to run a whole U.S. Vehicle fleet, assuming the fleet is only made of electrical vehicles, to put it into perspective. This could save up to 15,000 lives per year from air-pollution-related deaths from vehicle exhaust and would require almost no water consumption. It would only occupy about 0.5% of U.S. land, which is 30 times less than the amount of land used to grow corn or grasses for ethanol. Also, land can be used at the same time for grazing and farming, so the land can have a double usage. However, there is a variability in supply of energy because constant wind is needed, but this can be overcome if more time and research was put into developing these renewable energy sources. Wind power may harm or disrupt avian life, so location would need to be a consideration.

            Geothermal energy is a type of nonrenewable energy, but one that does much less harm than natural gases or biofuels. It is the use of heat energy present underneath the Earth. It produces no harmful by-products if harnessed correctly, and is generally self-sufficient, energy-wise, when a geothermal plant is built. It has little effect on natural landscape. But it can produce harmful by-products, pollutants, minerals, or gases if harnessed incorrectly. Also, it is not a renewable energy source because the plants are prone to running out of steam.

            Now, let’s move on to one of the worst types of energy sources. The options used today can be up to 1,000 times worse or more polluting than the best options. Ethanol-based biofuels are more harmful to human health, wildlife, water supply, and land use than current fossil fuels. It may emit more global-warming gases than fossil fuels. Also, it diverts an agricultural food source, which increases food prices. It takes more energy to make than it provides, yet people are pushing to develop biofuels, which is the worst available option.

            We have so many good renewable energy sources to choose from, and while some may need a little more development in order to be usable by a majority of the people, we shouldn’t need to rely so heavily on the worst available options, such as biofuels.

 

IEA Executive Board Member Speaks at China Environment Forum

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International Energy Alliance co-founder and executive board member, Andrew Hunter, gave a keynote speech at the 2012 Sino-American Juvenile International Energy Alliance Environment Conference. His message encouraged others to work together and seek outside assistance when taking action in helping our environment. He then discussed three significant reasons for moving away from oil and suggests renewable energy sources can be part of the solution. A complete copy of his speech is shown below.

Energy and Environment, Global Economics, and International Government Policies

Hello to all of you. My name is Andrew Hunter. I am seventeen years old and I am currently a student both at Aliso Niguel High School and at the University of California at San Diego, and I am one of the co-founders and executive board members of the International Energy Alliance.

I thought I would start this speech by first telling you about the evolution of my environment interest and how this led me to help form the International Energy Alliance. My hope is that you can begin to see how similar goals can be obtainable to you as well my fellow students. Then I will take a moment to focus on our need for renewable energy sources.

My interest in sustainability and preserving our environment dates back to my elementary school days. It came from the strong influence my teachers had on me –and I am immensely grateful to my teachers for this.

It was in middle school that I started to actually actively work towards lessening our impact on the environment. As a PTSA committee co-chair, I helped originate and develop the PTSA’s Green and Recycling Program at my middle school which then went on to become the model for many other schools in my school district. During my middle school environment endeavors, I learned the immensely important lesson that no one can save the environment entirely on his or her own. I learned that not only does it take more than one individual volunteer working at ground level, but it also takes help from entities such as environment groups, community volunteer groups, and government agencies.

So shortly thereafter, I began to intern for various government officials –first a California State Assemblywoman (Diane Harkey), then for a California State Senator (Mimi Walters), and finally for a United States Congressman (John Campbell). I give my thanks to these representatives of the people for allowing me to have this eye-opening experience. I learned how the government can have a positive role in helping us to protect the environment.

In high school I began a new internship with my city’s urban planning department. A short time later while participating in an energy/environment study through Tongji University in Shanghai, HPP Architects in Germany, and various energy consultants from around the world I made another vital discovery —energy is something that needs to be strongly considered not only when designing and planning a city, but also when addressing virtually any aspect of reducing our carbon footprint.

The culmination of what I had experienced and learned over the past five years enabled me to draw a final conclusion: energy not only plays a vital role in our environment, but also in global economics and international government policies. It was with all of this in mind that my peers and I decided to create the International Energy Alliance.

At the International Energy Alliance, we believe it is clear that a partial solution to our energy problems is to transition from traditional energy sources to renewable energy sources, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ending dependence on foreign oil, and eliminating world record transferring of wealth from countries importing oil to countries producing oil.

The necessity of reducing greenhouse gasses is clear. Hundreds of leading climate scientists from around the world say with near absolute certainty that humans are causing the significant global temperature change that is occurring during this century.

The United States’ dependence on foreign oil has caused major problems in the area of national security. According to a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the United States faces a grave national security threat from its dependence on energy derived from oil. Many criticize the Gulf War and the Iraq war to be the result, at least in part, of our oil dependency.

Petroleum-exporting nations including Saudi Arabia and Russia are charging record high prices for fuel. Oil consumers are pumping trillions of dollars into the coffers of oil companies and oil-producing nations this year alone, which amounts to the largest transfer of wealth in all of history.

Fortunately, there is a solution and there is hope. Renewable energy technology is advancing quickly. While the cost of oil and nonrenewable energy sources is increasing, the cost of renewable energy is decreasing. Experts advising the United Nations say that renewable sources could deliver nearly eighty percent of world’s total energy demand by the middle of the century.

Renewable energy sources are not without potential environmental drawbacks such as the large amounts of land required to place solar panels, or the effect placing a dam on a river has on the surrounding area. However, as President Obama has demonstrated by working with numerous environment groups in an effort to create balance, building and placement of renewable energy technology can be done with sensitivity towards potential negative environmental issues.

For all of these reasons, it seems clear that it now makes sense for the United States and other countries to accelerate the transition from traditional energy sources to renewable energy sources.

Let me close with asking you to consider joining the International Energy Alliance. The goal of this alliance is to provide a place where students, advisors, and supporters can respectfully provide knowledge, raise awareness, encourage involvement and momentum, and exchange information and ideas on a local, national and global scale which will lead to logical change and ultimately a smaller carbon footprint on our planet. We at the International Energy Alliance hope to hear from you in the future.

Thank you again.

 

 

China Environment Forum a Great Success

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The 2012 Sino-American Juvenile International Energy Alliance Environment Conference (aka the Second International Environment Forum) that took place June 15, 2012 in Guiyang, China was a great success and an amazing experience for all –attendees, participants, special guests, speakers, and organizers, alike.

This forum was organized by the International Energy Alliance, Hunter Programs, Guiyang Hunter Programs, and No. 1 High School. Special thanks goes out to Mr. Luo Xi (Cameron) for his forum organization efforts since without his passion and effort, this forum certainly would never have taken place. Over the past year, Mr. Luo Xi has very graciously given his time to the Alliance as a university student advisor. Thank you to Guiyang No. 1 High School for the enormous amount of time and commitment of resources for this forum. Thank you to Hunter Programs (both in the USA and in China) for its vision, assistance and support of this forum –and for its core belief in its responsibility to help mold young students into future successful leaders.

Speaking on behalf of everyone at the IEA, we wish to give extra special thanks to University of Southern California Professor Meshkati for his brilliant, thoughtful and inspiring speeches. We are so thankful that he was able to break away from his busy schedule to travel all the way to Guiyang, China for this event.

We also wish to give thanks all the Chinese university professors and government officials for their help, participation, speeches, and attendance.

Thank you to IEA International Environment Forum Sponsor Committee members for their efforts in raising funds both in the U.S. and in China. We wish to give special thanks to all the companies who saw the hope and vision behind this forum and decided to make an investment in our youth and our future.

Thank you also to the more than thirteen hundred students from No. 1 High School and other schools for attending this important forum.