zero emissions


California’s “Clean Car” Rules: A Historical Perspective

A leading transportation expert weighs in on California’s tough new emissions standards

California's new emission standards would mandate a 15% increase in zero-emission-vehicles by 2025.

UPDATE: Today, California air regulators approved a package of “Clean Car” standards that many are calling historic. But there’s nothing new about that. California’s been out front in the clean car derby for decades.

In her recent story on QUEST, Lauren Sommer unpacks the proposed emissions standards. As part of her reporting she spoke with Dan Sperling, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, and a member of California’s Air Resources Board. Sperling puts the state’s new emissions standards in historical perspective, arguing that since the 1960s virtually all innovation in automotive emissions controls can be traced back to California. Here’s a snippet of Sommer’s conversation with Sperling. Continue reading

Coffee House Goes for “Zero” Carbon in Your Cup

An Oakland cafe designed to have a “zero” carbon footprint

Noble Cafe in Oakland serves coffee with a conscientious bent.

By Caitlin Esch

Dimitri Thompson says he’s calculated every kilowatt his Noble Cafe will use, from the motion-sensor-controlled, low-energy lighting system to his high-end Italian coffee machine. He’s pinned down the biggest electricity hogs in most cafes, “One: coffee machine, on all the time. Two: fridges, on all the time.”

Thompson has a couple of standard restaurant fridges, but he’ll use special cold packs for display goods that need to be kept cool. He plans to buy his electricity from a wind and solar company and has an on-site composting system.

Thompson doesn’t stop there. He includes other factors like how his employees get to work and where his products come from to estimate his total carbon footprint using a website designed to help businesses make that calculation. When all is said and done, Thompson says he will still need to make monthly payments to offset some of his carbon usage. He has chosen to funnel that cash into supporting Oakland’s parks.

NASA and Google Team Up for Zero-Emissions Flight Contest

Google’s made all kinds of headlines with its investments in clean energy recently: $280 million for a California residential solar company, $55 million for a wind project in Kern County, more than $10 million for geothermal R&D projects, and $168 million for a massive solar farm in the California desert, just to name a few.

A new move by the company seeks to address another kind of energy challenge: airplane fuel. The company has teamed up with NASA to sponsor the Green Flight Challenge, a competition to develop emissions-free aircraft.

The challenge?  Build a plane that can fly at least 100 miles per hour and achieve the equivalent energy efficiency of 200 miles per gallon of fuel on a 200-mile flight. Continue reading