Tampa hosts energy and sustainability forum

01/29/10 Arielle Stevenson
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While the Tampa Bay Lightning practiced inside the St. Pete Times Forum for their game tonight, business owners and environmentalists were around the corner at the Regional Energy Management and Sustainability Forum.

Sandra Kling is a doctorate student at the University of South Florida. Kling also serves as chief environmental scientist for Eco Asset Solutions, a Tampa Bay sustainability advisory firm. Kling’s expertise is in greenhouse gas management and climate policy. This morning she spoke about three initiatives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put forth in order to reduce carbon emissions.

In this initiative large industrial sources that emit more than 25, 000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent will be covered from that. And that will cover about 70% of large industrial sources. The second one is called a mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas rules and that will require high energy users that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent will be required to monitor and track and report their greenhouse gas emissions with the EPA.

Kling says that 25,000 is the magic number when it comes to Carbon emissions. The third EPA initiative was finalized in December of 2009 and will expand the emissions that the EPA is allowed to regulate.

This finding states that “in both magnitude and probability, climate change is enormous problem. The greenhouse gases that are responsible for it endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act.” So this finding really gives teeth to the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions not just from tailpipes but its moving into other sources like industrial sources for example.

Natalie Persky works at the Chicago Climate Exchange, which offers a voluntary but legally-binding greenhouse gas trading system. The exchange is a cap-and-trade system that works in two four-year phases. Members must reduce their emissions by 1% each year for the first four years, and two more percent over the second four years.

The decision to join is entirely up to you, it’s a voluntary decision to make but once you do decide to join the program you do sign a legally-binding contract that you will achieve the reductions set forth by the program. So its not one of those things where you can put forth a press release that you’re going to reduce your emissions, and if that doesn’t happen kind of slink back and hope that someone doesn’t ask you about it.

Andy Kinard is president of the Car Charging Group. Kinard’s business offers electronic charging stations for hybrids and fully-electric cars. He presented a demo of a Plug-in Hybrid Prius downstairs. Plug-in electric cars use grid power, which Kinard says keeps the profits domestic instead of overseas.

What we do is we take these public car charging stations, we put them in your city. We’ll install them for free, maintain them for free, well reimburse you for any electric used. We’ll even share our revenue with you. So you don’t even have to have any money to put these charging stations put in, they’re almost like a vending machine.

Kinard also says he hopes to get 1,000 electronic stations nationwide by the end of this year.

If they are looking for something to do to help the environment, certainly driving an electric car is the way to do it. On your way out, when you go to your car, look at the parking spot next you there’s going be a big greasy spot where people park their cars. It’s so nasty you don’t even want to step there, and when it rains all that oil goes into right into the aquifer and when we go to fully electric vehicles, that problem will go away.

For more information from the forum visit hillsboroughcounty.

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