Notes on Solid Waste Reduction

The United States has used a variety of methods to reduce solid waste disposal over the last few decades. Solid waste has grown, by roughly 200 percent since 1960, while the population has increased by only about 50 percent over the same period. So it is important to reduce solid waste if for no other reason, than because there’s nowhere else to put it. Over the years, Americans had been alerted to the hazards of different hazards wastes. But they were still just throwing things away. It hit home, so to speak, in 1987 when pictures of the Mobro 4000,

Precedent for Cap-and-Trade Success

The Clean Air Act has had a great many benefits for the environment and public health, but it’s most important aspect is what it can show. Most economists and scientists suggest an important defense against global climate change is carbon trading, or cap-and-trade, The idea behind cap-and-trade is simple. Everyone who needs to dump carbon gets a fixed amount to dump. This provides a cap on how much is available for everyone and limit on the total growth of carbon in the atmosphere. Some people will legitimately need more than the limit…and some will need less. Those who need less

The Problem with Offering Flood Insurance Subsidies

Flood insurance is always on point. I had a letter in The Columbia Flier on the value of mitigation vis-à-vis flood insurance subsidies in Ellicott City, Maryland. The letter does not seem to be in the online edition, so here it is. Also, why do newspaper editors like to turn every sentence into its own paragraph? In the July 20th edition, Michael W. Roth argued that the County should consider flood insurance subsidies for Ellicott City. (“Examine flood insurance subsidies for Ellicott City,” Letters) While I am sure Mr. Roth is well-intentioned, insurance subsidies would cause more problems than they

The Flush Tax Pays Off

I’ve written a couple of posts about protecting the Chesapeake Bay. Actually, I have written a lot of them. But one I have not covered is the Bay Restoration Fund, and it is an integral part of the Bay’s protection regime. Let’s look at why. The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund is designed to reduce nutrient loading in the Chesapeake Bay caused by wastewater. Like most places, we process wastewater from homes and, after some cleaning, the water gets dumped into a nearby water source. Usually, a stream or river because it will carry away the water. The wastewater cleaning process

India Adds Solar to its Trains

Last year, Chase asked me about solar-powered trains, and we did the analysis. Like a good little nerd, I posted the analysis here: Solar-Powered Trains Chase asked me why the MARC Train is not solar powered. I explained one line, the Penn Line, is electric and it gets power from many different sources, but the other two lines are diesel. He asked why we can’t put solar panels on top of the cars and use that for energy. It turns out, Indian Railways has been working on the same problem. Now, my analysis was predicated on the assumption that all

Ensuring Water Security

Water security is a complex issue with a lot of independently moving parts. While the earth’s surface is three-quarters water, almost all of that is ocean, unusable due to its salinity. There are limited freshwater resources available for everyday use, consumption by humans and human food products. Global climate change is slowing replenishment of fresh water supplies while there has been no let up in demand. In 2012, the United States created the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) to help provide access to information about water and provide outlets for collaboration on water improvement projects. Of course, this is only a