Monday, September 13, 2010

Hey, Zero Emissions People! Think Rail Transit!

The Zero Emissions Initiatives Congress was featured in the August edition of Nikkei ECO magazine. We love the cover photo!
It’s not every week that a “world congress” of anything is held in Honolulu, so we’re calling attention to The World Congress on Zero Emissions Initiatives that’s running all week at the Hawaii Convention Center. The logos displayed in this post represent some of the sponsor companies and organizations.

Why feature it here at a blog about the Honolulu rail project? It’s simple: Honolulu rail one day will move hundreds of thousands of passengers each week using fuel that generates zero emissions. That’s a fact worth highlighting with so many environmentally conscious people involved, many of them from right here in town.

We make that claim confident that the goals of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative will be achieved. As many readers know, the HCEI’s goal for electrical generation is to provide 40 percent of the state’s power generation from renewable sources by 2030, with 30 percent more achieved through conservation by reducing the demand from what it might grow to.

We’re also confident that the goals for 2050 of other initiatives yet to be created will be met – including, we believe, the goal of achieving zero carbon emissions for electrical generation by mid-century.

One of the sponsors of this week’s Congress is an air carrier that for sure must be hoping for a zero-carbon-emissions fuel to power its aircraft one day. Another is a group of rental car companies that also must be eyeing the day when their fleets are entirely electric. A leading environmental group based in Honolulu that is pushing for the end of fossil fuel use on the planet, starting in Hawaii, also is supporting the Congress. A couple renewable energy developers have signed on as sponsors, as has a concentrated solar company and the state’s largest electric utility.

It’s easy to see why they’re invested in a Zero Emissions Congress. Less obvious is why some of them are still on the fence about Honolulu rail. It’s widely known that cities that have incorporated rail transit in their urban corridors have smaller carbon footprints than those without rail.

Transit encourages urban development strategies that improve service efficiency, increase load factors, increase land use accessibility and overall can provide large energy savings and emission reductions. Electricity-powered transit produces negligible local air emissions, and in the long term (as noted above), Honolulu rail will move all those people with zero emissions.

We could go on – and undoubtedly will someday soon – but for now, we welcome attendees to the Zero Emissions Congress and trust you’ll return in a decade or so for another gathering to assess your progress.

And when you do return, be sure to ride Honolulu rail!

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