The Calorie Currency by S. Hesse + S. Pobst
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This is an interesting proposal which has a great premise namely to score all products based on embodied energy and link to costs. Basically this involves internalizing the externality of CO2 and other energy related externalities.
However it is also a daunting task to do this in the current environment. The idea of requiring Energy scoring is nice but how do you get governments to pass those laws? The implementation is very challenging although the effectiveness could be very large. The proposal is missing various sections for example there is nothing on the question of who are the actors are how much it would cost and what the CO2 impacts would be. Such it feels like it is in a very early stage. However I also noticed that it was submitted last year which makes me think that the proposers have been stymied with it. I think it makes more sense to begin with a voluntary project perhaps focused on a particular industry or product group and to begin by working with some companies who are interested in providing this kind of information to consumers.
I like the idea of providing information about embodied energy much more so that providing information on carbon footprint or ecological footprint. Although the latter measures have been used for some time, I think that people can relate to the embodied energy unit, and to the familiar concept of calories, than to the other measures. Also, it would really bring home the impacts of such things as very large houses as well as (in the wealthy neighborhoods) the all too common practice of tearing down perfectly good residential homes in order to build new (and much bigger) ones. But the proposal is very sketchy, lacking in detail and a realistic implementation plan.
My suggestion to the authors is that they should see this project not as a policy proposal but as an entrepreneurial endeavor. They might also team up with a high tech expert in order to develop easily accessible app, so that access to this information would be easy. This will require a significant effort on their part, I realize, but may produce an innovative (and fresh) way of considering the ecological impact of products.
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