Green Builder Media Logo

WINNER, "BEST WEBSITE," 2015 and 2016 (NAREE)

ABOUT • CONTACT • SUBSCRIBE • ADVERTISE • PRESS ROOM

Wyatt C. King

Wyatt C. King is a Director at Albright Stonebridge Group, assisting clients in developing environmental and social governance strategies, establishing public-private partnerships, gaining access to new markets, and managing political and regulatory disputes. Mr. King has a particular focus on clean technologies, environmental sustainability, and corporate social governance. He also has a strong background in energy and environmental policy issues and corporate sustainability.
Find me on:

Recent Posts

Paris Talks May Be Last, Best Chance to Slow Global Warming

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Mar 11, 2015 11:23:00 AM

But will negotiators bend far enough to forestall catastrophic climate change?

Global temperatures are 0.9 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages. The planet is already showing significant changes, such as lower extents of sea ice. Photo Credit: Doc Searls

IN DECEMBER, representatives from almost 200 nations will convene in Paris under the auspices of the United Nations, to try to reach an agreement on how to limit greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep the average global temperature from increasing more than two degrees Celsius, and thereby avoid the worst effects of climate change. With the recent news that 2014 was the hottest year on record, and instances of extreme weather continuing to mount around the world, the stakes could hardly be higher. Many veterans of international climate negotiations believe the Paris talks are the last hope for the world to avert climate catastrophe.

Read More

U.S. Reduces Investments in Overseas Coal Plants

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Feb 23, 2015 3:42:00 PM

To comply with President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, U.S. agencies are withdrawing support for coal-fired plants in foreign countries. But will Congress thwart this progress?

THE U.S. GOVERNMENT has provided essential financing for major infrastructure in foreign countries for decades, including coal-fired power plants and other fossil energy projects. Most of these investments have flowed through one of two federal agencies: the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which invests to boost development in poor countries, or the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), which provides financing for projects that will create demand for U.S. exports. The aggregate emissions from projects funded by these agencies have been significant: according to an analysis by Greenpeace, they produced 8 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions in the period from 1990 to 2003.

Read More

An Historic Climate Agreement

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Jan 26, 2015 9:33:17 AM

TOGETHER, THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA produce almost 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, to be effective, any plan to address climate change must include the full participation of both of these major polluters. For a long time, U.S. opponents of climate action have used this fact to argue that it would be senseless for the U.S. to incur the burden of climate solutions without a full commitment from China to do likewise. Setting aside the question of whether investing in climate solutions actually constitutes a “burden”—there’s plenty of evidence it doesn’t—the opponents’ argument recently got a whole lot weaker. On November 12, President Obama and President Xi Jinping jointly committed their respective nations to major emissions reductions.

The announcement was remarkable for numerous reasons, starting with its explicit acknowledgement that climate change is “one of the greatest threats facing humanity,” and that it is “already harming economies around the world.” It also stated that “economic evidence makes increasingly clear that smart action on climate change now can drive innovation, strengthen economic growth and bring broad benefits,” none of which will come as news to regular readers of Green Builder.

The substance of the commitments was also significant: The U.S. intends to reduce emissions to 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. This builds on the existing U.S. commitment to reduce emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Achieving the new target will require the U.S. to double its current rate of emissions reduction.

For its part, China announced it would peak its CO2 emissions “around” 2030 and make best efforts to peak earlier. This marks the first time China has agreed to peak its emissions. The country intends to achieve this goal by massively increasing its share of non-fossil fuel energy to 20 percent by 2030. This will require 800 to 1,000 gigawatts of new nuclear, wind, solar and other zero-emission power sources by 2030—more energy than that produced by all of the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today.

Are these commitments enough? No. Even if all targets are met, emissions will still be far above the levels recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to keep global temperature rise within manageable bounds. But no one should expect to solve climate change in one fell swoop. The appropriate yardstick, for now, is political progress. This marks the first time the world’s two biggest emitters have made a joint commitment to address climate risk; it’s a real step forward. As Secretary of State John Kerry put it after the announcement: “There is no question that all of us will need to do more to push toward the de-carbonization of the global economy. But in climate diplomacy, as in life, you have to start at the beginning.”

Perhaps most importantly, this agreement injects momentum into preparations for the next round of international climate negotiations, scheduled for December 2015 in Paris. For any country that has been waiting for the big guys to exercise some leadership, the time has finally come.

Read More

German Engineering: Innovations in Energy Management

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Jan 5, 2015 9:59:07 AM

I have written before about the Energiewende, or “energy transformation,” underway in Germany. In 2011, the German government made the monumental decision to phase out of nuclear power entirely by the end of 2022, and cover the electricity shortfall through energy efficiency and renewable power. Observers have debated ever since whether this decision was genius or folly. One thing that is indisputable, however, is that in response to this commitment, German engineers are innovating. The country is becoming, by necessity, a leader in managing renewable energy on a grand scale. This is a major challenge. As more and more intermittent wind and solar power is added to the national mix, Germany must develop new ways to manage its power grid to assure stability and meet demand—day and night, rain or shine.

Read More

Distributed Solar in Bangladesh

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Oct 30, 2014 9:43:00 AM

IN ANY RANKING of the world’s countries from richest to poorest, Bangladesh can reliably be found near the bottom. Yet according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), this South Asian nation of 150+ million people is leading the world in the installation of home-based solar systems. Approximately three million residential solar systems have been installed in Bangladesh in the past ten years, and new systems are being installed at the blistering pace of 80,000 per month.

Read More

"Airpocalypse" Now: China's Air Pollution Problem

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Sep 23, 2014 11:23:41 AM

CHINA'S AIR POLLUTION problem has grown to mythic proportions. Nowadays, almost all Chinese cities of any size are shrouded in a thick, gray haze for days, or even weeks, at a time. Driven by a growing fleet of automobiles and a seemingly insatiable appetite for coal-fired power, air contamination has been climbing for decades. But until recently, most Chinese seemed willing to accept the situation as a worthwhile sacrifice to maintain the country’s torrential economic growth.

That may be changing. If so, the turning point may have been in January of last year, when pollution in Beijing, the capital, reached levels 40 times the World Health Organization’s recommended limit, and visibility plunged to a few hundred feet. Internet commenters quickly dubbed the phenomenon “Airpocalypse.”

Read More

Renewable Energy in Iran

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Aug 19, 2014 5:17:00 PM

MOST OF THE TIME WHEN we read about Iran in the news these days, at least in the U.S. media, the focus is on the international negotiations over the fate of the country’s nascent nuclear program. Apart from the nuclear issue and references to Iran’s enormous oil and gas reserves, we hear little else about the country’s energy plans. So it may come as a surprise to learn that Iran is stepping up its commitment to renewable energy, particularly wind and solar.

Read More

Sustainability, Caribbean-Style

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Jul 21, 2014 4:25:24 PM

SUSTAINABILITY HAS NOT exactly been a historical priority for Aruba. The tiny Caribbean nation, just 20 miles long with a population barely over 100,000 people, relies heavily on imported fossil fuel for almost all its energy needs. Most electricity is generated using heavy fuel oil, and since there are no major freshwater sources on the island, most of it comes from desalinating seawater—a very energy-intensive process.
Read More

Solar's Global Growth

Posted by Wyatt C. King

May 29, 2014 2:47:16 PM

Solar power has been a marginal player in the electric power industry for a long time, but that is finally starting to change. 2013 was a record year for solar, with more than 37 gigawatts (GW) of photovoltaics (PV) installed worldwide, bringing cumulative installed capacity to nearly 137 GW. While solar still provides less than one percent of the world’s electricity, the blistering growth rate is causing many people to sit up and take note. Solar power is steadily, but inexorably, changing the global power sector.

What’s most interesting about solar today is that it is increasingly viable, even without government subsidies. Last summer, in a research note, the global bank UBS stated that “an unsubsidized solar revolution” had begun, and opined that “purely based on economics, we believe almost every family home and every commercial rooftop in Germany, Italy and Spain should be equipped with a solar system by the end of this decade.”

Seeing the Light 

Read More

Norway’s One Percent

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Apr 29, 2014 12:20:25 PM

Electric vehicles (EVs) are taking Norway by storm. After a banner year in 2013, nearly one percent of all the vehicles on Norwegian roads are now EVs, a far higher percentage than in the U.S. Since September of last year, one EV model or another has topped Norwegian monthly sales several times, and last November, EVs surpassed 12 percent of all vehicles sold during the month. The brisk sales have continued into this year.

Read More

London Calling: The U.K.’s Distributed Energy Revolution

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Apr 7, 2014 12:51:35 PM

Last fall, at a Conservative Party conference in the United Kingdom, Greg Barker, a Conservative Member of Parliament and the country’s Energy & Climate Change Minister, called for a revolution. “I want to unleash a completely new model of competition and enterprise,” he said. “I want to encourage a vast new army of disruptive new energy players to challenge the Big Six [U.K. energy suppliers] …A decentralized power-to-the-people energy revolution—not just a few exemplars, but tens of thousands of them. The Big Six need to become the Big 60,000.”

What an invigorating call to action and inspiring vision of the future! Tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the U.K., each generating its own power and sharing excess with the grid. It’s a compelling idea, one made all the more remarkable by the fact that it’s not really new. In fact, one might call decentralized—or distributed—power the oldest idea in the energy business.

Read More

Sustainable City Startups

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Mar 22, 2014 12:08:11 PM

Among the most intriguing and extravagant approaches to emerge in recent years to address the challenge of urban sustainability has been so-called “smart-from-the-start” eco-cities, medium-sized cities built from the ground up to incorporate the latest and greatest thinking in sustainable technology and design. These built-from-scratch settlements have started to sprout in several countries – so far, there are projects in various stages of completion in South Korea, Abu Dhabi, Portugal, Kenya, and across China—and they are being touted by developers as showcases for the most advanced ideas in resource-efficient living. They are financed largely by governments and deep-pocketed information technology companies that see a huge business opportunity in urban systems—as the global imperative for sustainable living becomes ever-more evident and pressing.

Masdar City, in Abu Dhabi, embodies many of the aspirations of this new urban genre. By combining ancient design features, such as narrow, shaded streets angled to channel desert winds—with modern technology—including solar power, electric cars, and waste-to-energy systems—lead architect Norman Foster initially claimed that the city would be both carbon-neutral and zero-waste. Nearly seven years on, financial reality has set in; ambitions have been scaled back, and the completion date postponed. But the project is still moving forward. Looking ahead, planners intend for Masdar to serve as a test bed for home-grown innovations developed in an on-site research institute they hope will rival MIT.

Read More

Energy Efficiency in Commerical Buildings: The Case of Melbourne, Australia

Posted by Wyatt C. King

Mar 18, 2014 11:07:00 PM

Around the world, buildings are responsible for approximately one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. In major cities, the percentage is often much higher—a 2007 study by the City of New York puts the number there at 79 percent. Any path to environmental sustainability will require dramatic improvements in the energy and water efficiency of our buildings.

The challenge is how to implement these needed improvements on a global scale, particularly in existing buildings. There are significant financial obstacles to retrofitting existing buildings. Few owners have the resources to invest in a major retrofit, even if they understand the long-term environmental and financial benefits. Increasing building efficiency on a large scale requires creative public policy to overcome these barriers.

Read More
facebook twitter youtube linkedin pinterest google
Download Green Builder's Homeowners' Handbook
Green Builder's 2016 Eco-Leaders
Western Window Systems
Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy

Add a comment...