Sustainability Reads: February 1- February 7

Obama to propose $10-a-barrel oil tax
In President Obama’s final budget request next week, he will propose more than $300 billion worth of investments over the next decade in mass transit, high-speed rail, self-driving cars, and other transportation approaches designed to reduce carbon emissions. The budget request also calls for a $10 “fee” on every barrel of oil. The surcharge would be paid by oil companies, but would most likely be passed on to consumers as an estimated 25 cents extra at the pump. The proposed plan will also include investments in clean transportation research and developing plans to help local, regional, and state governments plan and build smarter infrastructure projects. Although Obama’s entire budget request is expected to be dead on arrival on Republican-controlled Capitol Hill, the Obama Administration is hopeful they can change the debate. By Michael Grunwald at Politico.

How Businesses Can Support a Circular Economy
The concept of a circular economy is that existing resources are used as long as possible to reduce the amount of new natural resources utilized for our consumption. The concept responds to the need to rethink current systems that exploit natural resources and is strongly supported by sustainability professionals. According to this article, business can start supporting a circular economy in three ways:

1) Recycle more and better: Specifically, practice more closed-loop recycling. Closed- loop involves reusing materials such as glass, steel, and aluminum that can be recycled continually, and not creating products with new, virgin plastic.

2) Rent goods out instead of selling them for consumers to buy. Leasing out products (or selling the use of these products, instead of the product themselves) allows the manufacture to reuse or recycle the materials used to make the product.

3) Lengthen the longevity of products. By salvaging and re-manufacturing old parts, products can have a second life, usually as a refurbished product. This prevents new products from having to be made, as well as preventing more GHG emissions and energy use.

By Terence Tse, Mark Esposito and Khaled Soufani and published by Harvard Business Review.

Here’s How Enormous The Methane Blowout Is In California
It’s difficult to get a mental image of how big the methane leak in California is considering the gas is invisible. We can’t see the wildlife or beaches covered in the methane, as would be the case if an oil spill had occurred, but that does not make this any less dangerous. To get an idea of what the leak looks like, check out these infographics.

By Matt Ferner and and Lydia O’Connor at the Huffington Post.

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