Judges’ Queries and Presenter’s Replies

  • Icon for: Geoffrey Bomarito

    Geoffrey Bomarito

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 11:04 a.m.

    Very interesting.
    Often we see groups and large corporations (with financial interests) lobby against progressive legislation on this topic. What do you think is the best way for environmental groups (with much more limited resources) to combat this occurrence?

  • Icon for: Nathan Wasserman

    Nathan Wasserman

    Presenter
    June 8, 2015 | 11:15 p.m.

    The best way to combat this occurrence would be to start environmental clubs in schools that go around and host free classes in their communities to educate the populace about the reality of the grave environmental issues we face today. The goal would be for this education to convince the voters to vote for environmentally progressive candidates who would then in turn sponsor and pass the legislation I am suggesting. I also believe that these candidates could avoid the persuasive power of the corporate giants that often destroy such bills because they know just how serious the current state of the environment is, and that if we don’t act now much of the eastern seaboard will be underwater by 2060.

  • Icon for: Jim White

    Jim White

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 11:11 a.m.

    Good idea, and one that some communities are working on. For instance, Boston has a program to make all taxi cabs hybrid or battery-powered.

    Questions: Have you looked into issues regarding lithium? This could including mining, recycling, and disposal.

    If you could change any part of your video, what would it be?

  • Icon for: Nathan Wasserman

    Nathan Wasserman

    Presenter
    June 8, 2015 | 11:26 p.m.

    I understand that the disposal and mining of lithium for batteries is a serious issue, but in the grand scheme of things it is very insignificant when compared to the problem of climate change and sea level rise. One of the major problems I’ve noticed with environmental groups is that they’re not willing to give a little to gain a lot. Sometimes, it’s necessary to sacrifice some things in order to fix more pressing issues. If this legislation can really help reverse climate change, then the issue of battery disposal becomes pretty minor. If I could change any part of my video, I would make it focus more on creating clubs in schools to go out and educate people about climate change. After I submitted my project I realized I didn’t focus on that enough, but that was my true plan: to eventually convince everyone that action must be taken now, and action in the form of the legislation I proposed. It is really horrific how little most of the population knows and cares about climate change, and in thirty years or so when Miami (where I live) goes underwater it will already be too late. I think selling the idea that if people don’t act now their days in the place they’ve lived their entire lives are numbered would work especially well.

  • June 8, 2015 | 07:16 p.m.

    I’d definitely love to see more battery powered vehicles out there!
    Can you elaborate a bit more on how viruses can be used to improve battery life?
    Additionally, what constraints might you envision in enabling such widespread adoption of hybrid vehicles?

  • Icon for: Nathan Wasserman

    Nathan Wasserman

    Presenter
    June 8, 2015 | 11:35 p.m.

    Viruses can serve as a template in water to grow manganese oxide nanowires that, when combined with palladium, increase the energy potential of a lithium battery (for where I got this information, go to http://news.discovery.com/tech/biotechnology/mu...). Some constraints I might envision in enabling such a widespread adoption of hybrid vehicles would be that a lot of people are closed-minded and wouldn’t want to have anything to do with driving hybrids, which I understand. Additionally, automobile makers have a lot of power, and they probably wouldn’t want anything to do with discontinuing all of their non-hybrid models. However, all of this becomes a moot point when people are faced with the reality that if we don’t get this done, many of the world’s greatest cities will be uninhabitable in the very near future, so all of the other issues really don’t matter. Give a little, take a lot.

  • Icon for: Nathan Wasserman

    Nathan Wasserman

    Presenter
    June 8, 2015 | 11:36 p.m.

    Sorry, the link didn’t work. I’ll try to find the proper one ASAP.

  • Icon for: Nathan Wasserman

    Nathan Wasserman

    Presenter
  • Icon for: Sara Lacy

    Sara Lacy

    Judge
    June 8, 2015 | 11:28 p.m.

    Would you add an amendment to the law to limit ways that the battery could be charged?

  • Icon for: Nathan Wasserman

    Nathan Wasserman

    Presenter
    June 8, 2015 | 11:41 p.m.

    Adding an amendment banning fossil fuel/dirty energy burning in order to charge these new car batteries would be an excellent way to keep the emissions from the energy sector in check so that the proportions I referenced in my paper that would get the PPM of CO2 down below 350 would still work (those proportions assumed constant emissions from all other sectors, but I made an oversight in that the emissions from the energy sector would increase without this amendment).

  • Icon for: Sara Lacy

    Sara Lacy

    Judge
    June 9, 2015 | 11:13 p.m.

    How does your proposal compare with emissions standards set by the EPA or the state of California?

  • Icon for: Nathan Wasserman

    Nathan Wasserman

    Presenter
    June 10, 2015 | 12:53 a.m.

    It’s similar in that both attempt to limit the amount of greenhouse gasses that enter the atmosphere, but I believe that my proposal is more concrete and is more of a solution than just a temporary stopgap. While the emissions standards are good, they are pretty vague and don’t do enough to reverse the warming trend we are experiencing. My proposal, in contrast, is 100% specific and would do enough to ensure that the PPM of CO2 would drop down below 350.

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

Presentation Discussion

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    June 8, 2015 | 12:06 p.m.

    I agree that using the legislatives help is a smart way to reduce greenhouse gasses. However your idea is based entirely on the legislative passing a bill, what if they don’t? Is it economically beneficially for the United States to pass this bill? How would you go about getting the legislative to accept this idea? Battery operated cars still use a significant amount of energy. Energy is used when the cars need to charge, is there a way you could reduce this energy usage? Overall I like the concept I am just concerned on how realsistic this idea is. Good luck!

  • Icon for: Nathan Wasserman

    Nathan Wasserman

    Presenter
    June 8, 2015 | 11:10 p.m.

    The goal is to educate the populace about environmental issues so that they will support candidates who will ultimately pass the type of legislation I am proposing. It would eventually be economically beneficial to the United States because the demand for foreign oil would decrease significantly, and again the goal is to elect pro-environmental candidates that wouldn’t receive much of their backing from oil companies that have got us into this mess. Energy is used when the cars charged, that is true, but as we progress more and more towards clean energy (like wind and solar energy) that will be less of a problem for climate change than emissions from cars are. Until we find a way to have wind-powered cars, charging them with clean energy will have to do.

  • Icon for: Callie Cook

    Callie Cook

    June 9, 2015 | 03:11 p.m.

    It sounds like a lot of work from educating citizens to gaining support from candidates. If you were able to implement your plan how long would it be until we could actually see some change?

  • Icon for: Nathan Wasserman

    Nathan Wasserman

    Presenter
    June 10, 2015 | 12:49 a.m.

    By 2022 I think the idea could legitimately take hold and we could have a majority of candidates who have progressive views on climate change in office.

  • Further posting is closed as the competition has ended.

Icon for: Nathan Wasserman

NATHAN WASSERMAN

Think Smart Not Hard
11th Grade

Enhance Batteries, Require Hybrids: Legislation to Save the Environment

An idea that would be especially promising in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions would be legislation aimed at implementing a stringent minimum environmental standard on transportation vehicles that would require them to rely at least partly on battery-power. Although the opposition to such legislation might argue that current battery powered vehicles compromise performance and run a higher risk of breaking down, there is research being done on both solar power and using viruses to help triple the power and capability of current lithium batteries. With this standard implemented, the emissions of the transportation sector (which currently emits 28% of the United States’ greenhouse gasses per year, the 2nd largest percentage for our country behind electricity) could easily be cut in half, which would be a monumental step towards getting atmospheric PPM of CO2 down to 350 (the “safe” level) from its current level of 400.26 PPM. In recent years, the transportation industry has been cutting down on its yearly CO2 emissions, which is a promising step in the right direction, with the growing popularity of hybrid and fully electric vehicles among both consumers and car manufacturers. Cutting the greenhouse emissions of transportation vehicles in half would mark approximately a 14% total reduction in annual US greenhouse gas emissions, just above the 12.5% 350 PPM is of 400 PPM. Essentially, the implementation of this legislation could be the measure needed to finally push the scale back under the tipping point and spearhead the fight to 350 PPM and below.