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The U.S. Department of Energy released their 2011 yearly estimates of heating costs around the country, and not surprisingly, the numbers were higher than years past.
Those who heat their homes with natural gas can expect to spend an average of 3 percent (or $19) more this winter. Households using heating oil will see an 8 percent price increases (about $193) this year. And those heating their homes with electricity or propane should see price hikes of 5 percent and 1 percent this year, respectively.
While these increases are far from backbreaking, they’re certainly an unwelcome addition to the whopping $370 to $1,040 the average American is already paying to heat their home every year.
A yearly utility bill like that can certainly take a toll on your wallet. But with a little ingenuity and some inexpensive accessories, nearly anyone can learn how to save money on heating bills.
Here are six changes you can make today to start saving money.
1) Keep Out the Elements
Look at any gaps around your doors or windows to see if you have any exposure to the elements. If you can’t see a hole or feel a breeze, that’s good, but it doesn’t mean you’re home free. A good way to tell if you have a draft that you might not perceive is to hold up a candle and watch to see if the flame moves.
Use door sweeps, weather striping, window insulation and caulk to seal doors and windows and keep cold drafts out and precious heat in. Outlet gaskets can also be installed to electrical outlets to seal them if cold air is coming through.
It might seem a no-brainer, but it is important to close your fireplace damper after you finish using it. The fireplace is an easy location for heat to escape; closing it is essential for a properly winterized home.
Simply blocking areas that leak in your house can cut heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent. For the average home that heats with heating oil, the savings can amount to almost $500 this winter.
2) Time for a Furnace Tune Up
An easy fix that can save a fortune in repairs is keeping your furnace filter clean. A dirty filter restricts airflow, which can clog a furnace and lead to costly repairs.
Energy Star recommends replacing your filter at least every three months to keep your furnace running efficiently, which saves you money in the long-term.
After you’ve made sure that the filter is operating efficiently, the next step is to check that the rest of the heating unit is operating properly. A do-it-yourselfer can follow this checklist offered by Energy Star上海新419
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Anything above 1.5 degrees Celsius is a death sentence for us and for the planet.
THE PARIS AGREEMENT
A historic event took place on Earth Day 2016. It was a decisive moment for the planet. On Friday, April 22nd around 60 heads of state gathered at the United Nations in New York for the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement. 175 governments took the first step of signing onto the deal and according to the White House at least 34 countries, representing 49% of greenhouse gas emissions have formally ratified the Paris Agreement. It was ‘the largest ever single-day turn-out for a signing ceremony,’ indicating ‘strong international commitment to deliver on the promises.
I was at COP21 in Paris when negotiators finally agreed the Paris Agreement, the first legally binding global climate deal: the culmination of 21 years of international negotiation and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process: a massive global political mobilization in response to the looming threat of catastrophic climate change. It scales up ambition from the previous international instrument, the Kyoto Protocol, by placing mitigation and adaptation obligations on all Parties. The Agreement includes elements of previous international agreements and follows on from the Kyoto Protocol and the shameful failure of the Copenhagen Accord. The Paris Agreement is an unprecedented evolution in both international law and climate change law. We all hope that it will be enough to save the planet.
The program for the opening ceremony included messages from civil society, a UN messenger for Peace, participation of schoolchildren and a performance by the Julliard Quintet. The ceremony itself was preceded by a high level debate on climate change and sustainability. These are perceived as hopeful signs that the Paris Agreement will be inclusive and fulfill the needs of all, including the most vulnerable. “At the ceremony Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an indigenous women’s leader from Chad, called on countries to follow through on their promises. Temperatures in her country were already a blistering 48C (118F), she said, and climate change threatened to obliterate billions spent on development aid over recent decades.”
I welcome the commitments of the Paris Agreement, which “aims… to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty… to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.” The agreement commits to “adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience,” to “Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilient development,” all “implemented to reflect equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.” These pledges are a great step forward in the race against catastrophic climate change.
I am very concerned, however, about the Agreement’s provision to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.” This is a dangerous equivocation. By now we all know that a 2°C target is woefully inadequate.
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