Building Sustainability's new round-up of the best green content from around the world-wide-web, from projects to quotes and issues of the week

Plum Job

Some new hope for the New Year in the form of Treasure Island, San Francisco, a 13,500 settlement on a decommissioned naval base originally manmade from 18.3 cubic metres of sea bed, topped with loam.

An attempt to ‘start from scratch’ according to the director of the City’s Department for the Environment, the super-eco project will feature its own 220 acre ecosystem, street orientation optimised for solar exposure and a 60% reduction in carbon emissions from the current conurbation. There’s even a concentration on residential towers and an increase in density of eight to 75 units per hectare. Those Californians are nothing if not optimistic.

Plum line

"If you were told that you had a fatal disease and a doctor told you how to get better, but then an economist came along and told you that the cost of treating you would be too high so it would be better not to do anything - would you sit there and wait to die?”

Emily Murgatroyd on critiquing the Cato Institute Senior fellow, Jerry Taylor after he said, “scientists are in no position to intelligently guide public policy on climate change.” Quite, Emily. It’s almost as cynical as the Sun’s campaign to make bacon good for you.

Fruit corner

There are crystal balls this week from the ever-entertaining Bollocks to Architecture, who, for our money, is one of the few commentators who says what’s on his mind whilst being entertaining and – sadly for us – usually right.

For 2008 he predicts more hot air from the Brown Government on sustainable homes (hey, he never claimed to be Nostradamus!) and suggests most of the hypocritical Cabinet’s houses would “fail either the carbon test (’cos they’re nice Victorian and Edwardian houses with solid walls and sash windows) or the design test (’cos they’re ghastly developer ‘boxes’.)

“And whose fault will it be when the Government’s absurd targets can’t be met? Why the long-suffering construction industry of course!”

Meanwhile Doors of Perception has a post-modernisty resolution – to stop writing to do lists. “It gives me a headache trying to keep track of the Triple Bottom Line; the Three Main Components (and Four System Conditions) of The Natural Step; One Planet Living’s Ten Guiding Principles; the World Wildlife Fund’s Three Forms of Solidarity; the Copenhagen Agenda’s Ten Principles for Sustainable City Governance; the Framework of Eight Doorways of the Sustainable Schools Network; and the ten Hannover Principles promulgated by Bill McDonough.

“Enough already?” he asks. Certainly, Doors! You’re beginning to sound like the Buddha.

And as the longest, craziest, election process in the world gets under way for good and proper, Craig Rubens of earth2tech offers a guide to the relative greenness of each candidate.

Green Gauge Issue

Coal. It’s cheap, there’s loads of it and it’s dirtier than the outtakes from a Britney Spears video. In short, it’s the fuel that won't go away. But it’s not just China that’s lumping it. This week, Kent’s Medway Council released plans to build the UK’s first coal-fired power station in 24 years. There were howls of protests from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. Supposedly, carbon capture technologies hold the key to reducing coal’s impact on the environment, by storing the carbon underground. But the process has not been proven, takes up to 30% more energy and, is a plaster not a solution. No wonder that Brown is under pressure to veto the plans. At least German power group, E.ON is happy, although, peculiarly, it seems to think its buying a leaf blower for a Kent rambling association better merits a press release. It’s almost like they have no news sense whatsoever those silly PR people.