"Toward the end of his 7,500-word speech the mayor said the city will, over the next year, 'explore the possibility of cleanly converting trash into renewable energy.'" With this short but meaningful indication of a potentially significant policy shift for city government, Mayor Bloomberg returns to an idea his administration explored as early as 2002.
What has changed in the interim? According to Murphy, "The Iraq war, 'An Inconvenient Truth,' Deepwater Horizon and Fukashima Daiichi have transformed intelligent conversation about energy use." Furthermore, technological advances over the past decade have introduced new waste-to-energy options such as "'thermal processing,' which involves heating garbage to a point where its organic ingredients release a gas that can then be used like natural gas, and 'anaerobic digestion' that uses microbes to decompose garbage, releasing vapor for burning."