From Toilet to Tap
December 7, 2015 07:23 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
The rainfall and snowpack so far this autumn have been encouraging, but the stubborn reality is that California is still mired in drought. While farmers from Bakersfield to Fresno to Redding are screaming about water quotas, California residents say they are doing what they can, from pulling out grass lawns to capturing what little rainwater exists.
Global food system faces threats from climate change
December 4, 2015 07:14 AM - UCAR
Climate change is likely to have far-reaching impacts on food security throughout the world, especially for the poor and those living in tropical regions, according to a new international report that includes three co-authors from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
Fixing Food Deserts
December 1, 2015 07:30 AM - Joi Sears, Triple Pundit
Food deserts, vast expanses of urban and rural areas that are void of fresh fruit and veggies, are a growing epidemic — affecting more than 23.5 million people nationwide. Disproportionately affecting occupants of poor, low-income neighborhoods, food deserts are the result of a lack of access to healthy food.
New battery can store 10 times the energy of the next best device
November 30, 2015 07:17 AM - Robert F. Service, Science/AAAS
Industrial-scale batteries, known as flow batteries, could one day usher in widespread use of renewable energy—but only if the devices can store large amounts of energy cheaply and feed it to the grid when the sun isn’t shining and the winds are calm. That’s something conventional flow batteries can’t do. Now, researchers report that they’ve created a novel type of flow battery that uses lithium ion technology—the sort used to power laptops—to store about 10 times as much energy as the most common flow batteries on the market. With a few improvements, the new batteries could make a major impact on the way we store and deliver energy.
Could Lithium-air batteries make oil obsolete?
November 24, 2015 06:47 AM - Editor, The Ecologist
Sooner than it takes to build a nuclear power station, lithium-air batteries could be helping wind and solar to make coal, oil and nuclear obsolete, say Cambridge scientists. Five times lighter and five times cheaper than current lithium batteries, Li-air would open the way to our 100% renewable future.
Food industry focuses on sustainable sourcing to mitigate climate change
November 20, 2015 06:59 AM - Sarantis Michalopoulos, EurActiv
Faced with a raw materials scarcity due to climate change, food and drink giants have turned to a sustainable management in order to protect the environment and ensure their future viability. The global population is expected to rise from 7.3 billion today to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to UN projections. As a consequence, according to a survey published in July by FoodDrinkEurope, this will require a 60% increase in food supplies globally, as well as a 30% rise in global demand for water for agriculture.
World's First Solar Road Exceeds Expectations
November 16, 2015 07:21 AM - Matthew Young, Triple Pundit
The first aptly-titled SolaRoad made its debut last November in the Netherlands, not far from Amsterdam. The road itself is a unique foray in pollution-free solar energy. Nearly one year later, the SolaRoad’s designers say the high-tech bike path is performing better than they expected.
In the first six months since it was installed, the SolaRoad has generated over 3,000 kilowatt-hours — or roughly the equivalent required for a single-person household for one calendar year.
America Recycles Day November 15th
November 13, 2015 10:13 AM - JustMeans, Justmeans
Thousands of creative recycling events are being planned for America Recycles Day (ARD), a Keep America Beautiful initiative, which takes place on and in the weeks leading up to Nov. 15.
America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. In its 18th year, ARD educates people about the importance of recycling to our economy and environmental well-being, and helps to motivate occasional recyclers to become everyday recyclers.
A number of ARD special events are focusing on this year’s theme of “Bathrooms, Bags & Gadgets." They include:
Assessing the health and economic consequences of Dieselgate
October 29, 2015 08:01 AM - MIT News
Volkswagen’s use of software to evade emissions standards in more than 482,000 diesel vehicles sold in the U.S. will directly contribute to 60 premature deaths across the country, a new MIT-led study finds.
In September, the Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the German automaker had developed and installed “defeat devices” (actually software) in light-duty diesel vehicles sold between 2008 and 2015. This software was designed to sense when a car was undergoing an emissions test, and only then engage the vehicle’s full emissions-control system, which would otherwise be disabled under normal driving conditions — a cheat that allows the vehicles to emit 40 times more emissions than permitted by the Clean Air Act.
That amount of excess pollution, multiplied by the number of affected vehicles sold in the U.S. and extrapolated over population distributions and health risk factors across the country, will have significant effects on public health, the study finds.
Why are diesel cars so popular in Europe?
October 27, 2015 08:04 AM - EurActiv
An estimated annual 'tax gap' subsidy of some €16 billion for diesel over petrol has made Europe the world's largest market for diesel cars - but the Volkswagen scandal has put the national tax schemes supporting this industry at risk.
“There is no reason to keep subsidising this sector," Carlos Calvo, policy analyst at Transport & Environment, told EurActiv on Monday (26 October). The efficiency of petrol-fuelled cars has improved significantly in recent years, while the diesel industry has reduced its nitrogen-oxide emissions only very slowly.