Football field-sized kite powers latest heavy freight ship
December 7, 2007 09:12 AM -
A kite the size of a football field will provide most of the power for a German heavy freight ship set to launch in December.
The Beluga shipping company that owns the 140-metre 'Beluga' said it expects the kites to decrease fuel consumption by up to 50 percent in optimal cases as well as a cutback of the emission of greenhouse gases on sea by 10 to 20 percent. Interestingly, the ship will be hauling windmills from Esbjerg, Denmark to Houston, Texas.
The company that makes the kite for the German transport, SkySails, has made kites for large yachts but is targeting commercial ships with new, larger kites. And it has the ambitious goal of equipping 1,500 ships with kites by 2015.
The SkySails system
'Hellish' Hot Springs Yield Greenhouse Gas-eating Bug
December 7, 2007 08:54 AM - University of Calgary
A new species of bacteria discovered living in one of the most extreme environments on Earth could yield a tool in the fight against global warming.
In a paper published on Dec. 6 in the prestigious science journal Nature, U of C biology professor Peter Dunfield and colleagues describe the methane-eating microorganism they found in the geothermal field known as Hell’s Gate, near the city of Rotorua in New Zealand. It is the hardiest “methanotrophic” bacterium yet discovered, which makes it a likely candidate for use in reducing methane gas emissions from landfills, mines, industrial wastes, geothermal power plants and other sources.
U.S. Emissions Reductions May Be Cheaper Than Thought
December 7, 2007 08:28 AM - Alana Herro, Worldwatch Institute
For years, the United States has resisted mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions because of the perceived cost to the national economy. But a new report suggests that significantly reducing U.S. carbon emissions could cost far less than the trillions of dollars some have projected. McKinsey & Co., a privately owned management consulting firm, predicts that making substantial emissions cuts may cost the economy only a few billion dollars, and that at least 40 percent of the reductions would actually bring economic savings.
Gore calls for early climate pact
December 7, 2007 07:07 AM - Reuters
OSLO (Reuters) - Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore urged governments on Friday to advance by two years a new treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions instead of waiting until the Kyoto pact expires in 2012.
Government ministers are meeting at a U.N. conference in Bali, Indonesia, to try to launch talks on a successor to the Kyoto pact to be concluded by 2009, which would allow three years for ratification before the existing pact expires.
"I hope they will move the effective date of the new treaty forward by two years so that we don't wait until 2012 to have a much tougher treaty in place," former U.S. Vice-President Gore said on arriving in Oslo where he will collect the Nobel prize on Monday.
Emissions cap for poor unlikely at Bali talks
December 7, 2007 07:06 AM - Reuters
NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - The chance that developing countries would accept firm emissions-cutting targets receded on Friday, as U.N.-led talks to launch negotiations on a climate pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol inched forwards.
About a dozen trade ministers meet in Bali at the weekend and finance ministers from Monday, their first-ever visit to the annual U.N. climate meeting normally attended by environment ministers, to help spur a booming global "green" economy.
"Nothing's been ruled out," said Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat at the December 3-14 talks being held at a luxury beach resort in Bali, Indonesia.
California sets key climate targets
December 7, 2007 04:25 AM - Reuters
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California on Thursday set key emissions targets and became the first state to require heavy industries to report their greenhouse gases, major steps in its landmark law to reduce global warming.
Starting in 2008, owners of power plants, oil refineries, cement plants and other big polluters will tell the state how much carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases they spew. By 2010, those reports will be independently verified.
Also on Thursday, the California Air Resources Board set a specific emissions target for the state to meet by 2020 .
Hong Kong chokes on pollution
December 7, 2007 04:10 AM - Reuters
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong warned people with heart or lung problems to avoid outdoor activities on Friday as the territory experienced one of its most polluted days of the year, with the hills across the harbor almost invisible.
Pollution monitoring stations registered "very high" readings in several spots around the former British colony, and the Environmental Protection Department said the poor air was expected to continue.
Hong Kong's air has become increasingly clogged with pollutants from cars, ships, power plants and a booming manufacturing sector across the border in China's Guangdong province.
Greenland ice could be next puzzle for U.N. panel
December 7, 2007 02:20 AM - Reuters
BALI, Indonesia (Reuters) - A thaw of Greenland ice that could raise world sea levels may be the next puzzle for the U.N. climate panel that won the Nobel Peace Prize, a senior member of the group said.
Dutch scientist Bert Metz said the risk of an accelerating melt of Greenland's ice sheet was among the unsolved issues in the U.N. reports this year that blame mankind for causing global warming and urge quick action to avert the worst impacts
Climate change will significantly increase impending bird extinctions
December 6, 2007 10:09 AM - Stanford University
Where do you go when you've reached the top of a mountain and you can't go back down?
It's a question increasingly relevant to plants and animals, as their habitats slowly shift to higher elevations, driven by rising temperatures worldwide. The answer, unfortunately, is you can't go anywhere. Habitats shrink to the vanishing point, and species go extinct.
Climate change speeds up Amazon’s destruction
December 6, 2007 09:19 AM -
A vicious cycle of climate change and deforestation could wipe out or severely damage nearly 60% of the Amazon forest by 2030, says WWF.
The WWF report, The Amazon's Vicious Cycles: Drought and Fire in the Greenhouse, reveals the dramatic consequences for the local and global climate as well as the impacts on people’s livelihoods in South America.