Featured AffiliateElectric Forum
Plug up the COAL; keep it in the ground!
November 19, 2013 12:43 PM - reprint from UNEP Climate Change Conference
Christiana Figueres, executive secretary UNFCCC, Speaks to the World Coal Association in Warsaw: invest in renewables and leave most of your coal underground. The path forward begins in the past, recognizing that coal played a key role in the history of our economic development. From heating to transportation to the provision of electricity, coal has undoubtedly enabled much of our progress over the last 200 years.
Atmosphere locked in time
November 18, 2013 11:23 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Amber has long been appreciated for its ability to preserve a moment in time as it encapsulated plant matter, bugs and other organisms. As a tool for ecosystem reconstruction, scientists have learnt a great deal. But recently researchers led by Ralf Tapper of the University of Innsbruck, have begun using amber and other fossil plant resins to reconstruct the composition of Earth's atmosphere from the last 220 million years. The results suggest that atmospheric oxygen was considerably lower in the Earth's geological past than previously assumed.
Tiny algae signal big changes for warming Arctic lakes
November 18, 2013 10:05 AM - Molly Sharlach, MONGABAY.COM
The mighty polar bear has long been the poster child for the effects of global warming in the Arctic, but the microscopic diatom tells an equally powerful story. Diatoms are a type of algae that form the base of the food chain in watery habitats the world over. Disturbances among lake diatoms have exposed the impacts of rapid warming in the Hudson Bay Lowlands of eastern Canada, researchers reported Oct. 9 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Do drivers appreciate all the advantages of electric vehicles?
November 18, 2013 07:17 AM - BOB SHETH, Electric Forum
If we take a look at the electric vehicle market today and compare it with that of just 10 years ago the differences are enormous. This is an industry which has come on in leaps and bounds and while great progress has been made there is still more improvement in the pipeline. We have seen lighter cars introduced, we have seen better battery capacity and we have seen an array of innovative ideas to reduce the costs of running your electric vehicle. Even though there has been a major increase in the number of electric vehicles sold around the world, is there now a need to educate gasoline/petrol drivers about the benefits of electric vehicles? In many ways the electric vehicle sector has spent so much time improving technology that it has forgotten to educate the wider driving public about the benefits of this new mode of transport. When we say "new mode of transport" many people will not be aware that electric vehicles have been around in some shape or form for over 100 years!
How studying natural disasters can help us plan for future ones
November 17, 2013 09:05 AM - EurekAlert
Were you one of the many people who got stuck in an airport when the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010? It wasn't a major eruption, and it happened a long way from the heart of Europe. But it cost society an absolute fortune by paralysing air traffic across northern Europe. According to Felix Riede, an associate professor of prehistoric archaeology at Aarhus University and the project manager of the Laboratory for Past Disaster Science, global warming and the increasing frequency of natural disasters constitute a huge challenge to modern society, which has a heavy infrastructure and increasing population density. Until now the solutions have involved expensive state intervention and technology-aided approaches, but Riede believes that the past contains a wealth of unexploited resources which could also provide solutions.
Snowpack Dust Creates Problems for Colorado River
November 15, 2013 04:20 PM - Editor, ENN
Desert soils have been piling up in the Rocky Mountains since the mid-1800s as human land use activities disturb and break up the soil crust. And during recent years, desert dust has been settling exceptionally thick and dark on the snowpack in the northern Rocky Mountains. Unfortunately, this poses a significant problem for the Colorado River and the 40 million people who depend on this source for water. How so? Snow dusted with dark particles absorbs more of the sun's rays and melts faster than clean snow. And unfortunately, desert dust is causing snowpack to melt many as six weeks earlier than it did in the 1800s.
Scientists Develop New Technique to Predict Wildfires
November 15, 2013 09:54 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Last year, over 9 million acres were burned in the US alone due to wildfires. While wildfires can be caused by natural events, they often burn out of control and may get to a point where they become uncontrollable, even when managed by firefighters. Despite their sparks of uncertainty and paths of destruction, researchers have found a way to predict wildfire growth through the lifetime of their blazes. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., and the University of Maryland, have developed a technique that combines cutting-edge simulations of the interaction of weather and fire with newly available satellite observations of active wildfires. This is the first time computer modeling offers the promise of continually-updated daylong predictions.
Ocean acidification set to spiral out of control
November 15, 2013 06:57 AM - Jan Piotrowski, SciDevNet
The continued release of greenhouse gases into the air is set to bring about huge changes to land ecosystems as they are forced to adapt to rising temperatures. But the marine world — which is just as integral to human existence yet receives little attention during climate negotiations — will endure a similarly tumultuous time as emissions rise, scientists say. "Changing oceans will cause massive destruction of coral reefs, which, with their rich biodiversity, are the jungles of the sea," says Luis Valdes, the head of ocean science at UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO), and co-author of a forthcoming report into ocean acidification.
China's Solution for Combatting Air Pollution? Convert Coal to Synthetic Natural Gas
November 14, 2013 09:17 AM - Kristina Chew, Care2
The air pollution in China has become the stuff of legend, or rather of nightmare. The number of lung cancer cases in the capital of Beijing has increased by more than 50 percent in the past decade. Just last week, an eight-year-old girl in the province of Jiangsu was diagnosed with lung cancer. In September, the government announced its Air Pollution Control Action Plan, its latest initiative to address air pollution so bad that the smog over northeast China for the past two weeks has been visible from space.
Boulder's bold energy statement
November 13, 2013 01:01 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Recent election results from Boulder, Colorado highlight another rejection of traditional energy supplier policies. According to Boulder Mayor Applebaum, "This is a message that we have to change a broken system...we need some local control." While the ballot questions were locally directed, the results highlight the national debate on energy supply. Boulder's referendum focused on their local energy distributor's control of the energy mix and whether or not to purchase that company's equipment to run their own utility.