World deforestation: we're losing a forest the size of NYC every 2 days!
September 19, 2016 10:26 AM - Karin Kloosterman via Green Prophet
This is an issue of global concern. Climate change, urbanization, and resource depletion (more mouths to feed, burn wood in stoves for, graze more cattle for) is still happening at a fast an alarming clip, influencing our planet’s ability to store CO2 emissions, and protect diversity.
Virgin Atlantic: Emissions from Steel Mills Could Fuel Airplanes
September 16, 2016 01:32 PM - by Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
After five years of research and development, Virgin Atlantic and one of its clean-technology partners, Illinois-based LanzaTech, developed a source of jet fuel made of waste gases from steel mills. According to the companies, this new source of jet fuel passed extensive tests that both delivered on performance and promise to result in carbon emissions savings of 65 percent compared to conventional jet fuel.
This discovery comes at a time when airlines, seeking to mitigate what is a carbon-intensive business, have long dabbled with jet fuel blended with algae and other biofuels. The Dutch carrier KLM experimented with algae fuel blends, has flown transatlantic flights using blends of kerosene and cooking oil, and is still apparently committed to sourcing these fuels when available. Alaska Airlines also considered using recycled cooking oil to reduce its carbon emissions. Earlier this year, United kicked off flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles using a biofuel-conventional blend. Aviation fuel using feedstock from Brazilian sugarcane is also touted as an option.
Renewables have the economic advantage over fossil fuels
September 16, 2016 11:00 AM - Alex Kirby, Ecologist
A new energy market analysis shows the average cost of electricity from renewables is already lower than from fossil fuels, writes Alex Kirby. And as renewables eat deeper into the 'market share' of coal and gas power plants, so the entire economics of fossil fuel power generation will unravel.
The cheapest way of generating energy today is to use renewable fuels - and the authors of a new analysis predict that renewables are set to enjoy even more of an advantage within a few years.
The study by the Carbon Tracker Initiative says renewable power generation costs are already lower on average worldwide than those of fossil fuels.
Arctic sea ice heading towards second lowest on record
September 15, 2016 01:07 PM - British Antarctic Survey
This year the extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic is heading towards being the second lowest on record. The Arctic sea ice minimum marks the day – typically in mid-September – when sea ice reaches its smallest extent at the end of the summer melt season. British Antarctic Survey sea-ice scientist, Dr Jeremy Wilkinson, provides a scientific perspective on the trend of rapidly decreasing Arctic sea ice.
Greenhouse gas-monitoring aircraft keep tabs on the Amazon's rising methane levels
September 15, 2016 10:25 AM - University of Leicester via ScienceDaily
Research led by the National Centre of Earth Observation at the University of Leicester is going to new heights in the atmosphere to get a better handle on methane emitted from wetlands in the Amazon.
Using small aircraft flying in an upward spiral and collecting samples of the air, the team has measured the levels of methane in the atmosphere over the Amazon basin in unprecedented detail.
In the process they've shown the value of satellite measurements of methane for the region, paving the way for research that will keep better tabs on the greenhouse gas.
All polar bears across the Arctic face shorter sea ice season
September 14, 2016 05:15 PM - University of Washington via ScienceDaily
A new University of Washington study, with funding and satellite data from NASA and other agencies, finds a trend toward earlier sea ice melt in the spring and later ice growth in the fall across all 19 polar bear populations, which can negatively impact the feeding and breeding capabilities of the bears. The paper, to appear Sept. 14 in The Cryosphere, is the first to quantify the sea ice changes in each polar bear subpopulation across the entire Arctic region using metrics that are specifically relevant to polar bear biology.
Green city in UAE desert has much to teach the world
September 14, 2016 02:19 PM - University of Birmingham
A new desert city in the United Arab Emirates without light switches or water taps has much to teach people around the world about saving energy and precious resources.
With its low-rise and energy efficient buildings, smart metering, excellent public transport - a personal transportation pod is pictured below - and extensive use of renewable energy, the 2,000 citizens of Masdar City, in Abu Dhabi, are living in a place which is a ‘green’ example to city planners around the globe.
Experts anticipate significant continued reductions in wind energy costs
September 13, 2016 01:37 PM - DOE / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory via EurekAlert!
Technology advancements are expected to continue to drive down the cost of wind energy, according to a survey of the world's foremost wind power experts led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Experts anticipate cost reductions of 24%-30% by 2030 and 35%-41% by 2050, under a median or 'best guess' scenario, driven by bigger and more efficient turbines, lower capital and operating costs, and other advancements.
Free-swimming Ocean Gliders Help Scientists Understand Storm Intensity
September 13, 2016 10:52 AM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
A regional team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Rutgers University, the University of Maine, the University of Maryland, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute mobilized Friday in advance of post-Tropical Storm Hermine’s arrival in the Northeast to gather data from new ocean instruments that will help better predict the intensity and evolution of future tropical storms along the US East Coast.
The team, part of the TEMPESTS program organized through the Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region, is funded by the NOAA office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.
Air Pollution: The Billion Dollar Industry
September 13, 2016 07:21 AM - Steve Williams, Care2
The World Bank has released a new report highlighting the fact that air pollution costs world governments billions upon billions every year and ranks among the leading causes of death worldwide.
The estimates — drawn from a number of sources, including the World Health Organization’s most recently completed data sets compiled in 2013 — can for the first time begin to examine the overall welfare cost of air pollution.