Los Angeles area natural gas leak continues
December 31, 2015 05:06 AM - Lowell Williams, Care2, Care2
Though it seems to be oddly absent from the mainstream media headlines, a massive methane gas leak in Southern California’s Aliso Canyon has prompted thousands of evacuations and, since Oct. 23, has pumped over 150 million pounds of the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Even though the owners of the methane well, Southern California Gas Co., say this week that they have finally discovered the pipe associated with the leak, it will likely be months before a seal is entirely in place.
To truly underscore the seriousness of the Porter Ranch gas leak, the Environmental Defense Fund released an infrared aerial video this week showing the tremendous, continuous release of methane:
Methane gas, in its natural state, is also odorless. However, for safety reasons, foul-smelling additives are artificially included with the gas. In Porter Ranch, a Los Angeles neighborhood and the site of the leak, the additive smell’s intensity has affected the heath of many of residents — nose bleeds, nausea, headaches and dizzy spells have been reported.
Wind power on the rise in U.S.
December 22, 2015 07:22 AM - Jeff Brady, NPR
The U.S. wind power industry is celebrating after reaching a new milestone in November: 70 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity.
"That's enough to power about 19 million homes," says Michael Goggin, senior director of research at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
Carmakers Are Ahead Of Emissions Standards
December 18, 2015 07:11 AM - Bill Chappell, NPR
Fuel economy is at record highs and carmakers have surpassed strict greenhouse gas emissions standards for the third straight year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which released a pair of annual reports about the U.S. fleet of cars and trucks Wednesday.
Overall, fuel economy for vehicles in the U.S. did not budge from last year's record high of 24.3 miles per gallon, the EPA says. The figure includes a new high of 20.4 mpg for trucks, vans and SUVs from model year 2014.
Top 10 Renewable Energy Producing States
December 14, 2015 07:17 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman , Triple Pundit
The U.S. has a chance to be a leader in renewable energy deployment given its sheer size and resources. And some states are leading the way. Olivet Nazarene University’s engineering department ranked the top 10 green states in terms of renewable energy. How does your state stack up? Did it make the list? Read on to find out.
New study shows climate models over-predict climate change related precipitation increase
December 10, 2015 02:20 PM - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Lawrence Livermore researchers and collaborators have found that most climate models overestimate the increase in global precipitation due to climate change.
Specifically, the team looked at 25 models and found they underestimate the increase in absorption of sunlight by water vapor as the atmosphere becomes moister, and therefore overestimate increases in global precipitation.
The team found global precipitation increase per degree of global warming at the end of the 21st century may be about 40 percent smaller than what the models, on average, currently predict.
What is the future of coal power production?
December 10, 2015 08:14 AM - Fred Pearce, Environment360
Is Paris the beginning of the end for coal? Coal burning is declining fast in both of the world's two largest carbon dioxide emitters, China and the the United States, with resulting declines in the emissions of both countries. The fuel looks incompatible with a world that warms by no more than two degrees Celsius, bringing calls for its rapid phaseout as the world is "decarbonized."
But, with or without a deal here in Paris later this week, will the calls be heeded? Has the demise of King Coal been greatly exaggerated?
In the U.S., "coal has gone from boom to bust," says Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. The black stuff's share of electricity generation has sunk from 53 percent to 35 percent in just five years.
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.
US Forest Service proposes coal mining expansion in Colorado
November 20, 2015 10:08 AM - Center for Biological Diversity
National and local conservation groups today condemned a decision by the U.S. Forest Service to continue pressing to open national forest roadless areas in Colorado to coal mining.
In a notice filed today, the Forest Service announced it would move forward by issuing a draft environmental impact statement on the proposal to pave the way for mining. The proposal would reopen a loophole in the “roadless rule” for national forests in Colorado to enable Arch Coal — the nation’s second largest coal company — to scrape roads and well pads on nearly 20,000 acres of otherwise-protected, publicly owned national forest and wildlife habitat in Colorado’s North Fork Valley.
EVs vs. Gasoline-Powered Cars - Which has the cleaner lifecycle?
November 19, 2015 07:15 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit
It’s the trick question that has left many of us stumped: from the earliest stages of manufacture to the years driving on the road until they are sent to the junkyard, are conventional automobiles or electric cars cleaner for the environment? While acknowledging that electric vehicles (EVs) emit no emissions when running on our streets and highways, many have assumed that those pesky rare earth metals in their massive batteries and the emissions associated with producing the power canceled out any environmental benefits that their drivers enjoyed. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a two-year study has provided the answer.