The Volkswagen scandal and EU transportation emissions
September 28, 2015 11:12 AM - EurActiv
The revelations that Volkswagen, the world's second largest car manufacturer, had routinely gamed US emissions testing has thrown the spotlight on the environmental and health impact of cars.
While EU member states, such as the UK, open or consider investigations into the beleaguered company, European Commission officials are currently reviewing the executive’s 2011 White Paper for transport, its main policy roadmap for the sector.
Bringing extra impetus to their deliberation is the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, international talks aimed at capping global warming.
How will offshore wind farms affect bird populations?
September 28, 2015 08:42 AM - University of Leeds
Offshore wind farms which are to be built in waters around the UK could pose a greater threat to protected populations of gannets than previously thought, research led by the University of Leeds says.
It was previously thought that gannets, which breed in the UK between April and September each year, generally flew well below the minimum height of 22 metres above sea level swept by the blades of offshore wind turbines.
Fracking Chemicals can cause Endocrine Disruption
September 21, 2015 08:43 AM - Jan Lee, Triple Pundit
There is mounting data to suggest that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) can have adverse affects on the environment. A new study, however, suggests that populations living close to fracking sites also have a higher incidence of health complications.
World's First Solar-Powered Airport
September 14, 2015 03:51 PM - Tex Dworkin, Care2
Aviation history has just been made. Earlier this summer I told you about the record breaking solar plane flight, and now the solar eagle has landed again—this time at an airport in India that just became the first airport in the world to completely operate on solar power.
Diesel cars in the EU having trouble meeting emissions standards on the road
September 14, 2015 02:19 PM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
Every major car manufacturer is selling diesel cars that fail to meet EU air pollution limits on the road in Europe, according to data obtained by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E).
All new diesel cars should have met the Euro 6 autoemissions standard from 1 September – but just one in 10 tested complied with the legal limit.
On average new EU diesel cars produce emissions about five times higher than the allowed limit. The results are compiled in a new report, Don’t Breathe Here, in which T&E analyses the reasons for and solutions to air pollution caused by diesel machines and cars – the worst of which, an Audi, emitted 22 times the allowed EU limit.
MIT study looks at benefits of acting on climate change
September 2, 2015 07:25 AM - Mark Dwortzan | Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, MIT
Since the 1990s, scientists and policymakers have proposed limiting Earth’s average global surface temperature to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, thereby averting the most serious effects of global warming, such as severe droughts and coastal flooding. But until recently, they lacked a comprehensive estimate of the likely social and economic benefits — from lives saved to economies preserved — that would result from greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies designed to achieve the 2 C goal.
Now, a team of researchers from the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change has published a study in Climatic Change that provides scenarios that climate scientists can use to estimate such benefits. The study projects greenhouse gas emissions levels and changes in precipitation, ocean acidity, sea level rise and other climate impacts throughout the 21st century resulting from different global greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation scenarios. The scenarios include a business-as-usual future and one aimed at achieving significant GHG emission reductions limiting global warming since pre-industrial times to 2 C. Research groups convened by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have already begun using the MIT projections to evaluate the benefits of a 2 C emissions reduction scenario for agriculture, water, health, and other global concerns.
The Fingerprints of Sea Level Rise
August 26, 2015 02:49 PM - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
When you fill a sink, the water rises at the same rate to the same height in every corner. That's not the way it works with our rising seas.
According to the 23-year record of satellite data from NASA and its partners, the sea level is rising a few millimeters a year -- a fraction of an inch. If you live on the U.S. East Coast, though, your sea level is rising two or three times faster than average. If you live in Scandinavia, it's falling. Residents of China's Yellow River delta are swamped by sea level rise of more than nine inches (25 centimeters) a year.
These regional differences in sea level change will become even more apparent in the future, as ice sheets melt. For instance, when the Amundsen Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is totally gone, the average global sea level will rise four feet. But the East Coast of the United States will see an additional 14 to 15 inches above that average.
Offshore Wind Power Comes to the US
July 29, 2015 03:33 PM - S.E. Smith, Care2
The United States marked an energy milestone this week as construction began on a pilot offshore wind program that will be used to test the economic feasibility of offshore wind energy. According to the Bureau of Energy, some four million megawatts of power lie in wait off the coasts and the shores of regions like the Great Lakes, where wind blusters far stronger than it does on land — and even a few miles an hour makes a big difference with turbines.
New Model Predicts Avian Fatalities at Wind Facilities
July 8, 2015 12:30 PM - USGS
The U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has released a study that will enable ecologists, managers, policy makers, and industry to predict the bird fatalities at a wind facility prior to it being constructed. The study examined golden eagles as a case study because they are susceptible to collisions with wind turbines in part because of their soaring and hunting behavior.
Greece's economic problems linked to its coal-based energy policies
July 4, 2015 07:53 AM - Takis Grigoriou / Greenpeace EnergyDesk, The Ecologist
As Greece prepares for its referendum, Takis Grigoriou takes Greece to task for its highly polluting lignite power sector, its ditching of a successful solar program in favour of more coal, the minimal insulation in its buildings that locks in high fuel bills, and Syriza's failure to tackle these issues. The good news? Greece's latest €1.4bn coal project looks like going unfunded.
Instead of phasing out lignite Greece opted to engage in a long battle to preserve the ailing industry while putting an abrupt end to solar energy development by blocking new applications.