Earth Hour 2013: March 23, 8:30 PM
March 11, 2013 09:51 AM - Editor, Ecologist
WWF's Earth Hour is a unique annual phenomenon that focuses the world's attention on our amazing planet, and how we need to protect it. Earth Hour is a simple idea gone global. Show your support and switch off! WWF is calling for people across the world to take part in Earth Hour 2013 — the biggest switch-off in history. At 8:30pm on 23rd March hundreds of millions of people across the globe are expected to turn off their lights for an hour, to show they care about the future of our planet. Last year's Earth Hour saw a staggering 6,950 towns and cities in more than 152 countries take part in what has become a global movement. From a single domestic light bulb to giant iconic illuminations such as Big Ben, the Taj Mahal and the Sydney Opera House, the Earth Hour switch-off can demonstrate a determination to help protect the planet.
Caribbean Nations Take Control of Their Collective Energy Future
March 8, 2013 01:24 PM - Katie Auth and Evan Musolino, Worldwatch Institute
In the face of the many challenges inherent in getting 15 countries—each with their own resources, priorities, and political complexities—to agree to anything, let alone a comprehensive regional energy policy, the Caribbean is now on the brink of taking a significant (and impressive) step forward. For the past half decade, a Draft Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Energy Policy—designed to address critical issues like energy security, affordability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy—has been circulating among CARICOM's 15 member states, continually being revised to reflect the concerns of individual members, but never finalized.
Renewable Sources Provide All New Generating Capacity in January — Three-Fold Increase From Same Period Last Year
The latest Energy Infrastructure Update released yesterday by the Office of Energy Projects at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reports that the US had 1,231 megawatts (MW) of new in-service generating capacity come online in January of 2013 — all of it from renewable sources including wind, solar and biomass. The new capacity for January represents a three-fold increase from the 431 MW of new renewable generating capacity that came online in January of 2012.
Shell suspends Arctic oil drilling for the year
February 28, 2013 08:55 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Royal Dutch Shell announced yesterday that it was setting "pause" on its exploratory drilling activities in the Arctic for 2013. Shell's operations are currently under review by the federal government after the oil company suffered numerous setbacks during last year's opening attempt to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, including running its drilling rig aground on Sitkalidak Island in southern Alaska in late December.
France Unveils Measures to Decrease Energy Use
February 26, 2013 01:00 PM - Edouard Stenger, Clean Techies
Even after the election of François Hollande as President of France, an energy conservation measure of the previous government will be implemented. The Sarkozy government wanted to require shops and offices to turn off their unnecessary lights at nights. This will be effective as of July 1, 2013. All nonresidential buildings will be required to shut off their lights an hour after the last worker leaves or by 1 a.m. each morning. Lights can be turned on again until 7 a.m. or just before they open. Similarly, the lights on building facades will have to be turned off.
Capturing Carbon Dioxide with a "Solar Sponge"
February 26, 2013 09:55 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
A new smart material called a MOF (metal organic framework) has the ability to adsorb carbon dioxide and release it when exposed to sunlight thus creating a new breakthrough in a way to recycle CO2 emissions using renewable energy. The process is known as dynamic photo-switching which refers to the reversible light-induced switching of floor or intensity. This capture-and-release method is extremely energy efficient and only requires UV light to trigger the release of CO2 after it has been captured from the mixture of exhaust gases.
The Growth of Efficient Buildings
February 25, 2013 08:47 AM - Richard Matthews, Global Warming is Real
The area of building efficiency affords tremendous opportunities for both economic growth and reduced environmental impacts. Buildings are the single largest emitters of greenhouse gases. According to a UNEP study titled "Towards a Green Economy," homes and businesses are responsible for 40 percent of the climate change causing carbon pollution. There is significant room for improvement in new construction and retrofits in homes, businesses, schools and other organization.
Sales of plug-in Electric Vehicles (EV) in the U.S. more than tripled in 2012 and continue to grow. The Obama administration has invested $7.5 billion, and billions more have been invested by car manufacturers, including companies like Ford, Nissan and BMW, who are putting out eight more new models of plug-in vehicles on U.S. roads this year. Nissan has invested $5 billion in electric cars while General Motors has invested a $1 billion. This continued support for the mass adoption of the EV is crucial, particularly as environmentalists believe it will help to control greenhouse gas emissions. All this means getting American drivers to think about what they are driving.
Mobile masts could help measure rain and chill vaccines
February 21, 2013 08:16 AM - Bernard Appiah, SciDevNet
Mobile-phone masts in Africa could be used for other development initiatives, such as filling gaps in rainfall data and providing electricity to refrigerate vaccines, experts say. For example, masts could be used to measure rainfall in areas without rain gauges, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) this month (4 February).
Renewable Energy Capacity Fuels Power Growth in January
February 21, 2013 06:02 AM - THOMAS SCHUENEMAN, Global Warming is Real
The latest Energy Infrastructure Update released yesterday by the Office of Energy Projects at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reports that the US had 1,231 megawatts (MW) of new in-service generating capacity come online in January of 2013 — all of it from renewable sources including wind, solar and biomass. The new capacity for January represents a three-fold increase from the 431 MW of new renewable generating capacity that came online in January of 2012. Wind energy led the pack with six new units providing 958 MW, followed by 16 new solar units generating 267 MW of electricity and six new biomass units for 6 MW of new generation. Nuclear, hydro and all fossil fuel sources, including coal, oil, and natural gas offered no new electrical generating capacity last month.