Environmental Policy

Get Ready for E-Bikes!
March 1, 2012 06:46 AM - Ben Martin, The Ecologist

Greener than cars and healthier than the tube, the 'e-bike' looks set to become one of 2012's top travel trends As concerns about congestion, carbon and cost continue to grow, more and more people in the UK are ditching their cars and turning to cycling as an efficient, cheap and enjoyable way to get about. According to the Department of Transport, one in six of us are regular bike users, and with the Times' popular CycleSafe campaign currently in the headlines (in the UK), awareness of two-wheeled transport is at an all-time high.

Denmark tops first-of-its-kind Global Cleantech Innovation Index
February 27, 2012 08:47 AM - Editor, World Wildlife Fund

Denmark, followed by Israel, Sweden, Finland and the US provide the best conditions today for clean technology start-up creation, with companies in the Asia Pacific region following closely behind when it comes to commercial success, the first Global Cleantech Innovation Index shows.

Global CFC ban and unintended consequences
February 27, 2012 06:54 AM - Staff, ClickGreen

The Montreal Protocol led to a global phase-out of most substances that deplete the ozone layer, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). A happy side-effect of the gradual ban of these products is that the Earth’s climate has also benefited because CFCs are also potent greenhouse gases. However, now a "rebound effect" threatens to accelerate the rate of global warming. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which have been used in recent years in increasing quantities as substitutes for CFCs, are also climatically very active and many are also extremely long-lived.

National Park Service policy at Golden Gate National Recreation Area angers dog owners
February 25, 2012 08:14 AM - Amy Standen, NPR

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, in California's Bay Area, is expanding, quite literally, up next to some people's backyards. And while you might think neighbors would be thrilled to see this scenic landscape preserved, the relationship between the National Park Service and locals is off to a rocky start. If you love your dog the way Peggy and Bill Bechtell love Kalie, you couldn't ask for a better place to live than right on the border of Rancho Corral de Tierra. The ranch is 4,000 acres of cypress trees and grassy rolling hills, about 20 minutes south of San Francisco. Peggy says it is dog paradise.

Small Town Gets Court To Ban Fracking
February 24, 2012 11:36 AM - Eric Niiler, Discovery News

This week, a New York state judge ruled that the town of Dryden, N.Y., could prohibit fracking as part of its zoning ordinance. It's one of 30 towns throughout central and southern New York that have taken the step. State environmental officials in New York placed a moratorium on fracking while they come up with new regulations to cover oil and gas drilling in the underground geological deposits.

Is Shale Gas Good or Bad? Panelists and the Audience at KPMG Summit are Split
February 24, 2012 09:47 AM - Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit

"Is the emergence of shale gas a positive or negative development with respect to sustainability?" This was one of the most interesting questions discussed on one of the panels at KPMG's Global Summit last week in New York. Given the growth of both interest and dispute around shale gas, is shale gas is a bridge to a sustainable future or a bridge to nowhere? It'’s not that we lack controversial sources of energy, from nuclear energy to ethanol, but none of these resources has the potential to become a substantial resource like shale gas has for better and worse. With so much at stake when it comes to how sustainable the future of energy is going to be, it's no wonder that even at the KPMG summit, shale gas became such a hot topic that the panelists and the crowd seemed to be very passionate about and at the same time split about the answer to the question. First let's look at why this question matters at all. According to KPMG's Energy Survey 2011 there's a growing interest in shale gas and oil: 44 percent of respondents believe these to be the energy sources that will see the most future investment (the corresponding figure was less than 1 percent in 2010). Shale gas will represent 65 percent of US gas production by the 2030s, up from an estimated 43 percent by 2015 according to the survey.

New Apple HQ to be really green!
February 24, 2012 07:34 AM - Zac Colbert, Guest Author, Triple Pundit

Last year, the late Steve Jobs revealed plans for Apple's new 'Spaceship' building to be located in Cupertino City, California. The futuristic structure should be completed in 2015 and will house approximately 13,000 employees. It may look like it's been plucked from the imagination of Philip K Dick, but what was previously the realm of science fiction has now become science fact. It promises to be one of the most technologically advanced offices in the world, being totally self-sufficient for power with the national grid acting only as backup.

In the News: New sanctuaries to help threatened dolphins
February 22, 2012 09:49 AM - Rebecca Moran, ARKive.org

Three new wildlife sanctuaries have been declared by the Government of Bangladesh, in the hope that they will help to prevent the extinction of the threatened Irrawaddy and Ganges river dolphins.

Fires and deaths from deforestation linked
February 22, 2012 07:15 AM - R Greenway, ENN

A new study links smoke from the burning of wood waste from deforestation to deaths from the effects of breathing all that smoke. Worldwide, smoke from these fires (called landscape fires) contributed to an average of 339,000 deaths per year between 1997 and 2006, according to new research published in Environmental Health Perspectives and released today during the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia were the hardest hit by fire-smoke deaths, with an estimated annual average of 157,000 and 110,000 deaths, respectively, attributable to fire smoke exposure, said researcher Fay Johnston, who represented a global team at the 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

The Quiet Clean Mining Revolution
February 21, 2012 10:56 AM - Guest Author, Clean Techies

Few industries have got the black eye, literally and metaphorically, of mining. After centuries of environmental effects ranging from toxic emissions to unsightly tailings ponds, acid mine drainage, massive energy consumption and other impacts, mining is slowly cleaning up its act. Why? Mostly because new clean technologies are increasing industrial efficiencies. They're lowering mining companies' power needs. And they're even helping reduce water requirements, and/or remediating the produced water and mines of years past that are now leaching toxins. And that's translating into cost savings for mining companies, which are being held increasingly accountable for their environmental impacts and are looking for ways to minimize the expenses of both the production phase of their operations, and reclamation.

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