All Aboard for High-Speed Rail
February 3, 2011 08:54 AM - Patrick Burns, Policy Innovations
The Obama administration has given passenger rail the strongest federal push since the days of Abraham Lincoln in hopes of spurring job growth and keeping pace with a rising China. In early 2010, Washington allotted $8 billion in stimulus cash to fund 13 high-speed rail systems spread across 31 states, including projects in Florida, the Midwest, California, and the Northeast. "Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail," said President Obama during the 2011 State of the Union address.
Brazil Approves Construction of the Belo Monte Dam Project
February 2, 2011 11:07 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
The proposed Belo Monte Dam in northern Brazil would be the third largest hydro-electric dam in the world in terms of electrical output. The dam would be 3.75 miles long and generate over 11,000 megawatts, which could power up to 23 million homes. Government officials say that the dam is an essential step in supplying energy to the nation's growing population. However, the project is rife with environmental conflicts. The project requires the clearing of 588 acres of Amazon jungle, the displacement of over 20,000 indigenous people, flooding a 193 square mile area, and drying up a 62 mile stretch of the Xingu River.
World Bank offers to save Serengeti from bisecting road
February 1, 2011 08:57 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The World Bank has offered to help fund an alternative route for a planned road project that would otherwise cut through Tanzania's world famous Serengeti National Park, according to the German-based NGO Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). When announced last year, the road project raised protests from environmentalists, scientists, and Tanzanian tour companies, but the Tanzanian government refused to shift plans to an alternative southern route for the road, thereby bypassing the park.
Little Progress Disposing of 34 Metric Tons of Surplus Weapons Grade Plutonium
January 28, 2011 09:12 AM - Celia Sampol, NRNS
Too slow, too expensive, too risky: the multi-billion dollar Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX) program, under construction at the Savannah River Site, continues to be controversial. A technology chosen by the United States in the mid-1990s to contribute to the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, today it is being held out as a solution for America's energy future.
Obama sets 2035 clean electricity target
January 26, 2011 06:39 AM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters, WASHINGTON
President Barack Obama set a target for power plants to produce mostly clean electricity by 2035 -- including power from sources like clean coal and natural gas -- in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. Obama also called for investment in clean technologies and urged Congress to eliminate billions of dollars in subsidies for oil companies. "I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own," Obama said about oil company profits. "So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's." Such a move, which Obama has repeatedly urged since taking office in 2009, would hit U.S. operations of oil majors such as Exxon Mobil, British Petroleum and ConocoPhillips. In last year's budget Obama had called for an end to nearly $40 billion in subsidies for oil, gas and coal companies, a proposal that failed.
Nepal Translocates First Wild Tiger to New Home
January 24, 2011 08:52 AM - Editor, World Wildlife Fund
WASHINGTON, DC, January 22, 2011 — A wild tiger fitted with satellite-collar was successfully translocated from Nepal's Chitwan National Park to Bardia National Park for the first time today, according to World Wildlife Fund. The translocation was led by the Government of Nepal with support from World Wildlife Fund Nepal (WWF-Nepal) and the National Trust for Nature Conservation during the last days of the Year of the Tiger. It will further Nepal’s goal of doubling wild tiger numbers by 2022, the next time the Chinese calendar celebrates the endangered species.
Better Wind Mills
January 21, 2011 08:30 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
A wind turbine is a device that converts kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical energy. If the mechanical energy is used to produce electricity, the device may be called a wind generator or wind charger. If the mechanical energy is used to drive machinery, such as for grinding grain or pumping water, the device is called a windmill or wind pump. Large wind farms are being built around the world as a cleaner way to generate electricity, but operators are still searching for the most efficient way to arrange the massive turbines that turn moving air into power. To help steer wind farm owners in the right direction, Charles Meneveau, a Johns Hopkins fluid mechanics and turbulence expert, working with a colleague in Belgium, has devised a new formula through which the optimal spacing for a large array of turbines can be obtained.
Last refuge of rare fish threatened by Yangtze dam plans
January 19, 2011 08:45 AM - Jonathan Watts, Ecologist
Developers of hydroelectric plant have redrawn the boundaries of a crucial freshwater reserve for rare and economically important species. The last refuge for many of China's rarest and most economically important wild fish has mere days to secure public support before it is trimmed, dammed and ruinously diminished, conservationists warned today.
Masdar World Future Energy Summit
January 18, 2011 04:36 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Abu Dhabi, UAE, may be a major oil supplier to the world, but the Emirate is also active with ideas and commitments to a green energy future. The World Future Energy Summit 2011 in Abu Dhabi began on January 17th. The summit is taking place not far from the emerging city of Masdar which is designed to be a showpiece of clean tech innovation and green urban planning. Around 33 official delegations and more than 3,000 delegates will participate in the World Future Energy Summit. Masdar is a project in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Its core is a planned city, which is being built by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, with the majority of seed capital provided by the government of Abu Dhabi. The city will rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy sources, with a sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste ecology. The city is being constructed 11 miles east-south-east of the city of Abu Dhabi.
American cougars on the decline: 'We’re running against the clock,' says big cat expert
January 18, 2011 09:32 AM - Morgan Erickson-Davis, MONGABAY.COM
It holds the Guinness World Record for having the most names of any animal on the planet, with 40 in English alone. It's also the widest-ranging native land animal in the Americas, yet is declining throughout much of its range. Mongabay talks with big cat expert Dr. Howard Quigley about the status and research implications of the elusive, enigmatic, and unique cougar.