Environmental Policy

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.

How Green Jobs Are Fueling The Recovery
January 17, 2011 09:54 AM - Editor, Justmeans

Creating new well-paying jobs to spur the economic recovery remains a central concern globally and in the US. The Great Recession has left many professionals and their families struggling to make ends meet for over two years. This jobless recovery is likely to be the longest recovery since the Great Depression. Furthermore, the convergence of automation and globalization have resulted in permanent changes in jobs across many industries. For instance, manufacturing and construction jobs are today more technical and requiring more education than 20 years ago. Due to the same pressure of automation and globalization, middle management jobs are also disappearing.

Prison Air Pollution
January 11, 2011 06:01 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Prisons are where they keep criminals. What has that to do with the environment? The answer is that prisons need to be heated and like industrial boilers or even home heating systems they must burn fuel and in the combustion release potential air pollutants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections and the Department of General Services for alleged Clean Air Act violations at boiler plants generating power, heat and hot water at four correctional facilities. This settlement secures air pollution reductions and additional reporting requirements for correctional facilities in Muncy, Bellefonte, Huntingdon and Somerset, Pennsylvania.

The Return (?) of Off Shore drilling
January 6, 2011 12:34 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Offshore drilling typically refers to the discovery and development of oil and gas resources which lie underwater. Most commonly, the term is used to describe oil extraction off the coasts of continents, though the term can also apply to drilling in lakes and inland seas. Offshore drilling presents environmental challenges, especially in the Arctic or close to the shore. Controversies include the ongoing US offshore drilling debate. The off shore moratorium in the US (as a result of the BP spill) ended in October 2010. The Obama administration has decided to allow 13 companies to resume deepwater drilling without additional environmental scrutiny. The decision comes after the administration said it would require strict reviews for new drilling in the Gulf. Others, such as the arctic Shell project, are still blocked by related concerns. The Department of the Interior apparently gave those companies the go-ahead because they were in the middle of previously approved projects when the Gulf spill occurred.

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