President Obama approves Arctic drilling
April 5, 2015 08:01 AM - Kevin Mathews, Care2
President Barack Obama has seemingly spent a lot of his second term trying to cement his reputation as one of the United States’s most environmentally conscious leaders. However, his most recent decision to approve controversial oil and gas drilling in the Arctic is certain to lose him favor within the environmental community. How can he preach about the consequences of global warming and carbon emissions and simultaneously give corporations permission to drill in a vulnerable region for decades to come?
As Scientific American reminds us, although we tend to romanticize some of Obama’s environmental policy, his decision to give Arctic drilling a thumbs-up is not incongruent with his overall scheme to have America reliant on multiple sources of energy, including both renewable options, as well as gas and oil.
The highlight of the "Green Knesset" Project: The unveiling of the largest solar field in any parliament in the world
March 30, 2015 12:09 PM - Editor, ENN
In the past few weeks, giant cranes have unloaded some 1,500 solar panels onto the Knesset's (the Israeli parliament) roofs. These panels were created especially for the Knesset's solar field, which is laid out over 4,650 square meters of the Knesset roofs and will have an installed capacity of 450 kilowatts. The solar array, which cost the Knesset NIS 2.4 million, will create some 10% of the Knesset's electricity, and together with additional energy-saving measures, it will help reduce the Knesset's energy use by a third.
The solar array is expected to save the Knesset NIS 300,000 every year. It will operate according to the net-metering method, under which electric energy generated by an electric consumer from an eligible on-site generating facility and delivered to the local distribution facilities may be used to offset electric energy provided by the electric utility to the electric consumer during the applicable billing period. The Knesset's solar array will be the first of any national institution to operate according to this method. Director General of the Knesset, Mr. Ronen Plot, hopes that other government institutions and local authorities will follow suit and establish solar fields of their own.
Massive marine sanctuary created in the Pacific
March 22, 2015 09:47 AM - Tex Dworkin, Care2
Mutiny on the Bounty is a tale about the Royal Navy ship Bounty. On April 28, 1789, Fletcher Christian led sailors in a mutiny against their captain, Lieutenant William Bligh. So the story goes, the captain was set afloat in a small boat along with crew members who were loyal to him, while the mutineers settled on Pitcairn Island or Tahiti and burned Bounty off Pitcairn to avoid detection.
Today Pitcairn island’s population is about 50 people, including descendants of Fletcher Christian, and the surrounding waters where the Bounty supposedly went down in flames has just become the world’s largest contiguous ocean reserve.
This is great news for the sanctity of the Pacific ocean and its inhabitants.
ENN Releases App for Android Users
February 23, 2015 09:14 AM - ENN Editor
Last month ENN launched a new mobile app available at the iTunes store making it easier for you to connect with us and stay up to date with groundbreaking environmental news. Now, ENN releases the mobile app at Google Play, making it compatible for Android users.
ENN is more than just a gatherer of environmental news but rather a unique set of resources, archives, tools, and experts for the increasingly complex field of environmental science attracting readers from all levels of government, business and academia.
Apple users can download the app at the iTunes store.
Android users can download the app at Google Play.
Make sure you click on the app with the logo shown here.
Why Dedicating Land to Bioenergy Won't Curb Climate Change
February 2, 2015 07:11 PM - Guest Contributor, Tim Searchinger
This post originally was published on WRI.org.
How does bioenergy contribute to a sustainable food and climate future?
A new WRI paper finds bioenergy can play a modest role using wastes and other niche fuelstocks, but recommends against dedicating land to produce bioenergy. The lesson: do not grow food or grass crops for ethanol or diesel or cut down trees for electricity.
Even modest quantities of bioenergy would greatly increase the global competition for land. People already use roughly three-quarters of the world’s vegetated land for crops, livestock grazing and wood harvests. The remaining land protects clean water, supports biodiversity and stores carbon in trees, shrubs and soils -- a benefit increasingly important for tackling climate change. The competition for land is growing, even without more bioenergy, to meet likely demands for at least 70 percent more food, forage and wood.
Why Certification is Critical for the Industrialization of Bamboo
January 19, 2015 12:35 PM - Contributing editor
We’ve been down this path before; a new species, a new crop, a new product. A silver bullet plant that can be grown on degraded land and provide exactly what industry needs. And yet typically such plants go one of two ways; the way of Jatropha, which after a few years of being touted as the miracle plant of the biofuel industry, simply faded into nothingness; or the way of oil palm, where industrialization boomed, and with it came a mile wide trench of environmental devastation.
No plant is inherently green. And bamboo is no different. It can be grown well, and sustainably. Or it can be the cause of deforestation, conversion of natural ecosystems, and subsequent environmental and social degradation.
So why is bamboo forging a path that is likely to be different? Simply, the foremost player currently responsible for the plant’s industrialization at a global and commercial scale is setting a benchmark of sustainability in front as they pioneer and grow the plant at scale, rather than in their wake as an after thought.
Are the US drinking water standards outdated?
January 14, 2015 09:15 AM - Virginia Tech via EurekAlert!
Changes in drinking water quality in the 21st Century are coming from a myriad of circumstances, and not all are for the best. Top contenders for why water-drinking quality might become suspect to the average consumer include California's drought conditions, the technology of fracking, and the nationwide aging infrastructure of rusty, degrading pipes.
Citing these and other relatively recent scenarios, Andrea Dietrich, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, and her colleague Gary A. Burlingame of the Philadelphia Water Department, are calling for a critical review and rethinking of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) secondary standards for maintaining consumers' confidence in tap water as well as in its sensory quality.
Study reveals new method to estimate the global impacts of dams
January 7, 2015 04:08 PM - McGill University
When dams are built they have an impact not only on the flow of water in the river, but also on the people who live downstream and on the surrounding ecosystems. By placing data from close to 6,500 existing large dams on a highly precise map of the world’s rivers, an international team led by McGill University researchers has created a new method to estimate the global impacts of dams on river flow and fragmentation.
California's regulations on diesel trucks are having a positive impact on air pollution
January 3, 2015 08:42 AM - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory via ScienceDaily.
Ever wonder what's in the black cloud that emits from some semi trucks that you pass on the freeway? Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientist Thomas Kirchstetter knows very precisely what's in there, having conducted detailed measurements of thousands of heavy-duty trucks over months at a time at two San Francisco Bay Area locations.
”‹With a specially outfitted research van equipped with sophisticated monitors for several pollutant types, he and his team are studying emissions levels from diesel trucks to understand and analyze the impact of new control technologies and California air pollution regulations.
East Cost "nuisance" flooding already increasing
December 28, 2014 08:48 AM - ecoRI news staff
By 2050, much of U.S. coastal areas are likely to be threatened by 30 or more days of flooding annually because of dramatically accelerating impacts from sea-level rise, according to a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study.
The findings appear in a paper entitled “From the Extreme to the Mean: Acceleration and Tipping Points for Coastal Inundation due to Sea Level Rise” and follows an earlier study by the report’s co-author, William Sweet, Ph.D., a NOAAA oceanographer.