Environmental Policy

Renault offers free charging for EV's in France
September 24, 2013 06:29 AM - Move Forward, Electric Forum

In what seems to be coming something of a common occurrence in the electric vehicle industry, Renault has now announced plans to offer free charging facilities to any electric vehicle user across its 372 Renault dealerships in France. Initially you might automatically assume that this offer of one hours free charging per day across 875 fast charge stations in France would be limited to Renault users, but this is not the case. This offer is open to all electric vehicle users as long as they have a cable which fits a type III connector. Electric vehicle charging stations are certainly a hot topic at the moment with more and more companies opening up their networks to outside parties. It is interesting to see that Renault, which has recently released a number of EV models, is looking to grab the headlines.

Amoebas in Louisiana’s Water
September 22, 2013 09:07 AM - Beth Buczynski, Care2

Clean water is essential for human survival. More than half of our body is made up of water, and without it, we can only live for a couple of days. How much do we really know about what we're drinking, though? Local governments are charged with keeping our water supplies safe, but as I recently learned in the movie "Unacceptable Levels," one city's wastewater becomes another city's drinking water. Also, there's not a lake or stream left in this country that hasn't been contaminated in some way.

The Greenest Building in the World
September 20, 2013 10:42 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

In honor of Green Building Week, we have searched high and low to showcase one of the greenest buildings in the world -and on a recent press trip to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, we may have found a winner. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens may be known for its glass Victorian greenhouse built in the late 1800s, or even as the location where President Obama hosted the G-20 summit in 2009. But the real piece de resistance that puts the Conservatory on the map is their new Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL). The CSL is primarily home to many of the administrative, educational, and research offices associated with Phipps, however parts of the building are open to the public and there are plans in the works to connect the building’s indoor space to the outdoors by means of artwork and sound installations. So why does this building rank among the greenest in the world? For one, the facility is expected to meet or exceed three of the world's highest green standards. So far the facility has achieved LEED Platinum status, the highest of the US Green Building Council's certifications. Beyond LEED certification, the CSL is striving to achieve the Sustainable Sites Initiative SITES certification for landscapes. The CSL is currently in the process of obtaining state permits and will find out in October if they have achieved 4-star status which has yet to be achieved by any other project. Finally, the CSL is involved with the Living Building Challenge. Projects that achieve this level of performance must document net zero energy, which defines the most advanced measures of sustainability in the built environment.

Misleading "Natural" Food Labels May Soon Be History
September 20, 2013 08:46 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

The only thing natural about the "natural" label is that such branding, naturally, often confuses consumers. But such misleading terms such as "natural" and "healthy" could soon become history, or at the very least score a makeover. Large food companies have hijacked such terms with dubious results—and never mind the fact "natural" is a loaded term. Is a food product only "natural" if it still has dirt on it after being yanked out of the ground? Is it still natural if ingredients, from whole wheat flour to goji berries to flax seeds, are pulverized, brominated, pasteurized and homogenized?

Ford getting serious about Electric Vehicles
September 20, 2013 07:55 AM - MOVEFORWARD, Electric Forum

Motoring giant Ford has today announced plans to introduce a further 200 electric vehicle charging stations across its US and Canadian offices, development campuses and manufacturing facilities. This is in addition to the existing 1700 charging stations currently installed across dealerships and Ford owned operations in the US and Canada. This is just one of many ongoing initiatives in the EV market that should see a dramatic increase in the number of charging stations in the short to medium term. So why is Ford looking to introduce more charging stations and what benefit will they be to Ford employees?

Measuring the speed of thaw
September 19, 2013 10:17 AM - Editor, ENN

Researchers have known that ocean temperatures are rising but up until now haven’t had any way of measuring the effects of this rise on Antarctica's glaciers. New research will now enable scientists to determine how quickly ice is melting under a rapidly changing glacier.

Chimp Haven wins $10,000 Grant for Chimp's Artwork
September 19, 2013 09:10 AM - Judy Molland, Care2

Watch out, Picasso! Make room for Brent, a 37-year-old chimpanzee! One of Brent's paintings recently won first prize and $10,000 for Chimp Haven Sanctuary. Chimp Haven Sanctuary is a national sanctuary in northwest Louisiana for chimps retired from federal research. This is the same sanctuary that will be receiving many of the 310 chimps that the National Institutes of Health recently announced it will be retiring from research. The primate, a retired laboratory animal, who uses his tongue to apply color instead of a brush, received the most votes in the chimpanzee art contest organized by the Humane Society of the United States. Five other sanctuaries competed, using paintings created during "enrichment sessions," but Brent's delicate smears of blue, violet, yellow and turquoise triumphed. When The Associated Press asked for a comment from Brent on his success, his handlers at Chimp Haven said that the chimp couldn't be reached for comment because he was asleep. Ah, the hard life of an artist!

Flying High on Research and Development
September 18, 2013 02:45 PM - Robin Valinski, ENN

Sixteen universities have been identified to participate in Research and Development grants to support the United States Government (USG) commitment to a reduction in greenhouse gases in the commercial airline industry. In response to ongoing global pressures to reduce the impact of commercial aviation on climate change the USG through the FAA is aggressively seeking alternative ways to reduce emissions. The goal of the United States Government (USG) is to achieve carbon-neutral growth for U.S. Commercial aviation by 2020, which equates to a reduction in carbon dioxide of 115 million metric tons (MT) over that time period. To meet this goal, the FAA has organized a Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) initiative to achieve efficient aircraft operations and greenhouse gas emission reductions operationally and through airspace infrastructure improvements.

Happy Pollution Prevention Week!
September 17, 2013 08:49 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

Hey everybody! Know what week it is? It's Pollution Prevention Week! Launched by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this week September 15-21, is dedicated to preventing and reducing pollution. According to the EPA, the US annually produces millions of tons of pollution and spends tens of billions of dollars per year controlling it in the form of clean ups, stormwater management, and education to name a few.

Optimizing Corn Production in the Face of Climate Change
September 16, 2013 04:35 PM - Robin Valinski, ENN

Kenya is no stranger to adaptation when it comes to food production. Kenya’s cultural and political underpinnings are reliant upon adaptation to current climatic conditions. Present predictions are that drastic adaptation will be necessary once again. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), climate change is likely to threaten maize production for farmers in certain areas of Kenya. Conversely, other arable landmasses that have been less suited to maize production are likely to become better suited to this important crop forcing agricultural officials and farmers to reassess their farmland use and suitability.

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