Environmental Policy

Boulder's bold energy statement
November 13, 2013 01:01 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Recent election results from Boulder, Colorado highlight another rejection of traditional energy supplier policies. According to Boulder Mayor Applebaum, "This is a message that we have to change a broken system...we need some local control." While the ballot questions were locally directed, the results highlight the national debate on energy supply. Boulder's referendum focused on their local energy distributor's control of the energy mix and whether or not to purchase that company's equipment to run their own utility.

Developing nations bear the brunt of extreme weather
November 13, 2013 09:40 AM - Bhrikuti Rai, SciDevNet

Haiti, the Philippines and Pakistan were the countries that suffered the most due to extreme weather events in 2012, according to the Global Climate Risk Index released yesterday at the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland.

Filipino delegate: no denying climate change now
November 13, 2013 09:24 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Monday, the Filipino delegate to the ongoing climate summit, Naderev 'Yeb' SaƱo, dared climate change deniers to take a hard look at what's happening not just in the Philippines, but the whole world. Over the weekend, the Philippines was hit by what may have been the largest typhoon to ever make landfall: Typhoon Haiyan. Reports are still coming in days later; death tolls were initially estimated to be over 10,000 with whole cities simply swept away, but more recent reports are placing the death toll lower but still substantial.

Europe to open up free access to environmental satellite data
November 13, 2013 08:44 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

The European Commission has announced it will provide free, full and open access to a wealth of important environmental data gathered by Copernicus, Europe's Earth observation system. The new open data dissemination regime, which will come into effect next month, will support the vital task of monitoring the environment and will also help Europe's enterprises, creating new jobs and business opportunities.

Tiny islands with big climate change problems
November 12, 2013 02:25 PM - Jan Piotrowski, SciDevNet

Tiny island states that speck the vast swathe of the Pacific Ocean have a far greater importance in understanding global climate change than their tiny populations would suggest. This was the message given to delegates during a side event of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's 19th annual meeting in Warsaw today.

Ultraviolet nets significantly reduce sea turtle bycatch
November 12, 2013 08:58 AM - Christina Pham, MONGABAY.COM

Bycatch, a side-effect of commercial fishing in which non-target species are accidentally caught, is linked to severe population declines in several species. Sea turtles are particularly impacted by small-scale coastal gillnetting practices, in which large nets are deployed and indiscriminately snag anything of a certain size that attempts to swim through them. However, that may soon change. A new study in Biology Letters—conducted by researchers at the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the University of Hawaii, Ocean Discovery Institute, Comison Nacional Areas Protegidas and Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center—announces the development of new technology that reduces bycatch rates by utilizing ultraviolet light.

LEED certification tax credit eligibility deadline fast approaching
November 11, 2013 02:22 PM - Guest contributed , Clean Techies

With construction projects facing deadlines to be eligible for tax credits, drop dead dates to meet contractual obligations and otherwise needing to obtain LEED certification by December 31st, submission deadlines to the Green Building Certification Institute are fast approaching. Appreciate that a couple of weeks ago (i.e., the week that ended November 2nd) 48 projects comprising 8,833,676 square feet achieved LEED certification in the U.S. (not including Homes or the several 'confidential' projects that were certified).

Transforming the Solar Discussion
November 11, 2013 01:08 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

The sun’s energy has been a central component of the renewable energy cache, including several harnessing technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, thermal, architecture and artificial photosynthesis. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are bringing forth a new method of solar capture and storage called SmartLight that includes the use of electrofluidic cells in concert with embedded photovoltaics placed at the top of a building’s windows. These solar capture elements are then used to project light into the building through a continuous grid-strip of electrofluidic cells. Lead researcher, Jason Heikenfeld envisions these cell channels running across the top of a room and through room adjoining transom windows for distribution as needed within any of the office building’s rooms regardless of its position within the building.

Bats vs wind turbines - the bats lose
November 9, 2013 07:36 AM - ScienceDaily

A new estimate of bat deaths caused by wind turbines concludes that more than 600,000 of the mammals likely died this way in 2012 in the contiguous United States. The estimate, published in an article in BioScience, used sophisticated statistical techniques to infer the probable number of bat deaths at wind energy facilities from the number of dead bats found at 21 locations, correcting for the installed power capacity of the facilities. Bats, although not widely loved, play an important role in the ecosystem as insect-eaters, and also pollinate some plants. They are killed at wind turbines not only by collisions with moving turbine blades, but also by the trauma resulting from sudden changes in air pressure that occur near a fast-moving blade.

Port development threatens Jamaican Iguana comeback
November 9, 2013 07:00 AM - Adam Andras, MONGABAY.COM

The story of the Jamaican iguana (Cyclura collie) is one of adversity and resurgence. Once believed extinct, the species has made a remarkable comeback over the last two decades. However, according to concerned scientists, a new plan to build a massive port in the iguana's habitat could push the species back to the edge of extinction.

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