Environmental Policy

Half the Oil Plan
June 25, 2013 08:42 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

With the consumption and price of oil on an upward trend, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has come up with a realistic plan that will help cut the United State's projected oil use in half over 20 years. The plan hopes to dramatically reduce US oil consumption while saving consumers billions of dollars and making the United States a global leader in transportation technology.

Chipotle Makes History by Becoming First Fast Food Chain to Tag GMOs
June 24, 2013 10:15 AM - Lisa Marie Chirico, Triple Pundit

Let's face it, it's good to be first, at least if you happen to be the first to do something worthwhile. In the ongoing debate about the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food, Denver, CO-based Chipotle Mexican Grill made what may turn out to be an important food history "first" in the United States.

Tel Aviv Testing Electric Scooters
June 24, 2013 05:57 AM - SHARON UDASIN, THE JERUSALEM POST, NoCamels

As part of a broader citywide program to reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and noise, the municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa is launching a pilot program to potentially replace its fleet of scooters with electric versions. To this purpose, the city has decided to purchase about 25 electric scooters to examine their effectiveness in comparison to the gasoline ones that municipal workers employ today. If the pilot yields positive results, the municipality will explore the possibility of gradually replacing its entire 300-scooter fleet with their electrical counterparts, the city said. City officials will be examining a number of parameters during the pilot program, including the scooter performance capabilities, riding experience, environmental footprint, cost effectiveness and safety, they explained.

Plastic Bag Ban Passes in LA
June 21, 2013 06:17 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit

The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday, June 18 to approve a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. The Coucil voted 11 to 1 in favor of the ordinance, and a final vote is scheduled for next week. Last year, the Council voted 13 to 1 to move forward on banning single use plastic shopping bags. The ban will go into effect for large stores on January 1, 2014, and for smaller stores on July 1, 2014. Paper bags will not be included in the ban, but stores now have to charge 10 cents per paper bag. When the ban goes into affect, one in four Californians will live in a city that bans single-use plastic shoppings bags, according to the environmental group, Heal the Bay. There is good financial reasoning behind the ban. Only five percent of single use plastic bags are recycled every year across the state and California municipalities spend almost $25 million a year to collect and throw away plastic bags that litter the streets and clog storm drains. Currently there are almost two billion plastic shopping bags and 400 million paper bags are distributed every year in Los Angeles.

Are Coffee Pods a Recycling Problem?
June 20, 2013 05:58 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

As the consumption of coffee pods surges in the U.S., so do the questions about their disposal and recycling. Although using a pod to make a cup of joe takes about the same amount of time as it does to fire up some water and then make a French press of coffee, the popularity of the single-serve coffee pod machines has taken off. For now, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters-owned Kaurig has taken the lead in the coffee pod market share race, but Nestlé’s Nespresso and Starbucks' Verismo also fare well among java fans. All of the coffee pod machine manufacturers use flowery language on their sustainability pages to describe how they are working to make the pods' disposal and recycling more "sustainable." The fact is, however, that there is no differentiation in what happens to these pods after use; all of them are creating more waste.

Hawaii's Fishermen: Scapegoats for Forces Outside their Control
June 19, 2013 09:26 AM - Andrew Burger, Global Warming is Real

Climate change is affecting fisheries in the Western Pacific and around the world, but a host of other factors, including land use, are threatening fisheries and the health and integrity of marine ecosystems. Aiming for sustainable fisheries, marine policymakers, resource managers, fishermen and other stakeholders are increasingly looking to take a more holistic, integrated approach to fisheries management, as evidenced during the latest meeting of the Western Regional Fishery Management Council (WRFMC) meeting, which was held in Oahu. Often blamed for overexploiting fish stocks, local fishermen in Hawaii are keenly aware of external impacts on the health and integrity of marine ecosystems and fish populations. At the latest WRFMC meeting in Honolulu, they argued in support of taking a more comprehensive ecosystems management approach, specifically zooming in on how land use and associated runoff from cities, agriculture and industry are harming marine ecosystems and fisheries.

Is EV battery technology more advanced than we thought?
June 19, 2013 06:51 AM - Editor, Electric Forum

Are EV manufacturers holding something back? If we take a look at the EV market it seems that we have barely moved on, at least in the mass market, since the General Motors EV1 debacle in the 1990s. Mainstream battery journey capacity is still roughly the same as was available for the EV1 despite the fact that the industry has received billions of dollars in additional funding from governments and private investors. So, are EV manufacturers holding something back? There is some speculation that various EV manufacturers are holding back the best of their technology until it has been fine tuned and thoroughly tested. There is speculation that while some of the "financially weak" companies are falling by the wayside, in the shape of Fisker for example, we are starting to see some stronger companies emerge from the market. This is potentially the perfect storm for the EV market, with companies falling by the wayside leaving the lion's share of future investment to those looking further forward and able to give stability and long-term credibility.

Aquatic Environment Biodiversity Threatened by Pesticides
June 18, 2013 03:09 PM - Allison Winter, ENN

The use of pesticides have been debated for some time now, as research indicates their use can have a negative effect on the environment. As an agent meant to prevent, destroy or mitigate any pest, pesticides target unwanted plants and animals that can alter ecosystems, cause nuisance, or spread disease. Besides potentially being toxic to humans and other animals, new research conducted by an international team of scientists has revealed that pesticides are responsible for reducing regional biodiversity of invertebrates by up to 42 percent.

Industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef
June 18, 2013 06:33 AM - WWF

The Australian Marine Conservation Society and WWF-Australia said today that Australia’s governments are putting the Great Barrier Reef at risk by failing to implement the World Heritage Committee recommendations around rapid industrialisation. Australia's Richard Leck, who has been attending the World Heritage Meeting as an observer, said Australia had been put 'on notice' by the World Heritage Committee.

Clinton Global Initiative, Ikea and Global Green USA team to bring backup solar power to NY and NJ
June 17, 2013 06:21 AM - ALYSSA DANIGELIS, Discovery News

When Superstorm Sandy cut power to millions in New York, New Jersey and beyond, solar-powered generators helped some residents recharge. Now a new project aims to install backup solar energy systems in areas that remain vulnerable. Low-income residents who were devastated by Superstorm Sandy are going to be first in line for a new solar power generation project called Solar for Sandy from the Clinton Global Initiative, the environmental organization Global Green USA and Ikea. The idea is that grid-tied solar will help lower bills and provide back-up in an emergency, according to Global Green USA’s announcement. The program wants to start by equipping at least five community facilities with solar energy systems that can offer lighting, mobile phone charging, heating, cooling, and refrigeration for medicine. A small-scale version is being installed in Far Rockaway, Queens. After that's completed, one for the Red Hook community in Brooklyn is scheduled to be installed by Oct. 29. Last fall, that neighborhood was hit hard by flooding.

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