Environmental Policy

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.

Eco-Fruit Farming: Reducing Pesticides while Promoting Best Farming Techniques
November 8, 2013 10:30 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

In a 2005 study conducted by the Pesticide Data Program (under the US Department of Agriculture), out of 774 apples that were analyzed in the United States, 727 samples detected residues of pesticides - that's a whopping 98%! Furthermore, apples rank number 1 on the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list, which ranks fruits and vegetables on their levels of pesticides. Why are these colorful fruits laced with so many pesticides? In order for farmers to have a successful growing season, they often use pesticides and insecticides on their produce, which has positive effects for crop yields, but also has hazardous negative effects on the environment and potentially for consumers. The problem is two-fold: apple growers want to use the best techniques to grow their crops, and agricultural scientists want to reduce pesticide use.

Plan It for the Planet! November 15th America Recycles Day
November 8, 2013 10:16 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

So maybe America Recycles Day isn't as well known as Thanksgiving, New Years or the Fourth of July, but it is potentially becoming equally as significant for our planet's future! While our national recycling rate has increased each year for the past 30 years there is still great opportunity for recycling. America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day and community-driven awareness event dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S.

Relating the trees in the Amazon to west coast droughts
November 7, 2013 02:09 PM - Morgan Kelly, Princeton University

In research meant to highlight how the destruction of the Amazon rainforest could affect climate elsewhere, Princeton University-led researchers report that the total deforestation of the Amazon may significantly reduce rain and snowfall in the western United States, resulting in water and food shortages, and a greater risk of forest fires.

Tesla in the Mass Market
November 7, 2013 08:42 AM - MoveForward, Electric Forum

Tesla Motors is a company, which seems to go from strength to strength and indeed to all intents and purposes this is a company, which has dragged the electric vehicle market kicking, and screaming to the point of mass acceptance. Anybody who has even looked at electric vehicles will be well aware that Tesla began life at the top end of the luxury car market and once this particular niche was dominated the company began to look further down the electric car food chain.

Ice Cores may yield 1.5 million year climate record
November 7, 2013 06:11 AM - ScienceDaily

How far into the past can ice-core records go? Scientists have now identified regions in Antarctica they say could store information about Earth's climate and greenhouse gases extending as far back as 1.5 million years, almost twice as old as the oldest ice core drilled to date. The results are published this week in Climate of the Past, an open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). By studying the past climate, scientists can understand better how temperature responds to changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This, in turn, allows them to make better predictions about how climate will change in the future.

Deep sea Drilling in New Zealand
November 6, 2013 01:51 PM - Rachel Shaw, The Ecologist

Deep sea drilling will soon commence in the rough waters off the New Zealand coast. This could mark the beginning of an oil rush in which democratic process, public concern, environmental protection and safety considerations are all swept aside. The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around New Zealand is fifteen times larger than the country's land area - it extends from the sub-tropical to the sub-Antarctic. Like the Arctic, New Zealand's EEZ supports a multitude of species which travel from far-flung areas of the globe to reach these rich waters. Like the Arctic, New Zealand's EEZ is fast becoming an oil exploration frontier.

Nowegian's LOVE the electric car!
November 6, 2013 05:49 AM - Move Forward, Electric Forum

While the US electric car market continues to grab the headlines it is worth remembering that Norway is by far and away the leading electric car loving country with the highest ratio of electric vehicles per capita. Indeed many in the industry refers to Oslo as the capital of the electric vehicle industry and if you take a look at the situation you will see there are a number of reasons why electric vehicles are so popular in the country. In many ways it seems that a number of factors have come together to create the perfect storm for electric vehicles in some parts of Scandinavia. If we take a look at Norway there are many reasons to be cheerful if you are an electric vehicle retailer. A gallon of gasoline in Norway costs in excess of $10 despite the fact the country is awash with oil and gas from its surrounding oilfields. Fuel is not subsidised at the pumps as the government uses the massive oil and gas income to extend and improve the country’s infrastructure. This is perhaps one of the main drivers as to why the number of electric vehicles across Norway continues to grow, and seems likely to for some time to come.

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