Environmental Policy

Navy raises sonar impact on dolphins, whales dramatically
May 14, 2012 08:39 AM - Miguel Llanos, MSNBC.com

New Navy estimates showing many more dolphins, whales and other marine mammals could be hurt by sonar off Hawaii and Southern California caused alarm among environmentalists on Friday. The Navy, for its part, emphasized those were worst-case estimates and that the numbers cover a much larger testing area than before.

Cardamon cultivation impacting tropical forests
May 14, 2012 07:40 AM - Smriti Daniel, SciDevNet

Cultivation of cardamom, a high value spice crop, can take a toll on evergreen forests in tropical countries, independent studies in Sri Lanka and India have shown. Apart from disturbing biodiversity, cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), plantations affect water and soil quality in tropical forests, the studies said. Researchers from Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom studying abandoned cardamom plantations in the Knuckles Forest Reserve (KFR) in the uplands of central Sri Lanka found adverse effects lingering decades after cultivation was banned.

Solar Power and Desalinization Innovations tested in Egypt
May 12, 2012 07:06 AM - Rehab Abd Almohsen, SciDevNet

The Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) has announced the launch of a pilot Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project to test units that can simultaneously produce electricity and desalinate water. The four-year project test project, known as "Multi-Purpose Applications by Thermodynamic Solar", or MATS, has received 22 million Euros (US$28 million) from the European Union under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and will also involve European universities and companies. This will be used to build and test MATS units at a site in Burj Al Arab, a desert area near Alexandria. The units can be powered using both solar energy, and renewable energy sources such as biomass and biogas. The test facility will aim to generate one megawatt of electrical power and 250 cubic metres of desalinated water per day.

Capturing Car Emissions
May 11, 2012 07:56 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Cars do emit air pollutants. One aspect of this occurs during fueling of the vehicle. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the systems used at gas station pumps to capture harmful gasoline vapors while refueling cars can be phased out. Modern vehicles are equipped to capture those emissions. This final rule is part of the Obama Administration’s initiative to reduce the economic burden of unneeded rules and requirements.

Highlights of Cleantech in Dubai
May 11, 2012 06:10 AM - Shawn Lesser, Clean Techies

The United Arab Emirates, much like some of the other countries throughout the Middle East, is doing what it can to ensure it becomes much more energy efficient and starts using more renewable sources of energy. Dubai, much like its neighbor Abu Dhabi, is doing what it can to ensure the entire state becomes much more clean technology friendly. This includes adopting initiatives, creating organizations dedicated to renewable energy and energy efficiency, and creating new project to help the state reach its renewable energy and energy efficient goals. Listed below are just ten of the highlights of clean technology in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 1 ) Dubai Targets Five Percent Renewable Energy by 2030. A majority of the existing power supply in Dubai comes from natural gas and the energy demands in the state have increased over the last ten years because of megaprojects as well as a growth in high-rise buildings. In 2010, officials announced new power types to diversity energy sources in Dubai. One of the latest plans is to have five percent of the power supply come from renewable sources of energy by the year 2030. This will help the United Arab Emirates’ overall goal when it comes to renewable energy use.

Algae fuel potential greater than thought
May 10, 2012 06:35 AM - Charlotte Dormer, Planet Earth

For algae to power our cars and planes, production needs to be low carbon and cost effective, which means working with natural processes, not against them, say scientists. Algae could become an important source of sustainable biofuel, as production doesn't compete with food crops for land. But we may need to change the way we grow algae from closed systems to open ponds if it is to be low-carbon and cost-effective. This is because current algae production in closed systems — usually for cosmetic ingredients — uses too much energy keeping the ecosystem isolated from the surrounding environment.

Microsoft Moving Towards Carbon Neutrality
May 9, 2012 08:50 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

Microsoft has committed to become carbon neutral beginning on July 1, the start of the company's new fiscal year. The shift results from three years of internal discussions within the company to improve Microsoft's carbon footprint and environmental performance. The company will roll out the new changes, including a new accounting system, across its operations in over 100 countries. The new accounting system at Microsoft will be based on an internal carbon fee that the company's finance department will charge to all of the company's business groups. Each division will be tasked with finding a more efficient way to offset the carbon emissions associated with their fuel consumption and air travel.

Major Natural Gas Project approved for Uinta Basin, Utah
May 9, 2012 07:10 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar approved this week a major natural gas project in Utah’s Uinta Basin that could develop more than 3,600 new wells over the next decade. The project will support up to 4,300 jobs during development. By signing the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Greater Natural Buttes Project, proposed by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Secretary Salazar approved up to 3,675 new gas wells in an existing gas producing area in Uintah County, Utah. The decision follows a landmark comprehensive public consultation and conservation stakeholder involvement effort that resulted in a balanced approach to energy production and environmental protection that will boost America's energy economy. The project encompasses approximately 163,000 acres — but will bring new surface disturbance to just five percent of that area (approximately 8,100 acres) as a result of the 1,484 well pads approved in the ROD, which would be drilled over a period of 10 years.

Israel To Help India Clean Up The Ganges River
May 6, 2012 09:43 AM - Shifra Mincer, GreenProphet

Young Israeli tourists are so common in India that in certain regions, restaurants hang signs and write menus in Hebrew. But Israel is now in the process of sending more than just tourists to the region. At the end of April, Israeli news site Ynet reported that Israel would be sending engineers, researchers and representatives from water technologies companies to help India clean up the notoriously-polluted Ganges River. The river has become an increasingly problematic site for India as it has caused the spread of infections and diseases. Since February, the Indian government has been gearing up a campaign to clean up the river, promoting its importance as a religious site and also as a freshwater resource.

Keystone Pipeline application resubmitted with route that bypasses Nebraska's Sand Hills
May 5, 2012 06:44 AM - Miguel Llanos, msnbc.com

The energy hot potato known as the Keystone XL pipeline was back to the State Department, which announced Friday that it had received a new application from developer TransCanada that includes a reworked route through Nebraska. Environmental groups and industry quickly lined up on opposite sides, while the Obama administration said a final decision is not likely before next year. In Nebraska, Republicans had joined Democrats in objecting to an initial proposal of routing the $7 billion natural gas pipeline from Canada through the sensitive Sandhills region and over the Ogallala Aquifer.

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