Environmental Policy

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.

Greenland's Ice Melting Overestimated
May 4, 2012 07:32 AM - Richard Harris, NPR

A new study has some reassuring news about how fast Greenland's glaciers are melting away. Greenland's glaciers hold enough water to raise sea level by 20 feet, and they are melting as the planet warms, so there's a lot at stake. A few years ago, the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland really caught people's attention. In short order, this slow-moving stream of ice suddenly doubled its speed. It started dumping a whole lot more ice into the Atlantic. Other glaciers also sped up. "Some people feared if they could double their speed over two or three years, they could keep doubling and doubling and doubling and reach very fast speeds," says Ian Joughin of the University of Washington's Polar Ice Center.

Are there toxic chemicals in your gardening equipment and supplies?
May 4, 2012 06:45 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit

Spring time is here and a lot of people are indulging in gardening. But did you know that there are a lot of chemicals that may be harmful to your health in your gardening supplies? According to Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, high amounts of lead, phthalates and the toxic chemical BPA were all found in the water of a new hose after it sat outside in the sun for just a few days.

GMO Labeling to Go Before Voters in California
May 3, 2012 01:34 PM - Georgina Gustin, Strait to the Source, Organic Consumers Association

It doesn't take an agricultural expert to know that you can't grow vegetables without water. So it wasn't surprising that after hundreds of people marching under the banner "Occupy the Farm" took over a University of California (UC) agricultural testing station on April 22, UC officials responded by shutting off water to the site. The next day, a late-season storm brought a half-inch of rain to the San Francisco Bay Area, irrigating the thousands of vegetable starts in the ground and lifting the spirits of the urban farming activists who are determined to save the site from development. Score: Occupiers, 1 - UC administrators, 0. Social change activists in Berkeley, Calif., have always been ahead of the curve. Today, May Day, is the spring reemergence for the Occupy movement as activists around the United States engage in work stoppages, street marches, and various forms of civil disobedience to press their demands for a more equitable economy. The folks with Occupy the Farm got started early. On Earth Day, they marched from Berkeley's Ohlone Park to a five-acre plot of land in the adjacent bedroom community of Albany. They cut the locks on the gates of the UC-Berkeley and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) field trial plot, pulled up nearly an acre of thick mustard growing there, and got busy working the soil with a pair of rented rototillers. Then, scores of volunteers planted 150-foot rows of lettuce, beans, cucumbers, and leafy greens. By the end of Earth Day, the Bay Area had a new urban farm.

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