Environmental Policy

California Charges Forward on EVs
April 5, 2012 08:46 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

As you may have seen, California Governor Jerry Brown announced a $120 million settlement last week with utility company NRG. The funds will be used to develop a large scale infrastructure effort for electric vehicles. This statewide charging network will include at least 200 fast-charging stations and another 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 locations across the state.

Wind Tops 10 Percent Share of Electricity in Five States
April 5, 2012 07:10 AM - J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute

A new picture is emerging in the U.S. power sector. In 2007, electricity generation from coal peaked, dropping by close to 4 percent annually between 2007 and 2011. Over the same time period, nuclear generation fell slightly, while natural gas-fired electricity grew by some 3 percent annually and hydropower by 7 percent. Meanwhile, wind-generated electricity grew by a whopping 36 percent each year. Multiple factors underlie this nascent shift in U.S. electricity production, including the global recession, increasing energy efficiency, and more economically recoverable domestic natural gas. But ultimately it is the increasing attractiveness of wind as an energy source that will drive it into prominence. Wind power accounted for just 2.9 percent of total electricity generation in the United States in 2011. In five U.S. states, however, 10 percent or more of electricity generation came from wind. South Dakota leads the states, with wind power making up 22 percent of its electricity generation in 2011, up from 14 percent in 2010. In 2011, Iowa generated 19 percent of its electricity with wind energy. And in North Dakota, wind’s share was 15 percent.

Melting Arctic Ice May Usher in New Era of Geopolitical Conflict
April 4, 2012 09:36 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Countries of the Far North are set to be the new players in the emerging Arctic frontier. The polar ice cap is melting at much faster rates than previously predicted, and may be completely ice free by the summer of 2040 or sooner. There are vast untapped resources in the Arctic Ocean such as new shipping lanes, fishing grounds, tourism, and it is believed to contain the largest of the world's remaining energy reserves. This year has brought about a frenzy of oil and gas exploration which will only increase as the ice recedes. The coming summer will bring an even more intense search for resources. Cooperation will be required among the northern nations to avert territorial disputes and conflicts at the top of the world.

General Mills Releases 2012 Global Responsibility Report
April 4, 2012 08:25 AM - General Mills, Justmeans

General Mills today released its 2012 Global Responsibility Report, detailing the company’s progress in the areas of health, communities and environment. The 2012 report can be viewed or downloaded at GeneralMills.com. Highlights from General Mills’ efforts to nourish lives around the globe this past year include: Reaching the halfway mark toward achieving three of the company’s 2015 global sustainability goals: water, solid waste and packaging. General Mills is more than 50 percent of the way to achieving a 20 percent reduction in its water usage rate and a 50 percent reduction in its solid waste generation rate. In addition, the company has improved the packaging for 27 percent of its sales volume —more than halfway toward the 40 percent goal.

Bottled water industry wages PR battle against tap water
April 4, 2012 06:41 AM - Eifion Rees, The Ecologist

Worried by a dip in sales, Nestlé is among the companies waging a million-pound public relations war to turn the public off tap water and back onto plastic bottled water Bottled water is the totemic bĂȘte noire of the environmental world, a multibillion-dollar industry that takes what in the west is clean and readily available from the tap, packages it up in non-biodegradable plastic and sells it back to consumers at hugely inflated prices. And yet sales continue to rise. In 2010, more than 2bn litres were consumed in the UK — 33 litres per person, a figure projected to rise to 40 litres by 2020.

Ocean Heating over the past hundred years
April 3, 2012 07:08 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

In 1872 the HMS Challenger pulled out from Portsmouth, England to begin an unprecedented scientific expedition of the world's oceans. During its over three year journey the HMS Challenger not only collected thousands of new species and sounded unknown ocean depths, but also took hundreds of temperature readings—data which is now proving invaluable to our understanding of climate change. Utilizing the temperature data from the HMS Challenger expedition and comparing it to contemporary temperatures, researchers writing in Nature Climate Change found that the oceans' surface— where marine warming is most intense—saw temperature rise on average by 0.59 degrees Celsius (1.1 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 135 years or so. This implies that oceanic temperatures have been rising for at least a century.

Earth Hour biggest ever this year
April 1, 2012 09:25 AM - Editor, WWF

Last night, as Earth Hour beganits monumental journey around the globe, hundreds of millions of people united to demonstrate that we urgently need to take action to protect our planet. The largest voluntary action for the environment is reaching further than ever before. Earth Hour was celebrated in a record 150 countries and territories and 6494 towns and cities to send the message that our combined efforts are needed to change our future to one that is sustainable.

Planet Under Pressure Conference - State of the Planet Declaration Issued
March 31, 2012 07:07 AM - Aisling Irwin, SciDevNet

Earth has only one decade to pull itself back from various environmental 'tipping points' — points at which the damage becomes irreversible, scientists have said. If it fails to do so, it is likely to witness a series of breakdowns in the systems that sustain people, such as oceans and soil, according to a major meeting on safeguarding the planet's future, the Planet Under Pressure conference (26—29 March). "Research now demonstrates that the continued functioning of the Earth system as it has supported the wellbeing of human civilization in recent centuries is at risk," said some of the world's leading documenters of global environmental change in the first 'State of the Planet' declaration.

Scotland on the High Road to Sustainable Energy
March 30, 2012 07:10 AM - Staff, ClickGreen

Scotland is on course to smash its renewable energy targets after official figures revealed record-high levels of green power generation. The Scottish Government's Energy Minister Fergus Ewing welcomed the publication of the statistics that confirms Scotland will beat the 2011 renewables target. Statistics published today show that the amount of renewable electricity generated in 2011 rose 45 per cent on 2010 to 13,750 Gigawatt hours.

Rio+20 zero draft accepts 'planetary boundaries'
March 29, 2012 05:29 AM - Yojana Sharma, SciDevNet

The latest draft of the so-called 'zero draft' document, which will be presented to heads of government at the Rio+20 Summit in June, has been amended to include an acknowledgement that there are scientifically assessed 'planetary boundaries' which, if overstepped, could result in irreversible damage to the Earth's sytems. The draft is being prepared by national delegates to the United Nations, and will ultimately be presented to heads of government at the Summit for their endorsement.

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