Pollution

Solar Energy: Popcorn-ball Design Doubles Efficiency Of Dye-sensitized Solar Cells
April 15, 2008 08:15 AM - University of Washington

A new approach is able to create a dramatic improvement in cheap solar cells now being developed in laboratories. By using a popcorn-ball design -- tiny kernels clumped into much larger porous spheres -- researchers at the University of Washington are able to manipulate light and more than double the efficiency of converting solar energy to electricity. The findings were presented in New Orleans at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society April 10.

Nature's Answers to the Sanitation Challenge
April 14, 2008 08:56 AM - United Nations Environment Programme

At a prison on the East coast of Africa, in-mates are pioneering a sanitation project that is working with nature to neutralize human wastes. The initiative, involving the development of a wetland to purify sewage, is expected to cost a fraction of the price of high-tech treatments while also triggering scores of environmental, economic and social benefits.

EU carbon market sets up another round of windfall profits for dirtiest power generators
April 14, 2008 08:52 AM - WWF

Polluting electricity generators in Europe are set to reap another round of extraordinary windfall profits from the carbon trading scheme meant to curb their carbon emissions, a new report revealed today. The study, commissioned by WWF from world-leading carbon market analysts Point Carbon, estimates that the windfall to electricity generators in just the five states of UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland over the current five year phase of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) could be between 23 and 71 billion Euros ($US 36 -111 billion ).

Sea Salt Worsens Coastal Air Pollution
April 14, 2008 08:50 AM - University of Calgary

Air pollution in the world's busiest ports and shipping regions may be markedly worse than previously suspected, according to a new study showing that industrial and shipping pollution is exacerbated when it combines with sunshine and salty sea air. In a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, a team of researchers that included University of Calgary chemistry professor Hans Osthoff report that the disturbing phenomenon substantially raises the levels of ground-level ozone and other pollutants in coastal areas.

Californians to pay $600 mln for green think tank
April 10, 2008 07:16 PM - Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California electricity and natural gas customers will be charged $600 million over the next 10 years to fund a green think tank, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted on Thursday. A surcharge to monthly power and gas bills will fund the California Institute for Climate Solutions, linked to the University of California. The surcharge will be tacked on customer bills of investor-owned utilities and not of municipal utilities in Los Angeles and Sacramento.

The noose tightens: Waxman subpoenas EPA documents over dirty decision
April 10, 2008 09:42 AM - , Clean Air Watch

The plot continues to thicken over the obviously White House-directed EPA decision to reject California’s greenhouse gas standards for motor vehicles. Today, Rep. Henry Waxman issued a subpoena to compel EPA to provided “unredacted” copies of documents that have been withheld from Waxman’s oversight committee. See below.

Record beach litter threatens marine wildlife
April 9, 2008 07:21 PM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Plastic litter on Britain's beaches has reached record levels, endangering whales, dolphins and seabirds, an environmental charity survey said on Thursday. The Marine Conservation Society, which campaigns for cleaner beaches and seas, said plastic litter has increased by 126 percent since its first survey in 1994.

Climate assumptions 'optimistic at best'
April 9, 2008 09:29 AM - , SciDevNet

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has seriously underestimated the technological advances needed to stem carbon dioxide emissions, say Roger Pielke Jr, Tom Wigley and Christopher Green in Nature. They describe the IPCC's assumption that the majority of future emission reductions will occur spontaneously, in the absence of climate policies, as "optimistic at best and unachievable at worst".

Car companies lobby Congress to kill California global warming authority
April 9, 2008 09:07 AM - , Clean Air Watch

Yes, they are at it again. The car companies and car dealers are once again trying to kneecap California and other states by taking away their rights to set better global warming emission standards for motor vehicles. Yes, the Bush administration did reject California's bid, but EPA's attorneys believe California will prevail in court. Hence the new push by the car crowd to build a fire wall in Congress.

Expert foresees 10 more years of R&D to make solar energy competitive
April 8, 2008 09:38 AM - American Chemical Society

NEW ORLEANS, April 7, 2008 — Despite oil prices that hover around $100 a barrel, it may take at least 10 or more years of intensive research and development to reduce the cost of solar energy to levels competitive with petroleum, according to an authority on the topic. “Solar can potentially provide all the electricity and fuel we need to power the planet,” Harry Gray, Ph.D., scheduled to speak here today at the 235th national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). His presentation, “Powering the Planet with Solar Energy,” is part of a special symposium arranged by Bruce Bursten, Ph.D., president of the ACS, the world’s largest scientific society celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Beckman Scholars Program.

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