Pollution

65 Million Square Feet of Solar Rooftops: Powering 162,000 Homes
March 31, 2008 09:19 AM - , MetaEfficient

In an ambitious move, a Californian utility plans to create a massive, distributed “powerplant” by installing a total of 2 square miles of solar cells on the roofs of businesses. Southern California Edison plans to install 250 megawatts’ worth of solar power, generating enough electricity to power 162,000 homes.

Beijing aims to cut down smoking for Olympics
March 31, 2008 01:33 AM - Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing will ban or restrict smoking in most public venues in May as part of its pledge to hold a smoke-free Olympics, local media reported on Monday, citing the city's legal office. New legislation to take effect on May 1 will forbid smoking at government offices and on public transport, the Beijing Morning Post said, but falls short of setting outright bans at restaurants, bars and clubs.

At toxic Montana dam, a river now runs through it
March 28, 2008 08:37 PM - Reuters

MILLTOWN, Montana (Reuters) - Engineers breached a hydroelectric dam in Montana on Friday, the first time an American dam was removed to clean up toxic sediments captured behind it from years of mining upriver. The intent was the restore some of the pristine beauty of the water as portrayed in "A River Runs Through It," Norman McLean's classic novel about fly fishing later made into a film directed by Robert Redford.

Should You Ditch Your Chemical Mattress?
March 28, 2008 09:28 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Susan Greenfield and her girlfriend Llina Kempner couldn't wait for their new memory-foam mattress top to arrive. For months, they'd heard friends rave about how the high-tech material molds itself to your body. But when they unwrapped the three-inch-thick pad in their Manhattan apartment, they noticed a strong, acrid odor. "My nose and my lungs were miserable," recalls Greenfield. For the two nights Kempner slept on the mattress top, she felt nauseated. After Greenfield, who is chemically sensitive, had an asthma attack in the middle of the night, the couple returned the mattress pad. But its stench lingered in the apartment for weeks.

U.S. to propose CO2 rules this spring
March 28, 2008 06:22 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration, which has resisted regulating carbon dioxide emissions, this spring will propose rules that could affect everything from vehicles to power plants and oil refineries, the top U.S. environmental official told Congress on Thursday. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson said the agency will issue proposed rules "later this spring" on "the specific effects of climate change and potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary and mobile sources."

Airport project seen threatening rare dolphins
March 27, 2008 06:17 AM - Reuters

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A population of rare Chinese white dolphins in Hong Kong's coastal waters may be threatened by several upcoming construction projects including a proposed new airport runway, a dolphin conservation group has warned. Around 200 Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins -- commonly called Chinese white dolphins -- survive in Hong Kong's western waters near the Chek Lap Kok international airport on Lantau island.

Merrill Lynch launches global emissions index
March 26, 2008 09:28 AM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - The research arm of U.S. bank Merrill Lynch launched a global carbon index on Wednesday to track the international carbon markets, which were worth some $60 billion last year. Merrill Lynch said its MLCX Global CO2 Emissions Index will allow investors to participate in the world's carbon markets, including the European Union's emissions trading scheme and emissions markets under the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol.

I am not a paper cup
March 25, 2008 09:07 AM - , The Alternative Consumer

Order from your favorite coffee or tea joint every day, but hate the eco guilt of throwing the paper cup in the trash? “I am not a paper cup” a reusable porcelain cup with silicon lid may alleviate the self-loathing. Due to the overwhelming demand, it becomes available again in April.

Black carbon pollution emerges as major player in global warming
March 24, 2008 09:31 AM - University of California - San Diego

Black carbon, a form of particulate air pollution most often produced from biomass burning, cooking with solid fuels and diesel exhaust, has a warming effect in the atmosphere three to four times greater than prevailing estimates, according to scientists in an upcoming review article in the journal Nature Geoscience. Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego atmospheric scientist V. Ramanathan and University of Iowa chemical engineer Greg Carmichael, said that soot and other forms of black carbon could have as much as 60 percent of the current global warming effect of carbon dioxide, more than that of any greenhouse gas besides CO2.

The Reality of Renewables

In the 1970s they were called “new and renewable energies” a grouping that allowed energy planners to lump nuclear energy (relatively new) in with hydro, solar, wind and biomass. A WBCSD Learning by Sharing session at our October meeting in Brussels focused on new and renewable energies in Europe and some of the barriers to realizing the high official hopes for them there. The very name renewable has great appeal, as it promises unlimited sources of relatively clean energy daily, such as sunlight or a breeze. But today, when we need them to greatly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, they are not ready because they were never able to overcome the marketplace muscle of cheap coal and oil.

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