Pollution

Volcanic ash disrupts northern Europe air traffic
April 15, 2010 05:46 AM - Reuters

Air traffic in much of northern Europe was halted Thursday by ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland, aviation authorities said. "Due to ash, air traffic on the sea area between Scotland, Norway, northern Sweden, Britain, Norway and northern Finland is being limited," Finland's airport agency Finavia said. A volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed black smoke and white steam into the air Wednesday.. Britain's National Air Traffic Service said that following advice from the Met Office weather service it had restricted the number of aircraft flying into British airspace.

Australia arrests Chinese crew of grounded coal ship
April 14, 2010 08:23 AM - Reuters

Australian police arrested on Wednesday two senior crew members of a Chinese coal ship which ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef, charging them with damaging the reef by failing to sail a correct course. Chinese bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 was fully loaded and traveling at full speed on April 3 when it struck the Douglas Shoal, toward the southern end of the protected reef, which covers 346,000 sq km (133,600 sq miles) off the northeast coast. The ship, which leaked around two tonnes of heavy fuel oil, was refloated at high tide on Monday night and towed to safe anchorage near Great Keppel Island, a tourist resort, for a damage inspection.

Verizon Launches Major Sustainability Initiative
April 12, 2010 06:31 AM - RP Siegel, Triple Pundit

Verizon has just announced a comprehensive sustainability program that contains a number of new initiatives, as well as the expansion of existing efforts. The company, which was ranked #27 by Corporate Responsibility Magazine in its list of 100 best companies, continues to emphasize its intention to grow responsibly. The initiatives range from additional greening of its vehicle fleet to new, high-efficiency set top video boxes. Some of the new initiatives for 2010 include: * Adding 1,600 alternative energy vehicles to the company fleet. Verizon is purchasing more than 1,100 alternative energy vehicles including hybrid and compressed natural gas-powered aerial bucket trucks and vans, and hybrid pick-up trucks and sedans. The company will also increase its use of biodiesel and flex-fuel (E85) to power 470 vehicles. New hybrid aerial bucket trucks replace the diesel generators used in conventional trucks of this type with batteries that can be recharged by the vehicle. Video. * Teaming-up with Motorola for a trial eco-friendly set-top boxes for FiOS TV customers in select markets. The new QIP models use significantly less energy than existing models. Packaging for both models will be 100 percent recyclable and made from 75 percent recycled cardboard. * A long-term awareness campaign to educate, encourage and make it easy for Verizon’s 220,000 employees to cut energy use, recycle and reuse at work and home. Recent examples include free electronic recycling days, open to the public, at various company locations. All materials collected during the campaign will be recycled or disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner, Verizon notes.

Toxic release Inventory List Expansion
April 9, 2010 04:29 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to add 16 chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list of reportable chemicals, the first expansion of the program in more than a decade. Established as part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), TRI is a publicly available EPA database that contains information on toxic chemical releases and waste management activities reported annually by certain industries as well as federal facilities. The proposal is part of EPA's ongoing efforts to provide communities with more complete information on chemicals.

Public supports energy over environment
April 7, 2010 05:15 PM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters

For the first time in 10 years Americans are more likely to say the United States should give more priority to developing oil, natural gas and coal than to protecting the environment, according to a poll on Tuesday. The poll was conducted a few weeks before President Barack Obama announced he would open offshore oil drilling in some parts the U.S. East Coast, Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. Half of 1,014 U.S. adults, who were surveyed March 4-7 by Gallup, said the country should give more priority to developing and producing the fossil fuels. Only 43 percent said protection of the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of limiting the amount of energy supplies.

Underwater Robot That Can Run Forever
April 6, 2010 03:48 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

NASA, U.S. Navy and university researchers have successfully demonstrated the first robotic underwater vehicle to be powered entirely by natural, renewable, ocean thermal energy. Though not quite a perpetual motion machine it is close to that. The Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangrian Observer Thermal RECharging (SOLO-TREC) autonomous underwater vehicle uses a novel thermal recharging engine powered by the natural temperature differences found at different ocean depths. Scalable for use on most robotic oceanographic vehicles, this technology breakthrough could usher in a new generation of autonomous underwater vehicles capable of virtually indefinite ocean monitoring for climate and marine animal studies, exploration and surveillance.

Canadian Cement Plant Becomes First to Capture CO2 in Algae
April 6, 2010 07:02 AM - Timothy B. Hurst, EarthandIndustry, Matter Network

A Canadian company called Pond Biofuels is capturing CO2 emissions from a cement plant in algae — algae the company ultimately plans on using to make biofuel. It’s no secret that the process of manufacturing cement is both energy intensive and dirty. Global cement production alone emits roughly five percent of greenhouse gas emissions annually, both as a byproduct of limestone decarbonation (60%) and from the burning of fossil fuels in the cement kilns (40%). And as the demand for concrete-intensive infrastructure soars in developing countries like China and India, global emissions from cement plants–and other industrial sources–will continue to rise. But a Canadian company called Pond Biofuels sees some real opportunity in all those industrial greenhouse gas emissions. At the St. Marys Cement plant in southwestern Ontario, Pond Biofuels has become the first to successfully use carbon dioxide emitted from a major industrial source to produce high value biomass from microalgae.

Ships at Sea and What is Fair
April 5, 2010 01:42 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Ships are responsible for 2.7% of world carbon dioxide emissions. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that these emissions could increase by 150-250% by the year 2050 in line with the expected continued growth in international seaborne trade. So how does one reduce such emissions since ships are international in nature and there are over a hundred different nations with different rules. How can one be fair and be green?

How Will New CAFE Standards Change Cars?
April 5, 2010 06:07 AM - BC Upham, Triple Pundit

How will new fuel efficiency requirements that went into effect last week change the look, feel — and price — of your next car? Experts say expect prices to rise, and smaller, lighter, technologically advanced vehicles to grow in number. New Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards published last week require most automakers to raise the average fuel efficiency of the vehicles they sell to 34.1 miles to the gallon by the 2016 model year rising to 35 mpg when efficiency gains in air conditioning are included. Currently, the CAFE for cars stands at 27.5 mpg, and 23.1 for light trucks. The standards are expect to reduce CO2 emissions by about 30 percent between 2012 and 2016, and save the country $240 billion from fuel savings, pollution reduction and reduced imports. Automakers have accepted the new standards because they are firm, ending a period of uncertainty; and nation-wide, so manufacturers do not have to contend with a patchwork of different state requirements.

Chinese ship leaking oil on Great Barrier Reef
April 4, 2010 07:53 AM - Reuters

A stranded Chinese bulk coal carrier leaking oil into the sea around Australia's Great Barrier Reef is in danger of breaking up and damaging the reef, government officials said on Sunday. The 230-meter (754-ft) Shen Neng I was on its way to China when it ran aground on a shoal on Saturday. It had 950 tonnes of oil on board and officials said patches of oil had been spotted in the water early on Sunday, but no major leak. The premier of Queensland state Anna Bligh said the ship was in a poor state, and posed a danger to the reef.

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