Germany Supporting Chilean Renewable Energy Efforts
October 22, 2007 02:09 PM - Paula Leighton, SciDevNet
Santigo, Chile - The German government has pledged up to US$126 million to fund Chilean research into renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The Chilean minister of energy, Marcelo Tokman, announced the agreement during an official visit to Berlin, Germany, this month.
A spokesperson for Chile's National Commission of Energy told SciDev.Net that the German government will donate US$11.5 million and lend up to US$114.5 million.
During the visit, Tokman also formally accepted an invitation for Chile to become one of the founder countries of the new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
IRENA — an initiative led by Germany — aims to promote the use of renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind power, regenerative biomass, wave and tidal power worldwide.
It will also support national energy planning, research centres and technology transfer, especially from industrialised nations to developing countries.
China Needs More Than Electric Cars: Toyota
October 22, 2007 11:04 AM -
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese carmaker Toyota is working to improve its hybrid cars and develop electric cars for the future, but an official said on Monday that these vehicles would not help reduce CO2 emissions in China.
"In France, 80 percent of electricity is produced by nuclear stations so if electric cars replace fossil fuel cars then you have a clear reduction in the emission of CO2," said Tatehito Ueda, a managing officer at Toyota Motor Corp.
"But in China they make electricity by burning coal, so China is not the place for electric cars," he told the Nikkei International Automotive Conference in Tokyo.
Kansas Vetos Coal Power: Health Risks Cited
October 22, 2007 10:57 AM - Bernie Woodall, Reuters
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Opponents of coal-fired power plants say they were given a new weapon last week when Kansas became the first state to reject a coal-fired power plant solely on the basis of the health risks created by carbon dioxide emissions.
A dozen states have rejected plans for new coal-fired power, at least in part because of concerns over carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. However, Kansas does not regulate carbon emissions and is believed to be the first state to tie CO2 to health risks and use that as the only stated reason for denying a required air permit, said Bruce Nilles, head of the Sierra Club's national effort to stop new coal plants and retire the dirtiest of existing ones.
Carmakers Seek Engine of the Future
October 22, 2007 01:38 AM - Marcel Michelson
TOKYO (Reuters) - Oil is getting scarce and the internal combustion engine adds to pollution, therefore the car of the not too distant future needs a new motor. But what?
Delegates at the Nikkei automotive conference here, in the week of the Tokyo Autoshow, reviewed the industry's sputtering progress towards new power systems in the knowledge that if they do not come up with a solution the sector may come to a halt.
"In the long-term, it's very clear that on-road transportation has to decouple from petroleum for both dependency and greenhouse gas emissions reasons, and the pathway for that is electric drive," Michael Milikin, editor of the Green Car Congress publication, told Reuters.
Solar cars race from Australia's top to bottom
October 21, 2007 11:41 PM -
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Sun-powered-car enthusiasts from around the world raced into the Australia outback on Sunday at speeds nearing 100 kilometres-per-hour at the start of the World Solar Challenge.
Thousands of onlookers crowded the streets of Darwin in Australia's tropical north for the beginning of the 3,000-km (1,863 mile) race, a biennial event since 1987, gawking at the sleek foil-like vehicles resembling giant microchips.
The only rule over the mostly straightaway course through Australia's "red centre" in temperatures that can exceed 50 degrees Celsius is that the custom-built vehicles run on nothing but the sun.
"The drivers will be sitting on between 90 and 100 kilometres per hour as much as they can, though most are capable of going faster," said race coordinator Chris Selwood.
"But this really is not just about who is the fastest, it's more about energy efficiency and management," he said.
California To Sue EPA next week on Carmaker Emissions Waiver
October 20, 2007 04:16 PM -
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California will sue the Environmental Protection Agency next week in the state's bid to crack down on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Saturday.
California will file a lawsuit against the EPA demanding the right to set its own limits on vehicle emissions that are stricter than national standards, spokesman Aaron McLear said.
California, which has become a leader on environmental issues in the United States, passed a state law in 2005 that would require new vehicles to meet progressively tighter standards for greenhouse gas emissions starting with 2009 models.
EPA Approves Pesticide Known to Cause Cancer and Miscarriages
October 19, 2007 06:43 PM - , Organic Consumers Association
Washington - On October 5, the EPA approved a new chemical fumigant for use on strawberries and other food crops across the U.S. The pesticide, methyl iodide, vaporizes quickly, causing it to drift far distances. Although the state of California has categorized it as cancer causing, and the EPA admits it causes thyroid tumors, the Bush Administration has been advocating approval of the fumigant for the better part of two years.
A Sustainable Holiday Spirit, in Mason, Michigan
October 19, 2007 03:48 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN
Ingham County, Michigan - The city of Mason, in Michigan has decided the spirit of the holidays includes the spirit of sustainability. And you'll see it brightly displayed on their holiday tree on the Ingham County Courthouse’s west lawn. For starters the city is replacing its incandescent holiday lights with energy-efficient LED Christmas lights. The 1200 new LED lights replace 500 old incandescent ones, draw a quarter of the power, 864 watts compared to the previous 3276 kilowatt hours; use professional weatherproof connectors and durable epoxy plastic, not glass bulbs. And, all 1200 lights can be plugged into one standard outlet. This will save the City about $250 each year while adding over 700 lights to its tree.
Save the Environment, Use Your Computer
October 19, 2007 12:28 PM -
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - Save the environment, use your computer. Here's how: the EPA estimates you can save up to $75 per year by activating the power management functions on your desktop computer. Support.com offers tips to consumers to help them save both energy and money by reducing the power consumption of their computer. Desktop or laptop, you can save energy by:
1. Turning your computer off completely when you know you will not be using it for more than several hours, such as overnight.
2. You can still save energy when your computer is not shut down completely by setting the power management functions on your computer to put both your monitor and computer (CPU, hard drive, etc.) into “sleep” mode after a certain amount of time of non-use, which saves energy when you are not actively using your computer. Set your monitor to go into standby mode first, followed by your computer.
Doctors warn of harm from kids' cough, cold drugs
October 18, 2007 12:25 PM - Lisa Richwine, Reuters
SILVER SPRING, Maryland (Reuters) - Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines can be dangerous for young children and there is no evidence they work, doctors told a U.S. advisory panel on Thursday.
A week ago, major makers voluntarily pulled cough and cold drugs for children up to age 2. But physicians are pushing the government to restrict marketing for use up to age 6.
"Cough and cold products pose genuine risks when given to children under the age of 6 with no associated benefit," Dr. Michael Shannon, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, told a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel.