Volkswagen's "premium" brands cheated too
November 3, 2015 07:34 AM - Eurctiv
The Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal widened Monday (2 November) as US regulators said the German automaker also included illegal "defeat devices" on its larger 3.0 liter diesel engines over the past three years.
But the Environmental Protection Agency said it had discovered in its investigation that various six-cylinder 3.0 liter diesel VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and Audis from the 2014-2016 model years and distributed in the United States had also been rigged with the software.
Should government buildings offer free Electric Vehicle charging?
November 2, 2015 06:49 AM - MARK BENSON , Electric Forum
As governments around the world continue to push the concept of electric vehicles there are growing calls for all government buildings to offer free EV charging. This would certainly kickstart the concerns regarding EV charging networks which seems to be at the forefront of the minds of many sceptics. So, how would this concept work and is it really viable?
Helping the electric vehicle industry
While many governments around the world are doing a significant amount of work behind the scenes to help the electric vehicle market, could they do more? It would be wrong to suggest that all government buildings do not offer any form of electric vehicle charging but for many people these services are few and far between. When you consider that countries such as the UK employ more than 50% of the workforce in public services there must be an enormous scope to assist the industry?
Global warming continuing
November 1, 2015 07:58 AM - UN News Centre
Earth has just had the hottest January-September on record, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said today, adding that the average air and sea temperatures in September logged the greatest rise above monthly average in the 136-year historical record.
According to a press release from WMO, the Global Climate Report from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the globally averaged air temperature over land and sea surface temperature for September was 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 20th century average temperature. Record warmth was observed across much of South America and parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
2015 Antarctic Ozone Hole larger and formed later than previous holes
October 30, 2015 06:17 AM - NASA
The 2015 Antarctic ozone hole area was larger and formed later than in recent years, said scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Assessing the health and economic consequences of Dieselgate
October 29, 2015 08:01 AM - MIT News
Volkswagen’s use of software to evade emissions standards in more than 482,000 diesel vehicles sold in the U.S. will directly contribute to 60 premature deaths across the country, a new MIT-led study finds.
In September, the Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the German automaker had developed and installed “defeat devices” (actually software) in light-duty diesel vehicles sold between 2008 and 2015. This software was designed to sense when a car was undergoing an emissions test, and only then engage the vehicle’s full emissions-control system, which would otherwise be disabled under normal driving conditions — a cheat that allows the vehicles to emit 40 times more emissions than permitted by the Clean Air Act.
That amount of excess pollution, multiplied by the number of affected vehicles sold in the U.S. and extrapolated over population distributions and health risk factors across the country, will have significant effects on public health, the study finds.
Historic Nitrate Levels Still Plague U.S. Rivers
October 29, 2015 06:16 AM - USGS Newsroom
During 1945 to 1980, nitrate levels in large U.S. rivers increased up to fivefold in intensively managed agricultural areas of the Midwest, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. In recent decades, nitrate changes have been smaller and levels have remained high in most of the rivers studied.
VW Dieselgate and EV priorities in Europe
October 28, 2015 04:03 PM - EurActiv
The pollution-cheating scandal that has engulfed auto giant Volkswagen is turning up the heat on the German government to make more determined headway in its self-declared "electromobility" goals, analysts say.
The "bitter irony" of the scam that has rocked the automobile sector around the world and plunged the once-respected carmaker into a major crisis, is that the billions of euros VW could potentially face in fines"could have been used to finance an entire electric car programme," complained Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks recently.
Over the past six years, Berlin has put up €1.5 billion for research into an electric car, the minister pointed out. And her ministry is looking into a series of measures to promote the electric car, such as tax incentives and purchase subsidies.
Why are diesel cars so popular in Europe?
October 27, 2015 08:04 AM - EurActiv
An estimated annual 'tax gap' subsidy of some €16 billion for diesel over petrol has made Europe the world's largest market for diesel cars - but the Volkswagen scandal has put the national tax schemes supporting this industry at risk.
“There is no reason to keep subsidising this sector," Carlos Calvo, policy analyst at Transport & Environment, told EurActiv on Monday (26 October). The efficiency of petrol-fuelled cars has improved significantly in recent years, while the diesel industry has reduced its nitrogen-oxide emissions only very slowly.
Oceans need more protected areas
October 26, 2015 07:32 AM - UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Despite global efforts to increase the area of the ocean that is protected, only four per cent of it lies within marine protected areas (MPAs), according to a University of British Columbia study.
UBC Institute for Ocean and Fisheries researchers found that major swaths of the ocean must still be protected to reach even the most basic global targets.
In 2010, representatives from nearly 200 countries met in Nagoya, Japan, and adopted the United Nations' Aichi Targets, in a bid to stem the rapid loss of biodiversity. The countries committed to protecting at least 10 per cent of the ocean by 2020.
Waterfalls are more threatened than you might think
October 25, 2015 08:52 AM - Emily Zak, Care2
More than 100 years ago today, a 63-year-old Michigan schoolteacher took the first ride ever down Niagara Falls in a barrel. Annie Edson Taylor may have survived, but the future will tell if the waterfalls available for such (now-illegal) escapades will. Here are a few threats to waterfalls we can’t ignore if we want to preserve these natural wonders.
Last year, Yosemite Falls went dry for five months. While the falls have always been ephemeral, meaning they flow seasonally, California’s severe drought had stopped them two months earlier than usual in June until December rains started them again a month late. In The Atlantic, outdoorsman and author Michael Lanza wondered if the world’s sixth-highest falls would actually disappear, with climate change leading to less and less snowfall. Snowpack in the Cascade Range has already decreased 15 to 30 percent in the past 70 years.