Sci/tech

Millennium Project Report Issued on the Future of the World
August 4, 2009 07:10 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

A major report issued by the United Nations Millenium Project has just been released. It finds that half the world appears vulnerable to social instability and violence due to increasing and potentially prolonged unemployment from the recession as well as several longer-term issues: decreasing water, food, and energy supplies per person; the cumulative effects of climate change; and increasing migrations due to political, environmental, and economic conditions. It also finds some good in the global financial crisis, which may be helping humanity to move from its often selfish, self-centered adolescence to a more globally responsible adulthood.

Study Finds Rich U.S. Energy-Efficiency Potential
August 3, 2009 10:33 AM - Ben Block, Worldwatch Institute

The potential for energy-efficiency improvements throughout the U.S. economy is huge and entirely within reach if annual investments increase fivefold, according to a new McKinsey & Company report.

Wind Power - Hot, Calm Weather Limitations
August 3, 2009 06:59 AM - John Gartner, Matter Network

The Pacific Northwest just finished four days of triple digit temperatures, which put the heat on renewable energy sources to keep up with demand. Just as records were being set for power consumption, wind power generation slowed due to the calm air from the locked-in high pressure system. The extreme weather highlights the reality that wind -- and to a lesser extent hydropower -- may not be a panacea for power production.

Energizing Grants for Renewable Energy
August 1, 2009 07:29 AM - Reuters

The U.S. government on Friday said it is now accepting applications for some $3 billion in government grants to boost development of renewable energy projects around the country. The money, from the economic stimulus package, will provide direct payments to companies in lieu of tax credits to support an estimated 5,000 biomass, solar, wind and other renewable energy production facilities. Projects must begin construction this year or in 2010 to get the grants.

Fisheries Making A Comeback
July 31, 2009 07:06 AM - Richard Harris, NPR

There's no question that the world's fish are in trouble. Fishermen are pulling fish out of the seas far faster than these populations can grow back. Some fisheries are heading toward collapse or even extinction. But a major new analysis of this grim picture shows that fisheries aren't doomed. In fact, some are on the mend.

New, cheaper method for extracting clean water
July 30, 2009 10:22 AM - Justine Davies, SciDevNet

A mobile pilot system could make preliminary feasibility tests for desalination easier and cheaper for developing countries.

Californians' Cooling on Global Warming
July 30, 2009 06:33 AM - Peter Henderson, Reuters

The tough economy has undermined the environmental enthusiasm of Californians, hitting the U.S. state that pioneered climate change legislation just as the federal government is taking on the issue, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The shale revolution
July 29, 2009 05:35 PM - Nature

Several years ago, it looked as though the United States was running short of natural gas. Prices spiked as declining production in old fields collided with increasing industrial demand. Electric utilities shifted from 'clean' gas back to cheap coal, and suppliers began building terminals to import liquefied natural gas from abroad. Yet today, coal-fired power is again on the wane, ports for liquefied natural gas are idling below capacity, and the nation is awash with gas.

U.S. and China sign memorandum on climate change
July 29, 2009 07:00 AM - Sue Pleming, Reuters

The United States and China, the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases, signed an agreement on Tuesday that promises more cooperation on climate change, energy and the environment without setting firm goals. Chinese and U.S. officials signed the memorandum of understanding at the State Department following two days of high-level economic and strategic talks.

European Nations Wary on Environmental Protectionism
July 28, 2009 10:56 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

European nations are wary about a perceived trend in France and the United States to use international competition as a reason to back off on Carbon reduction pledges. They are concerned that carbon tariffs could be used to fend off competition from countries which have not committed to reducing emissions, in effect triggering a green trade war.

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