Sustainability

Renewables Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels in Australia
January 8, 2014 07:35 AM - Celsias, Clean Techies

A study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) in Australia has discovered that renewable energy is cheaper to produce than the old conventional fossil fuel sources, and that is without the subsidies. The study shows that electricity can be supplied from a new wind farm at a cost of AUD 80/MWh (USD 83), compared to AUD 143/MWh from a new coal plant or AUD 116/MWh from a new baseload gas plant, including the cost of emissions under the Gillard government’s carbon pricing scheme. However even without a carbon price (the most efficient way to reduce economy-wide emissions) wind energy is 14% cheaper than new coal and 18% cheaper than new gas.

Wild deep-freeze warming techniques
January 7, 2014 11:57 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

With much of the northern hemisphere embedded in a deep freeze, one wonders how cold weather animals remain alive through frigid temperatures. Energy supplies are drained in the cold making it necessary to have a good solid cache of warming survival skills. Some animals have adaptive features and other animals have found adaptive techniques. Some of their creative adaptations are listed:

U.S. Coast Guard Polar Star to the Rescue!
January 6, 2014 04:09 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Maritime drama in the Southern Ocean continues! Maritime rescue teams have been getting a great deal of practice lately; this time the U.S. Coast Guard is attempting the rescue of the Russian research ship, Akademik Shokalskiy and now the Chinese icebreaker, Xue Long aka Snow Dragon in Chinese.

Stink Bugs: Friend or Foe
January 6, 2014 10:07 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Stink bugs are fierce prehistoric looking bugs. Some are indeed quite fierce and others stink more than they bite! In many parts of the world including their native range of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is considered an agricultural pest. Yet other genera of stink bugs, specifically the Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas), are considered an important biological control agent for other insect pests in the cotton, soybean, tomato, corn, and kale fields.

EPA adopts ASTM E1527-13 Standard
January 6, 2014 09:35 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

EPA finalized a rule last week adopting the revised ASTM E1527-13 "Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process" as a standard by which parties may comply with the "All Appropriate Inquiries" Rule, 40 CFR Part 312. In the United States, the Phase I ESA is a report prepared for a piece of property that identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities. Phase I ESAs assess risks of ownership and are conducted in order to determine if a site may be contaminated from past spills, leaking underground storage tanks, or historical uses of the site, to name a few.

Ford announces plans for solar powered electric vehicle
January 6, 2014 09:22 AM - Bob Sheth, Electric Forum

While it may only be a concept vehicle at this moment in time, the Ford C-Max Solar Engeri will be showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas between 7 January and 10 January 2014. This is not the first time that solar power has been interlinked with the electric vehicle market but so far no solar powered vehicle has actually made it to the market.

GMO-free Cheerios and the impact of Social Media
January 4, 2014 08:55 AM - Oliver Tickell, The Ecologist

After 40,000 Facebook posts on General Mills Facebook page demanding GM-free Cheerios, the company announces - 'original' Cheerios contain no GM ingredients. The corn starch for original Cheerios comes only from non-GMO corn, and our sugar is only non-GMO pure cane sugar. The GMO Inside campaign is claiming victory with the announcement by General Mills that its leading Cheerios cereal product will from now on be GM-free in North America. News of the company's commitment came on the cereal's dedicated website: "We don't use genetically modified ingredients in original Cheerios. Our principal ingredient has always been whole grain oats - and there are no GMO oats. We use a small amount of corn starch in cooking, and just one gram of sugar per serving for taste. But our corn starch comes from non-GMO corn, and we use only non-GMO pure cane sugar."

Thinning out on Antarctica
January 3, 2014 09:57 AM - ENN Editor

Pine Island Glacier, located in West Antarctica, is showing signs of thinning making it more susceptible to climatic and ocean variability than at first thought. Scientists led by the British Antarctic Survey have discovered large fluctuations in the ocean heat manifesting itself in the melting of the ice shelf into which the glacier flows. Between 2010 and 2012 the ice shelf into which the ice stream flows has decreased by 50%, most likely due to La NinĂ£, suggesting a complex interplay between geological, oceanographic and climatic processes.

Forecasting storms using lightning!
January 3, 2014 09:43 AM - NASA via, SciDevNet

An alternative to costly radar-based weather services could soon be operational in developing nations, to help them detect severe storms more cheaply and quickly. The technology, which uses lightning detection to forecast when and where storms will strike, has already proven successful in demonstration projects in Brazil, Guinea and India. Next year, Earth Networks — one of the companies at the forefront of the technology — will conduct further trials in Haiti. As more developing nations increase their numbers of mobile phone masts, which are ideal locations for mounting the lightning sensors on, the proportion of countries using the technology looks set to increase, according to the US company.

2014 National Defense Authorization Act is huge win for LEED green building system
January 3, 2014 09:15 AM - Stuart Kaplow, courtesy Green Building Law Update, Clean Techies

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2014 in Honolulu last Thursday and while most observers noted that the bill cracks down on sexual assaults in the military and eases restrictions on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay, the bill also is a huge win for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building rating system. By way of background, the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy and other instruments of the Department of Defense own and operate 299,000 buildings and 211,000 additional structures, making it the largest owner of buildings in North America, but it is also the owner of more green buildings and more LEED certified buildings than anyone else.

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